When NSW members of parliament from both Labor and Coalition start campaigning against coal seam gas (CSG) — and the federal Labor Party starts musing that it might impose “strict regulations” on state governments to control the industry — you know that the movement against this dirty fossil fuel is starting to pack a punch. CSG was hardly known two years ago. Today, the thought of it frightens people. Gas companies have poured millions into advertising to reassure people that the industry is safe — but it hasn’t worked.
Hall Greenland, a respected left-wing activist, writer and journalist in Sydney, is the Greens candidate for the inner-west Sydney seat of Grayndler. Greenland was a Leichhardt councillor for the Labor Party in the 1980s, and served a second term as an independent between 1999 and 2004. He is president of the Friends of Callan Park, a community group which has waged a long struggle against the privatisation of a vital heritage area. Greenland is also the author of Red Hot, a biography of one of Australia’s earliest Trotskyists, Nick Origlass.
A professional athlete; a home with an arsenal of firearms; a dead young woman involved in a long-term relationship with her killer. In November, her name was Kasanda Perkins and the man who shot her was Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. Now her name is Reeva Steenkamp, killed by Olympic sprinter and double amputee Oscar “the Blade Runner” Pistorius.
Angry residents from Kemps Creek and surrounding neighbourhoods packed the local sports and bowling club auditorium on February 18 to protest against the state government’s plan to dump radioactive waste in the area. The NSW Liberal government is proposing to shift 5800 tonnes of soil from an area in Hunters Hill, where a uranium ore processing plant once stood, to the Kemps Creek SITA dump site. Cancer clusters have been detected in Hunters Hill, which have been linked to the contamination left behind at the former plant site.
That Richard Hinds needs a few lessons in sports journalism. “Such has been the atmosphere created by the Western Sydney Wanderers' fans, usually dispassionate critics have left Parramatta Stadium raving the experience makes the Camp Nou [in Barcelona] seem like a winter night at the Wentworth Park dogs,” the chief sports columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald had the sheer gall to write on February 18.
Najeeba Wazefadost came to Australia as a child refugee in September 2000 by a perilous journey by boat. She is now president of Hazara Women of Australia and I interviewed her for Green Left TV at a 500-strong Hazara community demonstration in the centre of Sydney on February 20 to protest the ongoing massacres of Shia in Pakistan. See the GLTV video and photos of the protest below.
This statement was released by Stop CSG Illawarra on February 19. *** The NSW government has announced new coal seam gas (CSG) rules, including a ban on CSG development in residential areas and critical industry clusters, such as horse breeders and wine producers. But they also stated this would only apply to new CSG exploration, assessment and production activities, and they have not ruled out drinking water catchments.
Vice-President Nicolas Maduro congratulated Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa for his “gigantic” victory in Ecuador’s presidential and parliamentary elections on February 17. Correa received 57% of the vote, achieving a strong lead ahead of the runner-up, banker Guillermo Lasso who got 24.06% of the vote. “We’re very happy, and we’ve communicated our congratulations from the whole people of Venezuela, from our president Hugo Chavez, to President Rafael Correa,” Maduro said.
This statement was released by the Socialist Alliance Moreland councillor Sue Bolton on February 20. *** Experienced crane driver and union activist Billy Ramsay was killed on the Grocon construction site in central Melbourne on February 18. This news was buried many pages inside the Murdoch-owned Herald Sun daily tabloid.
The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) released documents exposing the “appalling” extent of child self-harm in a Darwin detention centre on February 18. DASSAN obtained the documents via a Freedom of Information request, which took the department of immigration more than nine months to release. They detail 26 cases of self-harm by detained refugees aged 9 to 17 between August 2010 and November 2011. Spokesperson Fernanda Dahlstrom said the documents “concern one detention centre over a relatively short period of time”.
Venezuelans rallied in support of their president, Hugo Chavez, on February 18 after his surprise return from treatment in Cuba. In the early morning, Chavez had announced on Twitter he had arrived in Caracas after more than two months of cancer treatment in Havana. Chavez tweeted: “We’ve arrived once again to the Venezuelan Homeland. Thank you God! Thank you beloved people! We’ll continue treatment here.” Upon his return, Chavez was taken to the Dr Carlos Arvelo military hospital in Caracas, where he will continue treatment.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa was re-elected in the first round of the country's February 17 presidential poll. Preliminary results released with 30% of the votes counted gave Correa 58% of the votes, compared with 24% for the runner-up, right-wing banker Guillermo Lasso, ABC.net.au said on February 18.