Issue 853

Australia

The statement below was released by the Sydney Refugee Action Coalition on September 20.

VILLAWOOD IN CHAOS AFTER SUICIDE AS HUNGER STRIKES AND PROTESTS CONTINUE

The suicide of a Fijian man facing deportation from the Villawood detention centre this morning has...

A new dictionary to help deliver health care to Yolngu people of East Arnhem Land was launched in Darwin on September 7. Linguist Marilyn McLellan and Yolngu translator Yurranydjil Dhurrkay from the Elcho Island community of Galiwin'ku have produced a dictionary of 200 medical and anatomical...

Greens MLC John Kaye officially welcomed to Sydney the new Cuban consul Reinaldo Garcia as part of an event to mark 12 years since the arrest of the “Cuban Five”.

The Cuban Five are anti-terrorist fighters who were arrested in the US for infiltrating and collecting information on Miami-...

Police broke up a blockade by several Aboriginal and environmental activists at Sandon Point on September 14 after they tried to stop land clearing by the Stockland property group.

Sandon Point, on the NSW south coast, has cultural significance for local Aboriginal people. It is home to...

Activists from campaign group Sydney Says No 2 Honduran Coup gathered on September 15 to mark Honduran Independence Day, 14 months after elected president Manuel Zelaya was kidnapped and flown out of the country in a military coup on June 28, 2009.

Although in exile, Zelaya continues to...

Five families are suing Xstrata, the Queensland government and the Mt Isa council over alleged lead contamination.

As part of their case, they commissioned US neuroscientist Theodore Lidsky to examine brain tests on Mt Isa children. His report found some Mt Isa children had brain damage...

On October 10, climate activists will converge on the Hazelwood power station in the Latrobe Valley in eastern Victoria. They will use mirrors to try to create Victoria's “first solar thermal power” station at the Hazelwood gate, to show solar is a viable alternative.

Shaun Murray from...

The National Tertiary Education Union is undergoing a leadership renewal that will strengthen its progressive role on industrial and educational issues. The process will also help the NTEU on the social and environmental fronts on which it is showing leadership.

Matthew McGowan, the...

Three of the 12 Tamil asylum seekers accused of rioting at Christmas Island detention centre in November 2009 have had their charges dismissed.

The lawyers for detainee Mr Suntharalingam successfully argued that it would not be fair to use his record of interview against him, as he did...

In an attempt to divide staff, on September 13 management at Macquarie University (MQ) proposed to split the current Enterprise Agreement in two, and tried to ram through a second-rate agreement for general staff.

If successful this would mean MQ general staff would have the worst...

A rally outside Queensland state parliament on September 14 demanded the charging of police who break the law, a full royal commission into the state’s police force and real accountability. After the rally, a delegation from the Aboriginal community met police minister Neil Roberts and discussed...

Building worker Ark Tribe appeared before Adelaide magistrates Court for the 11th time on September 13. Several hundred people gathered outside the court to support him.

Tribe faces jail for refusing to speak to the anti-union secret police force, the Australian Building and Construction...

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union members at Megabolt in Campbellfield, Victoria went back to work on September 16 after taking successful protected industrial action to win their first union collective agreement.

AMWU officials formed a guard of honour for the workers as they...

World

Thailand Troubles said on September 19 that a motorcade of 150 vehicles made their way from Bangkok to Chiangmai for a rally of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), popularly known as the Red Shirts, that was expected to draw 10,000.

A growing crowd of Red...

Indigenous Mapuche political prisoners in Chile continue to stand firm, more than two months into a hunger strike against the repression against their people and the militarisation of their lands.

The hunger strike, which began on July 12 and has been joined by four opposition...

On September 2, direct talks began between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority with the US government acting as mediator.

US President Barack Obama has declared the success of these “peace talks” to be a main foreign policy goal of the last two years of his term.

...

As Venezuela’s September 26 National Assembly election time approaches, international media have increased negative coverage of the South American nation.

The bombardment of negative, false, distorted and manipulated news about Venezuela in US media has increased in volume and intensity...

The statement published below was released by the Thai Red Australia Group for Democracy. You can add your name to it here.

* * *

Four years ago on September 19, the Thai people were concerned about a very damaging coup that toppled an elected government and resulted in the...

In the lead-up to the September 26 national Assembly elections, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called on workers to not allow the right-wing opposition to halt the advance of the Bolivarian revolution.

Chavez, who is also president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV),...

Comparisons must be made between the impact of the September 5 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the quake that hit Haiti in January.

In Haiti — with a population of about 9 million — about 250,000 people died in the earthquake. According to government figures, 200,000 were...

Fresh claims have emerged that an Indonesian “counter-terrorism” unit that receives Australian funding and training has perpetrated human rights abuses against independence campaigners in Maluku and West Papua.

The unit, known as Detachment 88, was created after the 2002 Bali bombings...

Thirty-three miners trapped 700 metres underground in northern Chile have been told they will not be paid in coming months, despite the fact it is expected to take close to two-and-a-half months to pull them out.

Representatives of the San Esteban mining company told the workers’ union...

