Protesters at a save TAFE rally in Geelong on October 19 chanted, “No cuts, no second term. We all have a right to learn, learn, learn!” Almost 200 people took part in the rally. It coincided with the VECCI business convention at the Mercure Hotel in Geelong, which Premier Ted Baillieu was to speak at. Protesters were angered to learn Baillieu had made his appearance but had left through the back door two hours before the rally began.
Unionist Bob Carnegie was charged with 54 counts of contempt of court on October 17 for taking part in a community protest during a dispute between builders' unions and building firm Abigroup at the Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) construction site. It is a sign of things to come for community activists. About 650 workers took strike actions against Abigroup for refusing to meet demands over working conditions, subcontractor terms and an enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA).
The Refugee Action Collective Sydney released the statement below on October 19. * * * Another 38 asylum seekers, Iranian and Afghan, arrived in Nauru this morning (Friday 19 October) taking the number of asylum seekers, in the increasingly crowded detention centre to around 330. But asylum seekers on Nauru continue to protest. A united protest of all detainees was held on October 17, demanding that processing of refugee claims start immediately and that the Australian government stop sending asylum seekers to Nauru.
This episode features Terry McBride from Beyond Zero Emissions plus footage of the campaign for big solar in Port Augusta, South Australia, along with activist news including an eyewitness from Venezuela on Chavez's victory, Antony Loewenstein on After Zionism, a NSW public service strike, and WikiLeaks' Julian Assange speaking to GetUp. Finally, Carlo Sands defends poor, downtrodden shock jock Alan Jones.
More than 100 people attended an October 17 talk by Professor Damien Kingsbury of Deakin University titled “Why are the Tamils fleeing Sri Lanka?”. The meeting was organised by the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project. Kingsbury outlined the history of Sri Lanka. He said that British colonialism created a centralised administration of the previously separate Tamil and Sinhalese areas of the island. After independence in 1948, Sinhalese politicians established a “majoritarian” political system that discriminated against the Tamil minority in terms of language, employment and education.
This election year has seen some of the most extreme weather in the US for some time. Heat records were topped in many cites for a prolonged period. The most devastating drought in decades has ruined crops in a large area of the country. Yet there has been hardly a peep from either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney about global warming and climate change. Both have championed dangerous new methods of drilling for oil and natural gas, and promoted the very dirty tar sands oil from Canada.
Johnny Mao, Brit Schulte and Ben Silverman detailed in the US Socialist Worker the case of three activists in the United States north-west who are in jail for refusing to testify before a grand jury. On October 17, Leah-Lynn Plante -- the third to be jailed -- was released. For more information, visit www.freeleah.org. * * *
The shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai has unleashed a wave of revulsion and protest in Pakistan, along with a wave of media attention around the world. Across the political spectrum people are, quite naturally, interpreting this brutal crime through their own ideological lenses. Unfortunately, leaps of logic and aggressive, violent non-sequiturs abound. This is in both the misogyny-addled justifications for this brazen assassination attempt and in the attempts to use this sickening attack as cover or justification for deadly and destructive foreign interventions.
About 200 people staged a pro-choice counter protest on October 13 in response to a fundamentalist Christian-organised "March for the Babies", which called for the criminalisation of abortion in Victoria. Pro-choice protesters were joined by people who took part in Global Noise rally in Melbourne that day.
More than 200 refugees held in a "tent city" on Nauru held a protest on October 14, saying they were horrified with the lack of health care, hygiene and entertainment at the camp. They said that "no immigration officials, no human rights organization" have arrived to hear their claims for asylum, sparking fear and doubt about how long they will be held on Nauru. The statement below was released by the Sydney Refugee Action Coalition on October 15. ***
The Australian government is set to give notorious private security firm G4S the contract to run the refugee detention camp on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island. G4S has been dumped from previous contracts — including running Australia's refugee detention centre network — for medical negligence and incompetence. Reports from Christmas Island suggest many families, teenagers, women and children will be among the first to be sent to the island in coming weeks, where the army is finishing a “tent city” similar to that built on Nauru.
Members of the Forgotten Australians rallied in Melbourne on October 13 to demand a Royal Commission into the sexual abuse, emotional and criminal assault, and torture of children in church and government-run homes, orphanages and foster care homes. The term Forgotten Australian refers to children who were placed in care outside of their family home during the 20th century.
Many residents of the Blue Mountains are discovering for the first time that coal seam gas (CSG) drilling is an immediate, local issue for them. Gas giant AGL has a licence to explore for CSG in a huge area covering the Blue Mountains communities from Lapstone, Glenbrook, Blaxland, Warrimoo and Winmalee through to Springwood, and everything in between. The newly formed campaign group Stop CSG Blue Mountains joined the national week of action against CSG, organising a residents’ rally in Glenbrook Park on October 13.
The Lock the Gate Alliance released the statement below on October 15. * * * Thousands of people from across Australia turned out over the weekend for the start of Lock the Gate's national week of action against coal and coal seam gas in our communities, our farmland, bushland and water catchments.
Our dear friend and comrade PA (Ram) Subramaniam, a tireless and courageous supporter of Tamil freedom and the liberation of all humanity, died on the morning of October 4. When PA called to advise us of his cancer diagnosis less than two months ago, he did so in a completely matter of fact way. There was not a hint of self-pity or regret. In fact there was a renewed impatience and urgency.
Prominent Perth activist Kamala Emanuel faces court on November 28 in an important case dealing with the right to protest. She is charged with “failure to obey [an] order given by an officer”. The charges relate to an April protest rally against coal seam gas "fracking" that was attacked by Perth City Council rangers. Rangers tried to close down the rally, claiming that it was in violation of council by-laws, including one by-law that prohibits a person from carrying a sign without authorisation.