The Queensland government has limited the ability of the public to object to a mining lease. The Mining and Energy Resources Bill, passed on September 9, means only affected landholders, their neighbours or local councils can object to mining lease applications in the Land Court. In a statement, campaign group Lock the Gate said: “In an 11th hour move, the Queensland government has silenced objections to mining projects across the state giving open slather to Indian coal billionaire Gautam Adani to develop the Galilee Basin into one of the largest coal precincts in the world.”
Residents in Gloucester, NSW, have set up a permanent camp to stop coal seam gas (CSG) company AGL from beginning exploration in the Gloucester Valley. Organisers of the camp said: “In August, the state government changed a state planning regulation to allow AGL to frack four existing coal seam gas wells without undertaking a full environmental impact statement. “AGL have not started fracking yet — they will give the government 28 days notice before beginning fracking, but we don’t want to let them get started at all.
A small but growing group of workers in Sydney has been turning the tables on exploitative employers who have cheated staff out of minimum entitlements. Organised in the Sydney Solidarity Network (SydSol), workers have been using direct action to win wages from bosses who have paid employees less than the minimum wage, or not paid them for their work at all.
The NSW Coalition government has been forced to cancel parliamentary debate on a bill to give businesses two votes in Sydney City Council elections. The bill, sponsored by Shooters and Fishers Party Senator Robert Borsak, has been widely interpreted as a measure designed to defeat independent Sydney Mayor Clover Moore and give the Liberal Party control of council.
While Prime Minister Tony Abbott sealed a deal in New Delhi to export uranium to India, the Queensland government granted six mining development leases to two companies on September 5. No uranium has been mined in Queensland since 1982 and has been banned since 1989. However in October 2012 the QLD government lifted the mining ban. Summit Resources was granted four of the mining development leases and Fusion resources were granted two. The leases cover areas near Mount Isa and are the latest stage in Premier Campbell Newman’s plan for the uranium industry.
The Sydney Refugee Action Coalition released the statement below on September 10. *** Refugee advocates have rejected immigration minister Scott Morrison’s latest push to introduce temporary protection visas. “The Minister is holding asylum seeker children hostage to the introduction of temporary protection visas,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. "We are calling on all parliamentarians to reject the minister’s blackmail attempt and vote against the reintroduction of TPVs.
Hundreds of Australians endure the ordeal of jail because of unpaid fines. Their poverty is a burden. Disproportionately, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are incarcerated “to pay off” their fines. Ray Jackson, president of the Indigenous Social Justice Association, says this “draconian practice criminalises people and destroys families and futures”. Recently, “unpaid fines” cost the life of a 22-year-old Yamatji woman, Juliecka Dhu. Dhu and her boyfriend, Dion Ruffin, were arrested on August 2 and detained by Western Australia’s South Hedland police.
After consultations with the family of Hamid Khazaei, who died on September 5 after being detained on Manus Island, an agreement has been made to give his family an Aboriginal passport, in his name, to honour both their son and their offer to donate his organs to Australian citizens. The Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA) organised the passport proposal. ISJA president Ray Jackson said: “This gesture by his family shames the Tony Abbott government, in particular immigration minister Scott Morrison, for incarcerating innocent asylum seekers seeking sanctuary in this country.
Nauru detention camps’ water reserves are close to running dry, leaked emails showed on September 10. A Transfield operations manager wrote in an email: “We are currently nearly out of water … Due to recent outages at the DIBP RO [immigration department reverse osmosis facility] we have not been able to build up stock so have been slowly going backwards.”
Stop the War Coalition in Sydney released the statement below on September 11. *** Anti-war activists gathered outside the Defence Department in Sydney on September 11 to say no to another war on Iraq. Called by Stop the War Coalition (STWC) and Marrickville Peace Group, the snap action heard from several activists, who said Western military and political interference was largely to blame for the rise of fundamentalist and sectarian groups in the Middle East.
