Issue 937

News

The Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA) and the Support Assange and WikiLeaks Coalition released the statement below on September 9. * * *
Activists from the Refugee Rights Action Network WA and the WA Network for Human Rights in Tamil Eelam and Sri Lanka protested outside the Perth office of deputy opposition leader Julie Bishop on September 7. Activists protested Julie Bishop in response to her comments that Tamils who have fled Sri Lanka should be sent back there without having their refugee claims assessed.
The appalling suggestion by deputy leader of the opposition Julie Bishop that Sri Lankan asylum seekers should be delivered into the hands of the government of Sri Lanka without even looking at their claims has underlined the importance of the newly-formed WA Network for Human Rights in Tamil Eelam and Sri Lanka.
Activists from the Refugee Rights Action Network WA and the WA Network for Human Rights in Tamil Eelam and Sri Lanka protested outside the Perth office of deputy opposition leader Julie Bishop on September 7. Activists protested Julie Bishop in response to her comments that Tamils who have fled Sri Lanka should be sent back there without having their refugee claims assessed.
The Grocon dispute with the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) at the Myer Emporium site in Melbourne’s CBD ended on September 6 so that talks could resume in the coming week. Grocon owner Daniel Grollo approached the CFMEU about lifting the protests outside Myer and five other Grocon sites so there could be a return to talks under the conditions of a settlement reached with Fair Work Australia. Since police first attacked the protest on August 28, there have been daily mobilisations of 600 to 3000 building workers at the site each morning.
Shorten 'shamed' over Centrelink job cuts Workplace relations minister Bill Shorten faced cries of “shame” from union delegates on August 29, when he tried to score political points by praising workers his government had just sacked. At the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) annual leaders conference in Sydney, Shorten commended Centrelink social workers for supporting grieving families following the 2009 Victorian bushfires and last year's Queensland floods.
The Sydney Refugees Action Coalition released the statement below on September 7. * * * A High Court decision this morning has dismissed an application of behalf of five asylum seekers seeking to extend judicial review to discretionary ministerial decisions. In a similar application (M61) in 2010, the High Court found that asylum seekers were entitled to judicial review of appeal decisions. The High Court judgment means that there is now no legal impediment to the government moving to deport a large number of asylum seekers.
A prime opportunity for the TAFE campaign to give voice to community opposition to the TAFE cuts came on September 6. Victoria's Upper House of parliament was sitting in Bendigo and its Lower House was at the University of Ballarat.
It was standing room only when community members and supporters attended Ringwood Magistrates’ Court on September 6 to witness the dropping of all charges against 12 activists, arising from protests to protect the Gun Barrel coupe in Toolangi State Forest from clear-fell logging in July and August last year. The withdrawal of all charges, without explanation or reason, is a significant victory for the accused and their supporters, and every Victorian who cares for the protection of natural heritage.
Five anti-coal protests took place in Australia over four successive days. The actions targeted coal exports, coalmining, coal transport and coal port infrastructure. The first action took place in Melbourne on September 3, where four members of Quit Coal climbed the roof of Victoria’s parliament house and unfurled a huge 86 square metre banner. The banner displayed a quote from NASA climate scientist James Hansen — “Coal is the single greatest threat to civilisation and all life on our planet” — and asked, “Why is Baillieu funding coal?”
More than 100 people attended the first Melbourne showing of the film Silenced Voices: tales of Sri Lankan journalists in exile on September 6.
About a dozen refugee supporters gathered at the fence of the Darwin Airport Lodge on September 8. The protest, organised by the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN), was organised in response to some refugees in the detention centre — including children — recently being told they will soon be sent to Nauru for processing. The federal Labor government locks up asylum-seeking women, families and unaccompanied children in the Darwin Airport Lodge.
More than 300 people surprised unionist and community legend Fred Moore on September 1, throwing him a huge 90th birthday party. Moore said it was the biggest surprise of his life when he walked into his local community centre hall in Dapto to find hundreds of people cheering his name. It took him several minutes to reach the front of the hall as he hugged nearly everyone on the way.
The NSW Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) construction and general branch released the statement below on September 7. * * * CFMEU State Secretary Brian Parker today expressed his deep sorrow of the loss of one of the building trade union’s most significant leaders — Joe Owens. Owens, who died earlier this week, was secretary of the Builders Labourers Federation (BLF) NSW branch between 1973 and 1975.
About 15,000 Victorian teachers packed in to Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena on September 5 in the biggest teachers strike in the state's history. The Australian Education Union organised the rally to protest the Ted Baillieu state government's attacks on public education and its low offer of a 2.5% wage rise. After the rally, the teachers marched on state parliament.
More than 400 schools were closed across Victoria on September 5 by a one-day strike by teachers, principals and education support (ES) workers. About 40,000 workers in the sector stayed away from work. About 20,000 took to the streets of Melbourne.
More than 400 schools were closed across Victoria on September 5 by a 1-day strike by teachers, principals & education support (ES) workers. About 40,000 workers in the sector stayed away from work. About 20,000 took to the streets of Melbourne.

