Issue 902

Australia

Supporters of Palestinian human rights gathered in Sydney on November 10 to protest the Australian government's silence on the arrest by Israeli authorities of Australian Michael Coleman, who took part in the recent Freedom Waves to Gaza attempt to sail humanitarian aid to Gaza.

It was “shameful” of the Victorian Liberal government, the Victorian Hospitals Industrial Association (VHIA) and the state's hospitals to consider locking out nurses or using a strikebreaking workforce to end the enterprise bargaining campaign of public sector nurses, Australian Nursing...

Update, Nov 11: Free Gaza Australia said this morning that Freedom Waves to Gaza activist Michael Coleman has been released from detention and has been deported back to Australia. Free Gaza Australia says fourteen Irish Palestine solidarity activists are still held by Israel....

Friends of the Earth released the statement below on November 9.

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Protesters halted dredging in Gladstone harbour today, when Friends of the Earth campaigner Derec Davies locked on to a Gladstone port corporation dredge.

Davies was part of a protest organised by...

Contrary to some media reporting, the Occupy Sydney movement has a focused and coherent political agenda, researchers from the University of Sydney believe.

Based on 180 field interviews undertaken at the November 5 rally in Sydney, a research team from the University’s Department of...

Free Gaza Australia released the statement below on November 7.

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Contrary to Israeli claims that the takeover of the two Freedom boats Tahrir and MV Saoirse by the Israeli navy was peaceful, organisers of this latest Freedom Wave to Gaza say it was...

About 300 people rallied in King George Square on November 5 to support the worldwide Occupy movement, and assert the right of Occupy Brisbane to keep its encampment in public space.

Following the rally, demonstrators marched to Post Office Square, Queens Park, and then across the...

From November 9 to 15 Australian Taxation Office staff will vote on management's proposed enterprise agreement. This is the second time a staff ballot has been held. The first version of management’s proposal was rejected in June by a majority of 59% to 41%.

The Community and Public...

About 1500 people joined an Occupy Sydney rally at Town Hall on November 5, making it the largest of the three Occupy Sydney marches so far.

Members of the Maritime Union of Australia and other unions filled out the crowd.

The crowd marched to Martin Place -- where Occupy Sydney...

Occupy Melbourne has re-established its occupation at Melbourne’s Treasury Gardens. Its general assemblies are still held in City Square, the original Occupy Melbourne site.

Since being violently evicted from City Square on October 21, Occupy Melbourne has become a travelling occupation...

“When I meet with [climate change] minister Greg Combet next week I will be taking my prescription pad with me and I will be writing a prescription for solar thermal for Port Augusta, not just three times a day but permanently,” said Dr David Shearman of Doctors for the Environment Australia (...

On November 4, Israeli warships stopped two Freedom Waves to Gaza boats in international waters that were attempting to deliver medical aid to Gaza, in defiance of the Israeli blockade. The following is abridged from a statement by Free Gaza Australia.

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All communication...

Thousands of New South Wales high school and primary school teachers stopped work for two hours on November 2. They voted overwhelmingly to reject the Coalition O’Farrell state government’s salary offer.

Ninety-nine percent of teachers at the stopwork meetings also voted to hold a 24-...

The Nature Conservation Council of NSW released the statement below on November 4.

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The Nature Conservation Council of NSW is calling on the federal government to commission its own modelling of the carbon pollution from coal seam gas exploration and production rather than...

Another horrific tragedy has struck a group of refugees taking the final-resort option of boarding an unseaworthy boat to try to reach Australia in search of asylum.

Dozens were feared to have drowned when a boat carrying about 70 mostly Afghan and Iranian refugees sank off the coast of...

The Stop the War Coalition Sydney, Stand Fast and Peacebus.com released the statement below on November 1.

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Prime Minister Julia Gillard has urged Australians not to be overly concerned about the incident that left three Australian soldiers dead and five wounded in...

The NSW Nature Conservation Council held it's annual Environment Awards on October 29. The awards celebrate and acknowledge the inspiring contributions made by environmental groups and individuals over the past year.

Jess Moore won the “Rising Star” award for being the “most outstanding...

