Issue 1019

Australia

The fight continues for two Woodville high school students who were taken from their community to a detention centre in Darwin in June.

On June 26, two young asylum seekers came home from their school and were approached moments later by the immigration department and taken to a closed detention centre in Darwin. Since then, fifteen other asylum seekers have fled from the community out of fear.

The Sydney University Students Representative Council passed the following motion on August 6.

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Palestine Solidarity motion

1. The Sydney University Students' Representative Council reaffirms its commitment to stand against racism, oppression, colonialism, and genocide;

On the recommendation of Shamikh Badra from the Palestinian People's Party in Gaza, the Socialist Alliance in Australia is launching a special appeal for funds to help the Palestinian people recover from Israel's latest genocidal war.

All funds collected will be divided between Inma’a Association and the Palestinian Agricultural and Development Association (PARC).

Representatives from Irish republican party Sinn Fein are touring Australia from August 30 to September 7, speaking at public meetings in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

This year, Sinn Fein has emerged as the largest all-Ireland party on the basis of opposition to brutal austerity measures. In recent weeks, Sinn Fein has increased its solidarity with Palestine, inside and outside parliament, including demands Ireland expel Israel’s ambassador and for an arms embargo on Israel.

"Is that the truth, or did you read it in the Murdoch press?" is a well-known slogan in social media these days. Public confidence in the mainstream media generally is at an all-time low.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop have been reborn as international statespeople over the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine, if you can believe the coverage in the Australian mainstream media.

Only in Green Left Weekly will you read the truth that the government have been exploiting the tragedy to deflect attention from an unpopular budget.

About 200 people attended a forum at the Wesley Centre in Geelong on July 30 to hear speakers from the community and the Labor Party discuss the federal government’s asylum seeker policy.

Speakers included federal member for Corio and opposition spokesperson on immigration Richard Marles, alongside representatives from the Combined Refugee Action Group (CRAG) and Labor For Refugees.

This was a speech given to the rally for Palestine in Melbourne on July 26.

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Over the past few weeks we have seen two major horrific events. Firstly Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 shot down over the Ukraine and 298 innocent people were killed.

This horrific event has been thoroughly condemned by many world leaders. Many of the Western world leaders have called for retribution against the Russian separatists and for retribution against Russia.

Many Western leaders want embargoes against Russia some from the US Senate and Congress even want war with Russia.

Lock the Gate released this statement on July 29.

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A group of 20 residents living near the proposed Santos Narrabri Gas Project in northwest NSW have returned home in a state of shock after a tour of coal seam gas developments in Queensland.

The group took a flight over extensive gasfields south of Chinchilla, spent six hours driving through Santos' “Fairview” gasfields northeast of Roma and have returned determined to prevent a similar invasion in northwest NSW.

The campaign to save the homes of public housing tenants at the historic inner city suburb of Millers Point is growing.

The NSW Coalition government is pressing ahead with its plan to sell nearly 300 public housing residences, in the face of determined opposition from the community and supporters.

The government has successfully pressured some residents to relocate to other public housing areas, but many of the Millers Point tenants are holding firm and refusing to move.

The Students for Women Only Services Group held a vigil in Sydney on July 24 to protest against the recent decision to defund specialist women’s and children’s refuge centres in NSW.

The vigil was attended by about 300 people. Speakers included Asian Australian Alliance convener Daphne Lowe Kelley, United Muslim Women Association CEO Maha Abdo, NSW Greens MLC Mehreen Faruqi and Labor MLC Sophie Cotsis.

These two resolutions were passed on July 25.

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Australian Education Union

The Australian Education Union (AEU) Victoria Branch condemns Israel’s latest horrific assault on the people of Palestine, which has resulted in over 750 deaths in the past three weeks – the overwhelming majority of the dead being civilians, and many of them children.

The AEU supports the peaceful community protests called in solidarity with the people of Palestine, to be held on August 1 at 5pm, outside the State Library in Swanston Street, Melbourne.

World

Ecuador has announced the opening of an embassy in the occupied territories, joining 40 other nations with diplomatic missions in Palestine.

The Ecuadorian government has also called for an end to the slaughter in Gaza.

The Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño tweeted on Monday that "Palestine lives in tragic moments: the moral obligation of the world is to end the slaughter in Gaza and to promote a lasting peace with justice," as well as announcing the opening of the embassy.

Twenty-one people were arrested last month while engaging in peaceful civil disobedience in protest against a proposed tar sands mine in north-eastern Utah. This would threaten local land and water, as well as contribute to the global climate crisis.

As they await charges, US environmental groups expressed solidarity with the protesters who stood for freedom from dirty fossil fuels and devastating climate impacts.

Remember all those articles that claimed global warming has stopped? Here’s proof that those were anti-scientific fantasies.
On July 21, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that last month’s average global temperature was 16.2°C, which is 0.7°C higher than the 20th-century average.