The Lock the Gate Alliance released the statement below on September 6. * * * Lock The Gate Alliance has this morning criticised the NSW government for its excessive and heavy-handed response to peaceful protest against coal mining expansion in the Gunnedah Basin earlier this week.
Reclaim the Cove, the Fullerton Cove campaign to stop coal seam gas mining, released the statement below on September 6. * * * In a historic decision, the Fullerton Cove Residents Action Group today won an injunction to prevent Dart Energy from drilling for coal seam gas at Fullerton Cove, near Newcastle, until a full legal challenge has been heard.
Equal Love Melbourne released the statement below on September 6. * * * Prime Minister Julia Gillard has succumbed to the pressure to cancel her appearance as keynote speaker at the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) conference. The announcement was made following homophobic comments from the ACL’s managing director Jim Wallace, and at the same time as thousands of equality supporters were preparing to descend on Canberra [on October 6] to protest the event.
Labor for Refugees released the statement below on September 6. * * * Labor for Refugees today wrote to Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs, to refute his damaging speculation that there could be 180,000 boat people coming to Australia in the near future.
Around 50 students protested an appearance at Curtin Uni by Julia Gillard on September 5. The prime minister sneaked in through a back door while large numbers of police guarded the front door. Invitations to the function to launch a new building were issued only to a select few. Protesters argued the case for equal marriage rights and to free the refugees. One person spoke out against the ongoing crime of the war in Afghanistan.
Dozens of students protested an appearance by Prime Minister Julia Gillard at Perth’s Curtin University on September 5. The PM sneaked in through a back door while large numbers of police guarded the front. Invitations to the function to launch a new building were issued only to a select few. Protesters argued the case for equal marriage rights and to free the refugees. One person spoke out against the ongoing crime of the war in Afghanistan. The rally was organised by Equal Love Perth and was supported by the Curtin Refugee Rights Action Network.
Pearse Donerty, Sinn Fein finance spokesperson and member of Ireland's Dail (parliament) is visiting Australia in September, meeting Irish emigrants, trade unions, campaign groups and legislators in Perth, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. He will speak at a number of public meetings to engage with the new diaspora on the economic crisis. The details of events in Perth and Sydney are at the bottom.
Rising Tide released the statement below on September 6. * * * Activists are scaling a crane at a Newcastle coal terminal, stopping work on the construction of new coal loading facilities. Activists entered the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG) coal terminal construction site on Kooragang Island before dawn this morning, and two people are now scaling the crane, preparing to unfurl a banner reading “Stop the coal rush! For health, water & climate.”