The following statement was adopted by the Socialist Alliance national executive on September 4 in response to the Australian government's decision to join the US and other imperialist states in further military intervention in Iraq. *** The US wars on Iraq, in 1991 and 2003, killed hundreds of thousands of people and completely wrecked the country. The US promoted sectarian divisions to maintain control. It created the conditions for the rise of the “Islamic State” and is thus responsible for the crisis.
Every day, Manus Island detainees negotiate rocky ground strewn with coral, rotting shower blocks and “filthy” living conditions. They do this mostly in rubber thongs. A cut foot is likely, septicemia possible and a heart attack followed by a coma and brain death? Wait a minute, let’s go back.
I often wish this government would cut the crap and just admit it governs for the rich and is determined to shift as much wealth as possible into their hands. We'd be saved their mind-boggling attempts at “logic”. Like their argument that we have a budget emergency, so we must absolutely take action now or our children and our children's children and our children's children's children will all die horrific deaths from starvation, so that is why we must abolish the mining tax.
I am the Socialist Alliance candidate for Geelong in the upcoming state elections. I am a 24-year-old Gordon TAFE student living on youth allowance and for that reason my candidacy may not be taken seriously by the media and the other candidates, but it is for that exact reason I am running in the state elections. Young people do not have a voice in this country or in our state. We are one of the first groups to be targeted so that our government can “balance the budget” and one of the groups most affected by the cuts to welfare, education, health, and housing.
The Coalition government in Victoria has disregarded public opposition and transparency and named a Lend Lease consortium to carry out phase one of the $6-8 billion East West Link toll road.
Where will you be on Sunday, September 21 when people all around the world plan to make their voices heard as the UN climate summit begins in New York City? Environmental groups, trade unions, religious organisations and even some businesses have been building what is hoped will be the biggest ever people's march for climate change action. The streets of New York will be flooded with people demanding a global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution.
With news that the unlikely climate conscience of the Palmer United Party is holding firm, it appears that the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and associated programs will not be scrapped just yet. But the uncertainty of what will happen in the long term may be enough to bring large-scale wind and solar projects to a standstill.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has called a special Climate Summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York City on September 23. This meeting, which is in addition to the annual UN Climate Change Conferences within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is intended to “mobilize action and ambition on climate change”. Because this event will take place during the annual UN General Assembly meeting, Ban can expect a large number of heads of state to attend, as well as the “business, finance, civil society and local leaders” that he has invited.
Members of the Aboriginal community, faith-based groups, unionists, welfare activists, and others gathered at the State Administration Centre in Adelaide on September 9 to oppose a proposal to expand income management in South Australia. Labor Premier Jay Weatherill has announced he would “offer the broadest possible support” to all 27 of billionaire Andrew Forrest's recommendations in his Indigenous Employment and Training Review. This would include Forrest's controversial proposal to dramatically expand income management to all working-age Centrelink clients, or 2.5 million people.
The bust the budget campaign stands at a crossroads right now. Although the federal government has succeeded in ramming some of its harsh austerity measures through parliament, there are large parts of the budget which are still held up in the Senate — largely due to the public hostility to these cutbacks.
New Zealand goes to the polls on September 20. Amid a big scandal of government “dirty tricks”, the Mana Movement is pushing the interests of the working-class and Maori communities. Mana was formed when firebrand Maori Party MP Hone Harawira split over the Maori Party's support for a right-wing National Party government in 2011. It brings together militant Maori activists with other working-class and left forces.
“Paddy wagon’s on its way,” announced a Chicago Police tactical officer over his radio early on the morning of September 4. Shortly after, a crowd of about 300 demonstrators ― including more than 100 striking fast food workers ― began chanting “Take the street!” and proceeded to do just that. Marching between a McDonald’s on one side and a Burger King on the other, the crowd blocked 87th street traffic on Chicago’s south side for about 20 minutes.
