Newcastle anti-racists are counter-mobilising again against Reclaim Australia, the anti-Muslim group, who are again attempting to establish a support base in the Hunter Region. The far-right racists are using a proposal by Newcastle's Muslim Association to build a mosque and small funeral parlour in Buchanan, in the Hunter Valley, as a pretext to attack the Muslim Community. Buchanan is a rural area just outside Kurri Kurri and close to the Hunter Expressway.
The rise in popularity of anti-austerity parties, responses to the global climate crisis and challenges in building alternatives to neoliberal capitalism will be explored at the Socialism for the 21st Century Conference, to be held in Sydney on May 13 to 15 next year. Green Left Weekly is proud to co-host this conference — which will be held in our 25th year of publication.
Forty people attended a public meeting in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick on the campaign against conscription during World War I. Michael Hamel-Green, a draft resister during the Vietnam War who is now an emeritus professor at Victoria University, gave a talk on the history of the anti-conscription campaign, with a particular emphasis on the role of local residents. Prime Minister Billy Hughes called two referenda on conscription for military service outside Australia, in 1916 and 1917. Both were defeated, the second by a greater margin than the first.
The Australian Education Union (AEU) Victoria has won millions of dollars back-payment for more than 40,000 Victorian teachers and principals in a landmark case decided on November 6. The Federal Court found the Victorian government made unlawful deductions from teachers’ and principals’ salaries in contravention of the Fair Work Act, by requiring them to pay for access to the Education Department’s laptops directly out of wages.
More than 100 people attended a heated community meeting in Ceduna, South Australia, on November 7, to hear Assistant Minister for Social Services Alan Tudge discuss the Healthy Welfare Card.
Health services are under serious attack in WA, with the Health Department asking hospitals to finalise “budget management strategies” by the end of January. Amid claims of massive cuts to funding, hospitals in Perth are bracing for staff cuts. The Health Services Union (HSU) expects about 500 jobs to be shed at Royal Perth Hospital and similar numbers at Fiona Stanley Hospital. The union says its previous predictions of about 1000 job cuts “across the board” now appeared “conservative” and job uncertainty is causing widespread stress.
Early childhood educators and supporters have been gathering in cities across Australia during November, calling for pay increases that reflect the professional nature of the early childhood education and care sector. United Voice, the union that represents these mostly female workers, is running the “Big Steps: Value Our Future” campaign for professional wages.
Waterfront workers at Hutchison Ports in Sydney and Brisbane are set for a crucial vote on a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) on November 16. The vote takes place after 100 days of community assemblies at Port Botany and Port of Brisbane, following the controversial sacking by text and email of 97 workers at the two ports on August 6.
More than 600 people gathered on a farm near the small town of Breeza on November 7 and 8 to celebrate the Liverpool Plains "Harvest Festival against Shenhua” in opposition to the proposed Watermark open cut coalmine. They declared they will return to continue peaceful protest at the site if the mine goes ahead.
In a surprise move, the far-right group Reclaim Australia has moved its rally on November 22 from Melbourne’s CBD to Melton, which lies west of Melbourne. Reclaim Australia is modelled on far-right groups in Europe that target mosques and the Islamic community in order to promote racism and far-right policies. Reclaim Australia is focusing on opposing the construction of a mosque in Melton. Reclaim Australia has been outnumbered by anti-racists at the two previous rallies it held in the Melbourne CBD. The timing and move is designed to make it harder for anti-racist
Two hundred Public Service Association (PSA) members were joined by people with disabilities, their relatives, friends and other trade unionists in a protest in Newcastle on November 4, as part of a four-hour strike against the privatisation of disability services. The Baird government is using the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme as a cover to sack 13,000 workers in public disability services and gift state assets to private providers.
Yet another refugee has been found dead while in the care of the Immigration Department thanks to Australia's harsh and punitive refugee policy. Thirty-year-old Iranian Kurd, Fazel Chegeni, who first arrived in Australia in 2011, died after escaping from the detention centre, although how he came to be found dead remains unclear.
As of December last year, anyone who is not an Australian citizen who has spent 12 months or more in jail can be deported at the discretion of the immigration department. By September, 75 New Zealanders and Pacific Islanders were being detained on Christmas Island awaiting deportation. In this nine-month period, 406 New Zealand citizens had their visas cancelled, 95 had been deported and up to 184 were being held in detention centres.
Grandmothers Against Removals (GMAR) attended the launch of a “guiding principles document” in Tamworth on November 9 to be implemented by Tamworth Family and Community Services (FACS). The document was negotiated with GMAR after a series of protests last year that targeted the Tamworth FACS office, which had removed an unprecedented number of Aboriginal children from their families. The campaign forced FACS to admit that the situation needed to change.
Over 100 doctors, nurses and other health professionals gathered outside the Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth on November 13 to support the nationwide mobilisations of health workers against detention of children.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) is calling on the Turnbull government to improve its bargaining policy to allow federal agencies to make acceptable enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) offers to public sector workers. Despite a small increase in the government's pay guideline from 1.5 to 2%, union members are insisting on a minimum rise of at least 2.5 to 3%.
