Perth

The Western Australia senate election re-run has resulted in a big drop in support for the major parties and significant swings to the Greens and the Palmer United Party (PUP). Greens, PUP and Labor have won one seat each while the Liberals have won two seats. The final seat will be decided by preferences and is expected to go to either Liberal or Labor.
About 7000 people rallied at Cottesloe Beach in Perth on February 1 to protest against the shark culling policy of the Western Australian Liberal government. This “catch and kill” policy requires the Western Australian Department of Fisheries to maintain baited drum lines 1.4 kilometres off the coast.  Federal Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt granted an exemption for this under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act because it is in the “national interest” of protecting public safety and tourism.
“Steve's case is really a case about all of us,” renowned Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva said in support of organic farmer Steve Marsh. It is about the right to “have the freedom to eat healthy, safe organic food”. Marsh lives in Kojanup in Western Australia, and is embroiled in a landmark “David v Goliath” legal case about the effects of genetically modified (GM) crops on his farm.
In his opinion piece “Will Radicals Set Back the Marriage Equality Movement?”, OutInPerth editor Graeme Watson writes that Equal Love is threatened by a “socialist takeover”.
Photo: Alex Bainbridge A large gathering of people from the Vietnamese and Catholic communities - alongside supporters of refugee rights - gathered at the St Mary's Cathedral in Perth on November 8 to highlight the situation of Vietnamese refugees in the Yongah Hill Detention Centre. About 700 Vietnamese refugees have arrived in Australia in recent years complaining about religious persecution in Vietnam.
Representatives from the Nyoongar tent embassy gave a presentation forum on Nyoongar native title at Murdoch University on October 15, hosted by the Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre. The focus of the forum was the ongoing negotiations between the Western Australian state government and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) to extinguish native title in the Nyoongar territories of WA (roughly the region south of Geraldton and east to Esperance) in exchange for a $1.3 billion cash and land package.
Socialist councillor Sam Wainwright is one of three Fremantle councillors facing a challenge in the local government elections that open on September 26. Mayor Brad Pettitt, a member of the Greens, also faces a challenge from defeated federal Liberal candidate Matthew Hanssen. The city of Fremantle has a relatively progressive council. All the challengers are more conservative than the incumbents.
The fight to defend public education is shaping up to be a key campaign against the cutback agenda of the Colin Barnett government in Western Australia. Thousands of teachers and education assistants rallied outside state parliament on September 3 in two separate mobilisations and further industrial action is planned. The government claimed it has not cut education funding. However, the central issue is not about overall funding but the cuts to staffing levels. In August, the government announced they were planning to cut 500 education assistants and other support workers.
Western Australian Liberal Premier Colin Barnett admitted on August 21 that his government faced a tough start to its second term. This followed fee rises and controversial attacks on the public sector in the August 8 state budget, which provoked a backlash including an August 30 decision by school teachers to plan an industrial campaign.
While Australia’s mining sector shows signs of resilience, there is one mineral whose outlook may be terminal.  There are five significant events that have occurred recently that send a clear message about the future of the uranium sector and the wider nuclear industry. The uranium price dropped to US$34.50 a pound Energy Resources of Australia, the operator of the Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu, announced a $54 million loss.

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