Issue 1190

Australia

Two new reports by ecologists say Santos’s Response to Submissions (RTS) failed to address how endangered species will be impacted by its controversial Narrabri Coal Seam Gas (CSG) project in the Pilliga Forest.

An event continuing the open discussion on solutions to gendered violence was held on July 31 at the Resistance Centre in Melbourne.

Guest speakers were Sumaiya Muyeen, PhD in Gender and Cultural studies; Margarita Windisch, feminist activist and Socialist Alliance member; and Pia Cerveri, Women's and Equality Co-lead organiser at Victorian Trades Hall. An open discussion was held afterward.

Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash may find herself in front of a court if the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) decides to lay charges over leaks from her office regarding a raid on the Australian Workers Union (AWU) last October.

The Australian Federal Police is referring material such as witness statements, emails, text messages and phone records to the CDPP over the next few weeks.

Just two years after announcing a ban on greyhound racing, only to reverse it six weeks later, the NSW government announced on July 31 it will provide $500,000 in prize money to the industry to create the richest greyhound racing event in the world.

The inaugural Million Dollar Chase will consist of a series of qualifying finals in regional areas, before culminating in a finals series at Wentworth Park.

Statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Stastics on July 24 show 28,600 or 16.5% of people experiencing homelessness in Australia have full-time jobs.

The figures also show more than one-third of homeless people aged over 15 are employed in some capacity.

A total of 61,500 people are employed in some way, but their wages do not pay enough to put a roof over their head.

Nearly half the homeless population — 45.6% — is either in work or looking for work, and the unemployment rate for people experiencing homelessness is 22.5%.

World

Three women were stabbed during a march to demand free, safe and legal abortions by a group of hooded people who assaulted protesters in Chile’s capital, Santiago.

About 40,000 women attended the march on July 25, carrying signs that read “the rich pay for it, the poor bleed out” and “women marching until we are free.” The march was in support of an abortion bill introduced to Congress that day by legislator Guido Girardi, from the opposition Party for Democracy.

The fourth national congress of Venezuela’s largest political party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), wound up on July 30 following three days of intense activities. The congress was inaugurated on July 28, on the 64th birthday of the party’s late founder, Hugo Chavez.

The PSUV congress took place in an increasingly complicated context, amidst a collapsing economy, hyperinflation, international financial sanctions and an upcoming monetary reconversion.

A large contingent of Venezuelan campesinos marched across the country for almost three weeks in what they called the “Admirable Campesino March” to raise awareness about the many problems faced by small farmers, including evictions, harassment and general neglect at the hands of government institutions.

The marchers, who first set off on July 12 from the city of Guanare, Portuguesa state, arrived in Caracas on August 1 with the plan to deliver a collective document that presents both their complaints and proposals to President Nicolas Maduro.

The abortion debate is continuing in Argentina with senate commissions rejecting modifications to the original bill that would have made abortions more difficult to obtain.

Conservative modifications were made to the original bill and voted on August 1 in the three commissions (health, justice and constitutional affairs) currently debating its contents before the bill heads to the full Senate on August 8.

Khasi women are the latest to join a growing movement in the country challenging discriminatory legislation and practices.

Indigenous women in north-eastern India are calling on the Meghalaya state government to block a bill that would deny them rights, including the ability to inherit land if they marry outside their tribe.

Khasi women are the latest to join a growing movement in the country challenging discriminatory legislation and practices.

The bill was passed last month by the tribe’s governing body, which said it is a measure to protect the group’s indigenous identity.

In common with many other countries, Turkey’s socialist movement has been marked by the dominance of men in positions of leadership and authority.

The patriarchy is a social order that has become dominant globally over the course of millennia and which connects with oppressive conceptions of the family, exploitation and inheritance — in short, with social class. Socialists cannot stand by as it recreates itself in the very structures we claim exist to overturn social stratification and oppression.

Ali Wazeer, a central committee member of The Struggle group, has won a seat in the national parliament with 23,530 votes on July 25. His closest rival for the seat, from a religious alliance, got only 7515.

A key leader of the Pashtun Tahafaz Movement (PTM), Wazeer was one the organisers of the mass meetings organised in major cities that demanded fair compensation to the victims of the “war on terror”. This campaign also demanded the release of all “missing” persons, or else that they be tried in court.

In his election victory speech on July 26, Imran Khan gave a sober talk that ran contrary to the violent language he used throughout the election campaign, notes Farooq Tariq from Lahore.

