Analysis

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.
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.

We all know there’s a big problem with the environment and it needs drastic action to fix it. So does a Marxist analysis of the problem bring anything new to the table? Marxism redefines the terms of the mainstream environmental debate. Instead of seeing the problem as one of humans versus nature, the problem is framed as one where humans and nature are intrinsically linked and ecological crises arise in which the relationship between the two is thrown into imbalance.
Tracker magazine — Evidently there is progress in Northern Territory prescribed communities. The Prime Minister has visited and she says so. The mainstream media report so. Indeed what the Prime Minister says is remarkably similar to what Jenny Macklin has been saying for some time: there is progress.
When the right-wing press isn’t hacking the voicemail of murdered teenagers, much of its energy goes to denouncing “green extremists”. You know, the ones who’d destroy our economy just to claw back a few tonnes of greenhouse emissions. So what would Rupert Murdoch, Andrew Bolt and their whole tribe prefer be done, in practice and in the near term, to stop global warming? Let’s be honest — nothing. Cutting emissions, they implicitly argue, will inevitably cost more than if society lets carbon polluters get on with what they do best.
About 200 people have arrived on boats to claim refugee protection in Australia since the Australian and Malaysian governments signed a deal to “swap” refugees on July 25. The countries agreed to exchange up to 800 refugees in Australia for 4000 refugees registered with the United Nations in Malaysia. The immigration department has refused to look at the new arrivals’ claims for asylum, but is holding them in an isolated compound of the Christmas Island detention centre. A boat that arrived on August 11 carried more than 100 refugees, many of them children.
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”.
More than 100 community supporters, environmentalists and trade unionists assembled on the steps of Trades Hall in Melbourne to launch the “100,000 Australians” campaign. A project of the Earthworker co-operative, the campaign seeks to build a cooperatively-owned factory making solar hot water systems in Morwell, Victoria. The project is hoping for 100,000 Australians to join the Earthworker Cooperative at $20 a member to raise the $2 million needed for the “Eureka’s Future” factory machinery, fit-out and finish.
Distinguished US activist, writer and former political prisoner Angela Davis addressed a public forum in Sydney on August 11 organised by the prisoner rights group Sisters Inside. Davis was a keynote speaker at Sisters Inside's sixth International Conference on the criminalisation of women and imprisonment, held in Sydney over August 10 to 12. Her speech at the August 11 public forum is below. * * *
Boycott Israel 19, August 11 - Israeli activists from the pro boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign in Israel issued the statement below on August 11 in support of Australian pro-Palestine activists in Melbourne who have faced arrests and intimidation from the Victorian government. * * * Following anti-Democratic Arrests and Intimidation Attempts: Israeli Citizens in Solidarity with Australian BDS Activists!