Issue 885

Australia

In opposition to the Baillieu government’s proposed fine for “offensive language or behaviour”, about 1000 people marched on June 25 at the aptly named “Fuckwalk”.

The rally was the second event held in response to new powers that allow police to issue $240 on-the-spot fines for using...

The statement below was released by a coalition of groups that held a protest on July 5, disabling a coal seam gas rig in Pilliga State Forest in NSW.

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Yesterday, in a first for NSW, a coal seam gas rig was the target of a peaceful protest, with a protester scaling 25m into...

Workers in the Australian Taxation Office have rejected management's proposed enterprise agreement by 59% to 41% in an all-staff vote. Workers in the Department of Defence voted against their management's proposal by 72.5% to 27.5%.

This follows similar votes by employees at the...

Palestine solidarity campaigners in the Sydney suburb of Leichhardt are celebrating raising more than $5000 for kindergartens in the South Hebron Hills at their annual Refugee Week Festival of Friendship on June 18.

Leichhardt Friends of Hebron’s festival attracted several hundred...

On June 20, 20 workers, members of the Textiles Clothing and Footwear Union Australia (TCFUA), made their way from Melbourne Town Hall to a boutique called Scanlan and Theodore. The workers were employees of a company called Blossom Road, which made products for the high-end fashion label....

About 150 protesters rallied at a mining expo in Toowoomba on June 22 to protest the expansion of coal and coal seam gas mining in the Darling Downs region.

They confronted state mining minister Stirling Hinchliffe to demand that other areas in Queensland should be exempted from coal...

Community Voice, a united ticket of the left and progressive community in Wollongong, was formed on June 18 after a thorough discussion focussed on putting local council back in the hands of the community.

More than 40 people attended including, Reverend Gordon Bradbery, who nearly won...

About 120 people attended the Pitt St Uniting Church on June 18 for the launch of Refugee Week, which was the themed “Freedom from Fear”.

Five women singers from Sierra Leone in traditional dress and headgear opened the event, which was hosted by the Refugee Council of Australia and NSW...

More than 1,000 people gathered on June 19 to protest mandatory detention and the Gillard government’s highly contentious asylum seeker swap deal with Malaysia –– under which Australia would exchange 4,000 processed and confirmed refugees from Malaysia for 800 unconfirmed asylum seekers from...

The Refugee Art Project’s Fear+Hope exhibition’s opened at Sydney’s Mori Gallery on June 20, during International Refugee Week. The exhibition showcased 20 refugee artists from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iraq, and Iran, the Kurdish regions of the Middle East, Pakistan, Nigeria and...

Australian Taxation Office staff will vote on management's proposed enterprise agreement between June 27 and June 30.

The Community and Public Sector Union and the Australian Services Union have balloted their tax office members. In each case, the vast majority has voted to reject...

World

The Greek parliament defied huge popular opposition, including a 48-hour general strike, to pass the latest set of extreme austerity measures demanded by the “troika” (the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) in return for fresh loans.

However,...

Thirty activists from the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) have been charged and kept in jail over planned pro-democracy protests in Malaysia on July 9.

Altogether, the TheStar.com.my said on June 30 police arrested 101 people nation-wide in a preemptive move against the July 9 "Bersig...

The United States government has stepped up its intimidation of whistleblowing media organisation WikiLeaks by forcing several of its supporters to appear before secret grand jury hearings in Alexandria, Virginia.

Those subpoenaed have been targeted for their connections to Bradley...

In a June 22 televised speech from the White House, United States President Barack Obama announced plans to withdraw 10,000 US soldiers from Afghanistan in 2011 and a further 23,000 in 2012.

This would leave US soldier numbers at about 70,000 the same as before the official "surge" by...

Celebrated US author and poet Alice Walker is among 38 people who will join Audacity of Hope, the ship sponsored by US Boat to Gaza as part of an international effort to break Israel’s maritime siege of  Gaza.

Walker has authored more than thirty books...

“During the first years of the siege, we could still manage, but nowadays we have no alternatives,” says Dr Hassan Khalaf, deputy health minister in Gaza.

“It is a major crisis: many health services have stopped, and I’m afraid this will spiral out of control, because Gaza doesn’t have...

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and his PASOK party government survived a June 21 confidence vote in parliament. This came ahead of a parliamentary vote scheduled for a week later on the austerity measures demanded of Greece in return for new loans from the European Union (EU) and...

One of the most original and provocative books of the past decade is Disciplined Minds by Jeff Schmidt.

“A critical look at salaried professionals,” says the cover, “and the soul-battering system that shapes their lives.”

Its theme is postmodern America. But it also...

More than 40 Aboriginal delegates attended the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) to refute the Australian government’s reporting on its treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The UNPFII, held in New York from May 16 -27, gives indigenous...

Huge demonstrations of the anti-austerity M-15 movement in 97 Spanish cities and towns brought at least 250,000 people onto the streets on June 19.

This vast and peaceful turnout marked a new phase in the rising struggle against the austerity policies of the country’s “parties of...

More than 100,000 people have been displaced and countless numbers killed in the north Sudanese government’s latest offensive in the region bordering south Sudan.

South Sudan is set to formalise its secession on July 9 after a near-unanimous vote for independence in the January...

