Issue 1197

News

From September 12-16 activists took part in workshops and actions in Newcastle to end coal. The protest was organised by Frontline Action on Coal.

Dozens of climate activists sprinted across mountains of coal, swarmed a massive coal loader, locked on to critical parts of the machine and shut down the largest coal terminal in the world, in Newcastle on September 15.

About 200 nurses and midwives rallied outside NSW Parliament House on September 18 to demand formal nurse-to-patient ratios in all hospitals.

The federal Coalition government is so keen to assist Adani with its mega coalmine project, it is breaking its own laws to do it.

A parliamentary vote to remove abortion from Queensland’s Criminal Code and treat it as a health issue could happen on October 16.

The second Working Women Get Organised conference will be held in Geelong on October 13, following a successful inaugural event last year.

Retired unionists and community members gathered in Sydney’s west on September 19 to demand the federal Coalition government stop the creeping privatisation of Centrelink and reverse cuts and job losses in the national social security agency.

The Socialist Alliance will contest the NSW state election, to be held in March next year. The Alliance’s ticket for the Legislative Council is made up of 18 activists from across the state. It has also preselected Susan Price to stand in the Legislative Assembly seat of Parramatta.

The aged care sector should be publicly run, adequately funded and with a high standard of living, says the Victorian Socialists. The current problem is not market failure. The problem is the market itself.

More than 70 people packed Geelong Trades Hall (GTH) on September 13 to launch the Victorian Socialists campaign for the Western Victoria Region Legislative Council electorate.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has sought to end a long-running dispute between Health Workers Union (HWU) members and Dorevitch Pathology, by issuing a draft determination in which workers’ wages are set to rise by up to 20% and allowances by up to 30%.

The federal Attorney General’s case against a defendant dubbed “Witness K” began in the ACT Magistrates Court on September 12. Media reports say Witness K is a serving Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) officer. 

We don’t need to pray for rain, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison has suggested, we need to take serious climate action now, was the blunt message farmers delivered to federal parliament on September 10. 

The farmers said the drought gripping NSW and Queensland had to be a wake-up call for politicians to take climate change seriously.

They also raised concerns that the Coalition government is attempting to stymie the development of wind power, which provides income for farmers and rural communities when agricultural income falls.

An indefinite strike by 1600 Alcoa workers in Western Australia that began on August 8 has entered a new stage with the start of a Fair Work Commission (FWC) hearing in which the company is seeking to terminate the existing enterprise agreement. If the company's move is successful, workers at the multi-billion dollar company’s aluminium refineries and bauxite mines would be forced onto an inferior agreement that offers no job security and a possible wage cut of up to 50%.

Analysis

Over the past 27 years, Green Left Weekly has given voice to activists in the Asia-Pacific region fighting for justice and freedom and built up strong bonds of internationalist solidarity with the movements and parties they are part of.

We believe it is important that GLW continues to report on struggles in neighbouring countries from the point of view of the oppressed and exploited majority.

There’s another blue in the Liberal Party — and this time it is about quotas and the bullying culture towards women.

How much bigger has Australia’s economy become since 1994? The answer, per head of population, seems to be: close to 50%. That’s not in current dollars, but adjusted for inflation. So can “Australia” (read: the big end of town) afford to raise the rate of Newstart payments — currently at a base rate of $273 a week for a single person — for the unemployed?

The NSW government looks to be on the skids after a 30% swing against the Liberals in the September 8 byelection in the rural seat of Wagga Wagga. Independent Joe McGirr won the seat which had been a Liberal stronghold for 61 years.

In case you didn't have enough, here's 13 reasons for throwing out the NSW Coalition in the state elections next March.

The Australian Labor Party’s parliamentary caucus' decision to vote up the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) has created a backlash. The secretary of Hunter Workers (formerly the Newcastle Trades Hall Council) Daniel Wallace has resigned from the party, saying he 'finally realised that the shortcuts taken by the ALP usually lead to detours which lead to dead ends'.

The intention of zero tolerance is to reduce harm by reducing drug taking. But the reality is that zero tolerance does not work and that people will continue to use drugs. 

