A subsidiary of the giant construction company Grocon was fined $250,000 in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on November 21 for “failing to ensure a safe workplace”. The charge related to the deaths of three people when a wall collapsed in March last year. The wall blew over in a strong wind and fell onto a footpath in Swanston Street, Carlton. An advertising hoarding attached to the wall may have contributed to the collapse. However, the wall was in such poor condition that it may have fallen over anyway.
The Tamil Refugee Council released this statement on November 29. *** The Australian government has almost certainly condemned another group of Sri Lankan asylum seekers to persecution, including torture, by returning them to their homeland, the Tamil Refugee Council said. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison announced on November 29 that a boat containing 38 people from Sri Lanka had been intercepted by an Australian customs vessel near the Cocos Islands on November 15 and held at sea for 11 days.
Refugee activists organised a float in the Perth pride parade on November 23 to raise awareness of the discrimination queer refugees face on Manus Island. About 50 people took part in the float, dressed as prison guards and detainees in bright orange jumpsuits. The float was organised by an alliance of queer activists and refugee advocates, and attracted a broad group of people. Refugees living in detention on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea face a possible 14-year prison term if they disclose they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex.
Thousands rallied in Sydney, Melbourne and cities across the country to protest the federal government's cuts to the ABC and SBS, during the week of November 18 to 25. The week of action was organised by unions and the Friends of the ABC, culminating in a protest outside federal parliament on November 25. About 2000 people rallied at Sydney Town Hall Square on November 22. They heard representatives of ABC staff, unions and politicians condemn the government's planned $254 million cuts to the ABC budget over the next five years.
Cuts to the ABC. Cuts to SBS. More broken promises by this rotten Coalition government. Now more than ever we need Green Left Weekly as an alternative source of news and commentary from a progressive viewpoint.
A report conducted by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has shown environmental concerns and technical lapses in coal seam gas (CSG) mining by Santos at their sites in Gunnedah and the Pilliga Forest, NSW. The report, published in Fairfax Media, is an audit from May last year.
In the Social Contract, published in 1762, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote that, “man is born free, and everywhere is in chains”. The French Revolution determined to remedy this state of affairs and its chosen instrument was a constitution setting out “natural, imprescriptible and inalienable rights”.
The White Ribbon is a public symbol that family violence is a problem. Women have the right to live a life free from gender-based violence. The fact that White Ribbon Day exists is a tribute to the generations of women and men who have campaigned to have family violence recognised as a crime and a serious problem in society. The Maritime Union of Australia, with a predominantly male membership, has enthusiastically taken up White Ribbon Day.
The education reforms of the 1970s occurred in a very different political climate from today's education movements, yet there are still lessons to be learnt from it. The political agitation and mood for change of the 1960s opened the door to a number of movements, many coming from the Vietnam War. Students were not only shocked by the disturbing images of the war on the TV news during this time, but male students were also liable to be conscripted via a lottery process.
A Senate committee recommended on November 24 that immigration minister Scott Morrison’s sweeping migration amendments be passed by parliament. The Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 would give Morrison unprecedented powers without the scrutiny of either parliament or the courts.
If there was one thing that seemed, finally, to unite this divided nation, it was the overwhelming sense of embarrassment at Prime Minister Tony Abbott's performance at the G20 Summit and other recent international platforms. Hell, even the US media were talking about how cringe-worthy Abbott is, which, given the usual standard of American politicians, is a bit like having Andrew Bolt pull you up for being too racist.
Macquarie Group is the largest investment bank and fund manager in Australia. On November 27 it was listed in a “Hall of Shame” report on global financial institutions found to have investments in companies manufacturing cluster bombs.
Three species of owls are in danger of becoming extinct in Victoria, because the Victorian government has failed to protect the forest habitat where the Sooty, Masked and Powerful owls live. The Powerful and Sooty owls are listed as vulnerable and the Masked owl is endangered, according to Victoria's Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. Management plans for the owls state that the Powerful and Masked owls require at least 100 areas of 500 hectares each, while the Sooty owl needs 131 areas of at least 500 hectares.
The Coalition government’s Direct Action policy has become law after passing the lower house on November 23. The centrepiece of Direct Action is the Emissions Reduction Fund. Under this scheme, the government will pay for projects that will reduce CO2 emissions "at least cost". Businesses, farmers, community organisations, local councils and individuals will be able to compete for $2.55 billion in government funding for projects to reduce their emissions.
Australia signed a free trade agreement with China on November 17. The Coalition government and the media praise the agreement, but other groups are concerned about the implications. More than 85% of Australian exports will be tariff free initially, rising to 93% in four years. Some of these goods are subject to tariffs of up to 40%. On full implementation of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, 95% of Australian exports to China will be tariff free.
If the need for an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in NSW was obvious when it was established in 1989, a report released in 2010 showed why it is absolutely indispensible. This was an ICAC study of registered lobbyists that found there were 272 individual lobbyists listed in NSW. They included 22 former state or federal MPs and 112 staffers and advisers — about half of all lobbyists.
December 3 marks the 30th anniversary of the horrific Bhopal gas disaster. It also marks 30 years of relentless struggle for justice by survivors. The city of Bhopal, capital of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, was the site of a pesticide plant run by Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) subsidiary of the US-based Union Carbide Corporation. UC became a subsidiary of Dow Chemicals in 2001.
Teachers from Mexico's National Autonomous University (UNAM) demanded on November 27 that the country's authorities release the 11 people arrested during the clashes between protesters and police after a march over the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students. “Human rights organizations, press, and society have showed the brutality and violence of the police operation and the arbitrary detentions,” the teachers told reporters in a press conference, according to Mexican newspaper La Jornada.