Heat records were broken on every continent apart from Antarctica. The rises were especially notable in New Zealand, northern South America, Greenland, central Africa and southern Asia.

Jobbik, a far-right ultra-nationalist racist party established in 2007, made significant electoral gains in the Hungarian elections, garnering just over 20% of the national vote in the April poll.

Under Hungary’s system of proportional representation, this result (up 5% from last showing) makes Jobbik Hungary’s second-strongest party. This assures it a significant agenda-setting presence in an already right-wing dominated parliament.

"While a 22-23 July Gallup poll found that a slight majority of Americans believe that Israel's latest assault on Gaza is justified," Middle East Monitor noted on August 3, "amongst those under the age of 30, more than twice as many Americans say that Israel's aggression in Gaza is unjustified (51 per cent) than those who say it is justified (25 per

Latin American television TeleSUR has launched an English-language website to provide a global, English-speaking audience with a “Latin American perspective” on world events, IBT.com reported on July 29.

Based in Caracas, TeleSUR is sponsored by the governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Cuba, Nicaragua, Argentina and Uruguay.

Below is an extract of a public letter by Hilla Dayan and PW Zuidhof, an Israeli-Dutch couple visiting Tel Aviv with their children. The full letter was published on the Jewish Voice for Peace website on July 31. It details the atmosphere of intimidation, hatred and hysteria inside Israel during its military offensive on Gaza.

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With Israel’s assault on Gaza claiming more than 1400 lives as of August 1, mostly civilians, Israeli leaders claim the offensive is self defence against Hamas, the party governing Gaza, in response to rockets fired at Israel.

However, it is hard to ignore the many genocidal incitements coming out of the mouths of Israeli politicians and other commentators.

The most recent infamous case was an August 1 op-ed published at widley-read website The Times of Israel by Yochanan Gordon entitled "When Genodice is Permissible".

There had been “constant and heavy shelling” by the Ukraine army, Susan Ormiston of CBC News reported from Donetsk on July 28, during the past two days on the towns and villages in the Donetsk region surrounding the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

The site was turned over to international investigators four days ago by Donetsk self-defence fighters, but the investigators have not been able to access it due to military operations by the Ukraine army. Donetsk fighters say the army controls the area surrounding the site. There are no observers present.

The Party of the European Left is a continent-wide amalgamation of far-left, radical and socialist political parties and groups. It includes the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) in Greece, Die Linke in Germany, the United Left in Spain, the Left Front in France and many others.

When Evo Morales was elected president of Bolivia in 2005, he promised to “govern by obeying the people”.

The recent approval by the Plurinational Assembly of laws dealing with mining and children’s rights are two examples of the challenges and benefits of this radical approach to governing.

Breaking with the idea that legislating should be confined to parliament, the Bolivian government has made repeated efforts to involve broad sections of society in rewriting laws.

Joko Widodo, or “Jokowi” as he is popularly known, was confirmed by Indonesia’s electoral commission on July 22 as the winner of the presidential elections.

Jokowi defeated, sacked Suharto-era general Prabowo Subianto, by 57% to 43% of the nearly 130 million direct votes cast on July 9. Prabowo has sought to challenge the result.

However, supporters of Jokowi, whose campaign aroused enthusiasm among ordinary people hoping for change from elite-dominated politics, are intent on defending what they see as a chance for significantly more democratic reform.

“This is not a war. It is genocide,” reads a popular slogan on homemade signs at protests against Israel’s current attack on the Gaza Strip. 

The body count is enough to illustrate the one-sidedness of the violence. For the first nine days of their assault, Israeli forces pounded the besieged territory from the land, sea and air, but did not send forces in. About 250 people were killed in these nine days. Only one was Israeli.

El Salvador joined four other Latin American countries in recalling its ambassador from Tel Aviv in protest against Israel’s bloody attack on the Gaza Strip, International Business Times said on July 30.

Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Peru have all recalled their diplomatic representatives to Israel.

The Pentagon announced its approval on July 30 for unlocking a huge stockpile of ammunitions for use by the Israeli Defense Forces. It came as the IDF continued to pummel civilians inside the Gaza Strip, as the death toll neared 1400 people — a majority of whom are civilians, including almost 300 children.

Analysis

It is now two and a half months since budget night. Remember Treasurer Joe Hockey and Mathias Corman smoking cigars, satisfied and smug after doing a job on Australian workers, pensioners and the poor?

The government got a free pass when the Appropriation Bills were waved through by the ALP and the Greens, despite calls to block the budget from within the Greens and strong public sentiment expressed at the March in May rallies. Only independent MP Andrew Wilkie and Palmer United Party (PUP) MP Clive Palmer were prepared to vote against the bills.

