John Howard was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for his friendship and commitment to Israel at a gala dinner at Melbournes Crown Casino on May 20. The award, by the Zionist Federation of Australia, the State Zionist Council of Victoria and the World Zionist Organisation, includes the John Howard Negev Forest, which will be planted by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) over an ethnically-cleansed Bedouin village.
Tom — not his real name — became a “person of interest” after taking part in the G20 protests in Melbourne last November. This softly spoken 24-year-old, a postgraduate student at Sydney University, is one of the latest victims of the police-state laws that seem designed to intimidate activists from organising, or attending, protests.
The May 15 death of right-wing evangelist and Moral Majority founder Reverend Jerry Falwell has provided an opportunity for many people to comment on the influence of the Christian right on American politics and culture. Falwell relentlessly attacked Hollywood, blaming it for the decline of “traditional values”.
May 27 marks the 40th anniversary of the overwhelming victory of the 1967 referendum, in which almost 91% of the Australian people voted to give the federal government the constitutional power to override the brutal, degrading racist laws of the states under which Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders were tormented. The federal government now had the power to make specific laws in respect to the Indigenous people. The Australian people had sent a clear signal that it was time for Canberra to make laws, introduce programs and provide the necessary resources to end the racial oppression of Indigenous Australians.
The 1967 referendum on Aboriginal rights in which more than 90% voted in favour of including Aboriginal people in the census and giving the federal government the power to override racist state laws and legislate for Aboriginal people has enormous importance for Aboriginal people and our struggle, Queensland Indigenous leader Sam Watson told Green Left Weekly.
As Green Left Weekly goes to print David Hicks is on his way back to Australia — to Yalata prison in South Australia. But Lady Justice is sailing off in the other direction.
On May 7, the Melbourne Magistrates Court denied bail to two men arrested under “anti-terror” laws for raising funds for tsunami relief in the Tamil areas of Sri Lanka.
A young woman working in a juice bar is fired and rehired at a casual rate significantly less than her former wage. She is forced to sign an AWA (Australian Workplace Agreement — individual contract) to get her job back. A young man, aged 13, is fired after retaliating against his manager who assaulted him in a South Australian fast food business.
The shambles of the Airline Partners Australia (APA) private equity takeover attempt for Qantas demonstrates the greed and rapaciousness of this rotten capitalist system. All parties involved in the grubby business have shown up the irrationality of capitalism.
On May 7, New Matilda published an article by Antony Loewenstein, titled “Cuba: paradise left”, in which he reports on his impressions of Cuba. Loewenstein describes Cuba as a “police state” with “no freedom of speech”. He takes issue with Australian academic, Tim Anderson whom, he wrote, “ought to know better” for arguing that Cuba has more democracy than the US, (see http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=5609). Below is Anderson’s reply to Loewenstein’s article.