World

The USA has many friends and many foes, as does the Russian Federation. The perceptions about these nuclear armed powers is mainly determined by their leaders. President Trump, supposedly the leader of the 'free world" and President Putin, the autocratic former KGB operative strong man who rules with an iron fist. Their recent Helsinki summit does little to reassure people, friends or enemies, of whom of these two to believe or trust.

Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjarto accused United Nations officials on September 19 of “spreading lies” with their criticism of Budapest’s anti-migration policies.

The comments came just days after new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, and UN rights experts harshly criticised Hungary’s immigration policies.

Szijjarto told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that “it was obvious” the UN officials were “biased pro-migration officials”.

Tory-supporting media have been portraying Britain’s socialist Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn as a Soviet fellow-traveller. Meanwhile, Hilary Wainwright notes, Labour’s shadow chancellor and close Corbyn ally sets out a vision that breaks with the old bureaucratic state model.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell can usually barely breathe a word about nationalisation without setting off a media frenzy, so it’s strange that his most interesting comments yet on the subject passed with so little comment.

Canada’s historic vote in June to legalise cannabis is yet another nail in the coffin of the so-called War on Drugs, conceived in the 1970s by then US-president Richard Nixon, writes Natalie Sharples.

“So called” because it was deliberately conceived to obscure what it really was: not a war on substances at all, but on Black people and the anti-war left.

As the plight of child asylum seekers separated from their parents fades from the news, hundreds of children remain incarcerated and separated from their families, writes Barry Sheppard from San Francisco.

Of these, about 400 are children of parents who have been deported. There is little chance these families can be reunited soon, and probably never will be.

Climate change catastrophe has confronted hundreds of thousands of people of the eastern seaboard of the United States and on the Philippines island of Luzon, writes Phil Hearse, as Hurricane Florence and Typhoon Mangkhut made landfall simultaneously.

Mexico’s incoming president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), wants to work with US president Trump to reduce migration and tighten borders. But, Tamara Pearson writes from Puebla, his approach doesn’t address key humanitarian issues.

When it comes to immigration and refugees, Mexico’s progressive president elect, AMLO, has more in common with US President Donald Trump than you’d expect.

Large rallies were held in towns throughout Idlib on September 14 in response to the threat by the Assad regime to invade the province in Syria’s north-west.

Idlib is currently controlled by a mixture of rebel groups. The strongest is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an extremely reactionary Islamist group that controls 60% of the province.

As the plight of child asylum seekers separated from their parents fades from the news, hundreds of children remain incarcerated and separated from their families, writes Barry Sheppard from San Francisco.

Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjarto accused United Nations officials on September 19 of “spreading lies” with their criticism of Budapest’s anti-migration policies.

The comments came just days after new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, and UN rights experts harshly criticised Hungary’s immigration policies.

Szijjarto told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that “it was obvious” the UN officials were “biased pro-migration officials”.

Activists from the Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea (MKOTT) delivered a 10-metre-long banner covered with the signatures of 1300 Timorese to the Australian embassy in Dili on September 16. The signatures were collected in protest at the Australian government's persecution of former spy Witness K and his lawyer Bernard Collaery, for allegedly blowing the whistle on the 2004 bugging of Timor-Leste Cabinet offices by the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS).

Culture

One Punch Wonder
Directed by Amanda Crewes
Performed by the Actors Hub Perth
Playing at the Melbourne Fringe Festival

Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus takes a look at four new books of interest for ecosocialists. Inclusion does not imply endorsement or agreement with eveything the book says.

***

One Last Spin: The Power & Peril of the Pokies
Drew Rooke
Scribe, 2018, 325 pages

Ever wondered if it possible to win against the pokies? Why not ask someone who should know, like a poker machine technician.

“I make these machines in order to grab your money,” one such techie said when asked by freelance Sydney journalist, Drew Rooke. “I would not be so stupid to play myself.”

Dozens of DJs and music producers have joined an international call to support the cultural boycott of Israel.

“As long as the Israeli government continues its brutal and sustained oppression of the Palestinian people, we respect their call for a boycott of Israel as a means of peaceful protest against the occupation,” reads the statement artists posted on their social media pages, along with the hashtag #DJsForPalestine.