Protesters took to the streets of Sydney on September 12 against Australia’s prosecution of Witness K and his lawyer Bernard Collaery for allegedly whistleblowing on Australia’s bugging of Timor-Leste government offices.
Hundreds of thousands of people joined protests around the world on September 8 calling on governments to take serious action on climate change.
The federal Coalition government has dropped further in the polls following the knifing of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. Nevertheless, both new Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the hard right Peter Dutton/Tony Abbott faction in the Liberal Party seem determined to take politics even more to the right.
Talk has once again resurfaced about extending police powers and militarising police forces after a violent brawl outside a pub in Collingwood, Victoria, earlier this month. But many are asking just how far governments are willing to go in sacrificing freedoms for an ill-conceived notion of being “tough on crime”.
While conservative governments are constantly making calls to criminalise trade union activities, Geelong Trades Hall Council secretary Colin Vernon says governments should instead be focusing on the real crime wave occurring in our community right now.
The WestConnex privatisation “involves arguably the biggest misuse of public funds for corporate gain in Australian history”, Sydney University transport analyst Chris Standen wrote on September 3.
Standen was commenting on the August 31 announcement by the New South Wales Coalition government that it was selling off 51% of the controversial WestConnex tollway complex to a Transurban-led consortium for $9.3 billion.
Transurban already owns seven of Sydney’s nine tollroads. Despite this, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) gave Transurban the go-ahead to bid for the project and further strengthen its monopoly in the city’s tollway network.
Sometimes the most powerful protests are those made in silence by brave individuals deciding to take a stand.
Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi made an impassioned plea for the big powers in the region to stop bullying small Pacific Island nations just days before the 49th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) was held in Nauru over September 3-6.
“Crystalline silica is the new asbestos, but Australians are simply not aware of the dangers involved in working with such a common substance as compressed stone,” Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) secretary Luke Hilikari said at the release of the new silica dust standard in late August.
There has been a significant rise in the number of workers suffering silicosis and lung cancers caused by inhaling silica particles while manufacturing, cutting and installing compressed stone benchtops.
Hilikari said the “safety standard is a huge step” and that “we’re doing it because the current Australian safety standards aren’t keeping workers safe at work.”
The new VTHC standard is a dramatic improvement on the existing standard. It reduces the definition of safe exposure to silica to 0.025mg/m3 in an 8-hour time weighted average.
Banned from entering Australia by the federal government, former United States intelligence analyst turned whistleblower Chelsea Manning instead delivered her message of hope to audiences in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane via video link.
The Australian immigration department denied Manning a visa on the basis of failing “the character test”, citing as grounds the time she spent in jail for leaking documents that exposed US war crimes in Iraq.
In response to the ban, more than 20,000 people signed a petition demanded Manning be allowed to enter the country.
At a September 7 meeting in Melbourne, Manning spoke about her life as a trans woman, soldier, whistleblower and prisoner. She also addressed US politics and data privacy issues.
“Finding out who I am and what I stand for has been a big part of my life,” said Manning.