Issue 805

Australia

Speakers from Micronesia, Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Torres Strait Islands described how climate change affects their everyday lives at meetings of 180 people in Brisbane on July 28 and 170 people in Melbourne on July 30

Climate change has meant tidal surges now breach high sea walls, coast...

"Help us, do something for us — but the way we want them to be done. Talk to us", Alice Springs town camp resident Audrey McCormack pleaded of ALP conference delegates.

She was speaking outside the Sydney convention centre, at a public lobby coinciding with the first day of the conference...

The Palestine solidarity group Students for Palestine organised a successful fundraising dinner at the Rockdale Town Hall in Sydney's south on July 24. Indigenous activist Jenny Munro delivered a welcome to country to kick off a fabulous night of entertainment, food, culture and fundraising....

Victoria's record six-month dry spell has raised fears that the summer of 2009-10 will be worse than last year, when hundreds died in the Black Saturday bushfires and the record-breaking heatwave that preceded them.

The July 29 Age reported a leaked government document warning...

Environment groups are organising a "peaceful community mass civil disobedience" at the Hazelwood coal-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley on September 13.

It will demand the government "switch off Hazelwood, switch off coal", and replace it with renewable energy and "clean energy...

On August 1, thousands of supporters of same-sex marriage rights rallied around the country demanding equal rights for gay and lesbian relationships. On the same day, the ALP national conference passed a policy motion supporting the recognition of same-sex relationships but opposing gay marriage...

World

Right-wing, religiously driven sex education policies introduced by the administration of president George Bush Jnr have had disastrous results for the sexual and reproductive health of US youth, a July 17 report by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Instead of...

Months after the murder of prominent journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge in Sri Lanka, more journalists have been attacked as part of the Sri Lankan government's war on free speech.

Rights group Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) said on July 22 that, under the government of...

Siddique Abdullah Hasan is on death row in Ohio. He is one of the Lucasville Five, prisoners railroaded onto death row after a 1993 prison rebellion against abuses by prison authorities. Below, he writes about the July 21 execution in Ohio of Marvallous Keene — the 1000th prisoner to be executed...

The article below is reprinted from the Morning Star.

Johannesburg was brought to a grinding halt on July 27 with 10,000 local government workers marching to Mary Fitzgerald Square to reaffirm their union's demand for a 15% wage increase and a housing subsidy.

About 150,...

On July 17, 20 members of jailed democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy were arrested after peacefully marching in a crowd of 300 to mark Martyrs' Day.

The July 20 Sydney Morning Herald said the activists were arrested when they returned from...

The article below is abridged from a July 27 statement by the National Black Fraternal Organisation of Honduras on the one month anniversary of the military coup that overthrew elected President Manuel Zelaya. It is reprinted from Hondurasresists.blogspot.com.

An international sign-on...

The eyewitness account of events in Honduras on July 30 is by Al Giordano. It is abridged from Rightsaction.org. Hundreds of activists have been arrested by the illegal coup regime that overthrew Honduran President Manuel Zelaya on June 28 and an unknown number assassinated.

On...

With the June 28 military coup in Honduras, the agreement for five United States military bases in Colombia and the intensification of a dirty propaganda campaign against Venezuela, "the big question is whether the US will look at launching a war that will undoubtedly spread throughout the...

Much of the debate about US President Barack Obama's push for Middle East peace resembles the proverbial argument about whether the glass is half full or half empty.

But even a full glass is not very useful if you need to fill an entire reservoir.

A common assumption is that...

On July 28, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ordered the withdrawal of Venezuela's ambassador and diplomatic staff in Colombia. His move was in response to the decision by the government of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to allow five US military bases on Colombian territory.

The...

The article below is an excerpt from a speech given by a worker from the Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight. Since July 20, Vestas workers launched an indefinite occupation of the plant in response to plans to close it by Danish company Vestas Windsystems. The speech is abridged...

The frosty relations between Colombia and Ecuador got even frostier on July 6 when Colombian officials and lawyers accused members of Ecuador's government of working for left-wing Colombian guerrillas.

The accusations arose after a video was released featuring Revolutionary Armed Forces...

From the hype surrounding the release of Apple's latest iPhone at the start of July, you might be forgiven for thinking it could do everything from making a cup of coffee to shaving your armpits. The July 29 Sydney Morning Herald said there was even a new application that could measure...

Thousands of tons of earth contaminated with radioactive waste have been identified at the site of the London Olympics at Marshgate Lane in Stratford, George Galloway, a left-wing MP for the anti-war Respect party, said on July 27.

"The waste is to be buried in a giant container near the...

The article below is by Jan Sithole, general secretary of the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions. It first appeared at Pambazuko News.

Ask most people around the world who are not from Swaziland what they know about the country, and the most likely...

Zaineb Alani is an Iraqi antiwar activist living in the US. In this speech, delivered at the July 10-12 US conference of the National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations, she explains why the so-called withdrawal of US forces from Iraq does not mean an end to the...

Analysis

Australian Coal Association (ACA) executive director Ralph Hillman believes the industry doesn't want special treatment from the Rudd Labor government. It just wants the same "fair treatment" given to other big polluters under the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).

