Delegates arriving at the Australia-China Minerals Investment Summit in Darwin on May 17 were met with about 20 protesters. The group had a strong message for those going into the convention centre: “Stop uranium mining, lock the gates on shale oil and gas, go solar!”
Jose Maria Aznar, Spain’s messianically neoliberal former prime minister, announced during a television interview on May 21 that he was ready again to serve his country. “I will act in accordance with my responsibility, my conscience, my party and my country, regardless of consequences, have no doubt about that”, intoned the Popular Party (PP) leader who took Spain to war in Iraq. Aznar was defeated in the 2004 national election after claiming that the Madrid train bombing was the work of Basque Homeland and Freedom (ETA).
A lively protest took place outside federal MP for Wakefield Nick Champion's office in Adelaide’s Northern Suburbs on May 20. The protest was organised by Stop Income Management in Playford (SIMPla) and Single Parents Action Group (SPAG). SIMPla was founded last year in response to the introduction of income management in Playford. SPAG began in response to the Julia Gillard government cutting single parents' income by moving them off the single parent benefit to the lower Newstart allowance.
Registrations are now open for the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s (AVSN) next brigade to revolutionary Venezuela. The solidarity tour, to run over December 4-13 this year, will be a special one for the AVSN, the first since the election of President Nicolas Maduro following the death of Hugo Chavez on March 5. Since 1998, when Chavez was first elected president, the Bolivarian revolution has achieved remarkable things by putting control of Venezuela’s politics and economy back into the hands of the poor majority.
Australia’s first Aboriginal parliamentary leader, Adam Giles, announced on May 13 that his government would increase the number of Aboriginal children removed from their families. Concerns that a new stolen generation could be created were putting children at risk, he said.
This is a speech by Peter Boyle, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Sydney, at a rally for equal marriage rights in Sydney on May 25. *** Let me begin by acknowledging that we are gathering here today on stolen Aboriginal land, the land of the Gadigal people that was never ceded but taken by force from its Indigenous owners. We pay our respects to elders and warriors — past and present — who have battled for survival and justice for against tremendous odds.
Najaf Mazari, an Afghan refugee, rug-maker and author addressed a meeting of about 70 people at the Eltham College in Melbourne on May 17. He described his life in an Afghani village and his journey to a new life in Australia, including his time in a detention centre. The event was organised by the Diamond Valley Oxfam group and supported by the Eltham bookshop.
It’s been a busy week for discussions of racism. Delta Goodrem re-tweeted a photo of a fan in blackface and was criticised for being racist, Mia Freedman defended her and asked us all to save the word racist for something really important, and we had the blackface discussion all over again.
The Socialist Alliance's Sue Bolton and Socialist Alternative's Mick Armstrong addressed a packed public forum on left unity in Melbourne on May 21. Unity discussions have been taking place between the groups since last year. The forum attracted about 140 people, including individuals and observers from other left groups.
The North West Alliance released this statement on May 23. *** A broad range of farmers and community members concerned about the impacts of new mining and coal seam gas proposals across NSW north-west are expressing their support for the Gomeroi native title claimants in their recent stance to halt all mining in the region. The Gomeroi native title claimants are the latest group to publicly oppose coal seam gas in the north-west, joining a range of farmers, town residents, conservationists and church ministers in the battle.
The Tamil Refugee Council released this statement on May 22 *** The decision to release Tamil widow, Manokala, and her six-year-old son, Ragavan, from indefinite detention was a welcome move, and opens up many questions about ASIO’s adverse security assessments, the Tamil Refugee Council said. A spokesperson for the Tamil Refugee Council, Trevor Grant, said the release cast grave doubts about the legitimacy of the secret assessments that have left 55 refugees detained indefinitely, most for between three and four years.
About 100 people attended a rally at the University of Sydney on May 23 to protest the police brutality that has occurred at picket line held at the university earlier this month. Staff at Sydney University are involved in an enterprise bargaining process between the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and the university administration. The university administration is trying to force through changes that would undercut pay and conditions for university staff, including more casualisation and creating teaching-only positions.