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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”.
The right-wing war on renewables is heating up as the Tony Abbott government announces yet another investigation into wind energy and health, and a review of the Renewable Energy Target.
Australian activists have written to Prime Minister Tony Abbott calling on him to recognise East Timor's rights under international law to oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea. The Melbourne-based Timor Sea Justice Campaign is calling on Australia to “enter discussions about the establishment of permanent maritime boundaries in accordance with current international law. In situations such as this, current international law overwhelmingly favors a ‘median line’ solution – a line halfway between the two coastlines.”
On January 28, the NSW government announced coal seam gas (CSG) reforms, including exclusion zones and a gateway process for some of the state's farmland. Under these “finalised” reforms, 96.6% of NSW can still be developed for CSG mining, including drinking water catchments. Stop CSG Illawarra spokesperson Jess Moore stated: "These exclusion zones are a win for the campaign and for the people of NSW, but they are not enough to protect land and water. "The gateway process cannot block CSG proposals. Under these reforms 96.6% of the state can still be developed for CSG mining.
Unions NSW has endorsed a “Stop Abbott: Save Medicare” rally planned for February 15, 1pm, at Town Hall Square. Mark Lennon, secretary of Unions NSW, will speak at the action with representatives of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, and the Health Services Union. Other speakers will include members of the Doctors Reform Society, Aboriginal and pensioner organisations, and political parties. The main rally demands are: no fees for GPs, free and fully funded health care, and no privatisation or cuts.
The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network released this statement on January 30. *** Mothers in Darwin detention centres are growing increasingly despondent as immigration minister Scott Morrison’s cruel suite of policies takes effect. Darwin detention centres are increasingly being used as holding centres for pregnant women who, six weeks after they give birth in Royal Darwin Hospital, are removed back to Christmas Island and the threat of deportation.
So now reporting the news is Un-Australian. This is the line from prime minister and proud Australian Tony Abbott, strongly backed by media owned by proud Australian and American-citizen-for-tax-purposes Rupert Murdoch, whose Daily Telegraph screamed on its January 30 front page, “PM brands ABC un-Australian: THE ABC OF TREACHERY.” The day before, Abbott told Sydney shock jock Ray Hadley: “A lot of people feel at the moment that the ABC instinctively takes everyone's side but Australia's.”
The Communications Workers Union (CWU) has called for Australia Post to expand its services to include banking and insurance. The postal workers' union said this would help strengthen Australia Post as a public enterprise, while challenging the power of the big four banks and improving services in regional and rural areas.
Invasion Day 2014 Mixtape Brisbane Blacks Released January 26, 2014 www.1stnationsmobb.bandcamp.com As countless Australians donned their Cronulla capes and sank slabs of piss this Australia Day, non-profit publication Brisbane Blacks marked the occasion by releasing a free album full of protest songs.

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