950

It is nearly that time again, the time to celebrate all that is great about this nation on the date that commemorates its founding by Europeans who discovered what they considered an empty continent. We have made a lot of progress since then. For instance in 1967 we agreed in a landmark national vote that Aboriginal people were people, and not fauna.
Australia became one of the first countries in the world to introduce a single mothers’ benefit in 1973. This was extended to single fathers in 1977. The single mothers’ benefit was an important reform, helping many women escape from difficult or violent relationships and reducing poverty among children.
At a meeting on December 19, Liverpool City Council resolved to oppose the proposed Stage 3 Northern Expansion of the Camden Gas Project (CGP). The council also resolved to make a submission to the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DP&I) outlining its reasons for opposing the project. The proposed Stage 3 expansion of the of the CGP consists of the development of 11 more drill sites, each with up to six well heads, in an area running from Blairmont in the south to Denham Court in the north, in south west Sydney.
While Australia and Sri Lanka battled it out at the Sydney Cricket Ground early this month, a Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seeker on a bridging visa living in Hamilton Hill, a victim of torture, died in Fremantle Hospital after attempting suicide last Thursday. The tragic event played out as momentum grows for a boycott of Sri Lankan cricket, lead by former cricket writer for The Age Trevor Grant.
Hashim bin Rashid, 25, the general secretary of the Lahore branch of the Awami Workers Party — recently formed out of the merger of three left parties in Pakistan — will be the international guest speaker at the Socialist Alliance ninth national conference to be held in Geelong Trades Hall, over January 18-20. He replaces Alia Amirali who was not given a visa by Australian authorities in time to travel to the conference.
A “dome of heat” has settled over Australia, causing a heatwave in every state and territory and widespread bushfires. Tasmania has been the worst hit with 150 homes damaged or destroyed.
The Socialist Alliance released this statement in solidarity with the international movement against violence against women on January 4. *** The Socialist Alliance stands in solidarity with the growing movement in India fighting violence against women. Progressive forces in that country have braved police brutality and repression, mobilising massive turnouts at protests against gender violence. The wave of protests was sparked by the horrific rape on December 15, and the consequent death, of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi.
Campers at the Glenugie blockade, south-east of Grafton in NSW, were woken at dawn on January 7 to news that the police was on its way to escort a coal seam gas (CSG) drill rig to the drill site. Metgasco want to drill in the beautiful Coldstream Wetlands at Glenugie in the Clarence Valley. Many nearby land holders have Lock the Gate triangles up on their fences and the community has overwhelmingly opposed Metgasco's attempt to begin drilling.
Left-wing singer-songwriter Rory McLeod is on a tour of Australia. As usual, the veteran English-born folk singer’s performances are not to be missed. His six-week tour began at the Woodford Folk Festival, which he described as more diverse than other folk festivals he's been to. “You can be crossing 50 or 60 borders in a day [at Woodford]”, he told Green Left Weekly, referring to the wide variety of music styles presented. From there, he will pass through all states and many towns — large and small.
Photos taken by refugees of their living conditions in the Australian detention camp on Manus Island have led to a new round of “systematic assault on asylum seekers’ basic rights”, according to Refugee Action Coalition spokesperson Nick Riemer.

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