Analysis

Shortly after midnight on July 29, Indian Muslim doctor Mohamed Haneef boarded a flight in Brisbane to be reunited with his wife in Bangalore and meet his newly born daughter for the first time, as he was trying to do at the time of his arrest at Brisbane Airport on July 2. The previous evening, he had been released from jail, after federal Director of Public Prosecutions Damien Bugg announced he was dropping all charges, conceding that the “anti-terrorism” case against the Gold Coast Hospital registrar had collapsed. “On my view of this matter a mistake has been made”, Bugg told a media conference.
Within a week of the revelation that Australia is planning to join the US-led Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) nuclear fuel cartel, foreign minister Alexander Downer publicly proposed that Australia sell uranium to nuclear-armed India, even though India is not a signatory to the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Yappera Children’s Services Co-operative, an Indigenous childcare and pre-school centre in Thornbury, faces closure due to the state and federal governments’ refusal to provide the $150,000 required for essential plumbing repairs.
Sixty people held a colourful protest on the steps of the Victorian state parliament on July 18, as part of a long-running campaign to have the Tullamarine toxic waste dump closed and the site cleaned up. The dump, which is operated by the Cleanaway corporation, is located adjacent to Tullamarine airport. It is within 1.5 kilometres of the suburb of Westmeadows and is close to other residential areas.
Federal ALP leader Kevin Rudd took a further step to the right on July 23 when he announced full support for logging old-growth forests in Tasmania. Rudd also announced his support for Gunns Ltd’s $2 billion pulp mill project proposed for the Tamar Valley, north of Launceston, in the federal electorate of Bass.
On July 23, the Australian published extracts from a leaked internal Australian Council of Trade Unions report that described unionisation in the private sector as being at “crisis levels”. The report, authored by ACTU assistant secretary Chris Walton, warns unions against any expectation of a “golden age” should Labor be elected at the forthcoming federal election, and proposes continuation of a levy on all members to build a war chest with which to rebuild the movement.
At a time when it is pretending to improve conditions for people in the Northern Territory’s remote Aboriginal communities, the federal Coalition government is phasing out the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEPs). The announcement was made in the May federal budget papers, but has also been integrated into the new NT intervention plan, announced by PM John Howard on June 24.
A representative of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) was welcomed by a large crowd packed into a Sydney University lecture theatre on July 26.
Four thousand timber workers and their families attended a rally in Launceston in support of the controversial Bell Bay pulp mill on July 19. The Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Energy Union (CFMEU) called the rally as part of a one-day stop-work action aimed at “combating the threat to jobs posed by radical green groups”.
On July 17, PM John Howard’s climate change policy was released amidst great fanfare. For most of his political career, Howard has denied the link between climate change and human industry, and the threat that it poses to the planet and society. Now the scientific evidence is irrefutable he has changed tack, and is promoting “solutions” to the climate change threat that avoid threatening the profits of the polluting corporations.
Below is an abridged speech given by Lawrence Gibbons, editor of the City Hub, a part of the Alternative Media Group, to a benefit for the South Sydney Herald on July 8.
The peace movement lost a dedicated activist last week. Samantha Kelly, one of a team of radio presenters for NoWar SA, died in Adelaide at the age of 39.
Queensland University of Technology (QUT) academic Dr Gary MacLennan told a public meeting on July 18 that “ordinary people think laughing at the disabled is wrong … only in a university is it seen as otherwise”.
The corporate media has heaped praise on Al Gore following the international rock gig Live Earth. But to ask the U’wa people, from the tropical cloud forests of north-eastern Colombia, what they thought about Gore and Occidental Petroleum (Oxy), the oil company from which his personal fortune is derived, would be to receive a very different opinion.
The July 1 Sydney Morning Herald reported that the “southern part of the Murray-Darling Basin has seen some rainfall, but not enough to stave off zero water allocations when the new irrigation year begins on Sunday… Howard’s grave warning in April of no water for irrigators from July 1 in Australia’s food bowl has been realised, with soaring fruit and vegetable prices expected to follow.”
The Socialist Alliance is aiming for a 60% overall emissions reduction, including 95% power station emissions reduction, by 2020 and a 90% overall emissions reduction by 2030. Immediate comprehensive planning is required, including the setting of annual targets, to meet these overall targets on time or sooner.

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