Issue 849

Australia

About 500 people rallied in Melbourne on August 13 to put the Liberal and Labor parties on notice that the refugee rights movement is rebuilding, and a growing number of people are willing to stand up for refugees.

The Refugee Action Collective organised the protest under the slogan of “...

Most Melbourne people wouldn’t know that there is a refugee detention centre, called the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation, in Broadmeadows. It is hidden away behind the Maygar army barracks on Camp Road with no sign to indicate it is there.

The Socialist Alliance organised a...

Thousands of people took to the streets on August 14 in support of legalising same-sex marriage and against the discriminatory policies of both major parties.

In Sydney, Peter Boyle said about 3000 people rallied at Town Hall before marching to Taylor Square. Comedian...

More than 400 people marched on August 14 in protest against plans to demolish residences in the heritage-listed Pines Estate Heritage Conservation Area in the inner-west suburb of Newtown.

RailCorp is considering a proposal to compulsorily takeover and demolish all the houses on Newtown...

PERTH — ‘We are running because the Labor and Liberal parties do not represent the interests of ordinary people’, said Socialist Alliance candidate for Perth Alex Bainbridge at the launch of SA’s campaign.

‘We're struggling to build a movement that can more effectively represent the...

SYDNEY — In the final weeks before the federal election, federal transport minister Anthony Albanese has announced the proposed extension of the M5 roadway is to be scrapped.

The proposed road was to be a 50-foot-high motorway, cutting through soccer fields and regenerated bushland in...

PERTH — Members of the Perth Burmese community held a commemoration on August 8 for the democratic uprising that took place in Burma exactly 22 years before.

Speakers at the commemoration called for a restoration of democracy in Burma, including freedom for pro-democracy leader Aung San...

BRISBANE — A meeting of about 150 members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of Queensland on August 5 passed a motion of no-confidence in UQ vice-chancellor Paul Greenfield.

The meeting voted to start rolling stop-works within two weeks if they do not...

The Liberal Party has pulled controversial Google advertisements after criticism and complaints from candidates standing against them. When Google users searched for the names of many candidates running in lower-house seats — including Socialist Alliance candidate for Cunningham, Jess Moore, who...

More than 1000 people packed into Sydney Town Hall on August 12 for the Sydney launch of the Zero Carbon Australia (ZCA) Stationary Energy Plan. The plan outlines how Australia could meet all its energy needs from renewables within 10 years.

The successful event followed the well-...

BRISBANE — Quien Dijo Miedo (“We are not afraid”), an film about the popular resistance to the military coup that took place in June last year in the Central American country of Honduras, was shown at the Queensland Council of Unions building on August 6.

The screening was...

The Green Left website has once again been ranked by Hitwise in the top10 most visited Australian websites in the category Lifestyle — Politics.

Hitwise ranked the website number eight for the six-month period to June 2010. Green Left was also in the top 10 in the previous six months,...

BRISBANE — The annual Hiroshima Day rally and march took place on August 7, commemorating 65 years since the US dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city, killing about 100,000 people. The event was organised by the Rally for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament with the theme: “Join us on the road...

BRISBANE — Several hundred farmers from the Darling Downs and environmentalists rallied outside State Parliament on August 4 to protest the expansion of the coal and coal seam gas industries in rural Queensland. The rally was sponsored by Friends of the Earth, Save Our Darling Downs, Community...

World

West Papuan independence leaders have threatened a "total intifada" (uprising) against Indonesian occupying forces, following the failure of the August 4-5 Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) to discuss West Papua's demands for independence, the Sydney Morning Herald said on August 7.

...

On August 12, members of the Unite trade union employed at six airports by the privatised British Airports Authority voted to strike by a margin of three to one, rejecting a one percent pay rise offered by BAA. The 6185 Unite members at the six affected airports — firefighters, security staff,...

New Zealand’s National Party-led government announced on July 18 a law that would allow bosses to fire new workers at will, restrict access to unions, cut workers’ entitlements to sick leave and holidays, and remove the right to appeal against unfair sackings. On August 21, unions will respond...

An August 10 summit between recently inaugurated Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has lowered tensions in a region that some believe was on the brink of armed confrontation.

The situation reached boiling point after Colombia’s July 22 claims in...

Thousands of people took part in a demonstration and formed a human chain in the main avenues and plazas of Caracas on August 7. This action, initiated and promoted by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), was a show of support for peace in the Latin American region and friendly...

On August 13, nine leading British medical experts wrote an open letter to the Times calling for an inquiry into the alleged suicide of whistleblower Dr David Kelly in July 2003.

