Issue 848

Australia

Media statement August 9, 2010

Rachel Evans, the lead NSW Senate candidate for Socialist Alliance, condemned Family First’s Wendy Francis’ likening the legalisation of same-sex marriage to the legalisation of child abuse as “homophobic” and “incitement to more violence against...

Brami Jegan, a young campaigner for social justice who is standing for the Greens in the New South Wales Senate, is very critical of the ALP’s policies on asylum seekers and the war in Afghanistan.

Jegan told Green Left Weekly she understands the challenges migrant communities...

Aboriginal activist Michael Eckford, better known as Michael Anderson, launched his campaign for the NSW Senate on August 3. Eckford was forced to stand under his birth certificate name because of Australian Electoral Commission regulations.

Eckford is running with former ALP member...

More than 850 people packed into the Sydney Town Hall for a “Save Sydney from Over-development” public meeting organised by Friends of Barangaroo on August 3. The meetings was organised to in response to a proposed development of the harbour-side Barangaroo area.

There are serious...

National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have vowed more industrial action to fight the ongoing refusal of vice-chancellor Fred Hilmer to negotiate on improvements to job security, pay and other conditions for UNSW staff.

In particular...

Jim Sharp, a well-known veteran of the left and labour movements in the city, launched his book of poetry, entitled Leftside at the Queensland Council of Unions building on July 31. About 100 people attended. Speakers included Marxist historian Humphrey McQueen and music was provided by...

A landmark agreement has been signed in Western Australia between the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and the Community and Public Sector Union/Civil Service Association of Western Australia (CPSU/CSA) over union representation in the state’s higher education sector.

The...

“Always Was, Always Will Be, Aboriginal Land: The struggle for Aboriginal rights”, was the title of an August 3 forum in the Brisbane Activist Centre sponsored by Socialist Alliance and Resistance. Speakers were Murri activist and SA Queensland Senate candidate Sam Watson and Ewan Saunders, SA...

The Stop the War Coalition Sydney held a picket outside ALP MP Tanya Plibersek’s office on August 5 to call for an end to Australian support for the war in Afghanistan.

The STWC has condemned the Australian government’s purchase of 18 unmanned spy drones and training packages worth $175...

WYONG — Climate action activists confronted Prime Minister Julia Gillard on August 3 when she appeared at a soccer club in Wyong on the NSW Central Coast.

She was handed a statement from the local climate action group about transitioning as soon as possible from fossil fuels, to...

Some of the Illawarra’s foremost fighters for social justice have backed Socialist Alliance candidate Jess Moore in the seat of Cunningham on the New South Wales south coast.

Highly regarded, veteran trade unionists Monica Chalmers, Neville Arrowsmith, Jim Keogh and Ken McBride, who have...

The Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group (TGLRG) organised political candidates to publicly sign a pledge stating their party would not use election material that incited hatred or ridicule against people based on their sexuality or gender.

The pledge signing took place at Salamanca...

Conservation groups from Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia, New South Wales, Canberra and Queensland took part in local actions on August 5 to highlight the threats to biodiversity that burning native forests for electricity will create.

In Hobart, conservationists from Still Wild...

The Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy (SPATE) is set to appeal a July 26 Land and Environment Court dismissal challenging the proposed Stockland 181-lot residential super development at Sandon Point, in the Wollongong suburb of Bulli, New South Wales.

Then-NSW planning minister...

Residents are organising to stop mining company LD Operations plans to start a new coal mine next to the town of Margaret River in Western Australia.

Margaret River is five hours south of Perth famous for its wineries, surfing spots and outstanding natural beauty.

A public...

More 150 people turned out in Darwin on August 3 for the launch of the Australian Greens Northern Territory Senate campaign.

The Greens are running two Aboriginal candidates: country music performer and Arrente man Warren H. Williams and Aboriginal rights activist Barbara Shaw

A...

The Parramatta Climate Action Network (ParraCAN) staged a series of rolling protests outside New South Wales state government ministers offices calling for no new coal

The NSW state government is planning to construct two new coal-fired power stations, which will increase the state’s...

“The major parties, Labor and Liberal, have failed to highlight Indigenous issues, and have largely ignored problems important to my community in this election”, Sam Watson, Aboriginal activist and Socialist Alliance Senate candidate for Queensland, said at a rally to launch his campaign for the...

Ben Courtice, Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Gellibrand, launched his election campaign on July 31 outside the Maribyrnong Detention centre.

Courtice told Green Left Weekly the Socialist Alliance calls for an immediate end to mandatory detention and offshore...

World

When police in Jamaica launched a bloody assault in May on poor neighbourhoods in the country’s capital city, news outlets in Canada responded with an ignorance and insensitivity that is all too common in their coverage of the Caribbean islands. As with Haiti, Jamaica is portrayed as...

The following is an August 3 statement by the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

* * *

The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) endorses and supports the call for boycott of Arizona on account of its manifestly racist laws...

At the beginning of August the Israeli government announced it would cooperate with one out of two international United Nations-sponsored investigation commissions into the May 31 Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacre. UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon claimed the move was “unprecedented”.

The...

Mumia Abu-Jamal — on death row for more than 30 years in Pennsylvania for a murder he didn't commit — is an iconic figure. Yet while the struggle for his freedom continues, less attention is given to his role as a political leader.

While Mumia has not, to my knowledge, used the term...

On August 4, California’s ban on same-sex marriages was ruled unconstitutional by federal judge Vaughn Walker. However, religious fundamentalist and anti-queer groups have indicated that they will appeal the ruling.

On August 6, Walker granted a stay on the implementation of his ruling,...

Last month, I stood in the Guildhall Square in Derry and watched as the relatives of the 14 innocent victims of the British Parachute Regiment expressed their delight at the Saville report’s conclusion that the 14 were innocent victims.

