Unionists and community activists protested outside the Melbourne headquarters of Australian-based mining company OceanaGold on November 15, in solidarity with the people of El Salvador and the Philippines. The protest took place in support of a tour by an anti-mining activist from El Salvador, Vidalina Morales. A grassroots environmental advocate, Morales has been a leader in her local area in the struggle to oppose mining in El Salvador's Cabañas province since 2006.
About 150 people walked through Perth on November 16 to call for an end to blaming victims of sexual assault, in the city's third annual SlutWalk. Initiated in response to comments made by a Canadian police officer that women should avoid looking like sluts if they don't want to be raped, SlutWalk continues to attract global support.
Supporters of refugees from Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Newcastle converged on Parliament House in Canberra on November 18. About 600 protesters gathered, among them were Hazara and Iranian refugees. The protest coincided with the Labor parliamentary caucus meeting to decide whether to support the Greens move to disallow temporary protection visas.
Imagine if we found out exactly who was systematically destroying the habitability of Earth? If we had their names and addresses? Wouldn't a responsible society make them stop the destruction? Climate researcher and author Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado has done a study which found that just 90 companies — among them Chevron, Exxon, BHP, Rio Tinto and BP — have been responsible for producing two-thirds of all global warming-causing emissions.
The gallery was packed at the Moreland Council meeting on November 13. About 100 residents crowded into the Glenroy Senior Citizens Centre determined to make their concerns felt over several contentious planning issues. First was Amendment C123, which, if passed, will turn parts of Coburg into a mini-CBD with 10-storey buildings permitted, irreparably changing the character of the area, sharply reducing people’s quality of life and removing residents’ right to appeal against proposed developments.
After attending the national day of action on climate change, organised by GetUp on November 17, Sally Rawsthorne wrote in the Guardian that “fringe dwellers” like the Socialist Alliance and the Green Left Weekly participating in the rally “does climate action a disservice”.
The National Tertiary Education Union released this statement on November 21. *** The Minister for Education Christopher Pyne today introduced the Higher Education Support Amendment (Savings and Other Measures) Bill 2013 into parliament, a bill which in the minister’s own words will be damaging to the university sector. The bill slashes more than $900 million from university grants over the next four years and will cost students almost $300 million in lost discounts for early repayment of their HECS debts.
National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members have been on indefinite strike at the Centre for Adult Education (CAE) since November 18, in pursuit of a new agreement with fair pay and conditions. Staff and their union have been trying to negotiate a new agreement since February 2011, and have not had a pay rise since May 2010. Their pay is 20% behind teachers in the TAFE sector, despite the Box Hill TAFE buying the CAE back in 2010.
It's long been a favoured wish of many environmentalists to go off the grid, to be self-sufficient in energy and other services, and avoid the corporate utilities and their coal-powered electricity. The ambition for freedom from energy bills and fossil-fuel electricity is understandable. And now in the age of relatively cheap solar panels (which weren't around in the 1970s), you can live off the grid and use a huge battery attached to a large array of solar PV (photovoltaic) panels, to maintain a hi-tech lifestyle on clean solar energy.
Since capitalism began, socialists have debated how to bring to an end to class divisions and make society more fair and just. Early on, a split developed between those who thought revolution was necessary to overthrow capitalism, and others who thought a socialist society could be created gradually through parliamentary reforms. Some socialist parties started with radical politics but gradually became part of the system and gave up on calling for revolution.
Staff at RMIT University held a 24-hour stopwork for a new Enterprise Agreement on November 20. Organised by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), the strike was called to reject a substandard agreement that offers a 3% pay rise with no improvements to conditions. RMIT management wants to leave many vital entitlements in "policy" rather than the Enterprise Agreement because this gives them the "flexibility" to alter them at their discretion.
At the recent UN climate talks in Poland, poor nations and NGOs singled out the Australian delegation for doing the most to block progress on a new deal to cut carbon emissions.