Email your message of support to: firstname.lastname@example.org * * * Jock Palfreeman, Justice for Jock Our relationship started out in 2002 when I was only 15. In Parramatta we met for the first time and I didn’t know what to make of you at first. I was shy but our relationship flourished and you became more than just a newspaper to me. You taught me more than just the weekly news.
Many people gasped when they read that an Oxfam study found that the richest 85 people in the world own the same wealth as the poorest half of the global population. It is shocking and unconscionable. It is grossly unfair and unjust. But it is much more than this. This unimaginable concentration of wealth condemns the liveability of the planet and makes permanent war inescapable – for how else but through ruthless violence can this wealth and power of the privileged few be maintained?
About 300 West African refugees reached the German city of Hamburg early last year after a long and perilous journey from Libya. They had, like countless other refugees travelling from north Africa, crossed the Mediterranean to the Italian island of Lampedusa the name that the group of 300 later adopted for themselves. The refugees had hoped to receive refugee status from the German state. However, authorities, deferring to European Union guidelines, refused to provide them with any sort of accommodation and tried to expel them from Hamburg.
January 26 is officially celebrated as Australia Day, but for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (and anyone who values the truth) it is known as Invasion Day or Survival Day. This is the day when British colonial authorities arrogantly laid claim to this continent, opening an era of brutal dispossession, genocide and racism.
The Venezuelan government plans to continue its land expropriations this year in its push to move towards what it terms “agrarian socialism”. In the 2014 national budget, the government’s National Land Institute (INTI) sets its aim to expropriate 350,000 hectares of land this year. This compares with the goals of 350,000 and 397,000 hectares of land the government sought to expropriate in 2012 and last year respectively. The government began to increase the pace of land expropriations in 2011.
Communes and social movements have demanded the Venezuelan government combat the assassination of rural activists in the mountains of western Venezuela, which they say is undermining communal organising in the region. The assassinations are taking place in the mountains of the western state of Lara. In response to the latest murder of an activist in the region, a group of 21 communes and more than 20 social movements, human rights groups and community media outlets released a statement on January 18 denouncing the situation of growing insecurity in the area.
A wave of protests has broken out in recent months against militias in Libya’s cities. The militias are armed groups originally formed during the 2011 civil war. Most are based in a particular town or region, but they sometimes try to exercise power over a wider area. There is widespread resentment at their arbitrary exercise of power. One protester told the Libya Herald that the militias “terrorise, steal and kidnap people”.
When the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) found that former union official, John Maitland, and former NSW ALP minister for primary industries, Ian Macdonald, had engaged in corrupt conduct over the granting of a coal exploration licence at Doyles Creek, they said the licence was tainted by corruption and should be declared void.
The Socialist Alliance is running two candidates in the Tasmanian state election on March 15. Whether Labor or the Liberals form government after March 15, Tasmanians can expect to see “prioritising of big business over the interests of the general public and the continuing privatising of essential public services,” Jenny Forward, the Socialist Alliance's candidate for the electorate of Franklin, told Green Left Weekly.
Australian Services Union leader Sally McManus has compiled a list of 85 broken promises or other attacks on Australians by the Abbott government since the federal election. Prominent on the list are attacks on refugee rights, workers' rights, public services and the environment. They include: abolition of the Climate Commission, abolition of the High Speed Rail Advisory Group and formal attempts to wind back the world heritage listing of Tasmania's forests.
The one thing that we can expect with some confidence this year is an increase in unemployment. An analysis of Australian employment statistics for 2013 shows that jobs growth was at its lowest level for more than 20 years. Last year, unemployment increased by more than 5000 people a month. In the month of December, the economy lost 23,000 jobs, making last year the weakest calendar year of jobs growth since 1992. The number of officially unemployed increased by more than 9% to 722,000.
Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings sacked Greens ministers Nick McKim and Cassie O’Connor from cabinet on January 15 — the same day that she announced a state election would be held in March. The Greens have shared power with Labor since a minority government was elected in 2010. But the deal has proven unpopular with Labor voters and Giddings has ruled out a power-sharing deal with the Greens in future.
A private member’s bill was successfully passed on November 21 last year to remove abortion from Tasmania’s criminal code. Tasmania has joined the ACT and Victoria in decriminalising abortion. Until then, the criminal code set out the limitations of when an abortion is not lawful and when and how it can be lawfully obtained. Mandatory counselling was also imposed on women. These limitations were so restrictive that abortion access was minimal and women and doctors faced the real or perceived threat of criminal charges being laid against them.
In recent weeks, federal education minister Christopher Pyne announced a review of the national curriculum. The key purpose of Pyne’s review is to divert attention from the much-needed Gonski funding. Pyne believes that the widening gap in the educational performance of students from low socio-economic backgrounds is due to a low-grade politically correct national curriculum foisted upon them by the “cultural left”.
It has been a long and horrifying two months for refugees and asylum seekers seeking protection in Australia. Many new directives, plans and an increasingly brutal border control regime have led to a mounting crisis that legal experts are increasingly referring to as criminal. Here are five ways the government have made the treatment of asylum seekers worse. CLOSING DETENTION CENTRES IN AUSTRALIA TO EXPAND OFFSHORE
Five hundred ambulance workers rallied outside the Doncaster Ambulance Station in Victoria on January 22. Led by Ambulance Employees Australia (AEA), workers have been fighting for pay equity with ambulance workers in other Australian states and to protect their conditions for 18 months. The rally began with spirited chants, such as “won’t surrender, won’t back down, paramedics stand their ground.” Many car drivers passing the rally blew their horns in support.