A huge crowd of about 650 people attended a memorial service at the Elder Hall, University of Adelaide on September 9 to farewell Elliott Johnston, the only communist to become a judge in Australia. He died on 25 August, aged 93. Those paying tribute included representatives from the legal profession, trade unions, the Aboriginal community, the original Communist Party of Australia (CPA) and his son Stewart.
A decade ago most experts would have thought it impossible. But several teams of scientists say the Arctic ice cap had shrunk to its smallest recorded extent, volume and area. Environmental physicists from the University of Bremen said on September 9 the Arctic ice cap extent was “small as never before”.
Toro Energy has submitted an application to build Western Australia’s first uranium mine, at Wiluna, the start of WA’s iconic Canning Stock Route. The debate over the proposed mine has far-reaching ramifications. The construction of WA’s first uranium mine is likely to be the “thin edge of the wedge”, whereas a strong show of public opposition can significantly increase the likelihood of keeping WA uranium-free. That, in turn, is important in the context of the national debate over uranium mining.
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.
Australia’s ability to remain a signatory to the UN refugee convention would be put in serious doubt if the government succeeded in weakening protection for refugees in the migration act, prominent human rights lawyer Julian Burnside QC told Green Left Weekly. “The judgement was clear that the arrangement that had been made with Malaysia has been made legally invalid,” he said. “The question is whether the government thinks having signed the convention limits the range within they can change the act.
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.
Will NSW’s Liberal-National state government follow its Victorian colleagues and block the development of wind energy in the state? Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu announced new planning laws on August 29 that ban wind farms from large areas of the state. The laws put so many hurdles in the way of new wind developments that most wind companies are now talking of abandoning further developments in the state.
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.
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.
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.