Issue 896

Australia

Activists rallied in Melbourne to call for greater rights for people with mental illness on September 16.

The rally was called by the Australian Mental Health Human Rights and Law Reform Coalition to condemn abuses in the Victorian mental health system.

The September 3 Age...

Students from the University of Wollongong have campaigned over the past three years for the university to switch to 100% renewable energy by 2015.

They have collected more than 3000 signatures from students in support of the plan.

The university administration has instead begun...

These days, there aren’t many victories against attacks on working-class people by neoliberal governments and greedy, ruthless corporations.

This makes the victory in the campaign to save Melbourne’s only Aboriginal school, the Ballerrt Mooroop College in Melbourne’s northern suburb of...

Almost 20 years after its last attempt, American fast food giant McDonald’s has again set its eyes on the quaint communities of the Dandenong Ranges.

Determined to ensure the ranges do not miss out on its heavenly presence, this time McDonald’s hopes to establish a new fast food outlet...

The Barry O’Farrell Coalition government has promised it will make “New South Wales number one” again. We are assured this will mean improving transport, health and education infrastructure and strengthening the public sector that delivers these services to the people of NSW.

The “horror...

As time passes, the reasons the public might have for trusting chemical company Orica and the NSW environment minister Robyn Parker are evaporating.

On the night of August 8, highly toxic hexavalent chromium leaked from Orica’s Kooragang Island plant and blew over the Newcastle suburb of...

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AWMU) has launched action in the Federal Court to protect a member who is facing disciplinary action from his employer after he took action to address a serious health and safety issue.

In early August, Jon Zwart, an AMWU delegate and health...

About 50 people attended a vigil on the parliament lawns in Hobart on September 16 in support of Ali Alishah, a jailed anti-pulp mill protester.

Alishah was arrested on September 5 at Gunns' proposed pulp mill site in the Tamar Valley in northern Tasmania after locking on to a truck that...

Queensland Murri leader Sam Watson called for a new royal commission into Black deaths in custody at a rally outside state parliament on September 15. “Enough is enough. We need urgent action to end Aboriginal deaths in police watchhouses and prisons,” he said.

He announced a national...

Employees at the Department of Human Services (DHS) voted to reject an enterprise agreement proposed by management, which would have covered 42,000 staff. Seventy three percent of those who took part in the ballot voted “no”.

More than 120,000 public servants from agencies such as...

“The future of the education struggle in Chile is uncertain, but we are very hopeful of the outcome," University of Chile academic Dr Leonora Reyes told a September 15 forum at the Queensland University of Technology. "But for sure, after this cycle of student upsurge, our country will not...

Grassroot activist group Code Green Tasmania released the statement below on September 15 to mark a protest outside forest company Gunns’ Launceston office that day.

The previous day, Tasmanian premier Lara Giddings announced her government would give Gunns $23 million in return for the...

Right-wing independent federal MP Bob Katter is famously on record as saying he would “walk backwards to Bourke” if a gay community could be found living in his north Queensland electorate.

A 70-strong protest for equal marriage rights outside Katter’s Mt Isa electorate office on...

Five refugees staged a rooftop protest for a several hours at the Northern Immigration Detention Centre on September 15.

The group carried banners reading: “We need help” and “People smugglers and [the Department of Immigration and Citizenship] are the same, both playing with our life...

The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network released the statement below on September 13.

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A detention centre worker has contacted the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) and indicated that a SERCO security guard was in tears as a result of a...

Malalai Joya, dissident author and former member of the Afghan parliament, addressed a packed Marrickville Town Hall on September 9. More than 500 people braved the cold to hear Joya speak defiantly about the war waged on her country by US/NATO forces for the past decade.

On the eve of...

Gillard’s refugee policy breaches ALP platform, say dissidents

Labor for Refugees (NSW) released the statement below on September 12.

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Labor for Refugees (NSW) condemns the policy announced today by the Prime Minister that legislation will be pursued to overcome the...

Friends of the Earth released the statement below on September 12.

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The NSW government is mismanaging one of the Murray-Darling’s most significant wetlands, deciding last week to open up the Millewa section of the Murray Valley National Park to more firewood collection....

World

Troy Davis was executed by the state of Georgia on September 21.. Journalist Jon Lewis was present at the execution and told media waiting outside the prison that Davis was “defiant until the very end, defending his innocence until the end”.

Davis was convicted of killing off duty...

The wave of riots in numerous English cities this August did not lead to widespread disruption anywhere in Wales.

Despite this, several people in Wales have been arrested for riot related offences, some of whom have been denied bail and handed highly disproportionate sentences.

...

Instead of this pointless Vickers Report about how to sort out the banks, the investigation by the Independent Commission on Banking headed by John Vickers should have been carried out by Supernanny. She'd have sorted it.

Because the problem seems to be they've got no discipline. And...

“Bloody Greeks — corrupt and lazy, born cheaters who think the world owes them a living. Why should the hard-working taxpayers of the euro zone core economies like Germany have to fund billion-euro rescue packages for those scoundrels?”

That’s the vicious tone of Germany’s tabloids and...

What the polls had predicted would be an easy victory for the Social Democrats in Denmark's September 15 election turned out to be much closer.

The last poll before the vote showed the Social Democrat leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt ahead of her Liberal opponent Lars Løkke Rasmussen by 52....