3CR Community Radio released this statement in the wake of the United Patriots Front's invasion of their offices on November 1. * * * On November 1, five members of the fascist group United Patriots Front (UPF) gained entry to the premises of 3CR Community Radio and filmed throughout the building without permission. In an effort to intimidate the station and its programmers, they then posted the video on their Facebook page. 3CR reasserts its commitment to progressive politics and our core mission of providing a voice to people denied one elsewhere in the media and in society.
Fossil Free UTas began a sit-in on October 14 outside the office of University of Tasmania's vice-chancellor, Peter Rathjen. The sit-in lasted a marathon 15 days. The University of Tasmania has not yet committed to divesting from fossil fuels, but negotiations between the university and Fossil Free UTas are now underway. The sit-in gained community awareness and support for the campaign. The students received national and international media attention, and their actions sparked similar campaigns in other parts of the country.
The federal government has now spent $1.22 billion on its “Direct Action” policy that is supposed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but will actually allow them to increase. The results of the government's second round of emissions reverse auctions under the Direct Action scheme were released on November 12, revealing that the Clean Energy Regulator had paid $557 million to companies in return for emissions cuts of 45 million tonnes of CO₂. The first auction, in April this year, spent $660 million to buy 47.3 million tonnes.
On the strength of a claimed turnover of $1 billion, the Australian Financial Review reported in early February 1978: “At this sort of growth rate Nugan Hand will soon be bigger than BHP.” But two years later, on January 27, 1980, one of the bank's two founders, Frank Nugan, was found dead near Lithgow in NSW from a gunshot wound to the head. An inquest found it was suicide. Meanwhile, the other founder of the bank, Michael Hand, was busy shredding documents, including “files identifying clients regarded as sensitive”.
"Overwhelmingly, our communities don't want us to merge," Greens Leichhardt councillor Rochelle Porteous said on November 12. She was commenting on the decision by Labor and Liberal councillors in the Leichhardt, Marrickville and Ashfield councils to endorse a "voluntary" merger of the three inner-west councils, under pressure from the state government. At meetings on November 10, the Labor and Liberal councillors voted to support a merger, should the state government proceed with its draconian plan for compulsory council amalgamations across the city.
Protesters occupy Australian Consulate, Auckland, November 11. I was glad to be part of the November 11 protests, organised by the trade union Unite and by Global Peace and Justice Auckland, at the Australian Consulate in Auckland over their government's policies that have led to the indefinite detention of asylum seekers and Australian residents born in New Zealand in what are in effect concentration camps.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed on September 18 that Volkswagen (VW) diesel engines had been fitted with software enabling them to flout US engine emissions standards for nitrous oxides. That has precipitated a crisis in one of the vital structures of world capitalism. A perfect storm is emerging, jeopardising the entire automotive/industrial/financial complex that propelled world capitalism from the end of World War II until recently.
Walk Together marches were held in cities and regional centres around Australia on October 31 as a celebration of diversity. The aim of the marches was to present a picture to Australia's political leaders and media of a different Australia — one that is known for its compassion and generosity. Caroline de Costa gave this speech at the Cairns rally. * * *
The use of the drug ice in Australia is said to be at “epidemic'' levels. There is nothing new in this claim for both Australia and much of the rest of the world. Epidemics have accompanied the use and misuse of stimulants from the late-19th century. John Rainford traces that history in this three-part series. * * * By the latter decades of the 19th century, mass production and an emphasis on speed had signalled the start of modernity.
As the pantomime that is the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, stumbles to its conclusion at the end of the year, figures released by the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on October 27 reveal a 2% drop in union membership to 15% of the workforce. According to the ABS report, in August last year 1.6 million people were members of trade unions in their main job.
In our “A World to Win” series, Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance seeks to give voice to the ideas and demands of radical young people involved in the struggle to make the world a better place. In this week's article, Jacob Andrewartha argues for universal quality healthcare for all. * * * Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services”.
Film director Quentin Tarantino at #BlackLivesMatter protest in New York City on October 24. Ever since the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement emerged on the streets to protest repeated police killings of African Americans, there has been a backlash, spearheaded by the police mutual benefit societies mislabelled labour unions.
After seven years of intense public campaigning on the Keystone XL, a pipeline that would have bisected the United States carrying the world's dirtiest oil, US President Barack Obama denied Canadian oil company TransCanada a presidential permit for construction on November 6. The president cited the pipeline's projected contribution to climate change in deeming it not in the national interest.
Israeli military jeep broadcasting threat to gas residents, Aida refugee camp, Bethlehem, occupied West Bank, October 29. Still from video by Yazan Ikhlayel. Israel has introduced dramatic new restrictions on Palestinians living in the city of Hebron in response to recent violence and mass resistance in the occupied West Bank.
April 24, 1915, was the beginning of the slaughter 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in what is now Turkey. This set a dangerous precedent that has been copied and expanded upon by later despotic governments. Despite its morbid place in world history, governments around the world, including major international powers, refuse to acknowledge that it ever happened.
The controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is slated to hit Mexico with more food insecurity and hard times for farmers by extending tariff exemptions to more countries. The TPP has been negotiated, largely in secret, by 12 Pacific nations and incorporates 40% of the world's GDP. The deal is still to be ratified by parliaments of signatory countries of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam.
Thousands rally in support of Ecuador's government in Quito's Plaza Grande, November 11. Photo: TeleSUR / Ryan Mallett-Outtrim. Thousands of supporters of left-wing President Rafael Correa rallied in central Quito on November 11 in the face of renewed opposition protests. “Correa has done so many things for our country,” Correa supporter Rosa Chiquimarea told TeleSUR English.
Hondurans receive care from Cuban doctors. Photo: Cuban Medical Brigade. Cuban doctors have served more than 29 million Hondurans and saved at least 250,000 Honduran lives over the past 17 years, local media in the Central American nation said.
The entire northern province of Sri Lanka, an area mainly inhabited by Tamils, was "brought to a standstill" on November 13, according to the Tamilnet website, in support of Tamil prisoners on hunger strike for their freedom. All private and public activities, except for medical services, came to a standstill. Students did not attend schools. Roads remained deserted except for the army and police.
FMLN congress, November 6. Photo: FMLN. El Salvador's governing left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) concluded its first national congress on November 8 with plans to advance its struggles against inequality, exclusion and neoliberalism.
As news arrived yesterday of terror attacks in Paris that ultimately left more than 120 people dead, US President Barack Obama characterized the situation as “heartbreaking” and an assault “on all of humanity.” But his presidential sympathy was conspicuously absent the previous day when terror attacks in Beirut left more than 40 dead. Predictably, Western media and social media were much less vocal about the slaughter in Lebanon.
PKK fighters driving a tank into Shingal. The town of Shingal (in Kurdish or "Sinjar" in Arabic) in Iraq's Nineveh Province was declared liberated from ISIS forces, which had held the town since last year, on November 13. The town is mostly inhabited by the Kurdish religious minority community of Yazidis. The town was liberated by Iraqi Kurdish forces, fighting alongside Yazadi militias and fighters from the left-wing Turkish-based Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).
Union-organised demonstration outside Portugal's parliament on November 10. A coalition of the parties of the Portuguese left — the Socialist Party (PS), the Left Bloc, the Communist Party (PCP) and the Greens (PEV) — won a motion of no-confidence in the parliament on November 10. The motion brought down the short-lived Portugal Ahead alliance government of the conservative Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the neoliberal Democratic and Social Centre-People's Party (CDS-PP).
Protesters from the PAME union take part in an anti-austerity march during a 24-hour general strike in Athens, November 12.
The Turkish government has declared all-out war against the residents of the Kurdish-majority town of Silvan (Farqin) in Diyarbakir (Amed) province. The town has been under curfew and siege since November 2. Artillery and military aircraft have been deployed by Turkish military and paramilitary forces. Residents have reported Arabic-speaking bearded terrorists — presumed to be ISIS — taking part in the attacks. Hopes that such government violence would end after the November 1 Turkish elections have been shattered.
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos recognised and thanked Cuba on November 12 for its important support in achieving national independence 40 years ago. Commemorating four decades of independence from colonial powers, dos Santos invited a Cuban delegation to honour the historical events that led Fidel Castro to deploy 36,000 troops to defend Angola from a US-back military invasion by forces of apartheid South Africa.
The following statement was released by the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) on November 12. * * *
Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) has won a crushing and historic victory in the November 8 election in Burma (also known as Myanmar). Results were not final at the time of publication, but the NLD was on target to win more than 270 of the 330 elected seats (82%) in the People's Assembly, and more than 150 of the 168 elected seats (90%) in the House of Nationalities.
Protesters outside the Australian consulate in Auckland. Protesters in Auckland have stormed the Australian consulate on November 11 in protest at Australia's treatment of asylum seekers in prison camps, as well as the detention at Christmas Island of New Zealand citizens. The protest, backed by trade union Unite and Global Peace and Justice Auckland, comes amid an uprising by Christmas Island detainees in the aftermath of the death of Iranian Kurdish refugee Fazel Chegeni.
Darwin’s Bagot community launched its Painting Home Project on November 7. It was the culmination of a seven-week collaboration between Aboriginal artists, Bagot residents, street artists from as far away as Melbourne, and other arts and cultural workers.
Joe Hill was a senior organiser, popular songwriter and cartoonist for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), more commonly known as the Wobblies. The 100th anniversary of his death is being commemorated worldwide this month. Hill’s life is best remembered in labour movement songs that are still performed today by such renowned artists as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Bruce Springsteen. It could be argued that he is more famous now in death than he ever was in life.
“Matildas midfielder Hayley Raso says the pay increase gained by Australia's top female soccer players could not have been obtained without strike action,” the Sydney Morning Herald said on November 9. In the first ever strike by a national sporting team, the Matildas refused to travel to play world women's football champions, the US, in protest at the refusal of Football Federation Australia to meet their demands.