977

The United States has led the world in deregulation of the financial sector, the economy and social services on the basis of “the market rules”. This facilitated the great financial crisis from 2007 onwards with devastating impacts on the welfare of the majority of citizens globally. Yet when it comes to US women’s right to control their own fertility, just the reverse has taken place. Increasing regulation has become the norm undermining the reality of individual choice.
Several hundred people gathered in Greeves Street, St Kilda, on August 8 for a candlelit vigil for local street sex worker Tracy Connelly, who was murdered in the street on July 21. The vigil was a chance for her family, friends and, importantly, her community to honour her as well as protest against violence against women. The vigil was held outside the St Kilda Gatehouse, a drop-in centre and community resource for street sex workers. 
The ancient Athenian democracy that emerged in the 6th century BC is often cited as a model for more modern democracies. In some ways, it had some features that were superior to the once-in-three-year vote we get in the parliamentary democracy we have in Australia today. It was based on regular assemblies where the citizens exercised direct, rather than just representative, democracy. But ancient Athenian democracy was democracy only for slave-owners. The majority of the population were slaves, and they, along with women and foreign residents, were excluded.
Zane Alcorn, Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Newcastle, scored equal top in a survey of candidates on environmental issues. The Hunter Central Rivers Alliance conducted a survey of 17 questions designed to compare the different parties policies on coal and coal seam gas and related issues. The Hunter Central Rivers Alliance campaigns for “an alternative vision for the Hunter, where sustainable industries, historic communities, and public health are more valuable than the boom — bust cycle of coal industry profits.”
Tony Abbott has promised a 1.5% cut in the company tax rate if the Liberal-National Coalition wins the September 7 election. It will cost about $2.5 billion a year and it is exactly the opposite of what Australian society needs. Big business needs to pay more, not less, tax.
A protest to defend welfare rights and public housing was held in Coburg on August 3. The rally called for a rise in all welfare payments to a liveable income, the restoration of the sole parents pension, an end to welfare quarantining and public housing for all who need it. Moreland city councillor and Socialist Alliance member Sue Bolton told the rally: "The single parent payment is important because it allows women to leave violent relationships and gives parents the right to decide  to be at home with their children."
About 40 people gathered in Wollongong on August 6 to commemorate the 68th Hiroshima Day. The day marks the anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima by the United States in 1945. The bomb caused tremendous devastation and instantly killed between 70,000-80,000 people. By the year’s end the bomb had claimed 140,000 lives.
A great part of being a candidate for the federal elections is that people want to talk to you. They want to tell you what’s happening in their lives and they want to let you know their opinion on lots of different issues. Recently I was invited to address an Electrical Trades Union branch meeting in Geelong, Victoria. After I’d had my say, some members told me they agreed with me.
The critical moment in the political trial of the century was on February 28 when Bradley Manning stood and explained why he had risked his life to leak tens of thousands of official files to WikiLeaks. It was a statement of morality, conscience and truth: the very qualities that distinguish human beings. This was not deemed mainstream news in the United States; and were it not for Alexa O'Brien, an independent freelance journalist, Manning's voice would have been silenced.
Campaign group Save the Tarkine has condemned federal environment minister Mark Butler’s July 31 decision to approve an iron ore mine in the Tarkine wilderness in Tasmania’s northwest, saying it could guarantee the extinction of the Tasmanian devil. The Tarkine is home to more than 60 rare and endangered animal and plant species. It is also home to the last remaining disease-free population of the Tasmanian devil. Since 2008, the devil has been listed as an endangered species.

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