“We are going to the United Nations to request our legitimate right, obtaining full membership for Palestine in this organisation,” Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Ramallah-based, internationally recognised Palestinian Authority (PA), declared in a September 16 televised address.

“We...

A 20-hour assault on the US embassy in Kabul by Taliban fighters on September 14 has exposed further weaknesses in the already-crumbling facade of the United States-led occupation of Afghanistan.

The Taliban launched a sustained rocket attack on what is supposedly the most secure area in...

Iraqi hotel worker Baha Mousa died after violent and cowardly abuse by British soldiers, a public inquiry in Britain has found.

Inquiry chairperson William Gage published his report on September 8. He described the treatment of Mousa and his fellow detainees in the Iraqi city of Basra in...

At the Second Meeting of American Organisations and Movements in Tihuanacu, Bolivia, in 1983, September 5 was officially designated International Indigenous Women’s Day.

Since then, September 5 has been growing in recognition as a major event in Latin America's progressive calendar....

WikiLeaks' release of cables from the United States embassy in La Paz has shed light on its attempts to create divisions in the social and indigenous movements that make up the support base of the country’s first indigenous-led government.

The cables prove the embassy sought to use the...

Neoliberal policies “which have fed the growing political disaffection of Bolivia's majority poor, have helped fuel the country's rolling 'social revolution.'"

This was how a May 6, 2006, US embassy cable from La Paz recently released by WikiLeaks viewed the powerful wave of struggle...

Fifty years have passed since Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba fell victim to a US-Belgian murder plot.

The killing of the Congo's first post-independence leader set the newly-independent central African country (now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo) on a tragic course that...

Analysis

Jeff McMullen, a prominent journalist and Aboriginal rights advocate, gave the address below at the Sydney launch of Walk With Us: Aboriginal Elders Call Out to Australian People to Walk with them in their Quest for Justice at Gleebooks, Sydney, on September 1.

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The...

Toro Energy has submitted an application to build Western Australia’s first uranium mine, at Wiluna, the start of WA’s iconic Canning Stock Route.

The debate over the proposed mine has far-reaching ramifications. The construction of WA’s first uranium mine is likely to be the “thin edge...

A decade ago most experts would have thought it impossible. But several teams of scientists say the Arctic ice cap had shrunk to its smallest recorded extent, volume and area.

Environmental physicists from the University of Bremen said on September 9 the Arctic ice cap extent was “small...

Australia’s ability to remain a signatory to the UN refugee convention would be put in serious doubt if the government succeeded in weakening protection for refugees in the migration act, prominent human rights lawyer Julian Burnside QC told Green Left Weekly.

“The judgement was...

Now that the Labor government has almost entirely reneged on its 2007 election promise to end Australia’s sickening abuse of refugees, the two big parties are united on an issue they have so vehemently pretended to disagree.

Unhappy with the High Court’s interpretation of the law — that...

A huge crowd of about 650 people attended a memorial service at the Elder Hall, University of Adelaide on September 9 to farewell Elliott Johnston, the only communist to become a judge in Australia. He died on 25 August, aged 93.

Those paying tribute included representatives from the...

Some years ago I and many others, fought and demonstrated against the toxic verbal bile that was mouthed then by what was seen by most Australians to be a fringe party.

Their disgusting rantings only proved them to be an ultra-racist party. Some politicians agreed with them, some used...

A motion condemning anti-apartheid protests targeting the Max Brenner chain of chocolate and coffee shops was passed by the Australian Senate on September 13.

The motion was moved by Queensland Nationals Senator Ron Boswell and supported by all parties except for the Greens.

...

The Refugee Action Collective (Victoria) released the statement below on September 13.

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The Refugee Action Collective condemns Labor’s plan to try and change the Migration Act to make the Malaysian “solution” lawful in the wake of the High Court victory.

We reiterate...

Culture

At this year’s Deadly Awards, an annual celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture being held on September 27, all eyes will be on one of the fastest rising stars in Aboriginal music.

Yung Nooky doesn’t even have an album out yet, but the radical rookie rapper from...

Yirrkala, in north-east Arnhem land, is home to the famous 1963 “Bark Petition”. This was a protest action by the Yolngu people that led to the first native title litigation in Australia’s history.

I was there last month for the anniversary of that stage of their landmark struggle....

There used to be snow
On the mountain tops
Now the rivers run low
Nothing left for the crops

Where will they go
They who work the land
When all the ancestral waters
Have vanished in the sand?

Free market policies
And vanishing border...

[This article, by veteran English singer-songwriter Billy Bragg, is reprinted from Rock & Rap Confidential. You can subscribe to R&RC free of charge by sending your email address to rockrap@aol.com .

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How ironic that The Clash should be on...

Fighting Fund

Recent polls in Australia now show that Kevin Rudd is the preferred prime minister of 44% of those surveyed, but the guy is just another right-wing creep swanning around the world, giving the world unsolicited advice in Ruddese while living it up in presidential hotel suites costing up to $2700...

This is a country in serious denial. Australia is a world leader in per capita greenhouse gas pollution and in fossil fuel exports. It produces 30 tonnes CO2-equivalent a person a year and 54 tonnes if Australia’s exported CO2 pollution is included.

Pakistan produces 0.9 tonnes and...