Issue 1099

News

A couple of hundred people rallied outside NSW parliament house and several dozen locked onto its fence in an action advertised as The World's Biggest Lock-on. The rally was called in opposition to the recently passed anti-protest law that carries up to seven years' in jail for “unlawful protest” — such as blockading a CSG drill site.
Thousands of people have come out to vibrant rallies across the country demanding marriage equality now, just a week before the Federal election. Here are photos of the actions. Melbourne Four thousand people rallied in Melbourne and held a mass illegal wedding outside Victorian parliament. Photos by Ali Bakhtiarvandi
The proposed Sustainable Cities Investment Fund, unveiled by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on June 20, would take up to $100 million a year from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to stimulate private sector investment in renewable energy and clean technology in Australia's major cities. But industry groups say it means nearly one-third of the supposedly independent CEFC's budget has been corralled by the government for “pet projects” announced during the lead up to the election campaign.
1000 people marched through the streets behind a banner which read "Safe Schools - Marriage equality - Legalise it now". The pre-election rally for marriage equality was a vibrant and passionate affair with the unambiguous message: no more delays, we don't want a plebiscite, we want equal marriage now!
On June 10, 50 Carlton and United Breweries workers were told, without prior notice, that they were terminated. The workers were then “invited” to reapply for their jobs with a company called Catalyst Recruitment, which is in the Programmed/Skilled Group. The invitation to apply for a job came with no guarantees; would be on individual contracts; would be covered by a non-union EBA; and offered worse conditions with a 65% pay cut.
More than 200 residents filled Glebe Town Hall on June 20 for a Stop WestConnex public meeting organised by the Coalition of Glebe Groups. A panel of transport and campaign activists slammed the $16.8 billion WestConnex tollway project, and outlined the case against the plan on environmental, health, economic and political grounds.
More than 1500 people crowded into Sydney's ornate Town Hall as an east coast low brought rain tumbling down, to rally for refugees. The pre-election refugee rights rally, themed 'Close Manus, Close Nauru, Bring Them Here', was held during World Refugee Week. Speakers included Socialist Alliance Senate candidate Ken Canning, who gave a moving acknowledgment of country; Ian Rintoul from Refugee Action Coalition; TV personality Margaret Pomeranz, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, Sophia from Young Labor for Refugees, Hamad, a refugee, and Judith and Evan, who were teachers formerly on Nauru.
Galaxy polling commissioned by the Climate Institute shows support for strong action on climate change is at its highest level since 2008, with uncommitted voters showing the strongest support. Voters were dissatisfied with both Labor and Coalition climate policies, with only 17% saying the Coalition had a credible climate plan and 20% saying Labor did.
A Greens bill that would require all New South Wales government-funded infrastructure projects to use Australian-made steel is making its way through the NSW Upper House. The bill, which has the support of all parties except the Coalition, is expected to pass in the next session. The Greens say their Steel Industry Protection Bill will stop the loss of thousands of jobs in the Illawarra and provide long-term security to the Port Kembla steelworks.
Sydney University's College of the Arts (SCA) is nestled in a section of Callan Park, Rozelle, overlooking the Parramatta River, with expansive grounds resplendent with hundred-year-old trees. The college has many buildings and spacious grounds. All undergraduate students receive a studio space.
Richmond Football Club will boycott Triple M Radio in the wake of Eddie McGuire, James Brayshaw and Danny Frawley joking about paying extra money to see Fairfax journalist Caroline Wilson put underwater during next year’s Big Freeze at the ‘G. Veteran Richmond forward Jack Riewoldt said the club's move had been driven by "a couple of senior players". He said no end date had been set for the ban, even though McGuire had apologised for his comments.
Protesters gathered outside the Lowy Institute building on June 20 to condemn the federal government's refusal to support a proposed international treaty to ban nuclear weapons. At recent United Nations meetings to discuss a new legal instrument to prohibit nuclear bombs, the Australian government was part of a loose group of "weasel" nations opposing a ban treaty. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop addressed a Lowy Institute forum that day. Among the demonstrators was a "giant weasel" handing out leaflets exposing the government's stand to passersby.
A year after Pope Francis called for action to protect the environment, four Australian Catholic organisations have announced they are completely divesting from coal, oil and gas in what they say is the first joint Catholic divestment in the world. The move comes as prominent religious leaders call on the government to protect the Great Barrier Reef, stop approving coalmines and remove subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) lost one fifth of it's staff (20 per cent) in the two years from June 2013 to June 2015, according to CSIRO Staff Association secretary Sam Popovski. That's more than 1300 jobs.
The Darumbal people of central Queensland were recognised as the traditional owners of their land a Federal Court decision on June 21. The native title claim was first made in 1997, making it one of the longest-running claims in Queensland. The decision covers more than 14,500 sq km of land and waters, spanning the Banana, Livingstone and Rockhampton Regional Councils, including the city of Rockhampton, the town centres of Yeppoon, Stanwell, Ogmore and Gracemere, as well as the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area.
MELBOURNE Relax with Socialist Alliance at our election night party. After polling day, cheer and groan in good company! Meal and drinks available. Saturday July 2, 6pm at the Anatolian Cultural Centre, 195 Sydney Rd, Coburg. Phone 9639 8622. GEELONG Celebrate a productive election campaign with Socialist Alliance candidate for Corio Sue Bull. Saturday July 2 at 6pm, at Geelong Trades Hall, 127 Myer St. PERTH

