Issue 846

Australia

On July 22, Socialist Alliance Senate candidate Soubhi Iskander condemned the Australia First Party's leaflets attacking immigrants from Africa. The leaflets were letterboxed in the western Sydney suburb of Seven Hills.

Iskander is a refugee from Sudan and lives in Seven Hills.

“...

A draft program for the Climate Change Social Change conference, over November 5-7, has been released and is available on the conference website.

Major conference sessions include topics such as: “A safe climate — what will it take?”; “Climate justice: their agenda and ours”; “Food...

“The poisoning of groundwater near Kingaroy is just the tip of the iceberg with coal seam gas [CSG] extraction”, climate change activist and Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Brisbane Ewan Saunders told Green Left Weekly.

The contamination of groundwater by toxic...

Work on every wharf in every port across Australia stopped for 24 hours from noon on July 23 to allow wharfies to attend services to mark the tragic death of Steve Piper.

Piper was crushed to death by a steel beam on Melbourne's Appleton Dock on July 14. The 24-hour stopwork also called...

Refugee Rights Action Network (RRAN) WA is organising a “Compassion Caravan” to the detention centre in Leonora, WA, where more than 30 families are being held, including more than 40 children.

Some of these families’ applications have been “frozen” by the Gillard-ALP government in a...

On July 31, 100 anti-uranium mining protesters rallied outside the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle, which was hosting the Australian Uranium Conference.

WA Liberal Premier Colin Barnett lifted the ban on uranium mining in November 2008 soon after winning office.

There are no...

On July 24, the NSW Combined Rail Unions announced they had successfully applied to take industrial action for their enterprise bargaining agreement in 2010.

Of key concern to the unions are safety and service levels, which have declined because of a RailCorp staff review that has cut...

On July 17, 25 members of Justice for Palestine (JFP) Brisbane met in the CBD to launch their boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli goods and services.

The target for the first BDS action was the Israeli Seacret cosmetics company that uses “mineral-rich mud and...

World

Recent moves by the Venezuelan government, which now claims almost 50% of the shares in a pro-coup TV station and revoked the concession of another, represent new steps towards reclaim the media for the people.

The moves came as US-Venezuelan writer Eva Golinger revealed on July 15 in a...

A unprecedented mass demonstration took place on July 8 in Jayapura, the capital of Indonesian-occupied West Papua, Straighttimes.com said that day.

Thousands of people joined a long march, walking 17 kilometres from the Papua People’s Assembly (MRP) to the Papuan Provincial Legislature...

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ordered a maximum alert on Venezuela’s border with Colombia after the administration of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe accused the Chavez government of harbouring terrorists and running terrorist training camps on July 22.

Uribe’s government gave a...

Germany’s Federal Administrative Court ruled on July 21 that the Verfassungsschutz — Germany’s domestic spy agency — had a right to spy on the left-wing party Die Linke.

Bodo Ramelow, Die Linke’s leader in the eastern state of Thuringia and others were appealing against the agency spying...

On June 28 last year, democratically-elected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was overthrown in a US-backed military coup.

Zelaya had upset US and Honduran corporate interests with policies such as blocking privatisation, increasing the minimum wage and joining the anti-imperialist Latin...

Anti-war campaigners have challenged British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg to act on his belief that the invasion of Iraq was illegal by making sure those responsible were tried for war crimes, including former PM Tony Blair.

Clegg, from the Liberal Democrats, shocked his pro-war...

Alarm bells should be ringing as the threat of war looms on the horizon, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned in his July 18 weekly column.

The warning came after tensions again flared with neighbouring Colombia, and the Central American nation of Costa Rica agreed to 6000 US troops...

The global carbon market, which trades “pollution rights” to encourage industry to cut greenhouse gas emissions, grew in 2009. Far from signaling a success, this reflects a huge increase in fraud, the dumping of surplus emissions permits by industry, and a rise in financial speculation.

...

Two recent reports, released by NASA and the US National Climate Data Centre, have confirmed that last month was the warmest June since records began.

June was the fourth consecutive month that had broken temperature records, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)...

Thousands of republicans from across Ireland gathered on July 20 in Sallins, County Kildare, to honour Theobald Wolfe Tone, known as “the father of Irish republicanism”. Tone led an uprising against British rule and for an Irish republic in 1798. When it was defeated, Tone was sentenced to death...

“What the hell did we do to deserve this?”, BP CEO Tony Hayward asked fellow executives in the company’s London office, days after the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, the April 29 New York Times said.

Eleven workers died in the...

The US Senate passed the much-ballyhooed financial reform bill this week to applause from an increasingly thin crowd of Obama administration supporters.

Most focused on the “something is better than nothing” features of the bill. But this could barely disguise the fact that the new...

When right-wing billionaire Ricardo Martinelli was elected Panama’s president in May 2009, political commentators heralded it as a sign that Latin Americans were becoming disillusioned with the “pink tide” of progressive and leftist governments.

But one year later, the Martinelli...

In an effort to mitigate the global outrage that followed its May 31 attack on the Gaza aid flotilla, Israel has, ever so slightly, eased its blockade on Gaza. However minimal, this step has only been taken because of the pressure applied to Israel by the international grassroots protest...

El Salvador is a country where supermarket prices are comparable to those in developed countries, yet a sugar cane cutter earns $5 a day.

