Analysis

The federal government last week pushed through its new cross-media ownership laws, ensuring greater concentration of media ownership and a loss of diversity in Australia’s media. The following article by Christian Downie, published on Online Opinion (<http://www.onlineopinion.com.au>) provides some background to the debate over the media laws.
The last issue of Green Left Weekly published the story of gay asylum seeker Mohatar Hussein. Hussein fled homophobic persecution in Bangladesh to seek refugee status in Australia, only to be locked up in Villawood detention centre for the last two years. The Refugee Review Tribunal twice knocked back Hussein’s applications, despite having ample evidence that he had suffered persecution as an openly gay man.
Two cases of ruthless exploitation of Chinese guest workers have recently come to light in the printing industry, throwing the spotlight on the plight of the growing number of guest workers.
Gary Meyerhoff, long-time activist and founder of the Network Against Prohibition (NAP), died from an AIDS-related illness on October 7. A tireless campaigner for the rights all those who slipped through society’s cracks, Meyerhoff was an optimist and not afraid to push the limits. He organised around issues and with sections of society that other activists usually put in the too-hard basket.
“Ain’t that the truth”, said the Socialist Alliance’s lead upper house candidate in next March’s NSW state election, Susan Price. “And it sums up why we’re running against them.”
Architects for Peace, Australia, took an active part in the protests against Israel’s attacks on Lebanon and Palestine. Beatriz Maturana, a founder of the group, told Green Left Weekly that the group formed in February 2003, in response to the invasion of Iraq. It continues to campaign against the US-led occupation of Iraq.
In the first eight days of October, 30 coalition troops and close to 300 Iraqi civilians and security forces were killed. Iraq has become such a shameful example of Western arrogance that such figures barely warrant a mention on our television screens or in newspapers.
Debts owed by students for university fees are growing by about $2 billion a year, according to the federal education department. Reporting the finding, the September 13 Melbourne Age observed that if the debt rise “continues at this rate, the amount owed will double in six years, from $10.2 billion in 2003-04 to more than $20 billion by 2009-10".
A group of Aboriginal leaders supported by the West Australian Social Justice Network has initiated a campaign in the wake of what “appears to be an orchestrated attack by the federal government and sections of the media on Aboriginal culture” and leaders.
The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network national consultation decided to support the relaunch of an Australian campaign in support of the “Cuban Five” - five Cubans convicted in the United States in 2001 on charges ranging from conspiracy to commit murder to endangering the security of the US. The Cuban Five are being held in maximum security prisons across the US.

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