The ABC’s Four Corners on July 25 showcased the national debate around wind farms’ alleged negative health effects. It patiently allowed the anti-wind power Waubra Foundation to walk the audience through their case that wind farms are a health hazard. Many people I have met are curious to know if there is any truth to the allegations.
Of the 19 protesters arrested at a Palestine solidarity protest outside Israeli-owned store Max Brenner in Melbourne on July 1, 13 were issued with bail conditions preventing them from entering the QV shopping centre or Melbourne Central shopping centres in Melbourne. The Melbourne Central shopping centre has a major city train station on its bottom floor. The protest was part of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the apartheid state of Israel. It is modelled on the campaign to boycott South Africa in the 1970s and ’80s.
Green Left Weekly recently spoke to Gleny Rae, who took part in the SBS documentary Go Back To Where You Came From, which retraced the journeys of some asylum seekers to their country of origin. Rae said she had realistic expectations of what she would see, but still found the experience a “reality check” that was moving and confronting.
The shift to the right of the Labor Party has increasingly created a sense that there is little difference between the two major parties. Both are willing to implement the neoliberal policies pushed by corporate interests and differ only on the details. On many issues, the shift to the right does not reflect public opinion. This is the context for the growth of support for the Australian Greens in recent years. The Greens, with nine senators, now hold the balance of power in the Senate as well as one lower house seat.
Supporters of former Guantanamo Bay prisoner David Hicks have slammed the July 21 announcement that Australian government lawyers will try to prosecute Hicks under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The Australia-Malaysia refugee “swap” deal, signed in Kuala Lumpur on July 25, further persecutes people who have escaped conflict and terror and have an international right to seek asylum in Australia. The Australian government said the plan was intended to attack the “people smugglers’ business model”. But, in reality, it is a high-priced human trafficking deal between two governments known for discriminating against refugees.
When you’re the world’s biggest resource corporation, and aim to gouge high profits for the next century from the world’s largest mine, you probably won’t care to let environmental considerations block your path. Add in a state government frantic to get investment dollars flowing, and the outlook for threatened species in the vicinity could be grim. BHP Billiton is due to decide early next year whether to spend an estimated $20 billion on a massive expansion of its Olympic Dam copper, gold and uranium mine near Roxby Downs, 560 kilometres north of Adelaide.
Footprints for Peace, an international grassroots group that organises walks, bike rides and runs around the world, invites families and people of all ages, background and cultures to come and support traditional owners in their opposition to uranium mining in Western Australia by taking part in the “Walk away from uranium mining” that begins in Wiluna on August 19 and finishes in Perth on October 28.
On July 15, former NSW Greens MP Sylvia Hale and I used the freedom from deportation awarded us by an Israeli court to good effect. We joined the largest rally for some years in support of a Palestinian state ahead of the expected United Nations vote in September. We carried a green and yellow banner saying, “Aussies say end blockade of Palestine”. The rally and march, with drumming circles and flowers was organized by a coalition of groups called Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity.
Socialist Alliance Hobart branch notes the recent expressions of disillusionment with all political parties in parliament in Tasmania. The state government continues to disappoint with its lack of transparency when it comes to funding dodgy deals such as the proposed Aprin loan (now scuttled after Gunns chose a different bidder), with its inability to support the proper funding of public services such as education and health.
Over the July 9-10 weekend, the New South Wales Labor conference failed to produce a motion in support of equal marriage rights. The conference instead voted to send the decision to the ALP national conference that is to be held in December. This motion passed despite the fact that all other ALP state conferences have passed motions in support of reforming the law to grant equal marriage rights. It also came two weeks after New York legalised same-sex marriage on June 24.
Sara Hudson, a research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies, recently wrote a comment piece on ABC’s Drum Opinion that supported the Northern Territory intervention. It also attacked public land title in remote Aboriginal communities. The article was what you might expect from a research fellow from the conservative think tank. "Public bad, private good", and so on. But one passage stood out to me, given I had visited many remote Aboriginal communities recently.