Issue 915

Australia


Photos by Ali Bakhtiavandi

Supporters of six Zimbabwean activists and socialists who face trial for “inciting public violence” because they screened a video last year about Egypt's pro-democracy uprising rallied in Melbourne on March 20.

Organisers of an anti-coal protest at the Boggabri open-cut coalmine in northern New South Wales released the statement below on March 19.

Speakers at the event included Maules Creek Community Council spokesperson Phil Laird, author and journalist Paul Cleary, Liverpool Plains farmer Tim...

The Australian Forests and Climate Alliance (AFCA) released the statement below on March 19.

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Australia’s forests and wildlife had a desperately narrow escape from an increase in destruction today when Parliament voted not to subsidise the burning of native forest wood for...

Farmers and supporters marched on the Labor Party and Liberal National Party offices in Brisbane on March 12 to protest coal and coal seam gas mining in Queensland, before attending a 1000-person strong food security forum at the Brisbane Convention Centre.

Friends of the Earth Melbourne released the statement below on March 20.

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One of Victoria’s worst kept secrets over the past year has been the intention of the state government to expand the state’s involvement in the coal industry. A draft cabinet submission shows that the...

The Refugee Action Coalition Sydney released the statement below on March 20.

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Two Afghan refugees were taken in handcuffs from Darwin to Christmas Island on the afternoon of March 18.

Refugee advocates have called for the immediate end of the use of Christmas Island...

A protest of 250 people took place outside NSW parliament on March 15. It was organised by anti-coal seam gas (CSG) groups Stop CSG Sydney and Stop CSG Illawarra.

The action coincided with the parliamentary debate of a petition, signed by 20,000 people, calling for a statewide moratorium...

An Aboriginal protest march is being planned for March 28 to take up issues such as the government’s miserly stolen wages offer and the proposed deal that would extinguish Nyoongar native title in south west Western Australia.

The WA government made an offer on March 6 to pay up to $2000...

Victorian nurses crowded into Festival Hall in Melbourne on March 16 to hear their nine months of struggle had reached a successful outcome.

After what the ABC said was Victoria’s longest running industrial dispute, nurses have won 14-21% pay increases and kept their nurse-to-patient...

Another company is following in the footsteps of Qantas by locking out its workers from March 5 to 14.

Sigma, a company that distributes pharmacy products to wholesale and retail customers, locked out 150 workers in an attempt to intimidate them into ceasing all industrial action. The...

Stop CSG Illawarra released the statement below on March 16.

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Thursday March 15 2012 was a big day for the coal seam gas (CSG) issue in our state parliament.

In the morning a motion was put to the NSW Upper House by Jeremy Buckingham of the Greens — to place a...

Demonstrators descended on NSW parliament on March 15 after a Greens and Labor sponsored motion for a moratorium on all coal seam gas exploration licences was voted down by the Liberal-National, Shooters and Fishers and Christian Democrat members of the Legislative Council. Later that...

Over 200 people attended a coal seam gas community forum in Oakdale on March 11, packing out the Workers’ Club. Local residents organised the meeting to tell the community about CSG development in their suburb.

They were incensed that they had not been told by the NSW government or gas...


Photos by Ali Bakhtiavandi

Activists in Melbourne rallied on March 16 to save Ballerrt Mooroop College, Melbourne’s only Aboriginal specialist school. In the past fortnight, the education department expelled all the students, demolished some school buildings and is now claiming the...

Bob Katter’s homophobia is abhorrent, says socialist candidate

The Socialist Alliance Queensland released the statement below on March 15.

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Liam Flenady, Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of South Brisbane in the March 24 Queensland elections, has slammed the...

Kurdish protesters in Melbourne went on a 48-hour hunger strike on March 12 in support of Kurdish political prisoner and leader, Abdullah Ocalan. They said they also sought to increase awareness about the need to find a peaceful solution to the Turkish government’s oppression of Kurds.

...

Forest Rescue released the statement below on March 14.

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Forest Rescue has been waging a non violent direct action battle with the Western Australia state government’s Forest Products Commission (FPC) in order to secure the last remaining numbat habitat in the southwest —...

Green Left Weekly’s Keith Westbrook visited Matagarup (Heirrison Island) in Perth on March 13 to talk to the Aboriginal protesters at the Nyoongar Tent Embassy about their fight for sovereignty and their campaign against the state Coalition government’s plan to...

The Refugee Action Collective Victoria released the statement below on March 15.

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Independent MP Rob Oakeshott is attempting to get legislation through parliament that will allow asylum seekers to be sent to third countries for processing. Oakeshott has called on both major...

About 200 people marched in Melbourne on March 11 to commemorate the Fukushima nuclear disaster and call for an end to uranium mining.

Long-term anti-nuclear campaigner Margaret Beavis told the rally: “We need to phase out nuclear power. Why are we risking everybody’s health with this...