Khan’s Pakistan Tereek-e-Insaf (PTI) “won” 116 seats in the National Assembly out of the 342 seats, of which 278 seats are contested directly on the First Past the Post (FPTP) system.

Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May is in dire trouble and likely to be voted out of office by her own MPs when parliament returns in September, writes English socialist Phil Hearse.

Israeli forces seized a boat on July 29 that was carrying nearly two dozen activists and journalists aiming to break Israel’s maritime blockade on Gaza.

The boat is part of the international Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC), which describes itself as “a grassroots people-to-people solidarity movement composed of campaigns and initiatives from all over the world working together to end the siege of Gaza”. 

On July 29, activists from the Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea (Movimento Kontra Okupasun Tasi Timor, MKOTT) held an overnight vigil for the "Death of democracy in Australia" outside Hotel Timor, in Dili, where Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop is staying during her official visit to Timor-Leste.

Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin was said to have remarked that there are decades in which nothing happens, and weeks in which decades happen. Muhsin Yorulmaz writes that, in Turkey, there is no escaping this particular truism.

Because of the rapid rate of betrayals, shifting alliances and crises, it becomes difficult to summarise what the Turkish government or state are “thinking” in a given week, even for those of us who speak Turkish.

As Israel passes legislation that reinforces its apartheid system against non-Jews, Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza, bearing the brunt of Israel’s plethora of discriminatory laws and practice, continue to resist, writes Lisa Gleeson.

Dozens of already existing laws entrench Palestinians’ place as second-class citizens, either within the official borders of Israel or the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza.

Democratic Party politicians and media outlets that reflect their positions have attacked President Donald Trump on certain issues with arguments to the right of him.

One example is United States policy on North Korea. Trump has been taken to task for meeting with Kim Jong-un and initiating discussions with North Korea over its possession of nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver them.

The charge is that even meeting with Kim was wrong because it allegedly legitimises and “prettifies” him.

Analysis

Corporate CEO salaries have hit record high levels over the past year, according to the latest CEO pay report from the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI). The report shows that pay for company bosses has reached its highest level for 17 years thanks to "persistent and increasing bonus payments".

Refugee activists are stepping up pressure on Qantas to halt its participation in the deportation of refugees from Australia, hoping this will help increase pressure on other airlines to follow suit.

Protests are planned outside Qantas offices in Sydney and Melbourne and a campaign has been launched to petition Qantas and 11 other airlines not to let the Australian government use their aircraft, pilots or crew to deport a Tamil family back to danger in Sri Lanka.

Before the “super Saturday” byelections on July 28, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was saying the outcome would be a “test of leadership”.

Then he lost all five contests and changed his tune.

A crime wave is sweeping Melbourne caused by “out-of control African gangs”’ if we are to believe Channel 7, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Coalition MPs and even Victorian police minister Lisa Neville, who claimed: “This core group of African youth are causing huge fear.”

Young Aboriginal man David Dungay jnr died on December 29, 2015 after pleading for his life in the mental health wing of Sydney’s Long Bay jail.

The 26-year-old Dunghutti man from Kempsey, a known diabetic, suffered a cardiac arrest when he was pinned down by four members of the prison’s Immediate Action Team (IAT) for refusing to stop eating biscuits and injected with two strong sedatives. He was due to be released three weeks later.

Below is an abridged version of a speech delivered by socialist unionist Robynne Murphy to this year’s ACTU Congress. Murphy spoke alongside three women from the Electrical Trades Union, who had formed the “Sparkettes”, a network to support other women in their union.

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I worked at the steelworks in Port Kembla for 30 years, during which time I was involved in a long campaign with mainly migrant women for the right for women to have secure and well-paid jobs.

Among the first laws passed by the new Australian parliament in 1901 when the Commonwealth of Australia came into being was the Pacific Island Labourers Act, ordering the deportation of black Melanesian workers known as kanakas.

Other aspects of what became known as the White Australia Policy have since been rectified, but this shameful stain on our past has yet to be properly addressed.

 

Australia has long had one of the most monopolised media industries in the world. Indeed, when Green Left Weekly was launched in 1991, one of our key slogans was “Break the media monopoly — support Green Left Weekly”. Today it is even more relevant.

Culture

No Friend but the Mountains, written by Kurdish journalist and human right activist Behrouz Boochani who has been jailed on Manus Island since 2013, stands out among the genre of prison literature.