Some of Australia’s most respected investigative journalists have signed an open letter to the federal government urging it not to privatise the corporate registry held by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). They have urged the government to make access to the database free, as it is in New Zealand and Britain.
Connect Settlement Services, the company that provides welfare services for refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, has told the federal government it will not re-apply when its contract lapses in December.
The company, which has about 100 staff on the island, provides health and education services and helps refugees look for work in the Nauru community.
Police dragged local residents out of a Sydney Park protest camp at 3am on September 20 so WestConnex contractors working for the private Sydney Motorway Corporation (SMC) could set up a construction site and begin work destroying thousands of trees in the park.
WestCONnex Action Group spokesperson Colin Hesse said: “The police had assured us numerous times that we were camping lawfully on public land, therefore they wouldn’t be taking any action to remove us from the site.
Hobart City Council has joined eight other Australian councils in pledging to end its involvement with any company profiting from abusive practices towards people seeking asylum.
The pledge states that the council will no longer do business with companies, such as Wilson Security and Ferrovial’s Broadspectrum, that take up contracts in Australia’s immigration detention camps.
Western Sydney University (WSU) student elections are just around the corner and Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance members Philip Craig, Omar Ismaeel, and Ian Escandor have put their hands up as Bankstown campus student representatives and student editors for the student newspaper W’SUP.
About 20 National Gallery of Australia staff were told on Friday September 16 their jobs would not exist on Monday.
The gallery's deputy director, Kirsten Paisley, told staff they would be transferred to other areas of the gallery or offered voluntary redundancies.
The job cuts represent about 8% of the gallery workforce, including some senior positions.
The NSW Land and Environment Court found government-appointed delegates who recommended mergers for Mosman and North Sydney with Willoughby City Council and Burwood and Canada Bay with Strathfield Council had not followed the Local Government Act. The court found there was "no proper statutory foundation" for either of the proposed amalgamations, given the flaws in the delegates’ recommendations, and set the mergers aside.
“Tell him to write a will” was the reaction of the Australian government when doctors requested an emergency transfer to an Australian hospital for a seriously ill Afghan asylum seeker.
He has written a will, requesting that if he dies, the Australian government care for his children and provide them with an education.
Doctors have expressed extreme concern for “Abdullah”, a single father of two teenagers trapped on Nauru with an urgent heart condition requiring airlift to Australia. His case has not been classed as an emergency.
More than two-thirds of voters oppose the federal government’s decision to give public funding to the “Yes” and “No” campaigns in a plebiscite on equal marriage, according to an Essential poll published on September 20.
Only 22% approved the government’s decision, while 68% disapproved.
More than 60% said they would vote yes to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” and 30% said they would vote no.
Former Brisbane high school student and Iranian refugee Mojgan Shamsalipoor was released from detention on a temporary three-month bridging visa on September 21.
Mojgan came to Australia aged 18 in 2012 from Iran, fleeing sexual assault and an arranged marriage to a 60-year-old man.
She was released from Christmas Island into community detention on a temporary visa while her refugee claim was being assessed. She went to high school and later met and married her husband.
Several hundred members of the NSW Public Service Association (PSA), the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA), and other unions rallied outside state parliament on September 21 to “Stop the Secret Sell-Off” of five NSW public hospitals and other services by the Mike Baird state government. The rally followed the revelation on September 15 of plans by the Coalition government to call for private tenders to build and run upgraded regional hospitals at Maitland, Wyong, Goulburn and Shellharbour, and carry out hospital improvements at Bowral.
More than 1000 people marched through Circular Quay to The Rocks on September 17 to protest plans by the NSW state government to demolish the iconic Sirius public housing building. The march coincided with the declaration of a Green Ban by the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU).
CFMEU state secretary Brad Parker announced that the union was "officially imposing an interim Green Ban here today" on the site. The ban on any redevelopment of the Sirius means no unionised workforce will be allowed on the site, and pickets will be introduced when any work commences.
Both professional and volunteer firefighters have spoken against the federal government's proposed new law aimed at blocking the implementation of the Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) enterprise agreement.
Just-released modelling from BP has revealed that an oil spill from an uncontained blowout on its proposed Stromlo-1 well is guaranteed to impact the South Australian coast. It is possible that anywhere across the southern Australian coast could be impacted, from Western Australia across to Tasmania and NSW.
In light of this, the Wilderness Society has called on Australia’s offshore oil and gas authority, National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), to reject BP’s application to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight.