People across Australia rallied on March 11 as part of a national day of action to call for the end of uranium mining in Australia. The rallies marked one year since the beginning of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. The photographs above are of Melbourne's March 11 rally.
...

About 1000 people attended a food security forum in the Brisbane Convention Centre on March 12 to defend agricultural land and water against mining for coal and coal seam gas (CSG). The forum, chaired by controversial radio broadcaster Alan Jones, was organised by the Lock the Gate Alliance and...

Hundreds of people donned as much green as they could find on March 10 and crammed into the Irish Murphy’s pub in Brisbane to start their celebrations for St. Patrick’s Day a week early. But on the opposite street corner, about 80 women and their supporters gathered in recognition of the many...

As a tropical downpour loomed, about 400 people stayed put to spell out "SOS" next to a huge banner that read "Reef in Danger" on the city’s Esplanade on March 11.

The rally marked the visit to the city of a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)...

Activists delivered an early birthday present for Rupert Murdoch to The Advertiser building in Adelaide on March 9.

Occupy Murdoch delivered a yellow “uranium” cake, along with demands for media reform, to the office of the News Ltd tabloid.

Activist Tamara Otello baked...

World

Sixty thousand people marched on Madison, Wisconsin on March 10 to mark the one-year anniversary of the passage of Governor Scott Walker's drastic dismantling of collective bargaining rights for public employees.

Last year, Walker's attacks on labour rights sparked huge protests....

Ugandan newspapers carried front-page reports in recent weeks from the highly respected Social Science Research Council of New York, accusing the Ugandan army of atrocities against civilians in Central African Republic while on a mission to fight Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA...

United States secretary of state Hillary Clinton, speaking to the US Senate Appropriations Committee last month, said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad meets the criteria of a war criminal.

Telegraph.co.uk reported on February 28 that Clinton said: “Based on definitions of war criminal...

The All Japan 3.11 Action Committee released the statement that is abridged below below on March 11.

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March 11 marks the one year anniversary of the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor accident. Many people were forced to evacuate and still continue to live under...

Tens of thousands filled the square as the echoes of the speaker at the podium boomed through huge speakers. Some came in anger, others in grief, but all agreed: it was time for a change. Many carried banners, others carried drums; some had taken their children out of school to attend.

...

The following statement was issued by the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) in support of six Zimbabwean activists and socialists facing trial for “inciting public violence” in relation to screening a video more than a year ago in support of the Egyptian pro-democracy uprising....

Sri Lanka is under pressure over repeated allegations of war crimes committed during its war against the pro-independence Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The war, which lasted nearly three decades, ended with the defeat of the LTTE in May 2009. An estimated 40,000 Tamil civilians were...

Women workers in the United States are attacking low pay and bias from many angles, assailing wage laws that exclude them, suing over outright discrimination and trying to organise unions.

And they’ve been confronting the disrespect that accompanies smaller paychecks.

The pay gap...

The latest wave of murderous Israeli air strikes on Gaza, which began on March 9, appeared aimed at raising pressure for war on Iran and undermining Palestinian group Hamas.

Al Jazeera said on March 13 that 25 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli forces in the first four days of air...

For the US military and the pro-war Western corporate media, the March 11 slaughter of 16 civilians, nine of them children, as they slept in their homes in the villages of Alkozai and Najeeban in Panjwai district, Kandahar province, was an aberration.

For Afghans, it was just the latest...

Invisible Children's “KONY 2012” film, which supports US military intervention in Uganda and has gone viral on the internet, has caused widespread outrage in the central African nation, Al Jazeera said on March 14.

The article pointed out that most Ugandans have been excluded from the “...

The case of the soldier who went berserk in Afghanistan and killed 16 people must be utterly baffling to psychiatrists.

Who can imagine what might cause someone in a stable environment such as Kandahar, with reliable role models training you to distrust the entire local population as...

The parents of hunger-striking political prisoner Hana al-Shalabi issued a call on March 14 to all Palestinians to protest in support of their daughter, who was on her 28th continuous day without food in protest at her detention without charge or trial by Israel.

The statement said: “We...

War by media, says current military doctrine, is as important as the battlefield. This is because the real enemy is the public at home, whose manipulation and deception is essential for starting an unpopular colonial war.

Like the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, attacks on Iran and...

Analysis

Scott Power is the Senior Principal Research Scientist at Australian Bureau of Meteorology. This article is republished from The Conversation.

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The vulnerability of Pacific Island countries to climate change has been the subject of significant media coverage,...

Farmers, environmentalists, irrigators, winemakers, horse breeders, the NSW opposition, and coal seam gas (CSG) campaigners have all been angered by the NSW Coalition government's new land use plans, which give the go-ahead to CSG and coalmining across the state.

