954

Figures released by the department of immigration showed the number of refugees held in Australian mainland detention peaked at 10,271 in November last year, the highest since mandatory detention began. This included housing and alternative places of detention, but not the almost 400 men held on Nauru by that time. Children made up 1221 of those held in detention as at December, another record high. The last time more than 1000 children were held in detention, the government was forced to allow more than half to be released.
The Gillard government’s mining tax has raised just $126 million in its first six months, a tiny amount compared to the $2 billion it was expected to generate. Out of this only $88 million will actually benefit the federal budget, as companies who pay the mining tax pay less company tax. To put this in context, the government recently cut $700 million from welfare that was paid to single parents.
Mental illness will affect someone you know and love. Forty-five percent of Australians will experience a mental health problem and 20% of the population is affected each year in a serious way by conditions including anxiety disorders, depression, personality disorders, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, to name just a few. Many people with mental illnesses want to work and are able work. But the barriers to suitable employment are much higher than for most. This is why the Disability Employment Services exist for all people with disability, be they mental, physical or psychological.
Northern Territory Chief Minister Terry Mills announced a deal on February 8 to secure power for the Nhulunbuy bauxite mine and alumina refinery. The deal was hailed as saving the community through protecting the industry that provides it with half its jobs. But the decision has disastrous environmental impacts and shows the lack of choices available to remote communities under the logic of the mining market. To survive, communities are asked to provide public funds to private companies to perform environmentally damaging activity.
Simon Butler was a 25-year-old activist who helped organise the mass mobilisations in Sydney in February and March 2003 against the invasion of Iraq. He was also a leader of the socialist youth group Resistance and the student anti-war movement Books Not Bombs, which Resistance initiated.
As one who took part in demonstrations against the war in Vietnam, I could hardly believe it when the US “war machine” resurrected itself and began its march on Iraq. Appalled by what appeared to be happening, I was delighted to discover, following a rally in November 2002, that a local peace group had been created. I joined that group and began actively campaigning for peace which I continue to this day.
A picket line that lasted for two weeks at the site of a water treatment plant in Werribee has been disbanded. The Age reported that the protesters left the site on February 14 after “police and the water authority warned them they were trespassing”. The picketers — established by unemployed tradespeople — were protesting the employment practices of Tedra Australia and its associated subcontractors.
Jesus Posada, the right-wing People’s Party (PP) speaker of the national Spanish Congress of Deputies, received a delegation on February 12 presenting a People’s Legislative Initiative (ILP). The initiative had the support of more than 1.4 million signatories, 900,000 more than required by law.
Protesters gathered in Redfern on February 14, to mark the ninth anniversary of the death of the 17-year-old Aboriginal youth TJ Hickey and repeat the call for an inquest into his death. In 2005, police pursued Hickey causing him be thrown off his bike and land on a spiked fence.
The assassination of left-wing leader Chokri Belaid has thrown the interim government of Tunisia, led by Islamist party Ennahda (the Renaissance), into a deep crisis. Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali has threatened to resign if his proposed "technocratic" solution can't be implemented. The death of Belaid, a well-respected leader of the united left group Popular Front, led to widespread protests, including tens of thousands on the streets of Tunis for his memorial on February 8.
About 80 residents held a rally outside Coburg Town Hall before a meeting of Moreland City Council on February 13.  They then went into the Council meeting and raised their concerns during question time. The rally was organised by Save Coburg, a residents group recently formed in response to the proposed new Coburg Structure Plan.  This plan includes 10-storey buildings alongside existing homes. 
This was a speech given to a One Billion Rising event in Sydney on February 14. *** I'd like to welcome you all here tonight. I'm a Kairi and Badjula woman, so I can't do a welcome to country, but I can do an acknowledgement. So I'd like to acknowledge that this celebration is taking place on the stolen lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. The Gadigal people were the first to endure the impact of invasion and as a result their communities were decimated. Invasion was a violent process, though history has tried to cleanse it was with the word colonisation.
Subscribe to 954