“It’s great to see the sense of coming together shown in your camp here,” Murri community leader Sam Watson told a gathering of about 40 people at the Occupy Brisbane camp at Post Office Square on October 29. Watson spoke at a special forum as Occupy Brisbane entered its third week at the square...

World

In October, the Sydney branch of the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society (ACFS) toured Dr Merita Armindo Monteiro, an East Timorese doctor trained for free in Cuba. Armindo Monterio is also an activist in the Timor Leste-Cuba Friendship Association.

Since 2004, Cuba has undertaken a large-...

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has ordered the expropriation of the British agricultural company Agroflora.

The company is a subsidiary of Britain’s Vestey Group that focuses on the commercial production of beef.

Chavez said the company’s 290,000 hectares of farmland would be...

The streets of Oakland, California, echoed with the voices of tens of thousands of people determined to take a stand on November 2. Workers, students, activists and people from all walks of life responded to the call for a general strike by Occupy Oakland.

The last general strike in the...

Occupy has gone viral. First we had flash trading, then flash mobs, and now a flash movement.

But this is no flash in the pan.

The Occupy movement is here to stay, come hell or high water, because the status quo is unacceptable. Not since the 1930s and 1960s have tens of...

“The crisis of the capitalist system has provoked the indignados movement [the ‘outraged’, as they are known in Spain] that has arisen in one country after another across the globe,” Elisa Osori, a national directorate member of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) said....

On September 30, 2001, in the midst of one of the worst economic crises in Argentine history, the owners of the Zanon ceramic factory announced plans to switch off the furnaces.

In response, union delegates occupied the plant in the southern province of Neuquen. The next day, workers...

Experts hired to probe an earthquake near Blackpool left their paymaster red-faced today when they ruled that its controversial "fracking" for shale gas was the most likely cause.

An independent report commissioned by energy firm Cuadrilla into possible links between drilling at its...

The statement below was released by Tar Sands Action on October 31. The group is seeking to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, built to transport oil from the Athabasca tar sands in north-east Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the United States. Mining the Athabasca tar sands is one of the most...

A new manual by six Europe-based NGOs calls for an end to forest offsets, whereby carbon emissions in one country can be supposedly “offset” by protecting forests in another.

Forest offset programs are largely organised through the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest...

Two civilian boats, the Canadian Tahrir (“Liberation”), and the Irish Saoirse (“Freedom”), carried 27 people from nine countries to try to reach the beleaguered Gaza Strip to challenge Israel’s ongoing criminal blockade of the territory.

On November 4, the two ships...

On election night in Tunisia, as it became clear that moderate Islamist party Ennahda had won most seats in the Constituent Assembly and would be forming government, many Tunisians feared for the revolutionary struggle that has continued since the uprising that overthrew Zine El Abidine Ben Ali...

In a grim piece of political theatre that is becoming more frequent, and more surreal, a sombre PM Julia Gillard on October 30 acknowledged the latest three Australian fatalities in Afghanistan by claiming that Australia was winning a just war there.

The death toll of Australian soldiers...

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams led a dramatic walkout from the Dublin parliament (Dail) on November 2. The protest was over the coalition government’s decision to hand over more than €700 million to an unknown private investor in the failed Anglo Irish Bank.

Finance minister Michael...

In the space of barely more than a weekend, the deal that was supposed contain the euro crisis has unravelled entirely. The call for a referendum on the so-called rescue package by Greek Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou, later retracted under huge pressure, merely capped its rapid unravelling...

Strike action by thousands of workers at the notorious Grasberg gold and copper mine in West Papua since September 15 has brought operations to a halt, despite attempts to stop the strike.

The mine is the largest and most profitable in territory controlled by Indonesia and has a long...

Analysis

Video Transcript:

These last few years, I’ve had to get a lot more careful about how I spend my paycheck. Everyone has. Like I’m eating out less often, holding back on expenses I don’t really need, saving for my kid’s college.

I’m getting more responsible, taking...

Video from the Sydney Peace Foundation

Free Gaza Australia released this open letter to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on November 7.

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Dear Prime Minister Gillard,

Many people in Australia have been organising an Australian contingent to join the Freedom Wave to Gaza initiative which left Turkey...

