Analysis

Pat Eatock laughs at the suggestion that her successful Federal Court action against Andrew Bolt and News Ltd has jeopardised free speech. Bolt is one of Australia’s most widely read conservative columnists. His blog boasts 3 million web hits a month. On September 28, Justice Mordecai Bromberg ruled the ultra-conservative columnist Bolt had breached the Racial Discrimination Act in two articles he wrote in 2009 in which he criticised “fair skinned Aborigines” for what, he argued, was a choice they had made to identify as Aboriginal.
If Julia Gillard is deposed as Australia’s prime minister, she has only herself to blame. Gillard’s ALP is barely distinguishable from the Coalition, varying only by a nuance here or there. More than any other reason, this explains her bottomless unpopularity. The ALP has continually abandoned its supposed constituency, the working class, in favour of the wealthy, who contribute more and more to the ALP’s coffers. It’s true Gillard didn’t start the rightward shift of the ALP, but she has taken it so far that Abbott can now attack Gillard from the “left”.
For the past seven years, the community action group TAP into better Tasmania, formerly Tasmanians Against the Pulp Mill, has campaigned against Gunns Ltd’s attempts to build a pulp mill in the Tamar Valley. TAP spokesperson Bob McMahon spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Susan Austin. * * * How many years has the campaign against Gunns’ pulp mill been going for?
Green Left Weekly, Socialist Alliance and other left-wing groups, have received more attention than normal in recent weeks in the mainstream media and even in state and federal parliamentary debates. This attention has mainly been in response to the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid and has mostly consisted of nasty allegations of anti-Semitism, with endless colourful references to Hitler and the Nazi’s Holocaust.
The newly appointed head of Infrastructure NSW, former Liberal NSW premier Nick Greiner, laid out his agenda in a speech to the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce on September 15. The Sydney Morning Herald said Greiner’s advice to the NSW Liberal government was to privatise more and increase the use of public-private partnerships (PPPs). These are exactly the same tools that have failed for past state governments.  

The development of the coal seam gas (CSG) industry brings risks to Australia’s limited water resources. It draws contaminated water out of the ground, damages aquifers and uses and pollutes large quantities of freshwater. These risks, and the implications for health, agriculture and the environment, are central reasons for the growing community campaign to stop CSG mining. Images in the documentary Gasland of people setting their tap water on fire have made many question the impact of unconventional gas on water supplies.

A vote on the Labor government’s harsh proposed changes to Australia’s migration laws was postponed until October 11, after parliament failed to vote on them on September 22. This followed a bizarre twist in the farcical refugee debate on September 19 when new laws were passed increasing refugee protection at the same time as the government pushed forward with its plans to expel refugees to Malaysia.
In recent debates around solutions to the climate crisis, several ideas hold the largest share of government support and media coverage. These include: green consumerism, carbon offsetting, carbon taxes, carbon trading, geo-engineering and carbon capture and storage. But do these “solutions” take, as their frame of reference, the full extent of the problem? Here are some reasons to be doubtful. Green consumerism is one variation of the argument whereby “your dollar is your vote”.
Nala Mansell-McKenna is a well-known Aboriginal political activist in Tasmania, who was recently elected state secretary of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC). “We like to call the secretary the role that’s our main political spokesperson, but when you work in the same building as Michael Mansell you are usually the second main political spokesperson,” she laughed, referring to the way that Michael (her father) is frequently contacted for comment on political issues.
With climate change, humanity basically doesn’t get any second chances. For a recognisable climate to be preserved, net global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak within the next decade, then decline to zero by around mid-century. It’s a tight call, so we have to get things right first time. If we delay, the laws of physics will not be kind.
Toro Energy has submitted an application to build Western Australia’s first uranium mine, at Wiluna, the start of WA’s iconic Canning Stock Route. The debate over the proposed mine has far-reaching ramifications. The construction of WA’s first uranium mine is likely to be the “thin edge of the wedge”, whereas a strong show of public opposition can significantly increase the likelihood of keeping WA uranium-free. That, in turn, is important in the context of the national debate over uranium mining.
A huge crowd of about 650 people attended a memorial service at the Elder Hall, University of Adelaide on September 9 to farewell Elliott Johnston, the only communist to become a judge in Australia. He died on 25 August, aged 93. Those paying tribute included representatives from the legal profession, trade unions, the Aboriginal community, the original Communist Party of Australia (CPA) and his son Stewart.