Britain’s public sector unions are set to unleash a wave of strikes starting on June 30 in response to the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government’s attack on workers’ pensions.

Unions have called a national day of action for June 30. Nearly 1 million public sector workers...

How is the government getting away with this idea that a public-sector pension is a “luxury”?

Is it something that suave bachelors show off, saying: “Once I’ve taken you for a spin in my Aston Martin, how about I show you the mid-range forecast for my teacher’s pension over a bottle of...

Analysis

I was 12 years old when for the first time in my life I became a citizen of a country — Australia. Before that, I was a stateless Palestinian refugee.

There were two laments my parents always repeated whenever they spoke of their place of origin Palestine: if only we could have stayed...

Unions Tasmania President Roz Madsen gave the speech below at a large June 16 rally outside the Tasmanian parliament — the day Tasmanian premier Lara Giddings announced a harsh new budget.

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Not so long ago, politicians and political parties were fairly...

The Department of Defence said on June 22 that more than 22,000 Australian and US troops would take part in the annual Talisman Sabre military exercises near Rockhampton, Queensland. In response, activists have called a Peace Convergence.

The following call to action was released on June...

This article is based on a June 24 statement released by Socialist Alliance members in Tasmania.

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Socialist Alliance members were outraged by the harsh, neoliberal budget handed down by the Tasmanian Labor-Greens government on June 16.

The budget slashes $1.4 billion...

The public wants meaningful action to address climate change. The 2010 annual Lowy poll found that 86% of Australians support climate action. Forty-six percent said they supported strong action and a further 40% supported gradual steps.

Moreover, a 2011 poll by the 100% Renewable Energy...

On June 22, the federal government announced a six-week consulting period before creating new laws to continue the Northern Territory intervention. Prime Minister Julia Gillard “left no doubt that abolishing the intervention was not on the agenda”, said the June 23 Australian.

...

The lawyer who won access for refugees to Australia’s courts last year has gone to the High Court again to prevent a family being split up by the federal government’s “Malaysia swap”.

David Manne from the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre said he would represent a Kurdish woman and...

Over three nights last week, hundreds of thousands of people watched something very rare: a Reality TV show that actually showed some reality.

Australia’s public SBS television station showed a special three-episode program called Go Back To Where You Came From about the...

For something as simple as stubbing your toe and saying “Oh, fuck” in public, the Victorian police will now be able to fine you $238.90 for swearing or using offensive language.

Does this mean that an entertainer or musician can also be fined for swearing or using offensive behaviour in...

The June 10 Sydney Morning Herald said that a study released by the National Union of Students (NUS) that day indicated a “surprisingly high proportion of female university students have been sexually assaulted, stalked or sexually harassed”.

The article mentioned an Australian...

The federal Labor government put a new law before the Senate on June 14 to set up a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory.

The same day, opponents of the radioactive waste dump plan gathered outside Parliament House in Canberra to protest.

Federal resources minister Martin...

Feeling the heat from opposition leader Tony Abbott’s scare campaign against the government’s planned carbon price, PM Julia Gillard told ABC radio’s AM on June 24 that she “never meant to mislead anybody during the last election campaign about carbon pricing”.

This was a...

I was 12 years old when for the first time in my life I became a citizen of a country — Australia. Before that, I was a stateless Palestinian refugee.

There were two laments my parents always repeated whenever they spoke of their place of origin Palestine: if only we could have stayed...

Contrary to the popular belief that Australian citizens hold absolute rights to freedom and privacy, Australia continues to evolve toward a “big brother”-like society as the government strengthens the powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).

With the support of...

In a show of anger against the attacks on workers rights by NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell, 12,000 public sector workers stopped work and rallied outside NSW parliament on June 15.

The protest was organised in just over a week, and several unions, including the Nurses Federation and the...

UPDATE — June 24: The author of this letter carried out a five-day hunger strike at the Northern Immigration Detention Centre in Darwin that began on June 20.

During his hunger strike, he protested on the rooftop of the detention centre and refused to come down.

...

The message below was sent on June 20 — World Refugee Day — from an asylum seeker named Jaffer. Jaffer is held in Curtin detention centre in Western Australia.

See also
Letter from a refugee on hunger strike: 'This system broke my heart'
End the live export of...

Culture

The Sydney Film Festival, held over June 8-13, featured 161 films from 42 countries. Every one of the eight films I was able to see was packed out, even the beautiful State Theatre which holds more than 2000 people.

Four films I saw are a must-see if they ever get a general release in...

Indigenous rapper Caper says a backlash from his fans caused Facebook to reverse their banning of the video to his song "How Would You Like To Be Me?" (lyrics below).

The song, which addresses racism in Australia, has enjoyed extensive radio airplay, becoming one of the most requested...

Wild International
Art exhibition by Sam Bullock
June 1-July 2
Andrew Baker Gallery
26 Brookes St, Bowen Hills
Brisbane
www.andrew-baker.com

Sam Bullock has a wonderful artistic talent. He is also autistic.

This is the...

We kid you not

US man robs store to get health care in prison

“A North Carolina man robbed a local store for a dollar just so he could get health care in prison, he said.

“James Verone, 59, handed the teller a note demanding $1 and claimed he had a gun … He then walked away and...