About 140 people attended Manningham City Council’s forum on February 20 to hear speakers discuss the case for a railway line to Doncaster, Victoria. Doncaster Rail has been promised since the late 1890s and Manningham City, comprising 10 suburbs and only 12 kilometres from the CBD, is the only Melbourne municipality without a railway line even though it is a rapidly growing area. At the 2011 Census, Manningham had a population of 111,300.
Throughout March, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will be reviewing the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, among other countries, at it meeting in Geneva. At last year’s session, the UNHRC passed a resolution calling on the Sri Lankan government to “conduct an independent and credible investigation into allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law”.
A byelection was held in the Queensland state seat of Redcliffe on February 22, following the resignation of the sitting Liberal National Party member, Scott Driscoll, over fraud allegations. The result was a 17% swing to Labor, and the election of the Labor candidate Yvette D’Ath. The Greens were also hurt by this swing; they failed to reach the 4% threshold to get electoral funding.
Well the fun just never stops, does it, when it comes to the Abbott government’s asylum seeker policies, or as they call it, “border protection”. Because when it comes to needing protection, fleeing war, torture and genocide is one thing, but won’t someone think of all the poor, downtrodden borders? How many more times must our vulnerable borders be subject to assaults by desperate people using their international right under a convention Australia has signed to sail right over them in their boats without so much as a “Sorry Australian maritime borders! Didn’t see you there!”
A historic motion for Ballarat was put forth to affirm support for a “No to Homophobia” campaign at a City of Ballarat council meeting on Febraury 12. The motion was carried unanimously. Greens councillor Belinda Coates put the motion. She said after the meeting: “It was fantastic to get unanimous support for this motion to affirm support for the 'No to Homophobia' campaign and their 'Promise' campaign.
Members of the Socialist Alliance have taken part in O-week stalls, which is not only resulting in a boost for Green Left Weekly sales and subscriptions in the lead up to its 1000th issue, but also a boost for the Socialist Alliance and Resistance.
“You don't want a wimp running border protection,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on February 21. “You want someone who is strong, who is decent, and Scott Morrison is both strong and decent.” Abbott was defending immigration minister Scott Morrison for his actions and comments after a young asylum seeker was killed in the Manus Island detention centre on February 16.
Victorian Premier Denis Napthine is living up to his new nickname, “Naptime”, as the Hazelwood coalmine fire continues its terrible impact on the town of Morwell in the Latrobe Valley. The edge of the town is only a few hundred metres from where the fire has been burning since February 9. The plume of toxic smoke and ash from the fire has been blanketing the town.
Qantas is just the latest big company to announce it is about to destroy thousands of jobs. CEO Alan Joyce says jobs have to go to save the company’s profit line. We've heard the same sob story from Ford, Holden, Coca-Cola, Toyota and Alcoa all over a relative short period of time. Can we really believe these corporations, with their “creative” accounting and webs of subsidiaries and business partners? All these companies have received large amounts of public subsidies and Qantas, privatised two decades ago, was built with public funds.
At quarter to six on the morning of February 6, in a wood on the Moroccan side of the border with the Spanish north African enclave Ceuta, about 300 asylum seekers met to try to cross the six-metre high razor-wire fence seperating the two countries.