Issue 894

Australia

An advertising campaign to promote coal seam gas (CSG) in a bid to “balance” the mounting community opposition to the industry has been launched by the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA).

APPEA have dubbed the effort “We want CSG”, and say it is an “...

The Refugee Action Coalition Sydney released the statement below on September 4.

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The Refugee Action Coalition has called on the government to drop all aspects of offshore processing.

“Taking Tony Abbott’s offer to amend the Migration Act to re-open Nauru would be a...

At the end of the night of Wollongong's council elections, September 3, it seemed likely voters had elected Gordon Bradbery, a progressive independent, as lord mayor.

Bradbery won 33.9% of the primary vote and is expected to win on preferences. The Liberals’ John Dorahy won 23.4% of the...

Supporters of Fijian workers rallied in Melbourne on September 2 against a recent crackdown by the military regime.

The same day, two Fijian trade unionists, Fiji Trades Union Congress president Daniel Urai and National Union of Hospitality, Catering and Tourism organiser Nitin Gounder,...

The Orica chemicals plant at Kooragang, near Newcastle NSW, released hexavalent chromium (VI) into the atmosphere on August 8. Up to 20 workers were exposed in the accident.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) was not notified of the accident for 16 hours. Residents of nearby...

The legal team of former Guantanamo Bay prisoner David Hicks submitted a communication to the United Nations Human Rights Committee on August 23.

It argues the Australian government treatment of Hicks has violated the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which...

The federal government rejected bids to protect James Price Point from gas development when it announced its National Heritage Listing of almost 20 million hectares of the iconic Kimberley region in Western Australia last week.

Federal environment minister Tony Burke explained the...

A dozen members of Darwin's legal community presented a letter to ALP MP Warren Snowdon on September 2 calling for the federal government to comply with the High Court's recent decision on the "Malaysian Solution".

The High Court said the ALP government's plan to deport refugees to...

"The pay offer is a lemon" has been the theme of protests by Australian Taxation Office (ATO) workers around Australia over the past two weeks.

Workers have put lemons on their desks and stuck up posters of lemons to symbolise their rejection of management's pay offer of 9% over three...

About 200 protesters against the coal seam gas industry and supporters of refugee rights rallied outside a federal government community cabinet meeting at Yeronga State High School on September 1.

Despite three separate requests from the Lock the Gate Alliance management committee and...

About 100 people rallied in Melbourne on September 1 in defence of the Kurdish Association of Victoria after a series of violent attacks.

The Kurdish community has received numerous death threats. There have been many attempts to set the association's building on fire, ending on April 14...

Students rallied on August 29 against RMIT’s decision to terminate the Bachelor of Applied Science (Disability) course in 2012.

The course is the only disability specific degree available in Victoria and provides students with a professional education and a platform to offer leadership,...

The US embassy in Canberra secretly assessed Australian ethnic minority groups, Indigenous prisoners, the Socialist Alliance, anti-war protesters, Cuba and Palestine solidarity activists and Amnesty International for links to political violence and terrorism, an embassy cable released by...

A WikiLeaks cable released on August 29 has revealed federal Labor MP for Melbourne Michael Danby offered to help the US embassy promote a “Day of Solidarity with the Cuban People”. It was a May 21 2008 initiative of the George W Bush US administration designed to pressure the Cuban government...

In 2007, Australian government officials repeatedly told the US embassy in Canberra of its plans to increase Australian troop commitments in Afghanistan. But they asked the US government to keep quiet about it, as the plans had not yet been made public.

Other Australian officials briefed...

Marking the 10th anniversary of the Tampa scandal, when the former John Howard government refused to allow the MV Tampa to dock in Australia after it had rescued asylum seekers at sea, close to 100 refugee rights activists converged on the Perth detention centre outside the domestic airport on...

World

Bolivia Information Office

In July, in response to a polemical document issued by a number of critics of the Morales government, Bolivian vice-president Alvaro Garcia Linera published a lengthy response.

In it -- among other things -- he drew attention to the...

As Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's regime crumbled on August 23 after a rebel uprising and NATO bombing, United States President Barack Obama said: "For over four decades, the Libyan people had lived under the rule of a tyrant who denied them their most basic human rights."

Obama would...

The steady stream of revelations of political, military and corporate bastardry from the stash of US diplomatic cables leaked to WikiLeaks became, in late August, a torrent.

It is about to become a deluge.

Between December and August, the number of secret US cables published by...

The United States is facing its gravest housing crisis since the Great Depression.

By at least one measure, today's crisis is worse. Housing prices have now fallen 33% from their peak, compared with 31% during the depression.

Yet despite the almost unprecedented nature of the...

“At least 87 [Greek university] departments were under student occupation, with the number increasing by the hour,” OccupiedLondon.org said on August 31.

“General Assemblies are happening all of this and next week and it is very likely that the number will increase dramatically.

...

After 15 days on strike, 45,000 workers from United States’ telecommunications company Verizon marched in to work on August 23 after getting agreement from their stubborn employer to bargain.

The communication and electrical workers will be working under their old contracts while talks...

The problem, apparently, is red tape.

It's stifling business and preventing growth, because red tape is evil, and you can no more argue in favour of red tape than say: "I don't wish to contribute to the fight against cancer as I think we should have more of it."

For example,...

Will the host city for the November-December United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17) clean up its act?

The August 23 launch of a major Academy of Science of South Africa (Assaf) report,  Towards a Low Carbon City: Focus on Durban, offers a chance to test whether new...