Despite Premier Barry O’...

Resources minister Martin Ferguson introduced the National Radioactive Waste Management Bill into the House of Representatives in February 2010, saying it represented “a responsible and long overdue approach for an issue that impacts on all Australian communities”.

The bill names Muckaty...

The latest State of the Climate report by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO was launched at a weather monitoring station on remote Cape Grim in Tasmania. The location was an apt choice for a report that has very bad news about Australia's continuing failure to respond adequately...

One of life’s truisms is the powerful get to kill who they want.

Israel proved this again with days of murderous air strikes on Gaza that began on March 9. By March 13, at least 25 Palestinians were dead and more of Gaza’s devastated infrastructure ruined.

This latest carnage was...

New legislation introduced by the federal Labor government will entrench many aspects of the Northern Territory Emergency Response, the NT intervention, for 10 years.

The Senate Community Affairs References Committee released the findings of its inquiry into the Stronger Futures in...

March 11 was the first anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in north-east Japan and the meltdowns, explosions and fires at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The impacts of the nuclear disaster have been horrendous. More than 100,000 people are still homeless and some will never be...

The gas industry is fond of saying that burning gas for energy will help tackle climate change. Australian energy company AGL says burning coal seam gas (CSG) results in 50% less greenhouse gas emissions than coal. Industry advertising campaigns bump up that figure to 70%.

But a new peer...

All suggestions of an insipid and apathetic Sydney University political culture have been shot dead over recent weeks by an inspired campaign by staff and students to defeat Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence's plans to cut 340 university staff, and cut courses and the budget by a further $28...

Climate activists like Newcastle group Rising Tide have labelled December’s draft Energy White Paper (EWP), which charts the federal government’s plan for Australia’s future energy mix, a “black” paper. The group says the paper “plans to further expand fossil fuel extraction (both domestically...

The Northern Territory has become Australia’s refugee detention capital. The federal immigration department’s new plan is to fund extra police for NT detention centres.

The immigration department, Australian Federal Police and the NT police agreed on March 12 to a two-year deal for 94...

Community workers were granted long-awaited pay rises in a historic decision by Fair Work Australia on February 1.

Before this decision, the 16 previous equal pay cases tried to improve pay for sectors that employ mostly women, such as the community services sector. Every case failed....

The recently released independent Gonski review into school funding reaffirms what many teachers and parents already knew. Current school funding arrangements are dysfunctional and inequitable and the failure to reform the way we resource our public schools has come at an immense social and...

Newly appointed foreign minister Bob Carr said in a January blog post: “As [NSW] Premier, I never saw a demonstration that didn’t hurt the side that mounted it. And I was never persuaded by a noisy crowd with a few placards.”

But on March 2, the same week he was appointed, the federal...

Beattheblockade.org released the statement below on March 16.

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Today marks the launch of “Beat the Blockade” — a day of action on April 5 to protest the extrajudicial financial blockade of WikiLeaks and raise vital funds for its work to continue.

While Julian Assange...

Jason Briskey is standing as the Socialist Alliance candidate for the northern Queensland seat of Dalrymple in the March 24 Queensland state elections. A resident of Charters Towers, Jason is a single father of nine-year-old daughter Shakira. He was the ALP candidate for...

The Socialist Alliance released the statement below on March 13.

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The 1968 My Lai massacre of at least 500 unarmed civilians in South Vietnam was a turning point in the US war on Vietnam. Most of the victims of the US platoon outrage were women, children (including babies)...

The Socialist Alliance released the statement below on March 15.

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Billions of dollars — desperately needed for public health, education, transport, closing the shameful gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and a real response to the climate change crisis — will...

Letters

Population growth

I’m tired of hearing how population growth and leaky boats cause the destruction of our environment — as if two-child families, frugality and no migration would make us sustainable.
 
Take any industry you like, sustainability is blatant...

Culture

Yiddpop
Fayvish
Oriente Musik
www.oriente.de

The Yiddish language, developed out of German by Ashkenazi Jews, was the major language of European Jews before the Holocaust. With the development of modern Hebrew in Israel it started to fade....

Follow The Sun Tour
Xavier Rudd
www.xavierrudd.com

Victorian surf/roots musician Xavier Rudd has long been known for his progressive politics and championing of Aboriginal and environmental issues. Green Left Weekly’s Mat Ward...

The oil-rich South American nation of Venezuela is in the midst of a complicated and contradictory process of social transformation. The revolutionary movement, headed by President Hugo Chavez, is redistributing wealth, bringing key industries under state ownership and promoting experiments in...

The Hunger Games Trilogy
Suzanne Collins
Scholastic Press, 2010,
three volumes, $31.

The Hunger Games is young adult fiction for the 99%.

Millions of readers around the world have made the 2008-10 Hunger Games trilogy by...