Analysis

In a remote part of Western Australia, on the Burrup peninsula near Karratha, is one of the world’s oldest and most important cultural sites. It is the world’s largest collection of rock art, dotted over an area covering 42 adjacent islands, and it is under threat from unchecked industrial development.
Much of my understanding of the issues facing Aboriginal Australians comes from my experience of living and working with Aboriginal people who still speak their own languages at home and live largely on their own land or on communities close to their traditional lands. It’s important to remember that these populations are a minority among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people today. So at one level, my focus may seem largely irrelevant to the situations and struggles of the vast majority of Aboriginal people.
Fewer than 50 Hazara refugees from Afghanistan survived when a refugee boat sank en route to Australia on August 29. Amid the tragedy and horror, Australian politicians have stormed and blustered over so-called people smugglers selling refugees “a ticket to the bottom of the sea”.
The Liberal-National Party government announced a swathe of new job cuts on September 7 before its first budget on September 11. Queensland Health has been the latest victim, with 2700 jobs set to be dusted. This has again outed Premier Campbell Newman as a fraud and cheat. His previous claims that regional centres would not bear the brunt of his public sector pruning and that front line services would be off limits have been rendered meaningless. The September 3 Townsville Bulletin said the city had suffered 550 job losses since Newman came to power.
In richest-woman-in-the-world Gina Rinehart's twisted moral universe, workers in Australia need to work harder for less to compete with African mine workers (including an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 child miners in West Africa) who slave for $2 a day. She says that's what competition in the “global market” dictates.
Presentation by Brian Senewiratne at Fremantle Town Hall reception room on 1 September 2012. The forum was organised by a new network called "Human Rights in Sri Lanka and Tamil Eelam".
The Sydney Socialist Alliance released the statement below on September 7. * * * “Brad Hazzard, minister for planning and infrastructure, is stepping up the state government’s support for coal seam gas approvals”, said Pip Hinman, a Socialist Alliance candidate for Wali (north) ward in Marrickville council.
Three Victorian coal-fired power stations slated for closure will now stay open, resources minister Martin Ferguson said on September 5. He said he ended talks to buy out the three Latrobe Valley plants because the owners had asked for too much. Labor and Greens agreed to pay owners to close down six coal-fired power plants under their Clean Energy Future package. The package also includes the new carbon price scheme.
Barely 10 years after false claims about weapons of mass destruction were used to justify the invasion of Iraq, a similar narrative is being used by politicians in the US and Israel to push the case for war with Iran.
The Stop the War Coalition Sydney released the statement below on September 5. * * * The West’s “war on terror” has delivered a war of terror on the Afghan people said Christine Keavney, a spokesperson for Sydney Stop the War Coalition today. “The deaths of five Australian soldiers on August 30 and the aftermath has prompted more discussion of the war in Afghanistan and Australia’s role in it than has been heard for years”, said Keavney.
Beyond Zero Emissions released the statement below on September 4. * * * Industry talk of developing an industry in “low emissions” coal-seam gas is a fantasy, according to renewable energy and climate think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE). Yesterday, the Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA) released its Australia’s Unconventional Energy Options report, which advocates the development of unconventional gas supplies such as coal seam gas and shale gas.
The Socialist Alliance released the statement below on September 4. * * * The Socialist Alliance stands in solidarity with members of the Construction, Forestry, Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) who are fighting for basic rights on Grocon building sites such as: • The right to be represented by union nominated and elected shop stewards and health and safety representatives, • The right to talk to a union organiser without interference, • The right to work without being stood over for being a union activist, and
The Socialist Alliance released the statement below on September 4. * * * Over the past 12 months, the Ted Baillieu state government has stepped up attacks on Victorian workers. Nurses were forced to take nine months of unprecedented levels of industrial action, with threats of jail hanging over their heads, to win their claim. Public servants were forced into compulsory arbitration and are now feeling the loss of thousands of jobs and the cutting of public services.