The 59-year-old scientist, the world’s leading expert in biological and chemical weapons, died...

Recent scenes of roadblocks, strikes and even the dynamiting of a vice-minister’s home in the Bolivian department (administrative district) of Potosi, reminiscent of the days of previous neoliberal governments, have left many asking themselves what is really going on in the “new” Bolivia of...

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is the focal point of a political shift to the left that has affected most of the Latin American continent for just over a decade. For several years this has been met with denunciations of the nation and its president, Hugo Chavez, from TV personalities like...

The cover of the August 9 edition edition of Time magazine featured a shocking picture of Bibi Aisha, a young woman whose nose and ears had been cut off. The photo was accompanied by the headline: “What happens if we leave Afghanistan”. However, what happened to Aisha took place in...

Tony Blair must be prosecuted, not indulged like his mentor Peter Mandelson. Both have produced self-serving memoirs for which they have been paid fortunes. Blair’s will appear next month and earn him £4.6 million.

Now consider Britain’s Proceeds of Crime Act. Blair conspired in and...

If you are not at least a little bit scared about the Russian heatwave or the huge floods in Pakistan, then you really should be. Extreme and dangerous weather events will be far more common in a warmer world.

These devastating fires and floods are a taste of our future climate — unless...

As Colombia launched its new offensive against Venezuela, an emergency summit of Central American presidents on July 20 restored Honduras to “its rightful” status. That status was lost internationally when former president Manuel Zelaya was overthrown in a military coup in June 2009.

...

On July 28, the UN General Assembly passed a Bolivian resolution to make water and sanitation a human right. No country voted against the resolution, but 41 abstained. The following text is abridged from the speech to the General Assembly motivating the resolution by Pablo Solon,...

By August 12, more than 20 million people had been affected by the floods in Pakistan. Waters remained at dangerous levels in several parts of the country, with more torrential rains forecast by the weather department.

This has been one of the most devastating floods in world history....

Forty-one countries abstained in the July 28 UN General Assembly vote on Bolivia’s resolution to recognise access to water and sanitation as basic human rights.

Rather than honestly vote “no”, they abstained to avoid being labelled as opponents of access to water, but many made...

The article is abridged from an August 11 Palestinian Centre for Human Rights report.

* * *

The signs which dot the beach along the Gaza City waterfront read: "This beach is polluted.” Yet they serve only as obstacles for children running to the sea, rather than warnings of the...

On July 29, our Labour Relief Committee team found Pir Sabaq, Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa province, with a population of more than 34,000, completely destroyed by the flood.

A tent city of more than 1000 tents has been established but most of the people are still forced to live in partially...

During the last three decades, Afghan people have had to leave their homeland due to civil war and foreign invasions. They began to live in camps set up for them near Peshawar.

During the recent floods in the province of Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa, the refugee camps in Charsada and Nowsherhra...

Analysis

Greens candidate for Mackellar Dr Jonathan King is a blue-blooded radical. King gained national prominence in 1988 when he staged an $11 million recreation of the First Fleet's voyage. The historian and former journalist became, in his own words, “political hot property,” courted by both major...

Sick of the manipulative, increasingly policy-free barrage of major party negative advertising in the race to the August 21 Australian federal election? Here are some antidotes:

First, check out the table below comparing the policies of Socialist Alliance with that of the Greens, ALP and...

On August 16, Darwin was the venue for a screening of Our Generation, a landmark new documentary about the plight of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory living under the repressive NT intervention.

The film focuses on the effects of the intervention on the Yolngu people...

On August 12, candidates from the Greens, Socialist Alliance (SA) and newly formed First Nations Political Party (FNPP) spoke to a group of 50 people at La Tropicana cafe in Fremantle.

The forum was organised by SA to highlight environmental and social policies ignored by the major...

Immigration officials accept about 99% of claims for refugee status by people who have arrived by boats in Australia. But this hasn’t stopped mainstream politicians from punishing those seeking asylum in this way.

In April, the government announced it would temporarily freeze visa...

After a successful strike and picket line on August 8, Victoria University’s (VU) vice chancellor, Liz Harman, agreed to negotiate on pay and conditions.

Until then, senior management had demanded that promised pay rises this year be in return for abandoning regulation of workloads in...

“In the end, capitalism is the only viable system we have for organising our economy”, said Lucy Turnbull, business person, former mayor of Sydney and partner of former Coalition leader Malcolm Turnbull at the iQ2 debate in Sydney on August 10 on the topic “Only capitalism can save the planet”....