On September 20, days after the passage of the “omnibus” legislation that enabled the implementation of the federal budget, Minister for Social Services Christian Porter released the Baseline Valuation Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), as part of the federal government’s “Priority Investment Approach”.
In what amounted to a financial audit of the welfare system, the report focused on the costs to the welfare system over a prolonged period of three categories of recipients: young carers, young parents and students.
The Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO), on behalf of the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), lodged an appeal on September 19 against the Federal Court’s finding in August that then-environment minister Greg Hunt’s approval of Adani’s Carmichael coalmine was lawful.
The appeal challenges the lawfulness of the court’s finding that the minister was entitled to find the impact on global warming and the Great Barrier Reef from the Carmichael mine’s 4.6 billion tonnes of carbon emissions was “speculative”.
I was dismayed to discover that Australia’s Minister for Social Services is turning to New Zealand for inspiration in his latest approach to welfare.
On September 20 Christian Porter announced the ‘Australian Priority Investment Approach’. This draws on work New Zealand’s right-wing National government has done since 2011 on using actuarial estimates of fiscal liability to underpin an extensive program of punitive and pauperising reforms.
A poll of 1000 people by Essential Research has found 49% of respondents supported a blanket ban on Muslim immigration to Australia, 40% opposed the ban and 11% were not sure.
Young people aged 18–24 were the most likely to oppose a ban on Muslim immigration. Fifty-eight per cent of young people opposed a ban, compared with 28% who supported it.
A candidate for the vomit inducing moment of the week must be Minister for Social Services Christian Porter and his crocodile tears for young people "trapped on welfare", especially those slogging away as carers and single parents.
His government is so concerned about their wellbeing it has been trying every way it can to cut their payments and drive them deeper into poverty.
The Murdoch press got the tip and paved the way with beat ups about a new generation of young welfare bludgers.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, has used speeches to the UN General Assembly and US President Barack Obama’s leaders’ summit on refugees to push Australia’s “compassionate humanitarian” solutions to the worldwide refugee crisis.
Yes, the country strongly criticised in numerous UNHCR and Amnesty International reports is using the UN General Assembly to proclaim itself a leader in “compassionate” refugee solutions.
Turnbull is using this “solution” as the cornerstone of a bid for Australia to sit on the UN Human Rights Council.
Dominic Wykanak read out this moving tribute by Debbie Small to her daughter Rebecca Maher who died in police custody in July, at a rally against Black deaths in custody at Blacktown on September 17.
* * *
It has been two months since a young Wiradjuri woman Rebecca Maher died within hours of being placed in a Maitland police cell.
There is money to be made in farming, but not by the farmers.
The terms of trade for farmers continually declines and farmers are forced off the land. Governments and international bodies advocate further deregulation and trade liberalisation and greater use of technology. But these policies have undoubtedly failed in their stated aims of increasing food security and rural prosperity. The beneficiaries have been only agribusiness corporations.
Fossil fuel divestment is gathering pace around Australia and the world. More and more individuals and organisations are pulling their investment assets out of companies involved with the exploration, extraction, production or financing of fossil fuels.
Climate science denialists will often fool people, and sometimes themselves, by cherrypicking the bits of evidence they think fit their argument.
At other times, they’ll construct elaborate conspiracy theories about human-caused climate change being a front for a New World Order, with the United Nations as the Illuminati.
But often, they just get things badly, horribly, terribly and embarrassingly wrong.
South Australia’s peak environment body Conservation SA warned on September 19 that a nuclear waste repository under construction in Finland has few lessons for the high-level nuclear waste dump proposed for SA.
Last week the ABC broadcast Recognition: Yes or No?, a program following the joint travels of federal Labor MP Linda Burney and conservative commentator Andrew Bolt as they debate whether Indigenous peoples should be “recognised” in Australia’s Constitution.
The spectrum of Palestinian groups have expressed gratitude to late Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro as a friend of Palestine’s struggle for liberation, TeleSUR English said on November 27.
In a rare move, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called out Saudi Arabia on September 22 for airstrikes in Yemen that killed dozens of civilians, including children.
The US-backed Saudi coalition, which has been bombing Yemen since last year, struck a house in a residential area in western Yemen on September 21, killing 26 people, according to medics and residents.
In a new leadership election for the leader of the Britsh labour Party sparked by a right-wing, corporate media back assault on incumbent Jeremy Corbyn, the socialist leader was re-elected with an even larger majoroty of almost 62% of the vote. Corbyn stunned the political world when he won Labour's leadership in September last year with a "from nowhere win" on the back of anti-austerity politics.