World

The Chicago teachers’ strike entered its third day on September 12. This strike is of national significance for a number of reasons: * It is a militant fightback against the ruling class onslaught to destroy public education being carried out by Democrats and Republicans across the country. * It is aimed at the policies of the Obama administration and the Democratic Party machine in Chicago headed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, longtime aide, advisor and fundraiser for Obama. *It is being organised by a new rank-and file-leaders with a class-struggle perspective.
Quebec’s student movement has claimed a victory with the toppling of the right-wing Liberal government in the September 4 election. The opposition Parti Quebecois (PQ) looks set to form government, winning the most seats ahead of the right-wing Liberal Party who had governed for the past nine years. Quebec's largest pro-independence party, the PQ has, in government, also implemented neoliberal policies.
Greek opposition leader Alexis Tsipras, from the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), launched an explosive attack on the government on September 7. Tsipras accused it of paying bailout officials fat-cat wages while working people face endless cuts and rock-bottom wages. The Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF) bailout fund manages the recapitalisation of Greece's banks as part of the country's €130 billion ($160 billion) bailout. HFSF managers are earning up to €22,000 a month compared with a minimum wage below €600, Tsipras said.
Significant regional integration efforts, independent from the United States, have been among the most striking developments in Latin America and the Caribbean this century. The most ambitious of these projects is the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), founded at a summit in Caracas, Venezuela in December last year.
Pressure from trade unions and human rights groups has stopped plans by South African authorities to charge striking mine workers with the massacre of 34 of their own comrades. Those killed had been shot by police on August 16. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) have been competing for members at the Lomin mining corporation's platinum mine at Marikana in South Africa.
The election rallies of the mis-named “conventions” of the twin parties of Wall Street are over. The Tea Party-dominated Republicans have gone sharply to the right. Is supporting the Democrats the way to fight the rightward shift in US capitalist politics? Many who consider themselves leftists or even socialists reply “yes”. Let us look at the record.
Legendary anti-apartheid activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, has called for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former US president George Bush to be hauled before the International Criminal Court in The Hague in a September 2 Observer op-ed. The article came after Tutu refused to share a platform with Blair at an event in Johannesburg last month, citing Blair's role in the Iraq War.
What is the world's most powerful and violent “ism”? The question will summon the usual demons such as Islamism, now that communism has left the stage. The answer, wrote Harold Pinter, is only “superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged”, because only one ideology claims to be non-ideological, neither left nor right, the supreme way. This is liberalism. In his 1859 essay On Liberty, to which modern liberals pay homage, John Stuart Mill described the power of empire.
Raz Mohammad Khan and his adult son Abdul Jalil were shot dead in their home in the village of Sola, Oruzgan province, by Australian troops on August 31. Claims by the Australian government and the US-led occupation forces in Afghanistan that the two men were insurgents have been refuted by villagers and US-appointed Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Occupation forces spokesperson US Air Force Captain Dan Einert described them as “military-aged”, the September 3 Sydney Morning Herald reported. Mohammad Khan was 70 years old.

Culture

Billionaires and Ballot Bandits Greg Palast Out September 18 www.gregpalast.com If you really want to understand the forthcoming US presidential election, read this book. Former corporate fraud investigator Greg Palast previously showed how the 2000 US election was rigged through "purging" black voters off the electoral rolls. He showed how the 2004 election was rigged the same way. In 2008, the same thing happened again, yet Barack Obama still managed enough votes to get in.
Bruno Walter ― The Early Recordings EMI 679 0262 (Nine-CD set) Bruno Walter Conducts Mahler Sony 88691 920102 (Five-CD set) Mahler ― Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5 Naxos 8.110876 & 8.110896 “My time is yet to come!” Austrian composer, conductor and pianist Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) famously declared in response to the mixture of incomprehension and hostility that greeted his musical compositions. Mahler's greatness as a conductor was never seriously disputed, but his standing as a composer certainly was.
September marks the arrival of a defining name of the 1980s British anarcho-punk scene, Subhumans, to Australia. This will be the band’s first Australasian tour and features the 1981 line-up that recorded their debut EP Demolition War and classic albums such as The Day The Country Died. Green Left Weekly's Chris Peterson spoke to frontman Dick Lucas.
Fearless Milk Crate Theatre Carriageworks, Sydney September 13-22 $35, $25 www.milkcratetheatre.com Milk Crate Theatre director Mirra Todd says his main goal is to get people thinking and talking about homelessness. “All theatre is about starting a conversation,” the wiry, animated Todd tells Green Left at Milk Crate’s rehearsal rooms in Sydney’s Kings Cross.