The tens of thousands of cables released by WikiLeaks since August reveal a wide variety of lies told by the US government and crimes in which the US government is complicit or helped cover up. www.wlcentral.org provides a daily rundown, with links, to some of the key cables.

Below are...

National environmental justice and indigenous rights organisation the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) that took part in the largest act of civil disobedience in decades at the White House in Washington DC from August 20 to September 3.

The purpose of these actions was to send a...

What began several months ago with students taking over their high schools and universities has swelled into one of the largest protest movements in Chile’s history.

Student protests, involving tens of thousands of students and teachers, have dovetailed with angry demonstrations of...

“We are not evacuating Rikers Island,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a news conference on August 26.

Bloomberg announced a host of extreme measures being taken by New York City in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irene.

These included shutting down the public...

Analysis

Malalai Joya is a writer, activist and former parliamentarian in the national assembly of Afghanistan. Prior to speaking at two Overland events at the 2011 Melbourne Writers’ Festival, she discussed occupation and resistance in Afghanistan today.

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The announcement by BlueScope that 1100 workers will be sacked from the local steel industry has sent shockwaves through the community and much of the country.

Another 200 people could be sacked from the Port Kembla wharves and at least 100 more local workplaces will be seriously...

The day after the Barry O’Farrell Coalition government was elected in NSW in March, NSW Business Chamber CEO Stephen Cartwright said he wanted action in the first 100 days of the new government.

He said business wanted O’Farrell to cut government spending, sign up to the weaker federal...

The statement below is being circulated by Power to the People, a campaign group which formed during the fight against electricity privatisation in NSW and the newly formed NSW Union Activist Network, made up of left and green union activists.

The Activist Teachers Network — a rank and...

An article, “Targeted chocolatier Max Brenner ‘a man of peace’”, in the August 13 Australian by Cameron Stewart purported to be an examination of issues around the targeting of Max Brenner by Palestine solidarity protesters as part of the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS)...

We’ve heard it all before — “the larger the cake, the larger each slice”. The bigger the economy gets, the more productive we are, the more we should expect to share in the wealth.

Trouble is it’s not true: while the economy grows and profits rise, bosses are cutting jobs and attacking...

Fred Magdoff co-author, with John Bellamy Foster, of What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know about Capitalism: A Citizen’s Guide to Capitalism and the Environment, spoke to Scott Borchert of Monthly Review Press.

Foster is a featured speaker...

The land around Muckaty Station, 120 kilometres north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, was nominated as a possible site for a nuclear waste dump by the Northern Land Council in May 2007. This was accepted by the federal government in September 2007.

Natalie Wasley from the...

“It’s just a great honour to be here,” iconic singer-songwriter Paul Kelly told Green Left Weekly. “What happened here is a fascinating and amazing story.”

Kev Carmody, another legend of Australian music, added: “It’s brought all these people together from diverse backgrounds...

A poll commissioned by new online campaign NewsStand found 61% of Australian people agreed a “public inquiry into the Australian media is necessary so the public can better understand the relationship between politicians, corporations and media outlets”.

NewsStand, backed by GetUp, then...

1. Profit maximisation is the iron rule of capitalism, setting limits to ecological reform. A profit-based economy that requires continuous economic growth makes ecological catastrophes inevitable.

2. Voluntarism, technological fixes and market incentives as they have been constructed...

The August 31 decision of the High Court to stop the Labor government’s bid to deport up to 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia is welcome news and a success for the refugee rights campaigners and the lawyers who led the case.

But the judgement has not, as many hoped, spurred the government...

Letters

Dismissive letter on depression not helpful

Mark Harris’ well-balanced and thoroughly materialist short analysis of depression “Capitalism is just depressing” (GLW #888) did not warrant Dr David Faber’s dismissive comment (GLW #892): “If you want to be...

Resistance!

According to Australia’s outgoing discrimination commissioner Graeme Innes, racism is still a big problem in Australian society.

This is nothing new. Racism has been an issue in Australia since the very beginning of white colonisation, when Aboriginal people were forced from their lands...

It has become a cliche in mainstream media and political discourse that feminism is no longer necessary in society. However many ordinary women disagree.

Green Left Weekly asked members of the newly formed Feminist Collective of South Australia about feminism’s relevance today...

Culture

Last year, the Sydney Underground Film Festival hosted the Australian premier of Oliver Stone's documentary on Latin America's revolutions South of the Border. This year, the festival is taking place this year on September 8-11 at the The Factory Theatre in Marrickville.

...

Black Swan
By Carolyn Landon & Eileen Harrison
238 pages
Allen & Unwin, June 2011

Bestselling author Carolyn Landon says the main revision she had to make in writing her latest book, Black Swan was editing all her anger out of...

Our Way to Fight
Michael Riordon
Pluto Press, 2011

“People safely outside the situation sometimes ask ‘Why don’t more Palestinians use non-violent protest?’ says Michael Riordon is his concluding chapter to Our Way To Fight.

“The...

Let me tell you what fuck all is.
It's invisible, nada it's you don't exist or matter.
That's what fuck all is.
It's Theresa May plastic faced spouting nothing tangible
That's fuck all.
Fuck all is the offer on the table
It's the option of government
...

Fighting Fund

If you’ve even casually followed the climate debate in Australia over the past few years, it’s most likely you’ve heard a Labor or Liberal party politician utter the phrase: “Governments should not pick winners.”

The idea is that governments’ role is not to give direct support to...