Analysis

On July 2 Australian voters head to the polls — although by that date up to 40% of voters will have voted at early polling centres across the country. Despite a number of minor parties and progressive independents running in lower house seats and the Senate, we know that come July 3 we will be looking at three more years of evil bastards or the lesser of two evils.
[Below is the platform that Socialist Alliance is taking to the federal elections.] We need a radically different future: one that provides for human development, meets community need, protects our environment and guarantees a safe climate; one where our economy operates to ensure social and ecological need; one where participatory democracy means people make the decisions in society; one that promotes cooperation, solidarity and justice for all — an ecosocialist future.
Pork-barrel politics and scare tactics have dominated the final weeks of the “longest election campaign ever”. Voters in marginal seats have been warned to “vote carefully”, to not “waste your vote” or “risk a protest vote” which might result in — shock horror “the chaos of a hung parliament”. We have had “tradies” in political ads trying to convince workers that the Liberal National Party (LNP) is their party, and Labor trying to convince the public that they have “rediscovered” labor values.
MaryBeth Gundrum is a candidate for the Senate in Queensland for the Renewable Energy Party. She spoke to Angela Walker in Cairns. * * * We know you here as a Knitting Nanna active in the campaign against coal seam gas fracking. How did you become involved in the Renewable Energy Party (REP)?
At the Perth Vigil for Orlando on June 15, our community stood in unity and mourned the lives lost. By candlelight we stood together in the Perth Cultural Centre and listened to heart-warming speeches from our queer siblings, as well as from the Socialist Alliance, the Greens and the Labor Party, before observing two minutes of silence to remember the 49 lives lost.
In the week that brought to light television personality Eddie McGuire's “banter” about sports journalist Caroline Wilson, the voters of Leichhardt, covering an area stretching from Cairns to Cape York and the Torres Strait, have been treated to campaign signs depicting a witch.
"The NSW state budget brought down by the Mike Baird government on June 21, which was trumpeted by Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian as 'the strongest in the country,' is a scam, based on stamp duty from overpriced housing sales and the sell-off of the state's electricity assets," Peter Boyle, Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Sydney in the federal election, said on June 23.
About 80 people attended a fiery, standing-room only, public forum on unemployment, hosted by Anti-Poverty Network SA on June 18 in Adelaide's northern suburbs. In a twist to the standard election fare, candidates were required to spend the first half of the event listening to the honest, insightful testimony and views of jobseekers, sole parents, aged and disability pensioners, and others with direct, lived experience of being out of work and being poor, before participating in a Q&A.
WestConnex is a $17 billion, 33 kilometre toll road proposed by the New South Wales government and backed by the federal government. Its tunnels, multi-layered interchanges and four to six lane highways will cut a swathe through the inner west of Sydney. Pauline Lockie is a spokesperson for the WestConnex Action Group, one of the groups opposing the project. This is an edited version of a speech she gave at the Rally for Fair Fares in Sydney on June 21. * * *
Tanya Plibersek, the deputy leader of the Australian Labor Party and MP for Sydney, made a speech on June 15 where she tried to fend off the political pressure Labor is facing from the Greens and other smaller parties to the left. Her basic argument was that Labor still remained loyal to its “light on the hill” and she urged younger people in particular to be more patient and allow her party to slowly make progressive change.
This election campaign. Eight weeks. Eight long, drawn out weeks of two gangs of rich white bastards in suits battling over who gets the honour of overseeing the next three years of irreversible ecological catastrophe, with extra Barnaby Joyce. It must violate articles in the Geneva Conventions banning torture.
This election campaign has seen the Coalition blustering that its harsh policies are stopping the people smugglers and deaths at sea, Labor trying to ignore the issue, and the Daily Telegraph running front page headlines such as “The boats are back”. But standing in defiance for more than 100 days is a group of refugees and asylum seekers protesting inside the Nauru detention centre. Through low-resolution photos and shaky video footage, images of the protesters have reached the world, despite intimidation from guards and new fences built to keep cameras out.

