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Many residents have been involved in the campaign to stop the East West tunnel in Melbourne, an $8-15 billion tollway project of Denis Napthine’s Coalition government. One resident, Keith Fitzgerald, has lived in Collingwood for 70 years. Fitzgerald told Green Left Weekly his grandparents had come over from Richmond in 1898 and settled in Collingwood. His father was born in Collingwood in 1900. Fitzgerald has lived in the same house for 69 years but has received a letter saying it is likely to be requisitioned,
Controversial private member’s bill “Zoe’s law”, which aims to give legal rights to foetuses, was again set aside in the NSW Legislative Assembly on October 31. Only a few MPs turned up to the third second-reading debate; four spoke against and three spoke for it. Those against were: Andrew McDonald (ALP Macquarie Fields); Leslie Williams (Nationals Port Macquarie); Jamie Parker (Greens Balmain) and John Williams (Nationals Murray Darling).
The stack of new laws rushed through the Queensland parliament in recent weeks have put the Liberal National Party government on a collision course with the judiciary, the legal fraternity, trade unions and civil liberties activists not seen since the days of Joh Bjelke Petersen. These new laws — directed at bikie gangs, G20 protesters, sex offenders and workers compensation — attack basic freedoms of association, the right to protest peacefully, fair sentencing and the right of workers to sue negligent employers.
"We are here today,” Professor Stuart Rees told a media conference at Queens Square on October 30, “to express our outrage that a so-called independent law centre from Israel could attempt to stamp out freedom of speech in Australia.” "We call on the mainstream media to take an objective stand on the issue of Palestinian human rights.” The gathering concerned the move by Shurat HaDin, an Israeli-based law centre, to file a case in the Federal Court against Professor Jake Lynch of the University of Sydney's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.
Selected people in Australia recently received the following invitation from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: “Dear TPP Stakeholders, As part of the Australian Government’s ongoing public consultation process on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiations, the TPP negotiating team will be visiting Sydney on 30 October 2013 to meet with interested members of the public, and business and civil society stakeholders. “The meeting will provide an update on the negotiations and an opportunity for further stakeholder input.”
More people die from air pollution in Australia than the road toll, Greens Senator Richard Di Natale told a public meeting in Melbourne’s inner-west municipality of Maribyrnong on October 23. Di Natale instigated the recent Senate inquiry into the effects of air pollution on human health, which concluded in August. He said there had been a “catastrophic failure in this country to monitor air quality”.
Secondary Students for Refugee Rights (SSFRR) is a group that was founded by Caitlin Woodland and Lucy Dodd, both students at Princes Hill Secondary College, to advocate for refugees’ rights. It formed during the federal election campaign in response to refugees being demonised by politicians during the campaign.
Comedian, Hollywood star and former host of MTV and Big Brother's Big Mouth Russell Brand took on veteran BBC broadcaster Jeremy Paxman in a Newsnight interview subsequently viewed millions of times on YouTube. The journalist, veteran of many bruising encounters with politicians of all stripes, decisively lost.
Tasmanian Aboriginal activist Michael Mansell said he was grateful for the thoughts behind his Australia Day award nomination but that he “would be a hypocrite to accept it”. Mansell has been outspoken about the offensiveness of Australia’s national day celebrating the invasion and dispossession of Australia’s Aboriginal people. He has participated in Invasion Day rallies held by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre for many years.
This statement was released by the Socialist Alliance on October 28 *** The passing of the ACT assembly's bill to allow same-sex marriages on October 22 is a significant win and a step towards full, federal marriage equality. The win is a result of long, hard-fought, grassroots campaigning. The federal government's bid to quash it with a High Court challenge is testimony to its bigotry and hostility to equality. We must defend the bill against the federal government's attack.
The Country Liberal government of the Northern Territory announced on October 26 it was extending a reservation over Darwin’s rural area to “protect rural and rural-residential areas of the Greater Darwin region from oil and gas development”. “Whilst the Country Liberal government is open for business, we know it is not practical to have oil and gas development in the middle of the Greater Darwin Region”, said mines and energy minister Willem Westra van Holthe.
Police on horseback and riot officers violently broke up a student protest in Melbourne on October 30. The demonstration was held to oppose federal government threats to higher education, and was part of a national week of student action, called by the National Union of Students. Just two days before the protest, education minister Christopher Pyne told the ABC’s Q&A the government was investigating the possibility of selling off student HECS debt to private companies.
Despite a Victorian state moratorium since last year barring the use of “fracking” (hydraulic fracturing) to extract gas, communities across the state continue to protest against gas drilling and exploration. Sixty locals protested at a test drilling site in Yarragon in Gippsland, east of Melbourne, on October 19, where Greenpower Natural Gas holds a licence to explore for coal seam gas (CSG). The moratorium on fracking does not prevent exploration works such as drilling and flaring off.
Reclaim The Night has a proud international history as an annual protest of women and their supporters demanding an end to violence against women, and to the sexism and misogyny that underpin it. As shown by a 2012 globally focused study by US political scientists Mala Htun and S. Laurel Weldon, a key factor in reducing violence against women is strong feminist movements.
IED EP Pataphysics Out November 8 www.pataphysics.com Multi-lingual multi-instrumentalist Pat Marks fronts the multi-faceted Melbourne band Pataphysics. As the critically-acclaimed "guerilla hip-hop" outfit prepare to launch their new EP, Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward spoke to Marks about his multifarious pursuits, from refugee rights to juvenile justice. *** You've worked with refugees for a long time. Tell us a little about the work you do.
Several thousands of people marched and rallied in the United States’ capital on October 26 in protest against the mass surveillance of almost all Americans and hundreds of millions of citizens of other countries. The huge Big Brother program, conducted by the US National Security Agency (NSA), has been exposed by Edward Snowdon, considered a hero by those demonstrating. Beginning in May last, Snowden’s trove of revelations keeps coming through releases by Glenn Greenwald in the British Guardian. ’Thank you’

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