Green Left Weekly’s Jonathon Rutherford spoke to Australian environmentalist and author Ted Trainer about capitalism, affluence, the limits to growth and how we can move to a better society.

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Today most environmentalists,...

Sydney Peace Blog — The 2011 City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture was delivered to a sold-out crowd at Sydney Town Hall on Wednesday November 2 by the 2011 Sydney Peace Prize Recipient Professor Noam Chomsky.

The full text of Chomsky’s lecture, titled Revolutionary Pacifism: Choices and...

The rapid growth of the coal seam gas (CSG) industry — despite broad public opposition and proven risks — is bringing the gap between policy and public will into stark relief.

Research remains limited, but there is mounting evidence CSG mining poses serious risks. The industry puts huge...

If you speak out against the widening gap between wages and CEOs’ salaries, the corporate media will accuse you of stoking the “politics of envy”. Workers who dare take industrial action to get a few more crumbs from the bosses’ table are cast as class war dinosaurs.

The Occupy...

Alan Kohler, the editor in chief of Business Spectator and the finance presenter on the ABC News, was blunt about who was to blame for the Europe debt crisis in his November 2 opinion piece on the ABC's The Drum.

He said: “The debt crisis in Europe is the fault of...

Two grassroots lesbian, gay, bisexual, sex and/or gender diverse (LGBSGD) rights conferences will take place in Sydney in early December. The conferences will coincide with a national marriage rights rally on December 3, outside the ALP National Conference.

Australia's first Sex and...

The Northern Territory government’s latest proposed approach to teaching Aboriginal students, like its previous policy, places a primacy on reading and writing in English. It allows for students’ first language to be used to help teachers explain new concepts, but critics fear it falls short of...

When Annie Leonard put her groundbreaking cartoon The Story of Stuff online in late 2007, she would have been really happy if 50,000 people had watched it.

“To my utter amazement we got 50,000 viewers on the first day,” she told Green Left Weekly during a recent visit...

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce grounded all Qantas aircraft, locked out Qantas workers, and disrupted the travel plans of thousands of passengers, including visiting heads of state, on October 29.

The lock-out sparked a successful application by workplace relations minister Chris...

… and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage. — John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath.

In my spare...

An eight-day protest on the rooftop at the Northern Immigration Detention Centre (NIDC) in Darwin ended shortly before five refugees “locked themselves in a room … where one man took an overdose of sleeping pills while the other four began cutting themselves,” the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support...

Occupy Sydney activist Elena Ortega gave the speech below at an October 22 rally in Sydney’s Martin Place. Earlier this year, Ortega took part in Spain’s indignado movement, which has involved huge protests and occupations against corporate power across the country...

What if rising sea levels are yet another measure of inequality? What if the degradation of our planet’s life-support systems — its atmosphere, oceans and biosphere — goes hand in hand with the accumulation of wealth, power and control by that corrupt and greedy 1% we are hearing about from...

Resistance!

In the context of Australia’s struggling climate movement, the achievements of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) have been significant.

When the Murdoch press would rather report Lord Munckton’s denialist nonsense, a group that connects more than 70,000 young Australians to...

Culture

When fist-raising 1968 Olympian Dr John Carlos and I wrote his memoir, The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World, we didn't exactly expect the publishing date to coincide with a mass national protest movement for economic and social justice.

I've now heard...

'Look At Me Now'
Sky’High
Grindin Records

Aboriginal rapper Sky’High admits she can be difficult to work with.

“I can come across a bit intimidating or ‘weird’,” she tells Green Left Weekly, laughing. “Some people can't handle that ― I’m...

Strong>The Short Goodbye: A Skewed History of the Last Boom and the Next Bust
By Elisabeth Wynhausen
Melbourne University Publishing, 2011
219 pages, $29.99 (pb)

From writing stories about workers being sacked during the 2009 global financial crisis,...

Ramy Essam has been featured on my Rebel Frequencies site before. The young folk-singer may best be described at "the troubadour of the Egyptian revolution".

Essam performed at the initial rallies demanding dictator Hosni Mubarak step down, and was kidnapped and tortured as a result. And...