Issue 860

Australia

Close to 5000 protesters took to the streets on November 6, demanding the next state government replace the Hazelwood power station with genuinely clean energy during the next term of office. Victoria goes to the polls on November 27.

Rally organisers said Hazelwood was the biggest...

See a photo slilde show of the rally here.

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Perth for the fourth time this year to protest against the federal government’s same-sex marriage ban. The November 6 rally heard from speakers including Kitty Hawkins representing GALE (Gay and Lesbian...

“The coal seam gas industry is facing a rural revolt with farmers yesterday threatening to risk arrest and lock their gates to drilling companies”, the November 2 Brisbane Courier Mail said.

“A massive expansion of the industry was ignited on the weekend when BG Group-owned...

The annual Latin America Solidarity Fiesta was a success, raising much needed money for social projects in Latin America and maintaining Green Left Weekly’s coverage on the progressive developments unfolding in the region.

Organised by the Latin America Social Forum (Sydney),...

More than 15,000 Community and Public Sector Union members from almost every Australian Public Service agency have voted on the CPSU's APS-wide bargaining claim. The final outcome was 14,665 (97.5%) in favour.

The claim included an APS-wide pay rise of 4%, payable from July 1, 2011, and...

When a newly established group, Australians for Tamil Rights, began advertising a protest titled “Sri Lanka: Massacre of Tamils is just not cricket”, anti-Tamil Sinhalese went wild on Facebook with a campaign of vitriolic abuse. Most of the abusers denied that there had ever been a massacre of...

Campaign group Safe Climate Perth reached the milestone of 2000 signatures on its no new coal petition on October 30.

The petition calls for WA's parliament to stop to expansion of coal-fired power stations, mines and related infrastructure, and to fund a roll-out of renewable energy...

The NSW government has decided to cut the solar photovoltaic feed-in tariff from 60 cents per kilowatt hour (kW/h) to 20 cents per kW/h.

The October 27 announcement came after the tariff received a strong uptake, particularly in Sydney’s western suburbs and rural NSW. The total capacity...

Sixty people gathered at City Farm, East Perth, for an update on the opening up of WA to uranium mining and the growing campaign to stop it.

The night was hosted by the newly-formed WA Nuclear Free Alliance (WANFA), which groups together about 60 Aboriginal people from communities around...

The Cyprus Club was packed out at a special “Viva Cuba” solidarity dinner on October 31. About 180 people welcomed the new Cuban ambassador to Australia Pedro Monzon Barata, the new Cuban consul general Reinaldo Garcia Perera and new Cuban consul Maribel Espinosa Begueri.

Tim Anderson,...

Touring Colombian unionist Parmenio Poveda Salazar, an official with the National Unitarian Federation of Agrarian Unions (Fensuagro), has called for increased international solidarity with unionists and human rights activists in Colombia.

Parmenio said: "Many leaders of Colombian...

Helensburgh is not renowned for climate activism. A coalmining town, Helensburgh was established around the Metropolitan colliery, Australia's oldest continually operating coal mine, in the 1880s.

The coal transnational Peabody Energy, which owns the Metropolitan, sponsors local...

Federal government plans to convert vacant army housing at Inverbrackie, near the Adelaide Hills town of Woodside, for 400 asylum seekers in family groups have divided the local community.

On November 3, opposition leader Tony Abbott met with about 150 local residents, most of whom were...

More than 100 Palestine solidarity activists gathered in Melbourne over October 29-31 for Australia's first national BDS conference.

Palestinian civil society groups called for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel five years ago. The BDS campaign demands an end to the...

Construction workers marched through the Sydney CBD on November 3 to call on the state government to protect pay entitlements and safety standards on the $6 billion Barangaroo development on Sydney’s former wharves.

Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) state secretary Mal...

World

Unless the Indonesian government carries out a comprehensive recovery, hundreds of thousands of Merapi volcano eruption victims are certain to face economic and social destruction.

“One of the worst impacts of the eruption is the destruction of people’s livelihood; the land cannot be...

A Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) meeting was planned in La Paz, Bolivia on November 10, for ALBA’s Latin American nation members to advocate for a common position on the defence of the rights of Mother Earth.

ALBA is an anti-imperialist bloc of eight nations led by Cuba,...

NUMSA supports the decision taken by Mine Line workers to take-over and run the company since it was long placed under curatorship.

The Mine Line company is based in Doornkop, and produces valves for mining machines. Out of fear of paying workers decent wages, its owner Waynerd Mulder...

On November 2, the Venezuelan government expropriated the Caracas shopping centre Sambil La Candelaria, Venezuelanalysis.com said on November 4.

