955

The first day of NSW parliament this year was met with a strong protest against the announced shortening of the heavy rail line to Newcastle. Organised by Save Our Rail, a large contingent boarded the 8:03am express from Newcastle Station. Supporters saw them off, while others hopped on at outer stations. Leaflets were distributed and petitions were signed as activists explained to the other passengers what the state government was proposing. The media were regularly on the mobile phone to Save Our Rail president Joan Dawson.
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.
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.

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