Issue 909

Australia

Many Muckaty Traditional Owners are opposed to establishment a radioactive waste dump on the Muckaty Land Trust, 120 kilometres north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory.

This is a short video appeal to Senators calling on them to oppose Minister Ferguson's National Radioactive...

Port Kembla Coal Terminal workers began a week-long strike on February 1. The action is a result of management scaling back conditions during negotiations over a new enterprise agreement. BHP Billiton operates the coal terminal on behalf of its owners, which include Xstrata, Peabody Energy,...

Thousands of Victorian nurses, mental health workers, public servants and others have been trying to negotiate new enterprise bargaining agreements with the Coalition government.

Premier Ted Baillieu's intransigent state government has insisted it will not agree to any pay rises above 2....

In an historic decision, Fair Work Australia (FWA) awarded pay rises of 19-41% to 150,000 mostly female workers in the social and community services sector (SACS) on February 1.

It was the most important equal pay case since equal pay for work of equal value was formally recognised in...

Socialist Alliance candidate Liam Flenady, who will run in the March 24 Queensland state election, announced the party's key policy pledge on February 4.

The policy said: “Set up a new Queensland State Bank: Provide low-interest loans to householders, farmers and small business. Stop the...

The statement below was posted on the Observer Tree blog on February 3.

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Today Miranda Gibson has broken the Tasmanian record for the longest time spent at the top of a tree. Miranda has been on a platform 60 meters from the ground for 52 days, and will remain there to...

The trees are coming down. Against a backdrop of grey skies and at times torrential rain, to a soundtrack of chainsaw, wood chipper and howls of protest and grief from anguished residents and exhausted protesters, the magnificent, healthy, 80-year-old iconic cathedral arch of the Laman Street...

February 1 was the day of the most vibrant climate rally seen in Melbourne for some time, with nearly 500 protesters overflowing from the steps of the state parliament house to call on the federal and state governments to revoke their funding of HRL, Victoria’s proposed new coal-fired power...

About 200 unionists gathered at King George Square on February 2 for a meeting to commemorate the centenary of the 1912 Brisbane General Strike, one of the first of its kind in the world. The Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) and the Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) jointly sponsored the meeting...

A new government report has found that just 174 of the 700 workers laid off by BlueScope Steel late last year have found new jobs. The federal Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education compiled the report.

The January 28 Illawarra Mercury also...

Friends of the Earth Australia released the statement below on February 3.

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Friends of the Earth have refuted claims made today by the National Irrigators Council (NIC) that environment groups want government to deliberately flood people’s homes during the current NSW flooding...

Stop CSG Illawarra released the statement below on February 2.

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Stop CSG Illawarra members have decided to organise a community blockade if any work starts on the local coal seam gas (CSG) project. A meeting of local residents voted unanimously to take this course of action...

World

Cutting the working day to a maximum of seven hours, eliminating subcontracted work and raising maternity leave to a period of five months were some of the proposals put forward by thousands of workers across Venezuela for the country's new Labour Law, Socialist Bolivarian Workers’ Central...

Egyptian citizens have accused the police and military of failing to intervene on February 1 to stop clashes at an Egyptian football match that killed at least 74 people.

Dozens of angry protesters sealed off Tahrir Square, the centre of the uprising that toppled former president Hosni...

The streets of Cairo were full of protesters on January 27, two days after the first anniversary of the beginning of the revolution on January 25 last.

The day was called “Friday of Pride and Dignity". The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) was again defeated by the huge...

The Supreme Court hearing in the Julian Assange case has profound meaning for the preservation of basic freedoms in Western democracies.

This is Assange’s final appeal against his extradition to Sweden to face allegations of sexual misconduct that were originally dismissed by the chief...

Laayoune is the largest settlement in Western Sahara territory, which has been occupied by Morocco since 1975.

The Sahrawi people continue to demand independence after decades of poor treatment under Moroccan rule. Many Sahrawi report being routinely subjected to police brutality and say...

United States' oil giant ExxonMobil had the largest profits of the “big five” oil companies last year, raking in US$41.1 billion. This is a 35% jump from the year before.

Here are a few more facts about ExxonMobil:

Exxon’s $41.1 billion in 2011 profit translates into nearly $5...

Cajamarca, a town with tragic associations in Peruvian history, is the setting of another devastating imperialist onslaught.

In 1532, a band of Spanish conquistadores ambushed the Inca king Atahualpa in the central plaza of this Andean town.

The brutal spirit of conquista...

Do you remember what happened on February 2 last year? On that day, one year ago, Tahrir Square was attacked by thugs on camels, horses and donkeys.

These clashes, which lasted for hours and were watched live on TV all over the world, came to be known as the Camel Battle. It was an...

Early in January, the Sa-Ka-Kha-9 military division based near the ancient Falom village seized about 50 houses and a mosque that had been built at the village's edge. It is one of 36 that are Rohingyan (a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority) in the Kyauktaw township in the western Burmese...

From January 24-29, the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre was again the staging ground for the World Social Forum (WSF), an annual international gathering of anti-globalisation and anti-capitalist activists. Among the various movements present, one of the most visible was Brazil's Movement of...

In a big win for environmentalists and the planet, the administration of United States President Barack Obama announced on January 20 that it would deny a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline to transport oil from the Alberta tar sands in Canada.

Anti-tar sands activists in the US...

