The Freedom Flotilla to West Papua departed on August 17, a week after the arrival of its supporters who had travelled in a land convoy from Lake Eyre. Aboriginal elders, West Papuan refugees, filmmakers, musicians and artists will sail the flotilla’s two boats to West Papuan waters, via Cooktown, Thursday Island and Daru, in Papua New Guinea.
The Victorian Blind Workers Union and United Voice Queensland have stepped up the fight to save the jobs of 73 vision-impaired workers. The workers are due to be sacked within three months by Vision Australia Enterprises in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales. Not-for-profit organisation Vision Australia plans to cease its supported employment program due to financial problems.
Margarita Windisch is the Socialist Alliance candidate for the Victorian seat of Wills. This is an edited version of a speech she gave to a rally for equal marriage rights in Melbourne on August 17. *** Oscar Wilde once said that disobedience and rebellion are the original virtues of humanity. It is through disobedience and rebellion that we have achieved real progress. This protest today is an important demonstration of rebellion against an unjust law.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions emailed 90,000 union members on August 21, urging them to “go hard against Abbott” in the last two-and-a-half weeks of the election campaign. They will have to in South Australia if the Newspoll released on the same day is accurate. A breakdown of voting intentions by state showed a 7.2 percentage point swing against Labor in South Australia compared with the 2010 election result.
The Socialist Alliance Senate candidates for New South Wales, Jim McIlroy and Reg Dare, spoke to Green Left Weekly about two of the party’s key platforms in this year’s federal election. McIlroy, 67, is a retired public servant and 15-year workplace delegate for the Community and Public Sector Union. He radicalised during the 1960s anti-Vietnam War campaign, and has been involved in the socialist movement for more than 40 years.
Hundreds of people campaigning against coal seam gas (CSG) mining delivered a petition, signed by more than 13,000 people, to NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell on August 21. The NSW-wide petition, initiated by Stop CSG Illawarra, calls on the government to: "Ban all coal seam gas prospecting and mining in New South Wales drinking water catchment areas". Stop CSG Illawarra spokesperson Jess Moore said at the rally: "We want the land in NSW that supplies our drinking water protected.
Two of the most prominent Fairfax newspapers, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, have updated their mastheads to include the slogan “Independent. Always.” The slogan alone does not make it clear from who or what they are claiming independence. After all, billionaire Gina Rinehart, one of the world’s richest people, is the single biggest shareholder in the company. Fairfax does have what it calls a Charter of Editorial Independence that says: “Editors alone shall determine the daily editorial content of the newspapers.” The editors know not to step out of line.
It is 95% certain that human activity is causing climate change, a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says. The final report has not been released, but a leaked copy of the draft has revealed a stark image of the destructive impact climate change will cause in our lifetimes. -----
About 500 people rallied at City Square against coal seam gas (CSG) extraction in Seaspray on August 17. Many at the rally were cattle farmers in the Gippsland area. Protesters expressed concern that CSG mining would destroy farmland, contaminate water, threaten the health of their rural community and create seismic activity. Some farmers expressed their dilemma over whether to stay and fight the CSG companies, or sell their properties before CSG becomes established in the area.
Brilliant poet Bertolt Brecht once said: “The worst illiterate is the political illiterate, he doesn't hear, doesn't speak, nor participates in political events. He doesn't know the cost of life; the price of the bean, of the fish, of the rent, of the shoes and of the medicine, all depends on political decisions. “The political illiterate is so stupid that he swells his chest saying he hates politics. The imbecile doesn't know that from his political ignorance is born the prostitute, the abandoned child and worst things of all, the bad politician."