If you are thinking of challenging a mining development in the courts, be prepared to go through the financial wringer. You might think you have an open-and-shut case, that the federal government has shirked its responsibilities under environmental legislation. But if the finding goes against you, the government and the mining industry will see you bankrupt.
Whatever BHP Billiton wants to expand operations at its huge Olympic Dam copper, gold and uranium mine, Australian authorities are almost frantic to give it. Clear violations of environment laws are not even being allowed to stand in the way. But where governments have shirked their responsibilities, eco-activists have stepped up to defend the environment. On April 3 and 4 a federal court in Adelaide heard a challenge to the mine expansion. A ruling is expected in coming weeks.
A high-energy, loud and prominent rally marched through Adelaide’s central shopping mall on March 31 to show support for victims of extreme climate-change related weather events and demand real climate action. The event was Adelaide’s second annual “March for Survival”. The march ended with a mock arrest of the state energy minister Tom Koutsantonis for “climate crimes”. The charges included ignoring the urgency of the climate science and failing to support plans for solar thermal technology in Port Augusta.
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 the cake, which she explained was intended “for The Advertiser staff”. She said: “It hasn’t been laced with anything nasty ... unlike The Advertiser. It’s actually a chocolate mudcake.”
Adelaide has a new social movement in town, yet with a familiar name: Occupy. The Occupy movement has been criticised for its lack of focus and demands, yet in Adelaide there is a clear focus for direct action: Rupert Murdoch. Hence the name: Occupy Murdoch. Occupy Murdoch specifically focuses on corporate controlled media, especially News Corporation. Adelaide's daily tabloid The Advertiser is a Murdoch paper that publishes rubbish dressed up as “news” to distract people and supports specific political interests.
Inequalities are not only unjust: they literally make us sick. This was the conclusion reached by the sizeable turnout at Left Unity’s January 31 forum: “Inequality, Health, And Wellbeing: Why Inequality Is Bad For Us.” Much of Adelaide’s progressive community came together — Resistance and the Socialist Alliance, the Communist Party of Australia, the Adelaide Anti-Capitalist Forum, Occupy Adelaide, anarchists, and current and former members of the Greens — to hear why inequality has increased dramatically throughout the world over the past few decades.
Occupy Adelaide's November 8 general assembly adopted the document below by consensus. * * * We, Occupy Adelaide, are an open and evolving group engaged in the struggle for an equitable, inclusive and sustainable democratic society. We gather in solidarity with the world-wide movement opposing the power and greed of corporations which place profit over people, animals and the earth; self-interest over social justice; oppression over equality; and which control and corrupt our governments.
“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 (DEA) to a 120-strong crowd in Port Augusta’s Cooinda Club on October 29. Shearman was one of several speakers at the forum, which was organised by the Adelaide-based Climate Emergency Action Network (CLEAN), the Port Augusta City Council and Beyond Zero Emissions.
Inspired by Occupy Wall Street and the global revolt against corporate greed, a diverse range of new and experienced people have gathered at several public assemblies, each of more than 40 people, to discuss building the movement in Adelaide. Following an October 15 action where 200 people gathered in Victoria Square, the collective has held a major working bee to make banners, signs, placards to help build awareness of Occupy Adelaide.
More than 300 people of all ages gathered in Adelaide on September 24 calling for concentrating solar thermal (CST) technology to replace Port Augusta’s ageing coal fired power stations. The action was organised by several environment groups, including the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, the Climate Emergency Action Network, the Socialist Alliance, Resistance and the Young Greens. The crowd met in Adelaide’s Rymill Park and took to the streets in a colourful, rhythmic parade, featuring a moving solar thermal tower.