This small, predominantly rural, yet densely populated country has a violent history of colonial oppression and the attempted genocide of the...

Joe Glenton, the British Army Lance Corporal who refused to return to fight in Afghanistan, was released from military prison on July 12.

Glenton was jailed in March after going absent without leave from the army in 2007. He had previously spent seven months in Afghanistan as part of the...

Analysis

On July 17, the Adelaide-based Climate Emergency Action Network (CLEAN SA) hosted a forum in Port Augusta detailing the Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Stationary Energy Plan recently launched by Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE).

Climate activist and Socialist Alliance member Renfrey...

Victorian Electrical Trade Union (ETU) members have voted resoundingly to disaffiliate from the Australian Labor Party.

In a ballot of ETU members on whether the union should remain affiliated to the ALP, 85% voted against affiliation. Nearly 44% of ETU members voted in the ballot...

October 12 is the trial date set for a young Cairns couple charged with procuring an abortion.

According to Dr Caroline de Costa in a book released this month, Never Ever Again …Why Australian Abortion Law Needs Reform, no woman has previously been charged with procuring her own...

Myth: Public opinion on abortion is deeply divided

Australians support access to abortion — for three decades, opinion polls have consistently shown that most Australians support women’s right to choose and believe that forcing a woman to have an unwanted child is worse...

Ewan Saunders, Socialist Alliance candidate for Brisbane, recently returned from the Justice Ride to Alice Springs.

* * *

On July 14, after almost 50 hours spent on the road over four days, I, along with about 20 others, rolled back into Brisbane at 11.30pm....

In November 2008, Palm Island man Lex Wotton was convicted of "incitement to riot” and sentenced to six years' jail. His charge followed the Aboriginal community uprising and protest after the death in police custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee in November 2004.

Wotton was released on July 19...

The Order of Mates celebrated beside Sydney Harbour the other day. This is a venerable masonry in Australian political life that unites the Labor Party with the rich elite known as the big end of town.

They shake hands, not hug, though the Silver Bodgie now hugs. In his prime, the Silver...

Green Left Weekly spoke to Peter Boyle, the national convener of the Socialist Alliance, about the political climate of the 2010 federal elections.

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Many progressive people are feeling depressed about the federal election. How do...

On July 18, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) administration was forced to reinstate 80 staff members and start two weeks of intensive bargaining. As a result, UNSW union members voted to lift a ban on releasing student results on July 23.

The UNSW branch of the National Tertiary...

In one of her first policy changes after replacing Kevin Rudd as leader of the Labor Party, Prime Minister Julia Gillard dumped Rudd’s idea of a “big Australia”.

On June 26, Gillard said “Australia should not hurtle down the track towards a big population”. Instead, she called for a “...

The Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union ended its 20-day strike at Kennon Auto on July 20 after voting for a new agreement with a 10% pay rise and protection for the union’s conditions.

Kennon Auto used to be part of the now-liquidated Nylex group. The new owner, Maggie Dong, at first...

Forget about the climate science and the record high temperatures. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has decided she doesn’t need a serious climate change policy to win the federal election.

In its place, she kicked off her election campaign on July 18 with a “sustainable Australia” policy....

A spectre is haunting the healthcare system — the spectre of Big Pharma.

Fears over the side effects of a widely used diabetes medication in Australia have revealed the power of big money and its influence on the healthcare system.

The medication — known as Avandia — is under...

Prime Minister Julia Gillard was supposed to launch Labor's new policy to tackle climate change on July 23. But in essence she merely restated the same old Labor climate policy: delay, delay and delay again.

Gillard's speech was pages long, but her climate agenda can be summarised in...

On July 22, the trial of construction worker Ark Tribe was adjourned until September 13. Tribe is facing up to six months’ jail for failing to attend an interrogation by the construction industry police — the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC). Thousands of workers rallied...

General

Over-fishing threatens caviar

“Lovers of fine food face a shortage of Beluga caviar that may last more than a decade. Eurasian states are discussing a ban on catching sturgeon in the Caspian Sea.

“Over-fishing has reduced the population of the fish that produces...

Resistance!

On July 15, 25 Justice Ride participants returned from their trip across Queensland to Alice Springs for the Defending Indigenous Rights convergence over July 6-9.

The trip to Alice Springs took four days each way, so there was plenty of time for us to get to know each other, discuss...

Culture

Chasing the Lollyman
Presented by deBASE Productions
State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

“Move them along!”, referring to police strategies to deal with loitering Aboriginal people on Australia’s urban streets, was a phrase parodied to hilarity by...

Boomalli, one of Australia’s longest running Aboriginal artists’ co-operatives, is threatened with closure. Based in Sydney’s inner-city suburb of Leichhardt, Boomalli was set up in 1987 by Aboriginal artists to get their art recognised.

Boomalli means “to strike, to make a mark, to...

Brain science — neuroscience — is big business, big science and big research. Neuroscientists are offering to explain, mend and manipulate the mind. Many see no problems with this.

For example, Eric Kandel, who won a Nobel Prize for his work on memory, said: “You are your brain.”

...

Fighting Fund

This election campaign is crazy.

It’s crazy that so much fear is being whipped up about the few thousand of the world's 43 million refugees and displaced people who manage to get on a leaky boat to Australia.

But neither mainstream party is willing to stop sending troops to the...