The United Nations estimated early last month that more than 5400 people had been killed since protests against the dictatorship of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in March last year. Since then, the rate of killing has probably increased, but the UN said the violence has made further...

A vast icy pool of Siberian air, the coldest in 50 years, settled over all Europe in late January. At least 150 people without shelter were killed.

Yet the suffering from this extreme cold snap will be nothing compared with that of the economic ice age now threatening to entomb Europe’s...

Five anti-nuclear activists travelled from Australia to attend the Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World held in the Japanese port city of Yokohama, over January 14–15.

The conference was attended by 11,500 people over the two days including 100 international participants from...

Analysis

In the week after the January 26 Aboriginal Tent Embassy anniversary celebrations and protests, the mainstream media poured out a continuous stream of negative, scathing commentary on the Tent Embassy and the people that defended it.

Ignoring the thousands of people gathered for three...

State planning minister Brad Hazzard released draft guidelines to regulate NSW wind farms in December. The guidelines allow anyone with a residence within two kilometres to veto a wind power project.

If the guidelines become law, this would put the brakes on the wind industry, as the...

This year, the rules of the game have changed drastically. The ALP now supports marriage equality, and the Greens submitted its Marriage Amendment Bill 2010 to a senate inquiry on January 26.

The problem is the numbers in parliament. The ALP has allowed a conscience vote, which means its...

Truth and accuracy have never been the highest priorities for the mainstream media. But hysteria and misrepresentation of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy protest in Canberra on January 26 have been taken to an absurd level.

Terms like “mob violence”, “thuggery” and “riot” have been used by...

Rupert Murdoch's flagship newspaper, The Australian, has been on a campaign to destroy the Greens because the party represents a big electoral break from the two-parties-for-capitalism system that has dominated politics in this country for more than a century. In the past two weeks,...

US gangster Al Capone once said: “Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class.” 19th century US president Thomas Jefferson said: “Banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.”

These quotes capture the bastard nature of the dangerous racket...

Well, it is only February and one thing is certain: a federal election doesn’t have to be called until as late as November 2013, but the Tony Abbott-led Coalition smells blood and, as far as they are concerned, they are in election mode.

This means if you are dark-skinned, downtrodden or...

Pat Eatock, a veteran of the 1972 Aboriginal Tent Embassy, was recently splashed all over the news holding the Prime Minister's shoe.

The shoe was lost when Julia Gillard was clumsily evacuated with opposition leader Tony Abbott by her panicked security detail...

Political establishment and mass media ill will towards the Aboriginal Tent Embassy should not confuse us. The real and valid question is still the past, present and future of Aboriginal Australians.

On January 26, Australia Day, I started a jog of nearly five hours with my family, from...

Arabunna man Peter Watts is the co-chair of ANFA, the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance. Formed in 1997, ANFA (formerly the Alliance Against Uranium) brings together Aboriginal people and relevant NGOs concerned about existing or proposed nuclear developments in Australia, particularly on...

Moments before Julia Gillard was whisked away from the angry crowd, losing her shoe in the process, she began an awards ceremony speech with these words: “Can I start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and in the spirit of reconciliation pay my respects to...

Bob Briton, the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) by-election candidate for the seat of Port Adelaide, launched his campaign at a function on January 21. Below is his speech at the election launch.

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Thank you friends and comrades for turning out in such good numbers at a...

Editorial

Nearly 10 years of a mining boom has made big changes to Australia’s economy and environment. Resource companies have made record profits.

This has given Australia’s rich mining billionaires an inflated sense of entitlement. When the Resources Super Profits Tax (RSPT) was proposed we saw...

Resistance!

Recent national figures published by the Sydney Morning Herald show the rate of youth unemployment in Australia is well above the national average, hitting 17.3%.

The figure is more than triple national unemployment, which stood at 5.2% in December. Almost one in five people...

Activists from Western Australia’s Refugee Rights Action Network traveled more than 800 kilometres from Perth to the remote Leonora detention centre over January 27-29. The journey sought to draw attention to the 160 unaccompanied minors locked up in the detention centre.

Immigration...

Culture

Stop Signs: Cars & Capitalism ― On the Road to Economic, Social & Ecological Decay
By Bianca Mugenyi & Yves Engler
RED Publishing & Fernwood Publishing
2011, 259 pages,
$27.95 (pb)

The car, say Canadian authors Bianca...

Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Ruthlessly Targets Children
Joel Bakan
Random House, 2011
277 pages

Parents who read Joel Bakan's new book, Childhood Under Siege, may find themselves un-liking Facebook.

In it, the law...

Fighting Fund

The mainstream media’s “impartial and balanced” fig leaves began to slip on January 31, revealing their corporate genitalia for all to see.

Australia’s richest person, billionaire mining magnate Gina Rinehart, had begun buying more shares in Fairfax Media, increasing her stake towards 15...

Sam's Freo report

A looming staffing problem in Western Australia's 26 Police and Community Youth Centres (PCYC) is exposing premier Colin Barnett and the Liberal government's disregard for youth services and the complete hypocrisy of the law and order rhetoric that crops up at every state election.

PCYCs...

On the box

Film: Hunger ― A harrowing, award-winning drama on the final months of Irish republican prisoner Bobby Sands, as he went on hunger strike to protest the treatment of political prisoners by British prison guards. SBS2, Wed Feb 8, 9.35pm.

Modern...