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Gunns Limited, the Launceston-based company that made a fortune turning Tasmanian forests into woodchips for Japanese papermakers, has had a long relationship with Tasmanian premiers and government ministers. In 1989, the chairman of Gunns, Edmund Ruse, was convicted by a Royal Commission of trying to bribe Labor MP Jim Cox into crossing the floor to allow the pro-logging Liberal Party headed by Robin Gray to assume power.
East Timor has taken Australia to an international court in an effort to take control over large oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea. But this isn't the only time the Timorese have come up against Australia ― which has sought to impose its interests on the former Portuguese colony in recent decades. The Portuguese had a presence in Timor from 1509, trading sandalwood, converting Timorese to Catholicism and fighting against the Dutch for control. In 1859, the Treaty of Lisbon finally stopped the colonial conflict, dividing the island into the Dutch western half and Portuguese east.
The Abbott government has sunk to a new diplomatic low, with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop suggesting Israeli settlements should not be considered illegal. Bishop made the comments during a visit to Israel. In a January 15 interview with the Times of Israel, she argued “the issue of settlements is absolutely and utterly fundamental to the negotiations that are under way and I think it’s appropriate that we give those negotiations every chance of succeeding”.
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. *** The first editorial of Green Left Weekly, urging the Bob Hawke government to not lift sanctions against South Africa until apartheid was completely dismantled, set the anti-racist tone of the paper.
A 40-year-old library assistant, Sally Kuether, was arrested and charged on January 24 under Queensland’s controversial anti-bikie laws. She has been charged under new laws that prohibit more than two alleged bikies from meeting in public. The mother-of-three met her partner Phillip Palmer and friend Ronald Germain at the Dayboro Hotel, north-west of Brisbane, on December 19. The ABC said they were supposedly “wearing club colours” and were “alleged associates of the Life And Death motorcycle club”.
Friends of the Earth released this statement on January 30. *** A research report by environment group Friends of the Earth shows the financial cost to governments and the community in Victoria from natural disasters was $19.9 billion over a 10-year period, from 2003 to 2013.
Unions and community groups have strongly criticised a bill that aims to give Victorian police unprecedented power to disband protests and ban individuals from taking part in protest activity. The Summary Offences and Sentencing Amendment Bill 2013 will increase powers available to police under “move on” laws.
Sydney’s Botany Bay was named by Captain James Cook while he was investigating this “great Southern continent” for the British empire in 1770. His exploration led to the First Fleet’s settlement in the area on January 26, 1788, and the beginning of 226 years of massacres, dispossession and abuse of the land’s first people. So the graffiti discovered along the western shoreline of the bay reading “Fuck Australia Day, no pride in genocide” and on the front of Captain Cook’s heritage cottage in Melbourne labelling January 26 “Australia’s shame” had a symbolic point to their messages.
NSW Mining has sponsored a radio competition on one of Sydney’s top-rated breakfast shows, in which a listener has the chance to win $1 million if they register to be a “miner”. The promotional poster for the competition, which features hosts Amanda Keller and Brendan Jones wearing miners’ hard hats, carries the slogan: “NSW Mining. Good for jobs. Good for Sydney’s economy.” When registering, participants have the option to receive more information from NSW Mining.
Hundreds of residents rallied on January 26 in response to a proposal to build a large residential island between 200 metres and one kilometre off Nightcliff Beach. The proposal, dubbed “Nightcliff Island”, was revealed in Northern Territory parliament in June last year. Approval has only been given for exploration at this point but environmentalists are concerned about the impact on fauna-rich mangroves in the area.

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