Analysis

As far as I can figure out, watching the recent reports of stock markets making their bid for this year’s World Yo-Yo Championships, it works like this: if a bunch of rich bastards with too much money think shares will go up, they will go up; if the rich bastards think they will go down, they will go down. And, among other things, this is how they determine whether we can afford to retire. The Sydney Morning Herald said on August 7 that stock market plunges had wiped $30 billion from Australian superannuation funds over the past six weeks.
After the riots in Britain, magistrates were advised to “disregard normal sentencing” when examining the cases of people involved. The result of this is a rapid rate of convictions and a complete lack of proportion between the crimes committed and the sentences delivered.
In the US earlier this year, there were 351 anti-abortion bills making their way through state legislative bodies. In 2010, 174 anti-abortion bills were filed in state legislatures.
You’ll never guess which political party sat and watched while the Aboriginal incarceration rate sky-rocketed. We heard it on the radio. And we saw it on the television. Report after report, and promises delivered by talking politicians. But while this was occurring, Aboriginal people wallowed inside this nation’s jails and detention centres, their futures cast by a system that jails them at staggeringly disproportionate rates. It’s a problem that cripples our families, and our communities, and is as complex as it is troubling.
Magdalena Sitorus, head of Friends of Indonesian Children and Women, and solicitor Edwina Lloyd spoke at a forum on people smuggling on August 15, hosted by Indonesian Solidarity at Amnesty International’s Sydney offices. Sitorus provided background on the status of children in Indonesian law. That day Lloyd had represented an Indonesian boy imprisoned on a charge of people smuggling, at his first age determination hearing at Bankstown Court. So many people are facing people smuggling charges in Indonesia that Monday is known as “people smuggling day”, she said.
The following message was received by Indymedia from within Curtin Detention Centre with a request that it posted on the site. Please circulate this cry for help and solidarity amongst your networks. * * *
Federal Labor MP Anna Burke captured the Gillard government’s increasingly right-wing refugee policy when she said plans to reopen the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea would be “going back to something we said we wouldn’t do, which is the Pacific solution”. Burke told ABC news on August 15 she had raised concerns in caucus about an overseas detention centre as well as the “Malaysia solution”, which faces a legal challenge in the High Court and could also be subject to a parliamentary inquiry.
Electrical Trades Union members around the country are currently voting for national and state union officials. The ballot goes from August 8-29. Nationally, a team of Howard Worthing, former assistant Victorian secretary, and Greg Wilton, former Western Australia organiser, are challenging incumbent national secretary Peter Tighe and Allen Hicks, for the positions of national secretary and assistant national secretary respectively. Allen Hicks is former Queensland assistant secretary. Reconnect ETU is running a full ticket against the Victorian incumbent leadership.
Australian Marriage Equality released the statement below on August 16. * * * Christian leaders join campaign for equality. A national opinion poll has found a majority of Australian Christians believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry and several mainstream Christian ministers have spoken out in favour of the reform.
Boycott Israeli apartheid.

Fourteen Australian-based Palestine solidarity groups released the statement below on August 13.

In 1998, the UN hosted a special session on illegal drugs which set out to implement law enforcement control strategies in the hope of creating a “drug free” world. Today, it is generally recognised that this policy has been an abject failure. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime stated in a 2011 report that the “overall number of drug users appears to have increased over the last decade from 180 to some 210 million people”.