Papua New Guinea marked its independence from Australia — achieved in 1975 — on September 16. But West Papua, a province on the same island, continues its struggle for self-determination in one of the world’s least publicised and longest-running independence struggles.
West Papuans won their independence from Dutch colonialism in 1963, but the country was invaded by Indonesia and officially annexed in 1969 after a controversial referendum in which just over 1000 people voted.
Ecuador ramped up its fight against tax dodging on September 21 as the South American country proposed a plan on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York aimed at tackling offshore tax havens with stiffer regulation.
The push comes in the wake of the Panama Papers leaks that exposed just the tip of the proverbial iceberg of global tax evasion and its impact on the global South.
At its 10th National Guerrilla Conference from September 17 to 23, 51 delegates representing various Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) factions across Colombia unanimously reaffirmed their support for the nation’s historic peace deal.
Charlotte, North Carolina, September 22.
Protests and tear gas have filled the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina nightly since the murder on September 20 of Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old African American, at the hands of police in yet one more case of racial profiling.
Israeli white phosphorus attack on Gaza, 2009.
Saudi Arabia is using white phosphorus, a flesh-melting chemical, in its conflict with Yemen, according to social media reports. The US acknowledges that it has supplied the kingdom with the chemical.
The world was again entering an era of “dark capitalist and imperialist barbarism” which acts against human dignity, the integrity of Mother Earth and the sovereignty of countries, Bolivian President Evo Morales told the United Nations General Assembly on September 21.
Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, called for a “new world order” that, rather than building walls, built a global citizenry where all people live together as a common family.
Mobilisations are facing growing levels of police repression. Paris, September 15.
More than 170,000 workers and students joined more than 110 protests across France on September 15 against new labour laws that dramatically deregulate France’s labour code.
Thousands of protesters marched through Brussels on September 20 to demand the European Union abandon planned trans-Atlantic free trade deals they say will worsen labour conditions and allow big business to challenge governments.
It came just days after tens of thousands rallied against such deals on September 17 in other European cities, mainly in Germany.
A year in politics changes everything.
When Jeremy Corbyn won the British Labour Party leadership election in September 2015 with about 60% of the vote, the puzzle was how on Earth could a socialist have taken power.
The left, weaker than ever, had never wielded significant power in the Labour Party. This year, the surprise will be if he does not win the leadership elections this month by a significant margin similar to last year’s landslide.
Less than two years after Workers’ Party (PT) candidate Dilma Rousseff was re-elected as Brazil’s president, she was removed from office by the Brazilian senate.
The Brazilian right, which controls the senate, carried out a constitutional coup. In the process, they revealed their contempt for democracy.
Intervention from the White House and a court order have temporarily halted construction of the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline 20 miles (32km) on either side of Oahe Lake, part of the Missouri River in North and South Dakota.
The temporary restraining order halts construction along this 40-mile stretch. But pipeline construction continues apace elsewhere.
A large minority in Turkey, at about 20% of the population, the Kurdish people have long faced systemic discrimination by the Turkish state. This has included massacres and violent repression of their culture, with even the Kurdish language banned until recently.
Such oppression led to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) launching an armed struggle for national liberation in 1984. In recent years, the PKK — whose leader Abdullah Öcalan remains in solitary confinement in a Turkish jail — has declared its commitment to a peaceful solution to the conflict.
British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn told a meeting in London on September 15 that the Kurdish people’s right to self-determination needed to be recognised, Firat News Agency said the next day. The meeting was organised by the British Kurdish People’s Assembly.
A video showing Turkish soldiers and state-sponsored Kurdish village guards torturing and abusing Saime Avşin (Avaşin Gabar), a female Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrilla fighter, has surfaced on social media, Kurdish Question said on September 20.
After Sustainability: Denial, Hope, Retrieval
By John Foster
Just thinking about the global ecological crisis is enough to make you worry. So what is it like when a professional philosopher, theologian and academic starts mulling it over?
Unfortunately, what results is this utterly despondent book by Lancaster University’s John Foster. It is, however, a sophisticated work and activists will no doubt encounter people quoting it in years to come.
Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics
By Richard Seymour
paperback, 256 pages
If ever a book was born under a lucky star, it surely was Richard Seymour’s Corbyn.
No sooner had the English socialist blogger and author’s book about the British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn been published in May than the anti-Corbyn coup pushed it into the best sellers list.