World

The attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that left 50 dead (including the shooter) and more than 50 injured was the largest single violent attack on LGBTI people in US history. It claimed more victims than the 1973 arson at another nightclub in New Orleans that killed 32 people. This massacre punctuated the daily instances of violence, including murder, against LGBTI people that occur frequently in the US.
Protest against the arrests of Professor Sebnem Korur Fincanci, Erol Önderoglu and Ahmet Nesin. The 2016 World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders ranks Turkey 151st in a list of 180 states. This devastating record only worsens day by day.
It is no exaggeration to say that a strip of land along Syria’s northern border with Turkey is home to the most radical experiment in democracy and gender equality, not just in the Middle East, but in the whole world.
Speaking to his supporters in a live web video address on June 17, Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders insisted that despite his campaign failing to defeat Democrat establishment figure Hillary Clinton, the struggle for a political revolution must continue.
The scene outside the La Madame bar in Veracruz, Mexico. Photo: Yerania Rolón, Blog Expediente. Reactions by politicians and the media around the world to the horrific mass murder at an Orlando LGBTI club on June 12 have largely focused on the attacker’s alleged links to Islamic extremists — despite the killer pledging allegiance to both the Islamic State group and its nemesis Hezbollah.
CNTE protest against neoliberal education reform, Mexico City, June 24. Photo: TeleSUR. Marathon talks between the Mexican government and teachers protesting neoliberal education reforms in the face of deadly repression ended on June 22 with no resolution, TeleSUR English said the next day.
Rebels from the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). One of the world's longest running conflicts appears to be nearing an end after more than 50 years of fighting. Colombian government officials and rebels from the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) gathered in Havana, Cuba, on June 23 to announce a historic ceasefire nearly four years in the making.
Graffiti on wall of Australian embassy in Dili. The Australian government's refusal to negotiate a fair deal according to international law with East Timor over the oil and gas fields in the Timor Sea is not appreciated by the people of one of the world's poorest nations. East Timor is calling for the maritime border to be recognised halfway between the two nations, as dictated by international law.
The statement below was published on June 24 by Momentum, a grassroots group within the Labour Party that seeks to organise in support of the left platform of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. *** Yesterday, the British people voted to leave the European Union. Momentum, which campaigned to remain in the EU in order to transform the EU, respects the decision taken by the electorate.
The executive committee of Left Unity, a socialist group in England, issued the following statement on the outcome of Britain's referendum on leaving the European Union. *** Left Unity deplores the Leave outcome of the EU Referendum. This referendum came from pressure from the far right — driven by anti-immigration sentiment, fuelled by racism. This has been the most reactionary national campaign in British political history, resulting in an open emergence of the extreme right.
Campaigners in Lambeth against LIbrary closures. The area voted overwhelmingly for 'remain'. Socialist Resistance, an English socialist group that is part of Left Unity, released this statement on June 24 on the result of the EU referendum ***
THERE are calls for referendums on Irish unity and Scottish independence as both the North of Ireland and Scotland look set to be dragged out of the European Union despite voting overwhelmingly to remain. Huge votes in favour of a so-called 'Brexit' in England and Wales gave a final result of 52% voting to leave European community which Britain joined in 1973. In the North almost 56% of citizens voted to remain in the EU. Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney MLA says there is now a democratic imperative for a referendum on Irish unity:
The Benigno Aquino administration is down to its final days till it makes way for the new presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, who was elected in May. You could make the case that we are also seeing the curtain fall on the 30-year-old liberal democratic state that came to existence with the February 1986 EDSA Uprising that overthrew the military dictatorship of Marcos.

Culture

The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas about Living Ethically By Peter Singer Yale University Press, 2015 272 pages Living up to his moral philosophical tradition of utilitarianism, with its “greatest good” principle, Australian philosopher Peter Singer's latest instalment is The Most Good You Can Do. The book — endorsed by software monopolists and corporate philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates — is based on Singer's “Castle Lecture” at Yale University in 2013.
Past sick sadistic tyrants made each victim dig their grave, Mowed them down without mercy, in wave after wave. But now heat is the trigger set for the many by the few Will you be ready when the climate comes for you? In Karachi they'll be ready when the tide of death rolls in When the poor and frail fall prey to the oil barons' sin.