Analysis

The following call for a national week of protest action, beginning September 21, was issued by the July 5 Climate Emergency Rally organising committee in Melbourne, and endorsed by the August 2 Climate Justice seminar.
The July 24 Sydney Morning Herald reported Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showing that rents across Sydney had increased by 8% over the 2007-08 financial year, almost twice the rate of inflation.
Refugee activists have welcomed the July 29 announcement by federal immigration minister Chris Evans to significantly dismantle Australia’s policy of mandatorily detaining refugees. They noted, however, that while the changes represent an important victory for the movement for refugee rights, the struggle is not yet over.
Former PM John Howard’s blandly named Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) remains under PM Kevin Rudd. It is prosecuting Victorian vice-president of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), Noel Washington, who faces six months’ jail for not answering questions about a union meeting.
Millions of Australian workers have faced the worst losses in their superannuation since 1992. Super funds have shown losses of on average 6.4% for the last financial year, with some showing losses as high as 15%, putting workers’ retirement funds in jeopardy.
The export of coal is an important issue for climate campaigners to consider. Australia exports more carbon dioxide in the form of coal than its entire domestic emissions of the gas.
The Australian Workers Union has many members in the aluminium refining and smelting industry, which accounted for 45.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2006 (7.9% of Australia’s total). Obviously, such a major greenhouse polluter — the dirtiest for every dollar of value added — has to be radically restructured if carbon emissions are to be cut to sustainable levels.
A French court has denied a woman citizenship because she wears a burqa — a veil covering the entire body — according to a July 11 Reuters report.
Why do we put so much faith in the market to solve environmental problems? Why do we assume that increasing the cost of fossil fuel emissions will reduce their use rather than just increase everyone’s cost of living?
Labor won the November, 2007 federal election on the promise to “tear-up” Work Choices, abolish the hated Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs — individual contracts) and overhaul the entire industrial relations system. Of course, all of this was promised to contain ample consultation and be in the spirit of balance.

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