Analysis

Now that the Labor government has almost entirely reneged on its 2007 election promise to end Australia’s sickening abuse of refugees, the two big parties are united on an issue they have so vehemently pretended to disagree. Unhappy with the High Court’s interpretation of the law — that Australia must uphold fundamental human rights when making policies on refugees, and that deporting them to a country that does not have such rights violates the law — the Labor government is cajoling the opposition to agree to water down Australia’s refugee protections.
Some years ago I and many others, fought and demonstrated against the toxic verbal bile that was mouthed then by what was seen by most Australians to be a fringe party. Their disgusting rantings only proved them to be an ultra-racist party. Some politicians agreed with them, some used them politically whilst the rest whimpered and whispered in case they lost votes.
Jeff McMullen, a prominent journalist and Aboriginal rights advocate, gave the address below at the Sydney launch of Walk With Us: Aboriginal Elders Call Out to Australian People to Walk with them in their Quest for Justice at Gleebooks, Sydney, on September 1. * * * The welcome to country from Aunty Millie [Ingram] and the elders’ statement goes to the heart of the issue: that we walk in an Aboriginal land.
A motion condemning anti-apartheid protests targeting the Max Brenner chain of chocolate and coffee shops was passed by the Australian Senate on September 13. The motion was moved by Queensland Nationals Senator Ron Boswell and supported by all parties except for the Greens. Another motion, from Liberal Senator Eric Abetz, “condemning the Australian Greens and their leader for failing to condemn the vile boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel” was defeated.
The Refugee Action Collective (Victoria) released the statement below on September 13. * * * The Refugee Action Collective condemns Labor’s plan to try and change the Migration Act to make the Malaysian “solution” lawful in the wake of the High Court victory. We reiterate our demand to end all offshore processing. Asylum seekers should be processed on the mainland, in the community.
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will take place in Perth at the end of next month. It is a gathering of the government leaders of the 54 Commonwealth countries. The Commonwealth today has direct links to the earlier structures of the British Empire in which colonialists of a previous era used to boast that the “sun never sets” on the places where they were killing and oppressing people.
British-based multinational corporation Serco Group is bidding for more contracts with Australian federal and state governments. Worth £4.3 billion ($6.6 billion), Serco markets itself as a “solution to government”, which takes over government services and runs them for profit. It has run Australia’s disastrous and increasingly unstable refugee detention centres since 2009, owns two Australian super-prisons and took over Western Australia’s court security and custodial services in June.
The “Say No to Government’s Income Management: Not in Bankstown, Not Anywhere” campaign coalition released the petition below in August. To sign the petition, visit www.sayno2gim.info. * * * To the honourable president and members of the senate in parliament assembled: We the undersigned are opposed to the federal government’s income management system, which quarantines between 50% to 70% of Centrelink payments so they can only be used to buy “priority items” at government-approved stores.
British-based economist, activist and writer Derek Wall is a member of the Green Party of England and Wales and is the author of several books on ecology and politics. Wall will speak via video link at the Climate Change Social Change activist conference in Melbourne over September 30 to October 3. He maintains the ecosocialist blog Another Green World.
No to CSG protest rally

Australia’s media, already saturated with gas and mining company propaganda, are about to be bombarded with more “good news” about coal seam gas (CSG). A campaign called “We want CSG” was launched on September 4. It includes television, radio, newspaper and online advertisements. It is backed by some of Australia’s largest energy companies, including AGL, Santos, and Origin Energy, under the banner of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA).

Rodney Augustine is from the Nyulnyu and Jabirrjabirr people. He is a spokesperson for the “Walmadan Country is Calling” group and is a member of the “Keep the Kimberley” group, both based in Melbourne. He will speak at the Climate Change Social Change activist conference in Melbourne, over September 30 to October 3.
World refugee day rally

Australian Solicitor-General Stephen Gageler, who defended the government’s Malaysia solution in the High Court, confirmed the court’s decision “cast doubt” on all offshore processing, immigration minister Chris Bowen said on September 4.