Warren Mundine, head of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's hand-picked Indigenous Advisory Council, has waged war against environmental groups in recent opinion pieces in the Fairfax and Murdoch media.

The Tony Abbott government's "asset recycling" bill — in effect an incentive for the privatisation of public property by state governments — has been stalled in the Senate.

Amendments moved by the Greens and the ALP were declared unacceptable by the government so parliament went into the winter recess before the bill was voted on.

This article is based on a speech given by comedian and actor Nazeem Hussain, from Fear of a Brown Planet and SBS's Legally Brown, to a rally for Palestine in Melbourne on July 26.

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Indigenous people of Australia will no doubt relate far too well to Palestinians, for they are also a people whose country was stolen from them when the British invaded and created the idea of “Australia” on their country.

Amid asylum seeker polices that grow crueller and more surreal by the day, plans to turn the unemployed into virtual slaves and Christopher Pyne let loose on education, there is, without a doubt, one big question in Australian politics in 2014.

And that is: What drugs is Clive Palmer on?

And where can we get some? ‘Coz that bloke is clearly off his chops. You never know what the hell he’ll pull next, which makes me worry about what will happen when he finally comes down. Some poor aide is going to have to explain what he got up to.

Immigration minister Scott Morrison has spun many lies in his role as “border protector”. They have come hard and fast as the government tries to deal with the 157 Tamil refugees kept at sea aboard a Customs ship for weeks.

Below are the four biggest lies that have underpinned this case and the Coalition's entire anti-refugee policy.

WHY THE BOAT WAS BROUGHT TO THE MAINLAND

Morrison said on July 26 the 157 people would be brought to Curtin detention centre in remote north-west Western Australia so identity checks could be carried out by Indian officials.

The Greens have faced criticism for their position on Israel’s war on Palestine.

At a Palestine rally in Melbourne on July 26, Victorian Greens Senator Janet Rice was booed for calling for an arms embargo on both Israel and Palestine. At a Palestine rally in Brisbane on the same day, Greens candidate Jake Schoermer had a shoe thrown at him for condemning violence on both sides, New Matilda reported.

Before the 2007 federal election, former Labor minister and ex-party president Barry Jones made a striking analogy between the ALP’s factionalism and its predilection for selling public assets. He said: “The ALP has been privatised and factions are majority and minority stakeholders, run by professional managers, some now in the third generation.”

Less than 18 months later, Queensland Labor Premier Anna Bligh won a state election on a platform that made no mention of privatisation.

The National Tertiary Education Union released this statement on July 31.

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The University of Sydney is in the midst of a major cutback to campus library services, with plans to remove collections from four libraries: Medical, Dentistry, Badham and Camden, restrict access to libraries for undergraduates and outsource technical services. Sixty percent of employees face redundancy.

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) said the changes will result in a serious degradation to the university’s ability to meet the library needs of its students and researchers.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) gave approval to a uranium mine at Kintyre in Western Australia on July 28. The mine is about 260 kilometres north-east of Newman in the east Pilbara in an area that was excised from the Karlamilyi (Rudall River) National Park to allow mining in 1994.

Because it is illegal to export uranium from WA, trucks carrying the uranium oxide concentrate — otherwise known as yellowcake — will have to travel 4600 kilometres from the Kintyre mine to Port Adelaide.

Three quarters of Victorians believe improvements in public transport are more important than the construction of the East West Link.

Although its stated aim is to ease congestion, in particular on one of Melbourne’s most congested roads, a government report revealed late last year that it would actually attract more cars and trucks and consequently increase traffic.

Culture

Despite Israel’s relentless aerial bombardments, shelling and ground attacks since July 7, Palestinian writers in Gaza have responded to the latest onslaught by doing what they know — writing.
Ra Page, director of Manchester-based Comma Press, which recently published a collection of short stories from writers in Gaza, says “all of the Book of Gaza contributors are writing away like crazy, whilst they have power”.

’Boycott Israel'
By Immortal Technique, Don Martin, Tumi, Eltipo Este & Tonto Noiza
Free download
www.donmartin.no/boycott-israel

The ongoing slaughter in Gaza has brought a great many artists, musicians and celebrities out in support of Palestine.

This is nothing new. In fact, every major Israeli offensive seems to grow the number of artists willing to speak up and stand against the crimes of the apartheid state.

Irish singer Sinead O’Connor has joined the growing list of artists who respect the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign to isolate Israel, cancelling a show in Israel scheduled for September 11.

Was I a Stranger in My Homeland?
By Malavi Sivakanesan
Xlibris, 2013

Malavi Sivakanesan was eight years old in 2003 when her father, a Tamil dentist living in exile in Norway, went back to his homeland in Sri Lanka to set up a mobile dental clinic.

He not only carried out dental work himself, but also trained local people to continue after he left.

At the time, there was a ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.