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I am clearly a pretty tough guy. I mean I must be, seeing as I've been going out and getting drunk quite frequently in Sydney for years now and have never once been assaulted. True, I don't exactly “work out”, and I look more like a deflated beanbag than a Mr Universe contender, but as anyone who reads the Daily Telegraph will tell you, the city is in the grip of an out-of-control tidal wave of drunken violence.
The Manila Seedling Bank, a seven hectare area of small market gardens and big and small shops selling plants, was a rare green space among the traffic jams, shopping malls and slums on the intersection of Quezon and Edsa Avenues in Quezon City, Metro Manila. It was also home to a community of hundreds of smallholding horticulturalists and their families. That was until January 20.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett's unpopular shark cull policy is facing legal and political hurdles as activists plan protest actions for February 1. On January 22, the media reported that an unidentified fisher had been contracted to administer the baitlines along the south-west coast of WA, even though he admitted to have “practically no experience as a shark fisher”. He had a “direct line” to police should his activities be interfered with, he said.
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.
Having leaked the disturbing details in the chapter on intelectual property rights in the secret proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) last year, WikiLeaks released the TPP's environment chapter on January 15.
As Green Left Weekly approaches its 1000th issue, more than 20 years after it first hit the streets, we will be looking back at some of the campaigns it has covered and its role as an alternative source of news. *** When Green Left Weekly was launched in 1991, it was conceived as a way to bridge the gap between ecological and socialist politics. At the time, environmental politics had emerged as an important new force, which was not always taken seriously by the existing left.
Tamil people and their supporters rallied on January 20 against the detention of 46 refugees who have been held for years even though they have been recognised by the Australian government as genuine refugees. Most of these refugees are Tamils from Sri Lanka. They are being held because they have negative security assessments by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). Negative ASIO decisions have, in effect, condemned these refugees to a life sentence.