Issue 1189

News

A meeting of 80 anti-racist and anti-war activists, unionists, students and Greens MPs launched a protest alliance on July 25 to prepare for US President Donald Trump's potential visit to Australia in November.

The alliance wants to create a strong, broad-based opposition to Trump and the Australian government's invitation for him to visit. It appears Trump plans to visit after the APEC meeting in November in Papua New Guinea, possibly on November 19.

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) launched its "Give 'Em the Boot" campaign, aimed at ending Australia's Force Posture Agreement with the US and sending US Marines based in Darwin back home, at a "Keep Australia out of US wars" public meeting on July 17.

The community in Western Sydney is celebrating the Independent Planning Commission’s (IPC) decision made on July 19 to dump The Next Generation’s application for a waste-to-energy incinerator at Eastern Creek that would have affected air quality throughout Sydney.

The IPC cancelled Dial a Dump Industries’ incinerator plan as “the project is not in the public interest because there is uncertainty around the project’s impacts on air quality, water quality and human health”.

Several hundred people gathered in the historic Thompson Square, in the town of Windsor, north-west of Sydney on July 22 to demand a royal commission into transport infrastructure and planning in NSW.

The rally was organised by CAWB (Community Action for Windsor Bridge) — Save Windsor from the RTA (Roads and Transport Authority). CAWB is a grassroots organisation that has been fighting for five years against NSW government plans to demolish the historic Windsor Bridge for a major arterial road, which will also destroy historic Thompson Square, the oldest square in Australia.

“Join your union and bargain together” is the lesson from the recent pay campaign by EDI-Downer workers, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) NSW assistant secretary Corey Wright told Green Left Weekly.

A three-day strike involving mass meetings, rallies and a march of 200 workers down Newcastle’s Hunter Street, encouraged the company to start serious discussions with the union after six months of stalling.

The Perth branch of the Australian Unemployed Workers Union (AUWU) launched the “Dump your demerit points” campaign on July 20 at the Perth Trades Hall.

The Tamil Refugee Council released this statement on July 24.

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The Tamil Refugee Council has again called on the Australian government to end the deportation of Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka, after the United Nations found evidence of widespread torture in the country.

More than 100 people attended a rally in solidarity with former spy Witness K and his lawyer Bernard Collaery outside the Treasury Buildings in Melbourne on July 25. The rally demanded that the current Attorney General, Christian Porter, cease the prosecution of the two.

A wave of humanity that gathered in Sydney’s Town Hall swept past the NSW Labor headquarters and crashed against the Department of Immigration offices.

Thousands of voices defiantly chanted “Bring Them Here” in increasing speed and volume.

"Bring them here: — in other wards, to offer every person in Australia’s detention centres protection and safety in Australia and the ability to apply for it elsewhere, in countries such as New Zealand. We must start dismantling this cruel, inhumane system.

 

More than 200 people rallied outside Queensland state parliament on July 21 to support the call for abortion law reform.

The rally was called by Labor deputy premier Jackie Trad. Earlier in the week, she and other Labor leaders had announced the endorsement by cabinet and caucus of the recommendations in the Queensland Law Reform Commission's report into modernising the state's abortion laws.

Hundreds rallied in Brisbane on July 20 to mark the fifth anniversary of the reopening of Nauru and Manus Island detention centres

Analysis

There is a common trend when arguing against a Universal Basic Income (UBI) to use critiques that could apply to any policy. The logical thing to do, if we were to take this line of reasoning at face value, would be to stand for nothing.

Before looking into these criticisms, we should begin by addressing exactly what is a UBI. A UBI is an unconditional, liveable wage for every citizen. If it does not meet the three metrics of 1) unconditionality; 2) liveability; and 3) for every citizen; then it is not a UBI.

From your morning coffee to your afternoon alcoholic drink with friends, drugs play a significant role in society. However, the war against drugs that has plagued society has resulted in a differentiation between the legal drugs we consume and the drugs that are criminalised by the government.

According to 2016 government data, 8.5 million people — 43% of Australians — have used recreational drugs and illegally obtained pharmaceuticals for recreational or self-medication uses.

Activists from the Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea (MKOTT) in Timor-Leste demonstrated outside the Australian Embassy in the capital Dili on July 25.

The premise seems simple and hard to argue with: establish an online database for medical records, controlled by the patients themselves, to improve access to crucial information for healthcare providers.

It has started again.

This week’s statement by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that there is “genuine concern about Sudanese gangs” suggests we have reached the epitome of this ongoing scare campaign. Offering the same rhetoric the Victorian Liberals have has been drumming out for the best part of the past two years, Turnbull unashamedly entered the fray.

Former national secretary of the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA) Michele O’Neil was elected president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) at its congress in Brisbane over July 17 and 18. She replaces Ged Kearney, who won the seat of Batman, now renamed Cooper, in Melbourne in March. Sally McManus remains secretary. The following is her President’s Address to the congress.

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Currently more than 800,000 people are without paid work and are struggling to meet basic needs such as housing and food. There are countless stories of those living on welfare having to choose between paying a bill or eating a meal. Anyone who has been unemployed knows it costs money to seek employment, from printing your resumes to the cost of travel to interviews, appropriate clothing or a haircut. It is nearly impossible to look for paid work if you are homeless and hungry.

Ever tried to book a flight online, made a mistake and then found that either there was no one available to help you fix it or that it was just going to cost you more anyway? I have, while experiencing the fury that everyone feels at the helplessness and injustice of it all.

I would consider myself to be relatively computer and internet literate. However this era of new technology and electronic media excludes vast numbers of people and disadvantages them terribly.

World

Ivan Duque has not even taken office and his government is already in crisis after the president-elect’s political patron, former president Alvaro Uribe, resigned from Congress.

It has never been a deadlier time to defend one’s community, way of life or environment, especially in Latin America.

A former military police officer and former fire fighter have been detained on suspicion of involvement in the killing of Black activist and Rio de Janeiro city councillor Marielle Franco, along with her driver Anderson Gomes on March 14.

Members of the Rural Landless Movement (MST) protested in front of Brazil's Federal Supreme Court (STF) on July 21, to demand former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva be release from prison and allowed to register as a presidential candidate in the October general elections.

Solidarity with Witness K

In an extraordinary and moving act, Timorese people have taken to Facebook to express their solidarity with Witness K, the Australian spy who exposed the bugging by the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) of the Timorese PM's office during critical negotiations over the maritime boundary between these two countries, and his lawyer Bernard Collaery. On July 25, Timorese protestors will march on the Australian embassy in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste (East Timor).

Activists from the Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea (MKOTT) in Timor-Leste are planning to march on the Australian embassy in the capital Dili on Wednesday July 25. The march will gather at 9am near the Grupo Media Nasional offices on Jardin Cross Road before marching to the embassy.

Culture

In reviewing this important - but not self-important - book by Lindy Nolan, I can hardly do better than start by quoting Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, Northern Territory Australian of the Year in 2015 and Amatjere Elder, from the backcover of the book: “Such deep and fearless truth.”

Amateurs is a poignantly funny film that raises serious questions about Swedish multiculturalism, without ever preaching. There is plenty of harsh racist behaviour demonstrated — but the worst of it is committed by migrants against each other.

On the 50th anniversary of Johnny Cash’s concerts behind prison walls, later released as At Folsom Prison, Nicole Colson looks at how the US country music legend gave voice to the voiceless.