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Aboriginal traditional owners and the Protect Arnhem Land community campaign, based in the town of Maningrida, Northern Territory, are seeking the assistance of environment groups and Indigenous networks in Sydney to help raise awareness of the threat to Arnhem Land from oil and gas exploration. Five traditional owners are travelling from Maningrida to Sydney in mid-July and are holding a public protest in Martin Place outside the offices of exploration company Paltar Petroleum.
Environment Victoria released this statement on July 13. *** Environment Victoria has described news that the owners of Yallourn power station are seeking payment for closure as a desperate measure that is unlikely to succeed.
The Nyoongar Tent Embassy has rejected an updated offer by the state government to extinguish native title, reiterating that recognition of Aboriginal sovereignty is the goal of their campaign. The South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) and the state government had negotiated a $1 billion package. Premier Colin Barnett upped the offer to a $1.3 billion package on July 5.
In a massive win for people power, the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) disapproved a project for 16 coal seam gas (CSG) wells in the Illawarra in and around drinking water catchments for greater Sydney. Stop CSG Illawarra spokesperson Jess Moore said: “This is huge win for the campaign to stop CSG and protect our water. "It is the result of the extraordinary and tireless efforts of so many in the Illawarra community. It is the result of a powerful community campaign that has brought people together to stand up for what's right.”
John Shipton, a founder of one Australia's newest political parties, the WikiLeaks Party, will be the keynote speaker at Green Left Weekly's annual dinner in Sydney on July 27. Pip Hinman, a spokesperson for Green Left Weekly, said: "As the world watches to see if Edward Snowden manages to leave Moscow's airport to claim asylum in Venezuela, or another Latin American country, it is clear that there is widespread alarm at the news he's broken about the extent of the US spying ability.
The Socialist Alliance released this statement on July 12. *** The Socialist Alliance recognises and welcomes the June 30-July 3, 2013, popular mobilisations of the Egyptian people, led by youth, for democracy, human rights and social and economic justice that brought down the regime of President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The United States Supreme Court ruled on June 13 that human genes cannot be patented. This surprise decision is a victory for women who need genetic testing to detect whether they carry a genetic mutation that increases the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers. But the ruling has much broader implications. It puts in jeopardy thousands of patents already granted on human genes over the past 30 years.
The Refugee Action Coalition released this statement on July 9 in response to immigration minister Tony Burke's announcement that he would delay processing of asylum seekers who don't have their “documents”. *** Refugee groups have accused the Immigration Minister, Tony Burke, of playing politics with asylum seeker policy. Ian Rintoul, from the Refugee Action Coalition said: “Tony Burke is singing the same misleading song as the Liberals. He needs to drop the ‘me too’ rhetoric if he wants to be taken seriously.
The refugee “debate” in Australian media and politics is rarely concerned about facts or evidence. Tony Abbott can call refugees “illegal” and be quoted uncritically in the news. Bob Carr can name himself a “humanitarian” in national media and keep a straight face. Headlines like “Swamped by boatpeople” are so common that the public eye just glazes over and accepts it as the truth.
Thirty people attended a public meeting on July 3 to discuss the issue of temporary migration. Organised by Australia Asia Worker Links (AAWL), the meeting was called in response to the debate around 457 visas, which allow employers to bring overseas workers to Australia on a temporary basis.
Experts say a statewide ban on synthetic drugs could create a black market for the resale of the substances. New South Wales Fair Trading has failed to provide an industry buy-back scheme, or propose a means of safely and legally disposing of the products for the tobacconists, service stations and adult shops which stock the drugs. Last month the death of 17-year-old student Henry Kwan, who plunged from his parents' balcony in Kilarra in Sydney after taking a synthetic substitute for LSD which led him to believe he could fly, ignited fears over the safety of the substances.
Bulgarians voted for a new parliament on May 9, two months ahead of schedule. It came after mass protests against poverty and economic disadvantage forced the centre-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) government to resign. The elections, however, reflected a polarised political landscape and one devoid of left forces. GERB received most votes with 30.71% (97 seats). The second-largest party, the Bulgarian Socialist Party won 27.02% (84 seats). The 2005-09 BSP government was marked by neoliberal policies and corruption scandals.