In a speech to the nation on September 2, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced “five revolutions”, as part of a campaign to “improve our service to the people”, Venezuela Analysis said on September 3. Maduro said the revolutions would be a “a new way of functioning” for the government. The five revolutions “should be united, and should define the government policies, giving power to the people, it will be the people who push government policy”.
Israel has barred 13 European Parliament MPs from visiting Gaza during a four-day fact-finding visit to Palestine and Israel that started on September 4. The MEPs were from European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) group in the European parliament. They met members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament), as well as activists from both Palestinian and Israeli human rights and peace groups.
Indonesian authorities are pushing for two French journalists arrested in West Papua to face trial and up to 20 years jail. Valentine Bourrat and Thomas Dandois, journalists working for French media company Arte TV, were in West Papua filming a documentary about human rights. They were arrested in Wamena on August 6. Indigenous leader Areki Wanimbo, who was interviewed by them, was also arrested.
In November 2006, leftist candidate Rafael Correa won the second round of the Ecuadorian presidential election with 57% of the vote, compare with his conservative opponent, Alvaro Noboa, who won 43%. Despite the US’s failure to undermine Correa’s candidacy, as shown by diplomatic cables published by WIkiLeaks, further US cables suggest the US Embassy in Quito believed it could hold sway over the new government.
This article is an abridged September 10 editorial from US Socialist Worker. That day, US President Barack Obama announced plans to extend US air strikes into Syria. * * * Barack Obama and the US political establishment — Democrats and Republicans alike — are whipping up support for a new war drive in the Middle East.
In Scotland, a remarkable popular movement, the campaign for independence, is heading towards it decisive test. On September 18, a referendum is being held on whether the country will remain part of the “United Kingdom”. To better understand the surge in pro-independence sentiment over the last weeks of the campaign, Green Left Weekly's European correspondent Dick Nichols spoke with Alister Black, editor of the Scottish independent Marxist review Frontline.
Live coverage of a speech by Britain's Trade Union Congress general secretary Frances O’Grady was cut off minutes after she had warned of a return to a “Downton Abbey” society, The Independent said on September 8, “for a newsflash announcing that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting her second child”.
If you were in Newport and Cardiff in south-east Wales during the first week of September, you might have thought you’d entered a warzone. Instead, it was simply the September 4 and 5 NATO Summit. As NATO warships drifted ominously into the harbour and US Osprey and Nighthawk helicopters thundered in the sky, above mile after mile of steel fencing, disgruntled residents were left taking to Twitter to complain about their desks shaking at work. “The amount of helicopters I have heard today makes it sound like we’re at war,” one said.
“Tom Morello, as his alter ego the Nightwatchman, performed a new cut called ‘Marching on Ferguson’ at the Jail Guitar Doors' Rock Out! benefit concert September 5th at Los Angeles' Ford Theatre,” Rolling Stone said on September 7.
Confronting Injustice: Social Activism in the Age of Individualism Umair Muhammad www.confrontinginjustice.com Too many supposedly radical books are written by academics for academics, apparently competing to see who can produce the most incomprehensible prose. My list of “books to be reviewed” contains literally dozens of overstuffed and overpriced volumes that only a handful of specialists will ever read, and with little relevance to the non-university world.
When Google Met WikiLeaks By Julian Assange Published August 22, 2014 200 pages, paperback, $16 OR Books www.orbooks.com When Google CEO Eric Schmidt turned up to meet WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, he brought several people with him who were connected to the US government. "The delegation was one part Google, three parts US foreign-policy establishment," Assange writes in his latest book, When Google Met WikiLeaks. "But I was still none the wiser."
Native Eyez Intikana Released August 2014 Stampede Fireflies www.intikana.net Bronx-based rapper, producer, film-maker and youth worker Intikana hits out at indigenous injustice, cultural colonisation and international imperialism, among many other topics. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward put 18 questions to him. His absorbing answers are below. * * * 1. You rap that "When people ask me where I'm from, I say my mama." Want to tell us more about your roots?