The government decree said the shopping complex and large parking area would be “transformed into a meeting space for Venezuelans within the...

The Conservative Party, or Tories, has never really forgiven the British working class for demanding and winning the creation of the “welfare state”. Gains won included such things as free health care, council homes at affordable rents, and care for the elderly and vulnerable.

From the...

The Venezuelan government said its “Smile Mission” social program has provided more than 96,000 adults with free dental care, including 34,600 with dentures, since its creation in 2006, Venezuelanalysis.com said on October 29.

Health minister Eugenia Sader said the dentures provided by...

British rail unions branded Transport for London (TfL) “barefaced liars" after its management attempted to claim minimum disruption during a 24-hour strike on November 3.

London Underground services were crippled by strike action called by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and...

Frank Mugisha, chair of the NGO Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMU), is no stranger to receiving threats because of his sexual orientation, a November 5 Amnesty International statement said.

“But when a Ugandan tabloid published his personal details in October and called for him and others to...

The government of Papua New Guinea has been awarded Greenpeace’s “Golden Chainsaw” award in response to its corrupt, anti-environment forestry policies.

In a report released on October 25, the environmental advocacy organisation said PNG should not be allowed to take part in the...

Matiullah Khan is reportedly illiterate, but he is a very wealthy man. A warlord accused of mass murder, rape and abduction, the June 5 New York Times reported that Matiullah earned US$2.5 million a month through highway robbery, drug trafficking and extortion.

The news that...

World renowned novelist and global justice activist Arundhati Roy is facing escalating threats of violence in India because of her support for justice in Kashmir — the disputed region partitioned between India and Pakistan and occupied by military forces in the area India...

Men in uniform, mainly young soldiers holding AK 47 rifles, are seen all around northern Sri Lanka, from Mannar in north-west to Mullaitivu, the last battlefield in the north-east. In Mullaitivu, there are said to be more soldiers than civilians.

This is the situation in the largely...

At least five Vodafone stores were closed in central London on October 30 by protests, TheGabber.org said that day. The protests were against the British government’s alleged decision to give companies, such as Vodafone, huge tax breaks of about £6 billion at a time when ordinary people are...

The battle for the planet’s dwindling resources has taken a further trade war twist with China’s recent decision to place limits on the export of the 17 chemical elements collectively known as “rare earths”.

These elements, found near the bottom of the periodic table, are crucial for...

The National Popular Resistance Front of Honduras (FNRP) received the annual International Herbert Anaya Human Rights Prize in El Salvador, awarded by human rights organisations. The FNRP struggles against the US-backed Honduran dictatorship that came to power in a military coup last year....

Republicans are trumpeting their big gains in the November 2 midterm elections as a mandate to turn the country sharply to the right. Don’t buy it.

Mainstream media commentary on the election was largely set before a single vote was cast. Voters would correct President Barack Obama’s...

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced on October 31 the expropriation of steel company Siderurgica del Turbio (Sidetur). The company is a major producer of steel used in the building of homes, bridges and other infrastructure and public works.

Chavez also announced government...

Rome’s Sapienza University is one of Italy’s most prestigious universities and Europe’s biggest with more than 140,000 enrolled students. But this northern autumn, despite the cold weather outside, Sapienza University — like many others in Italy — is at boiling point.

The heat is in...

Two-year-old Gavin Tillman of Pass Christian, Mississippi, has been diagnosed with severe infections. His temperature has reached more than 39°C since September 15, and his health continues to worsen.

His parents, some doctors and environmental consultants believe the symptoms are linked...

BBC services were severely disrupted after a 48-hour walkout on November 5 and 6 by thousands of media workers. MorningStarOnline.co.uk said on November 5 the workers were fighting the corporation’s “pensions robbery”, which would result in payouts being dramatically reduced.

The...

The Irish Republic’s government said on November 4 that it wants to slash 6 billion euros from its 2011 deficit, MorningStarOnline.co.uk said the following day. The cuts were announced despite the government admitting it would lead to lower economic growth.

Ireland’s deficit is set to...

A large number of BP’s pipelines on Alaska’s North Slope are severely corroded and in danger of rupturing, an internal BP maintenance report obtained by investigative journalism group ProPublica, revealed on November 2.

The news comes less than two months after oil ceased gushing into...

About 25,000 students took to the streets of Dublin on November 3 in protest at plans to increase college registration fees, MorningStarOnline.co.uk said. Many protesters wore T-shirts calling for “Education, not emigration”, referring to a recent surge of young people leaving Ireland with its...

