The Tasmanian Labor-Greens government and Housing Tasmania has faced criticism over its proposal to evict public housing tenants who earn above a certain income. Originally, Consumer Affairs minister Nick McKim wanted the cap to be fixed at $66,000 a year. But a lobby campaign by the Tenants Union forced the government to remove the set limit and make it flexible instead. The ABC said Housing Minister Cassy O'Connor said income limits would be decided by “regulation” and Housing Tasmania.
About 70 mental health clinicians and their supporters rallied outside the state government’s offices in Hobart on October 11 to call for the reversal of crippling budget cuts. The rally took place during Mental Health Week. Unions say 42.5 frontline mental health positions have been lost or left vacant due to last year’s budget cuts. Most of these are frontline clinical positions, including case managers from the adult, child and youth and older person’s mental health community teams. Services are also compromised as clinicians are frequently not replaced when they take leave.
Max Bound grew up during the Great Depression, and his view of the world was shaped in part by such experiences as seeing classmates being sent home from school because they were too hungry to stay conscious. He left school at the age of thirteen and as a teenager he started reading socialist theory. His experience working in a coalmine, as a cleaner, a tram conductor and as a builder's labourer gave him a thorough education in how the world worked.
Forest campaigner Miranda Gibson is in the eighth month (as of August 2012) of her record breaking tree-sit, part of a campaign to have Tasmania's old growth forests protected from logging. Green Left TV's Daryl Davies interviewed Miranda - 60 metres up an old growth tree. Follow Miranda at her blog observertree.org
HOBART — To mark the end of NAIDOC week, Aboriginal people and their supporters marched through the streets and rallied at Tasmania’s parliament house lawns on July 6 to show that they always have been and always will be a sovereign people. Speakers at the rally included the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre’s (TAC) Nala Mansell-McKenna, TAC's Legal Secretary Michael Mansell and Aboriginal activist Jim Everett.
Members of Amnesty International Australia’s Tasmania City Group dressed as bananas and collected signatures on a global petition to help launch Amnesty’s Arms Trade Treaty campaign on June 16 at the Salamanca markets in Hobart. There is no international standard to regulate the global trade and transfers of conventional arms. Amnesty Tasmania City Group’s Yabbo Thompson said: “There are complicated rules on the international trade of many products, such as bananas, but no global treaty controlling weapons or bullets.
More than 150 people gathered at a public meeting in Hobart on April 3 to discuss the problems and solutions related to Forestry Tasmania, the government-owned company established to manage the state’s forest assets. The audience heard from Associate Professor Graeme Wells, Dr Frank Nicklason, Environment Tasmania’s Dr Phil Pullinger, veteran forest activist Geoff Law and Dr Andrew Lohrey.
Green Left Weekly's Susan Austin spoke to forest activist Miranda Gibson, who has lived for more than 100 days on a platform 60 metres up a Tasmanian old-growth tree. The “Observer Tree” has brought international attention to the campaign to protect Tasmania's forests. Gibson has vowed to continue her tree-sit until the campaign wins. * * * What prompted you to climb the tree and take this courageous action? What do you hope to achieve?
On March 9, Gunns Ltd notified the Australian Stock Exchange that potential investor Richard Chandler Corporation pulled out of its bid to buy a 40% stake in the company. The Singapore-based investment firm of New Zealand millionaire Richard Chandler had planned to invest $150 million in the company. But it dropped the plan after consulting with stakeholders and communities. The news was welcomed by environmentalists as another big setback for Gunns’ plans to get its $2.3 billion Tamar Valley pulp mill started in northern Tasmania.
For more than 100 days, Miranda Gibson kept a 24-hour vigil 60 metres up a gum tree. Dubbed the ObserverTree, it is in Tasmania's logging coupe TN044B, whose steeply forested slopes have been earmarked for cable logging. The tree is in an area that is being assessed for reserve status under the Tasmania forestry peace deal. From the platform, Gibson can see areas of clearfelled forest around her.
The Tasmanian and federal governments signed an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) last August that promised immediate protection for 430,000 hectares of high conservation value forest. But it also agreed to continue supplying the industry hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of sawlogs and veneer peeler logs. The agreement included more than $250 million in finance to restructure the timber industry.
Immigration minister Chris Bowen has decided to close the Pontville refugee detention centre in Tasmania by March 1. The move is in keeping with the government’s original plan to operate the centre for only six months. Last month, about 150 asylum seekers held in Pontville started a hunger strike to demand they be released into the community. At least three were hospitalised. On February 16, Unions Tasmania secretary Kevin Harkins released a statement calling on Tasmanian’s to rally on February 25 to keep the detention centre open.
Hundreds of people marched on November 12 in Hobart’s “Slutwalk” to protest violence against women and to reject the idea that victims of sexual violence are somehow responsible for the assaults against them because of what they wear.
Community and Public Sector Union Tasmania general secretary Tom Lynch gave the speech below to a 4500-strong rally in Hobart on November 12. The rally was held in protest at the Labor-Greens state government’s budget cutbacks. * * * While external forces often determine the overall direction a government takes, the path it chooses to get there is for it to determine based on its values and beliefs and the will of the people it represents.
Hundreds took to the streets of Hobart for the Inaugural Pride Parade on November 5 as part of the TasPride Festival. This was the first parade held since Tasmania was the final state to decriminalise homosexuality in 1997. Tasmanian Aboriginal lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex members also marched. Speakers at the rally afterwards at Parliament House included Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson Rodney Croome, Outright Youth coordinator Joshua Brown, Community Services Minister Cassy O’Connor and Coming Out Proud president Julian Punch.
About 4500 people marched and rallied in Hobart on November 12 against the state government cuts to essential services. Angry health care, education, children's services and other public sector workers, including police, joined with the broader community to chant "no more cuts", drowning out the efforts of Labor Premier Lara Giddings who tried to convince them that the government had no other option. Greens leader and cabinet minister Nick McKim was also booed and heckled as he tried to defend the cuts.