At the time of the killings the dead were labelled...

Despite US President Barack Obama’s promise to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez that his administration wouldn’t interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs, the US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is channelling millions to anti-Chavez groups.

Foreign intervention...

The following open letter was written by Bernardo Alvarez Herrera, Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the US, to the Washington Post editorial board. He wrote in response to a July 30 editorial that accused Venezuela of harbouring Colombian “...

The US emission trading scheme in sulphur dioxide (SO2) — the gas that causes acid rain — is widely held as proof that the market can cut pollution.

Pro-market commentators point to the success of this “acid rain market” as evidence that similar kinds of carbon trading schemes are the...

On August 3, the Ecuadorian government signed a landmark deal to prevent drilling for oil in the ecologically unique Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini areas of the Yasuni National Park (Yasuni-ITT).

The agreement, signed by the government of left-wing President Rafael Correa and the United...

On August 3, following an international campaign of solidarity, Gerardo Hernandez was transferred from “the hole” — the punitive isolation unit at the maximum-security Victorville penitentiary in California — and returned to the general prison population.

Arrested in 1998, Hernandez was...

Preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games have turned Delhi into a swirl of mud, scaffolding and scandal.

Government officials connected to the games appear confident that Delhi’s upturned streets and impassable traffic jams will soon turn into something spectacular.

On the...

Analysis

On August 14, rallies will take place in 13 different cities around Australia for the sixth annual national day of action for equal marriage rights. Last year’s national day of action drew more than 10,000 people, making it the biggest demonstration for queer rights in Australian history. The...

As of June 25, more than 4116 people, 566 of them children, were in Australian immigration detention centres, according to figures published on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.

The site also noted an increase of 46 people in the past week.

In a country of 22...

Liberal leader and extreme conservative Tony Abbott, who famously described climate change as “absolute crap”, is looking dangerously close to becoming prime minister on August 21. The prospect of a government headed by a Christian fundamentalist nicknamed “the mad monk” has struck dread into...

The Socialist Alliance proposals for the federal election, detailed at www.socialist-alliance.org, won’t come cheap. They include lifting welfare payments above the poverty line, ending the 200,000 public housing waiting list, achieving 100% renewable energy by 2020 through a plan of public...

Abdul Ramahi is a Palestinian-Australian who lives in Melbourne. A member of the Socialist Alliance, he is active in campaigns to raise awareness on the plight of the Palestinian people.

His own story, which he told Green Left Weekly, illustrates how the lives of Palestinians in...

Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s catch phrase for this election is "sustainable". No longer, according to Gillard, should we look to a big Australia, but a "sustainable" population.

In a speech in western Sydney on July 21, Gillard emphasised the squeeze on health services, transport,...

A growing number of unions across Australia have backed the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting Israel. The campaign demands that Israel ends its apartheid-like policies towards Palestinians.

The National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) said...

Dismayed by the Labor government’s inaction on climate change and looking for an alternative? Don’t look to the Liberals.

If the ALP has been dodgy on the issue, Tony Abbott’s party has been dodgier.

Sincere commitment on the issue is hard for Abbott. At a public meeting last...

In Russia, a seven-week-long heatwave has caused giant firestorms to break out across more than 114,000 hectares of the country. At least 48 people have died and more than 400 new fires broke out on August 4 alone, the Kyiv Post said that day.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev...

VoteClimate.org.au has released a detailed description of the climate policies of parties contesting the August 21 federal election. It is the world’s first dedicated climate election website and is run by climate activist Adrian Whitehead, a founder of Beyond Zero Emissions and a Target300.org...

Aboriginal woman and single mother, Sharon Firebrace, has fought her way through poverty and racism to make a life for herself and her 19-year-old son.

But Firebrace isn’t one to be dragged down by social disadvantage.

The Socialist Alliance is proud to have Firebrace run as a...

Letters

Outstanding service

Fairfax columnist Gerald Henderson quotes Australian Workers’ Union leader Paul Howes concerning the family background of Greens Senate candidate Lee Rhiannon in the July 27 Sydney Morning Herald. I knew her parents, Bill and Freda Brown,...

Resistance!

Last month, thousands of people around the country marched in solidarity with Ark Tribe, the construction worker from Adelaide who faces six months’ jail for refusing to attend an interview with the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

Adorned with emblems of union...

From August 9 to 12, high school students will be able to take part in a mock election thanks to the Google Student Voice initiative.

Students aged 15 to 17 will be able to participate in the online poll. Google sent information packs to schools around Australia

The vote will...

Culture

Review: Vale Kwementyaye Ryder — a photo essay
Bob Gosford, The Northern Myth

Driving into Alice Springs for the first time, you could be forgiven for feeling you’ve arrived at something of an oasis in the desert. Depending on the...

Review: The Imperial Controversy: Challenging the Empire Apologists
By Andrew Murray, Foreword by George Galloway
Manifesto Press, 152 pages, paperback £12.95

In the past decade or so, politicians, journalists and academics have attempted to...

The Gaslight Anthem must be sick of the Springsteen references by now. Ever since bursting into international consciousness a few years back, there’s been no shortage of critics willing to draw the connections between them and the Boss.

It’s not that these comparisons are wrong. The...

In Fremont, Nebraska in the US mid-west, some of the biggest names in indie rock played a sold-out pro-immigrant benefit gig on July 31 titled “Concert for Equality”.

Omaha.com said on August 2: “The theme of the day — and the reason for the show — was to fight Fremont’s recently passed...

Fighting Fund

Ker-ching! Its half-year profit time and those poor, tax-oppressed, big mining companies are announcing huge profit increases.

Rio Tinto announced a half-year net profit of $6.39 billion, up 260% from the same period last year. And this huge profit came even after the company reduced its...