Analysis

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) released a report on the Christmas Island detention centre on October 29, and again called for an end to mandatory detention and offshore processing.

The 75-page report detailed the hostile conditions faced by asylum seekers, including the...

One of Australia’s richest men, mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, used Australian television on October 24 to send an address to the nation about his “Generation One” campaign, which aims to “close the gap” between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

...

As a former refugee, I can understand and share the concerns of the many Afghan asylum seekers currently facing deportation back to Afghanistan, the very country they had to flee from. This would send them into the hands of the very people responsible for much of the insecurity and threats to...

Resistance’s Ben Peterson spoke to Mitch Cherry, a member of the Geelong Resistance branch and the Socialist Alliance candidate for Bellarine in the November 27 Victorian state election.

Why are you running in the election? What...

Phil Golby was the president of the Port Curtis and Hinterland branch of the ALP until October 20. Then, along with five leading members, he publicly resigned to protest against the Queensland Labor government’s proposal to sell off public assets despite mass opposition from rank-and-...

Prime Minister Julia Gillard used a series of meetings with Asian leaders at the UN Regional Summit on October 30 to lobby for her government’s proposal to build a “regional” detention centre for refugees in East Timor.

She met with Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet, Indian Prime...

Divisions about a carbon price are hardening among Australia’s big businesses. Two distinct positions seem to have emerged in the corporate boardrooms.

Some corporate groups are backing the federal government’s call for a price on carbon because they say it will allow for a more certain...

Murray Darling Basin Authority chief executive Rob Freeman recently proposed extending the consultation process on the draft Murray Darling Basin plan until 2012. This follows mobilisations by both farmers and environmentalists pushing competing claims.

Renowned anthropologist ...

Almost daily protests have been organised by unions and community groups since the ALP state government handed down its budget on September 16.

It slashed community infrastructure, cut 3743 jobs from the public service and altered the Public Services Act to do away with workers' leave...

Mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest had an opportunity on ABC’s November 1 screening of Q&A to defend his record on Aboriginal employment. He didn’t do very well.

“You can see that through Generation One, a real challenge to fill those jobs, because we've proven for all...

Melbourne Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart is at it again. In 2004, he told a woman who had been sexually abused by a priest to “go to hell, bitch”. In 2009, he unsuccessfully attempted to pressure Father Bob Maguire, a progressive Melbourne icon, to retire from his local parish.

Now, he...

Westpac was the last of the big four banks in Australia to announce its annual profit. It made the biggest — a whopping $6.3 billion, 84% higher than 2008-09.

The Commonwealth Bank made the second biggest profit this year, $6.1 billion (up 42%). It was also the first bank to announce it...

Socialist Alliance released a statement on South Australia’s budget cuts on November 3.

* * *

The Socialist Alliance opposes the public service cuts in South Australia.

The effects of the global financial crisis have hit South Australia with this budget. But who will pay...

Letters

McKillop’s real miracle

For those of us in solidarity with East Timor, now Timor Leste, the real miracle is the work of Mary McKillop East Timor, with its people, notably Sr Josephine Mitchell and Sr Susan Conelly. They and others in MMET have done miracles in literacy...

Resistance!

Climate change is the biggest threat to our future, and coal is the biggest cause of climate change, yet right now there are plans for 12 new coal or gas-fired power stations around Australia.

In this context, the Camp for Climate Action is taking place over December 1-5 at Liddell...

Culture

Made in Dagenham
Directed by Nigel Cole
Starring Rosamund Pike, Bob Hoskins, Miranda Richardson
In cinemas nationally

Review by Jeff Sawtell

Given the advance publicity, I was looking forward to Made in Dagenham. It is based on...

King Brown Country: The Betrayal of Papunya
by Russell Skelton
260 pages
Allen & Unwin

$35

REVIEW BY MAT WARD

The Northern Territory community of Papunya is known worldwide for its Aboriginal art. But this book by Melbourne Age...

How to Cool the Planet: Geo-engineering & the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth's Climate
By Jeff Goodell
Scribe, 2010
262 pages, $35 (pb)

Grandiose schemes to launch sulphate particles into the stratosphere, to dump iron into the oceans and to...

Fighting Fund

Readership of the Green Left website had a 13.3% rise in October compared to September. This perhaps reflects the interesting developments in Australian politics since the failure of the big parties to win a parliamentary majority in the August 21 federal election.

The site had 104,719...

Sam's Freo report

Fremantle Council is grappling with the rights and conditions of the workers who it expects to implement the city’s projects. I’ve proposed a policy called “Employment Values for the City of Fremantle”. For supporters of workers’ rights, the policy is straightforward and modest.

It seeks...