Analysis

After a year of ferocious debate, the New South Wales Greens decided on December 4 to retreat from supporting the global pro-Palestine Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. It does not mean the NSW Green Party has abandoned all support for the Palestinian struggle for justice, but it marks a setback for the left inside the Greens and the pro-Palestine movement in Australia.
A task of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, now under way in Durban, South Africa, is to extend earlier policy decisions that were limited in scope and only partially implemented. These decisions trace back to the U.N. Convention of 1992 and the Kyoto Protocol of 1997, which the U.S. refused to join. The Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period ends in 2012. A fairly general pre-conference mood was captured by a New York Times headline: “Urgent Issues but Low Expectations.”

Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra responds to the 'second intervention' otherwise known as 'Stronger Futures in the NT', a new Commonwealth Government initiative which will maintain key powers introduced through the NT Intervention.

Equal marriage rights protesters

Despite a significant, if partial, win for the marriage equality movement, the right-ward shift of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) continued apace at its recently concluded national conference.

The phrase “organise, don’t agonise” has become a bumper sticker, a popular slogan in the feminist movement, the title of many speeches, conferences and newsletters. African-American civil rights activist Florence Rae Kennedy coined the term. Gloria Steinem quoted her in Ms magazine in 1973. Since then, this powerful slogan has circumnavigated the world many times — used by many activists and movements. It has lasted because the slogan reasonates strongly with the condition of the oppressed, exploited and persecuted.
Occupy began as a movement against the effects and causes of the global economic crisis and against the austerity measures pushed by governments for the benefit of the 1%. In Australia, many people were inspired by Occupy Wall Street in New York and the global movement it had sparked. When an international call for action on October 15 came out, we responded, and began our own occupations here.
It is now common knowledge that Australian adult prisons are incarcerating children as young as 13. The major obstacle for human rights advocates struggling to free these children from our adult prisons is the Australian government and the horrific prejudices and stereotypes they have shoved down Australians’ throats.
The federal government’s decision to release small numbers of refugees from detention to live in the community while their claims are assessed will be welcome news to many refugees that have suffered under its mandatory detention policy. In the lead up to the ALP national conference over December 3-4, Labor’s refugee policy has been in the spotlight.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s imminent $90,000 pay rise is more than twice the estimated median wage of all Australian full-time or part-time employees, aged 15 years or over. More than half of all Australian workers have a yearly pay packet smaller than the PM’s expected pay rise. The $40,000 pay rise expected for backbenchers will also be more than the total wage of many Australian workers.
In the face of a broad and growing campaign, rhetoric from the NSW government is beginning to match some of the risks when it comes to coal seam gas (CSG) mining. This begs the question: what is being done when it comes to CSG? In an interview about CSG mining on December 1, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell told 2GB’s Alan Jones: “I don’t intend to allow — particularly after the drought we went through over a decade — mining or any other activity to threaten water resources.
At present, there are no long-term health studies into the nano-ingredients used in many sunscreens. As with all emerging technologies, scientists simply haven’t had enough time to perform these experiments. When recently confronted with the growing levels of public concern about untested nano-sunscreens, the Australian government continued to sit on its hands.
Australian energy company Santos has met determined resistance to its coal seam gas operations in Australia. It is less well known that Santos was one of the companies responsible for a monumental environmental catastrophe in Indonesia in 2006. The accident drowned villages in the Porong subdistrict of Sidoarjo in mud, and displaced up to 50,000 people.