975

Sam Wainwright

Sam Wainwright gave this speech at a refugee rights rally in Perth on July 20. *** A statement by famous British Labour MP and socialist Tony Benn said: “The way a government treats refugees is very instructive because it shows you how they would treat the rest of us if they thought they could get away with it.”

Since it was founded in 1948, the Israeli state has neglected the rights of Palestinian children, who have been deliberately ill-treated. Many Palestinian children have been killed, injured, jailed, tortured or used as human shields by Israel.
There was standing room only at the Collingwood Health Centre as about 200 people met on July 20 to oppose the East-West tunnel and tollway. The road plan threatens to demolish homes, spew fumes onto a primary school and childcare centre, and destroy wetlands and parks in Melbourne’s west. Yarra councillor and Socialist Party member Stephen Jolly said the campaign was not a lost cause, but a long-term fight. He urged people to look at the legal and political options, as well as mass actions and pickets if work went ahead on the project.
Doug Lorimer, a life-long committed revolutionary, died on July 21 in Sydney after a year of fighting deteriorating ill health and long term hospitalisation. Lorimer was born April 17, 1953 in Dundee in Scotland and migrated to Australia with his parents Connie and Bill when he was four years old to settle in the South Australian steel town of Whyalla. Lorimer radicalised as a high school student. He first became involved in left politics through the Australian movement against the imperialist war in Vietnam, when he and his mother joined the moratorium marches in Adelaide in 1970.
The Beyond Nuclear Initiative and Uranium Free NSW released this statement on July 25. *** On July 25 and 26, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering held a conference in Sydney titled “Nuclear Energy for Australia?” The conference might be framed as a question but the answer is predictable given that the majority of keynote speakers were from organisations in favour of developing a nuclear power industry in Australia, including industry representative bodies and pro-nuclear think tanks.
The so-called riot that burned down much of the Nauru detention camp began as a peaceful protest by refugees wanting their asylum processing to begin. The July 19 protests by almost all of the 500 men held in the compound “was not borne out of malice,” the Salvation Army said in a statement on July 23. “It was a build up of pressure and anxiety over 10 months of degrading treatment, and a planned peaceful protest that degenerated. It was a reaction to a refugee processing system that is devoid of logic and fairness.”
The WikiLeaks Party formally announced its Senate candidates on July 25. Three candidates will be standing for the Senate in Victoria, including WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, author and Monash University gender studies lecturer Leslie Cannold, and RMIT law lecturer Binoy Kampmark. Two candidates will stand in the Senate in NSW — human rights lawyer Kellie Tranter and former diplomat Alison Broinowski. Another two candidates, refugee activist Gerry Georgatos and president of the National Ethnic Disability Alliance Suresh Rajan, will run for the Senate in Western Australia.
James Packer’s $1.4 billion Crown Casino development at Barangaroo on Sydney Harbour was approved by the NSW government on July 5. The high-rollers’ casino will reach 70 storeys, with 350 six-star rooms and 80 luxury apartments. It will be designed to attract the so-called whales of the gambling world.
In their relentless race to the bottom on refugee policy, the two big parties in Australia try their best to focus the public's attention on a so-called battle to stop the “people smugglers”. This is supposed to justify the policy of indefinitely detaining, torturing and expelling the few thousand desperate refugees who try to get to Australia on leaky boats from Indonesia. But what about targeting the real criminals, the refugee makers?
The following motion was passed by Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) executive council on July 26. *** “The VTHC believes refugees should not be punished for fleeing war and persecution to seek asylum. This is a right granted to all people under Australian and international law. “There are over 10 million refugees in the world. “Last year, Australia granted 13,759 humanitarian visas. This is less than 0.2% of the world’s refugees. Australia ranks 12th in the world by GDP, yet we rank 71st in taking refugees by GDP. By any measure, we do not do our fair share.
Anyone with even superficial experience with how aged people are treated would be disgusted and outraged by the standards of most nursing homes, a result of neoliberal policies in Australia. An investigation by ABC TV’s Lateline on July 15 found many elderly people living in aged care facilities are grossly neglected. Advocacy groups have called it “a national human rights emergency”. The issue typically gets mentioned in the media only when a spectacle is involved, like a fire in a nursing home that costs lives.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr said recently that the rising number of Iranian asylum seekers coming to Australia are “economic migrants”. The overall rate of asylum seekers has increased this year and Iranians have become the largest group of people arriving by boat, making up about one third of the total.