On the world map, Kobane falls in the north of Syria, right on the border with Turkey. According to the Kurds, however, it is the west of Kurdistan or “Rojava” in Kurdish. There is a train line right by the town. This line determined the border between Syria and Turkey. The division of the Kurdish homeland in 1923 not only ensured a political loss for the Kurds, but also paved they way for many human tragedies. From Kobane to Qamislo, many families were divided into two. One brother remained on one side of the train tracks, the other fell to the other side.
The Korean Supreme Court appeal ruled on November 13 in favour of Ssangyong Motor Company management and against the reinstatement of laid-off workers. The workers were laid off in 2009 after a bitter stand-off with police and 77 day factory occupation. The November 13 decision overturned an earlier decision in February 7, in which the Seoul High Court ruled the sackings violated Korean labour laws. The case has now been sent back to the Seoul High Court for the rehearing on remand.
President Barack Obama’s executive order on deportations of undocumented immigrants has created a firestorm of controversy between Democrats and Republicans. However, the charges and counter-charges between the two big parties are not what are essential. The presidential order, as far as can be determined from Obama’s speech — and the public has yet to see the full version in print — consists of the following: about 4-5 million workers without papers will be protected from deportation for up to three years.
“Drop that plate right now!” Those were the words of a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, police officer as he arrested 90-year-old Arnold Abbott, a homeless advocate who serves hot meals to homeless people twice a week through his Love Thy Neighbor group. This incident, which gained national media attention, has shed light on the growing number of laws criminalising homelessness.
Britain's major political parties are so scared of an alternative that they won't even let the left-wing, anti-austerity Green Party into televised debates. If the Greens aren't allowed into the TV election debates, there should be a compromise, such as its MP, Caroline Lucas, being allowed to present an episode of Top Gear.
In September, Prime Minister Tony Abbott signed an agreement which will allow sales of Australian uranium to India for the first time. India has consistently refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has manufactured up to 110 nuclear warheads, but has been given a free pass to take part in international nuclear trade by virtue of its new strategic relationship with the United States. The Australia-India deal conflicts with Australia’s obligations under the South Pacific Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty, as well as the NPT.
The siege of Knightsbridge is a farce. For two years, an exaggerated, costly police presence around the Ecuadorean embassy in London has served no purpose other than to flaunt the power of the state. Their quarry is an Australian charged with no crime, a refugee from gross injustice whose only security is the room given to him by a brave South American country. His true crime is to have initiated a wave of truth-telling in an era of lies, cynicism and war. The persecution of WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange must end. Even the British government clearly believes it must end.
When a St Louis County grand jury, after its three-month farcical “investigation”, announced on November 24 its foregone conclusion not to indict white police officer Darren Wilson for the murder of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown, the town of Ferguson, Missouri erupted. For the next three days, protests continued in Ferguson and nearby St Louis. They spread to more than 170 cities across the US. In Oakland, California, near where I live, protesters blocked major highways in mass civil disobedience. More than 100 people have been arrested in Los Angeles.
His cattle didn’t get a bid, they were fairly bloody poor, What was he going to do? He couldn’t feed them anymore, The dams were all but dry, hay was thirteen bucks a bale, And last month’s talk of rain was just a fairytale, His credit had run out, no chance to pay what’s owed, Bad thoughts ran through his head as he drove down Gully Road. “Geez, great grandad bought the place back in 1898, “Now I’m such a useless bastard, I’ll have to shut the gate. “I can’t feed my wife and kids, not like dad and those before, “Crikeys, Grandma kept it going while Pop fought in the war.”
In the wake of the Grand Jury decision to not indict police officer Darren Wilson for shooting unarmed Black youth Michael Brown, US punk band Anti-Flag said all proceeds from a compilation of protest songs, This Concerns Everyone released by its record label A-F Records, will go towards funding the Ferguson Legal Defense Fund.
“Amid swinging cuts to the nation’s largest public broadcaster came the news yesterday that coverage of both the W-League and Women’s National Basketball League will conclude in coming months,” The Guardian said on November 25, “ending thirty-five years of commitment to regular women’s sport coverage on the ABC.” Australia’s peak women’s sporting body said it feared young female athletes will be left without role models due to the cuts.
Australian sport, particularly Australian rules football, has enjoyed a positive place in the public psyche. It has managed to perpetuate an image of an all-encompassing and all-welcoming environment, a world away from hooliganism and violent crowds often associated in the popular imagination with “soccer”. The AFL has messages recorded by the captains of each club played before games encouraging their supporters to be passionate, but reminding them that the football arena should be a welcoming one for all supporters and indeed the players.
Sheplife Briggs Golden Era Records Released August 2014 Now touring www.iambriggs.com Briggs is 598 kilometres from his hometown of Shepparton - and he's missing his bed. "When I'm at home I don't have people ringing me up telling me I've got to get out of the house," says the rapper, sitting on his hotel room's balcony in Sydney.
Tom Waits once said that writing songs against war was like throwing peanuts at a gorilla. Which may be true, but no one said gorillas liked peanuts in their face. After all, the veteran American songwriter made the comment as a self-deprecating reference to the anti-war songs on his 2004 album Real Gone ― inspired by the Bush adminstration's wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. Waits noted: “But then I think, look how important soul music was during the civil rights movement.
Ebola exposes sickness of the global system To understand the Ebola epidemic, the People's Health Movement says, we must shed light on the global and local political, economic and other societal factors that underlie its appearance, spread and high fatality rate. Croatia: 'The left is rising again'