991

Finally, Aussie pride is back after a dominant display in a crucial international contest. Sure, our side came in for criticism for aggressive bullying and disrespectful behaviour towards the opposition, but you can't argue with results. True, this was nothing so crucial to the fate of humanity as an Ashes Test. It was merely the United Nations Warsaw climate talks that ended on November 23 with no agreement for rich nations to severely cut the greenhouse emissions fuelling climate change or offer compensation to poor nations bearing the brunt of its increasingly devastating effects.
Twenty-two people from Bourke and Enngonia are about to graduate from the first intake of the Yes I Can adult literacy campaign classes. This new way of learning literacy for adults originated in Cuba and now operates in 28 countries round the world. It came to Bourke and Enngonia after a successful trial last year in Wilcannia. Now it is set to spread further across the region. Jack Beetson, the national campaign coordinator, is overjoyed at the success in Bourke and Enngonia.
The Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA) released this open letter on November 22   *** Next year, on February 14, will be the 10th anniversary of the killing of the young Aboriginal man, TJ Hickey, as a consequence of the pursuit by the then Redfern police. For nine long years, the Hickey family has been campaigning for justice and for the proper legal punishment of those directly responsible for TJ’s death.
Where has the year gone? It feels like 2013 has rushed past like the high-speed train we still don't have in wealthy 21st century Australia. And now, with just a month to go, we have the urgent task of catching up with the Green Left Fighting Fund. Our target for the year is $250,000, but so far only $160,338 has been raised. We will need some generous donations from our supporters to help us get there over the next four weeks.

A new battleground has opened over the introduction of “foetal personhood” laws as the anti-choice lobby tries to use these laws to roll back women’s reproductive rights. A private member’s bill giving legal rights to foetuses older than 20 weeks or weighing more than 400 grams passed the New South Wales lower house on November 21 by a large margin. A similar bill was introduced in the South Australian Legislative Council on November 27 by right-wing Christian party Family First. It lost by one vote. The Western Australian parliament considered a “foetal homicide” law last year.

When Japanese forces occupied French Indochina in 1941, it was not entirely without French opposition. But for the most part it was close to business-as-usual for the French in Vietnam. Japan left the French colonial administration intact, beholden now to Tokyo rather than Paris. It was oppression-as-usual for the Vietnamese, 2 million of whom Japanese forces starved to death in 1944.
Forty people gathered on the steps of South Australia’s Parliament House on November 27 to protest against a new law that would make it an offence to cause serious harm to a pregnant woman. It was defeated by a single vote.   Introduced by Family First MLC Robert Brokenshire, the bill seeks to introduce "foetal personhood”, with penalties as severe as life in prison for causing what is termed in the bill “the death of the unborn child”.
A Queensland Civil Liberties Network was formed on November 27 at a packed meeting at the Electrical Trades Union office in Brisbane. More than 60 people, including officials and activists from a number of trade unions, environmental activists, people involved in organising protests at the G20 meeting next year, members of the Greens, Pirate Party, and the Socialist Alliance, as well as individuals new and experienced in campaigning for civil liberties attended.
The Grattan Institute and the Productivity Commission both released reports on November 22 into the affect an ageing population will have on Australia’s economy. The Grattan Institute proposed that the pension age should be raised to 70, owner-occupiers should not be exempted from the Age Pension asset tests — meaning people could be forced to sell their home when they retire — and GST should be applied to fresh food. The Productivity Commission suggests access to the Age Pension and retirement should be linked to life expectancy — to continue rising as people live longer.

As a mother and her baby fight to avoid the “rat-infested” Nauru refugee camp, a Fairfax-Nielsen poll showed half of Australian voters disapprove of the Coalition government's refugee policy. The poll also showed Prime Minister Tony Abbott has come to the end of what has been described as the shortest “honeymoon period” of a PM in history. Abbott's popularity took an unprecedented dive — with a personal approval rating of 1%, believed to be fuelled by his attitude to the “diplomatic stand-off” with Indonesia over substantial spying allegations.

Peter Boyle interviewed Florencia Melgar, a former SBS journalist about her research into Australia's involvement in the 1973 military coup against the progressive government of Salvador Allende in Chile. Watch the full interview here. ***
Large-scale electoral fraud affected every aspect of the November 24 general elections in the Central American country of Honduras. This has sparked a huge political crisis, which matches and possibly surpasses the crisis produced by the coup d’etat that overthrew president Manuel Zelaya in 2009. The fraud has denied victory to Liberty and Refoundation (LIBRE) party presidential candidate Xiomara Castro, the wife of Zelaya. LIBRE was formed by the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP), which united many sectors that took part in the resistance to the coup.
Tap Tap New Dub City Raspect Records November 18, 2013 www.newdubcity.com Melbourne dub-rap-reggae collective New Dub City have just released their politically punchy and sonically spotless second album, Tap Tap. Frontman, producer and author Ali MC spoke to Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward. ***

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