Seventy-five people staged a noisy rally in Vancouver on September 11 in support of 492 Tamil asylum seekers who landed on Canada’s west coast in August. The rally was organised by the Vancouver chapter of No One Is Illegal.

The rally was held outside the Burnaby Youth Detention Center...

On September 10, the players of the Serie A — Italy's top football league — declared they would strike on September 25 and 26.

AC Milan defender Massimo Oddo, speaking on behalf of the Italian Players' Association (AIC) and the captains of all 20 Serie A clubs, made the declaration as a...

Chiang Mai, in Thailand’s north, is considered to be a stronghold of the pro-democracy Red Shirt movement the popular name for the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship — UDD).

On August 29, 21-year-old local Red Shirt activist “James” Krissada Klaharn and his girlfriend...

Misunderstandings over Cuba run very deep — and not just among the enemies of socialism or those who have had little contact with the country.

Naturally, people are influenced by the corporate media, which wages a ferocious and relentless propaganda campaign against the little...

Actor and activist Danny Glover and veteran actor and former Screen Actors Guild president Edward Asner, called on fellow artists to add their name to a letter to US President Barack Obama asking him to issue an executive clemency order to free the Cuban Five.

Glover and Asner are co-...

After the April 20 Deepwater oil well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, many commentators have tried to explain why it happened. Many blame greed and arrogance in BP’s executive offices.

Others blame it on the military-oil-government alliance that views free-flowing oil (and free-flowing...

The statement below was initiated by Working People Association (Indonesia) and Network of Progressive Youth Burma. It was released on September 16.

Other left groups from the Asian region that have signed it are: the Confederation Congress of Indonesia Union Alliance; the All Nepal...

Analysis

Despite several symbolic gestures by state and national governments, no real plan has been put forward to reduce chronic inequality in Aboriginal Australia.

As part of a deal to set up a minority government, the federal ALP has agreed to a referendum to change the constitution so that it...

Australia now has a minority Labor Party government, backed by the Greens and independents. It is the best government available in the circumstances. It is certainly to the left of any government that would have resulted if either Labor or the conservative Coalition had won a majority at the...

Now that we finally know who is going to govern our country; now that we know who is backing who and why; now that we’ve breathed a collective sigh of relief; now — right now — it’s time to mobilise!

It’s time to mobilise around what I’ve been muttering to anyone who’ll listen over the...

Coal rules. That was the message delivered last week by the new Labor government.

Freshly appointed climate change minister Greg Combet began his ministership by telling the September 13 Australian: “The coal industry is a very vibrant industry with a strong future. What you've...

On September 10, the commercial television regulator, Commercials Advice (CAD) withdrew approval for the screening of a pro-euthanasia ad by Exit International on September 12.

Exit International condemned the decision as an attack on free speech. According to its website, Exit...

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) welcomed the announcement of Senator Chris Evans to a portfolio responsible for skills, taking in higher education and TAFE.

It also welcomed the reappointment of Senator Kim Carr to the portfolio of innovation, industry and science, but...

On September 15, Leela Krishna, a Tamil refugee in Villawood Detention Centre, was removed to Melbourne's Maribyrnong Detention Centre. Supporters of Leela protested and leafleted Sydney Airport's domestic terminal on the day.

Despite being recognised as a refugee by the Department of...

Green Left Weekly’s Simon Butler asked five Australian climate activists for their thoughts on the current state of the movement.

Phillip Sutton is the convenor of Melbourne’s Climate Emergency Network and co-author of the 2008 book Climate...

Editorial

After a record high vote for the Greens in the August 21 federal election, it did not take long for the corporate media to get its claws out.

In particular, Rupert Murdoch-owned News Ltd’s flagship newspaper The Australian has been called out for its string of critical stories...

Resistance!

Ammar Ali Jan is a 23-year-old activist in Pakistan who visited Australia earlier this year to speak at the Resistance national conference. He is an organiser of the Progressive Youth Front (PYF), which campaigns for democracy and against corruption. Last week, he spoke to...

Culture

artRiot
September 11-26
Upstairs at the Annandale Hotel,
17 Parramatta Rd, Annandale, Sydney

Sydney is currently swathed in artist run spaces and ecologically concerned art. The Museum of Contemporary Art’s latest show, In the Balance — Art for a...

The use of art as a commentary on social and political injustice is becoming increasingly innovative. Artists are embracing their varied mediums to share stories and ideas calling for a challenge to the status-quo.

From radical independent art, to mainstream artists using their influence...

In 1992, Michael Franti from The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy warned that television was “the drug of the nation, breeding ignorance and feeding radiation”. Almost two decades later, the addiction and the ignorance are accepted as the norm.

Anyone who questions the authenticity of how...

Never Ever Again
By Caroline de Costa
Boolarong Press, 2010
www.carolinedecosta.com

A teenager and her boyfriend are catapulted to national notoriety when they are charged with procuring an abortion under Queensland’s archaic Criminal Code....

Fighting Fund

As the people of Australia face acute shortages in health, public transport, housing and welfare, the federal and NSW governments will spend about $3 million to get Oprah Winfrey — the US talk-show host and billionaire — to visit Australia. Wait a minute, WHAT?

Winfrey will fly to...