Coal's...

To win the battle to stop climate change, climate activists in Queensland have an important part to play. The Queensland ALP government is a strong backer of Australia's biggest polluters.

Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel and the state is the world's biggest exporter of coal.
In...

Canice Lynch was sacked from his job at the West Gate Bridge strengthening project on July 24. Lynch was the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) shop steward at the site.

The project is run by construction giant John Holland under contract from the Victorian state government...

More than 200 council workers and their supporters joined sacked council workers Mick Van Beek and Peter Anderson in Johnston Park, Geelong on the morning of July 28.

Mick Van Beek and Peter Anderson were sacked by the City of Greater Geelong Council for filling in a pothole in November...

"The system here in Victoria for delivering quality training to both domestic students and international students is working very, very well", Jacinta Allan, Victorian skills and workplace participation minister told ABC Stateline on July 24 in response to criticisms of Australia's...

Construction giant John Holland was the first employer to lodge an application with Labor's new Fair Work Australia industrial umpire. It asked FWA to rule on which union has coverage at its controversial West Gate Bridge site in Melbourne.

The company is pushing for the Australian...

The following article was submitted by Jane Addison as part of an ongoing debate around population and climate change. Addison is a member of Sustainable Population Australia. The article is written in a personal capacity.

When it comes to something as important...

Five Filipino workers holding 457 visas, who were employed at a Fletcher International abattoir near Albany, were made redundant and given 10 weeks' entitlement pay on June 2.

Joel Espetaro, Zandro Sta Maria, Nolan De La Cruz, Gilbert Vidal and Rex Cortado were all active members of the...

"We've had the gun at our head." This is what William Tilmouth, Tangentyere Council CEO, said in response to Aboriginal affairs minister Jenny Macklin's triumphant July 29 announcement that the council had agreed to lease Alice Springs town camps to the federal government for 40 years in...

If the rhetoric of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission's report on Australia's health system is taken at face value, health care in Australia will get an impressive overhaul courtesy of the federal government.

Released on July 28, A healthier future for all Australians...

Former Queensland Labor cabinet minister Gordon Nuttall was sentenced to seven years jail on July 17. He was found guilty of corruptly receiving secret payments from two Queensland businessmen.

The Nuttall conviction was followed by allegations from corruption fighter Tony Fitzgerald in a...

The national ALP Conference was held in Sydney from July 30 to August 1. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's speech on the opening day of the conference was full of congratulatory remarks about the greatness of his party and the way the ALP federal government had handled the economic crisis.

He...

We've heard it all before — especially those of us who can remember the rhetoric of the Hawke and Keating governments. A little pain now and everything will be much better for everyone in the long run.

Australia needs to be more competitive, more productive and more flexible. Working...

I met Eddie Spearritt in the Philharmonic pub, overlooking Liverpool. It was a few years after 96 Liverpool football fans were crushed to death at Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield, on April 15, 1989. Eddie's 14-year-old son, Adam, died in his arms.

The "main reason for the disaster", Lord...

General

"If you are still in the Labor Party today, you should be ashamed of yourself", 71-year-old Aboriginal activist Pat Eatock called out to delegates entering the stage-managed proceedings of the first day of the ALP national conference.

Most delegates scurried past Eatock, but a few,...

Resistance!

On July 31, Wollongong's satirical 'Billionaires for Coal' group rallied outside the ALP national conference in Sydney to congratulate the party on a "job well done".

The billionaires asked PM Kevin Rudd to continue governing in the interests of the super-rich and offered the ALP a giant...

The Tasmanian Labour Party held its state conference in Hobart on July 26. It adopted a new policy in support of same-sex marriage after a close vote.

State Young Labor president Stuart Benson moved the successful motion, the July 27 Mercury said.

The motion read: "The...

The Tasmanian Liberal Party, now in opposition, is running with a new youth-bashing policy in the lead-up to the next state election. The election will take place early next year.

If the Liberals get their way, students who have been suspended or expelled, and even those caught wagging...

Culture

The Spartacus WarBy Barry StraussWeidenfeld & Nicolson, 2009240 pages, $55 (hb)

Spartacus was thrice reviled in Roman eyes — as a foreign "barbarian", a gladiator and a slave. But fear was added to revulsion once he had escaped, raised an army of 60,000...

The Religious Right at the Crossroads – The 2008 US presidential election was a watershed moment in US politics, shattering the decades-old alliance between the Republican Party and conservative evangelical Christians. SBS1, Monday, August 10, 2.30pm.

...

FigureheadBy Patrick AllingtonBlack Inc, 2009239pages, $29.95

I just finished reading — with various degrees of interest, amusement and irritation — Figurehead, the first novel of Adelaide-based writer Patrick Allington.

It tells, to quote from the book's back cover, the...

Slaughterhouse FiveBy Kurt VonnegutFirst published in 1969224 pages, $24.95

The enormity of massacre allowed by modern armaments beggars the moral imagination. What can be said in the face of the bombing of Hiroshima? How can the Holocaust be understood?

Ruling...