“Lunchtime midweek in Campbelltown’s main street in the heart of western Sydney is a slow-moving affair”, the Australian’s Jennifer Hewett wrote on July 23.

“Cars drive in and out of the one-way street at a leisurely pace. Business is not exactly booming in most of the small,...

The Greens could have more power in the Australian parliament than ever before, after the federal election on August 21. Achieving the balance of power in the Senate is within reach for the Greens, meaning that the government would have to negotiate an agreement with either the opposition party...

“Businesses like making profits”, said Labor leader Julia Gillard on ABC’s Q&A on August 9. She was explaining why Labor opposed the Coalition’s proposal to raise the company tax rate by 1.5%. “If they’ve got to pay more tax and that’s going to cut into their profits, then they’ll...

Whichever major party wins the August 21 elections, the real job of fighting for progressive change will remain.

Not just because Labor and the Liberal-National Coalition have made this election campaign an ugly race to the right, but also because real change never comes simply through a...

If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, Friends of Palestine (WA — FOPWA) must be doing something right: Friends of Israel (WA) was launched on August 8.

The group’s website is a mix of nationalism and barely concealed racism. “Israel is in the front lines of the global battle...

In his influential 1985 book Abandon Affluence, radical Australian sociologist Ted Trainer made the argument that the capitalist economies of the rich world, and the wasteful consumer culture they spawned, were unsustainable and the ecological limits of capitalist...

In Australia, the question of environmental protection has increasingly been linked to the need to reduce or contain the nation’s population level size. This is often tied to the argument that the high level of consumption in First World countries is unsustainable.

In the article below,...

For many union leaders afraid of a Coalition victory on August 21, campaigning against Tony Abbott in the federal election simply means campaigning for Julia Gillard.

With a conservative win on the cards, unions have escalated their pro-ALP campaigning. The Australian Manufacturing...

Lesser evilism — whereby one votes for a party defensively, because at least they are not as bad as the alternative — is a three-card trick that the Labor Party is very skilled at using.

In this election campaign, the very real threat of a Tony Abbott Coalition government is allowing...

Amnesty International has launched a campaign to revoke the Northern Territory intervention that discriminates against Indigenous communities, as the Australian government tries to justify its continuation to the United Nations (UN).

On August 5, Amnesty said: “Over three years, the...

Equality of access and outcomes in Indigenous education was a key demand at the 2010 Garma Festival, held over August 6-10. Up to 1200 visitors from around Australia and the world joined 2-3000 Yolngu people for the famous festival in north-east Arnhem Land.

Each afternoon, clan groups...

A dozen women filled the public gallery of Whittlesea City Council chamber on July 27 to oppose an ALP council back-down on the appointment of a part-time women’s policy officer.

The women were mostly part of the council-sponsored “Women Matter Two” network, which seeks to enhance women’...

General

GLW is taking a break. Our next printed edition will be dated September 1 (and published online on the evening of August 29).

However, the Green Left website will be updated after August 21 with news and analysis of the federal election outcome.

Visit Green Left and...

The article “Aboriginal embassy to appeal decision” (GLW #848) included the sentence: “The developer [Stockland] refused to consult the Aboriginal community about the development [at Sandon Point near Wollongong Illawarra], although it was a requirement in the preparation of the Sandon...

Australia role in Israel’s demolition?

Re: your report of the recent demolition of the Bedouin village of Al-Araqib in the Negev (“Israel Razes Bedoun Village”, GLW #847), the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, quoting the same primary source, states that “...

Culture

Review: Plastic Beach
Gorillaz, EMI
Escape to the Plastic Beach Tour
December 6-19, on sale now
Bookings via Ticketek,
Premierticketek.com.au, 132 849

“If you watch MTV for too long, it’s a bit like hell —...

The Decline are a punk band from Western Australia that formed in 2006. They “deliver catchy, melodic speedy punk rock, with humorous and socially aware lyrics”, TheDecline.com.au says. They have opened for groups such as Frenzal Rhomb, No Fun at All and the Flatliners.

The Decline...

Outlaw
Directed by James Adler, written by Michael Healy
Studio 2, Northcote Town Hall, Melbourne
August 20 — September 3
Bookings: Eaglenest.eventix.com.au, (03) 9384 6900

“A tyre slasher in Berlin — radical green politics or someone...

This open letter to Elton John was released on July 30 by Alexander Billet. It is reprinted from Sociarts.com. Billet’s blog on popular music can be read at Rebelfrequencies.blogspot.com.

* * *

Dear Elton,

First of all, I hope you don’t mind that...