Australian News

GLW Issue 1096

Thousands of people from a diversity of local campaigns came out to protest Premier Mike Baird and corporate control over democracy in NSW.

Some of the issues raised included included stop westconnex, stop the council amalgamations, anti-CSG, save tafe and other services and opposing the the new police powers like the anti-protest laws among others.

The rally was organized by March Australia - Sydney.

Here are some photos of the rally:

La Trobe University has become the first university in Australia to commit to full divestment from fossil fuel companies.

Vice-chancellor John Dewar said that over the next five years, La Trobe will “divest from the top 200 publicly-traded fossil fuel companies ranked by the carbon content of their fossil fuel reserves.”

He said the University was also committed to transparency and “Accordingly, we will also disclose the carbon exposure of our investments and provide annual reports of our divestment progress over the next five years”.

Hundreds of people lined the shores in “Hands Across the Sand” events across southern Australia on May 21 to protest BP's plans to drill for oil in the pristine waters of the Great Australian Bight. Hands are used to symbolise a barrier to oil hitting our shores. Similar events were held around the world to raise awareness of the risks posed by the offshore oil and gas industry.

Tasmanian Police have discontinued their prosecution of former Greens leader Bob Brown, who was arrested earlier this year under controversial anti-protest laws which he went on to challenge in the High Court.

Brown was arrested in January for standing in the way of bulldozers primed to clear forest at Lapoinya, in north west Tasmania.

He was one of the first to be charged under the Workplaces (Protection from Protestors) Act 2014.

The law is part of a controversial series of legislation, which aims at deterring protests that interrupt businesses' activities.

About 100 members of Fair Go for Pensioners (FGFP) rallied in Melbourne on May 25 to call on political parties to reverse severe funding cuts to welfare, health and education in the federal budget which will condemn more pensioners and low-income families to living below the poverty line.

FGFP president Roger Wilson said the budget focus on giving the business sector generous tax cuts came at the expense of slashing services for the most vulnerable — pensioners, low-income families, the unemployed and those fearing homelessness.

Sydney's Kurdish community and their supporters took to Martin Place on May 23 in a snap protest against Turkey's increasingly repressive Recep Tayyip Erdogan government after it cancelled the parliamentary immunity of progressive opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MPs.

This is part of a bloody war the regime has been waging against the Kurdish people since June last year.

Socialist Alliance candidate for the federal seat of Sydney Peter Boyle addressed the rally.

A new Climate Council report card on the renewable energy progress of Australia's states and territories finds South Australia and the ACT are topping the class.

NSW received the worst grade due to its low and falling percentage of renewable energy, no renewable energy target and low levels of rooftop solar.

The Victorian branch of the Country Women's Association (CWA) has voted in support of marriage equality at their latest conference.

The CWA's decision contrasts with its conservative image and defies stereotypes of rural communities as being less accepting of LGBTIQ people.

The motion was titled "That the CWA of Victoria Inc advocates for equality for all Australians under the Commonwealth Marriage Act".

First Nations Socialist Alliance Senate candidate for NSW Ken Canning visited the Bankstown campus of Western Sydney University on May 9 to inform students about why we need a people's movement. The meeting was organised by the Resistance Club.

He raised several key issues including the fact that despite former Labor PM Kevin Rudd's “Sorry” speech Indigenous children are still being forcefully removed at a higher rate than ever before.

The Socialist Alliance has selected a Victorian Senate team of Lalitha Chelliah and Tim Gooden, and candidates Zane Alcorn for the seat of Wills and Sue Bull for the seat of Corio.

In Coburg on May 28 about 400-500 people rallied peacefully in opposition to the federal government policies that promote racism towards Aborigines, refugees and Muslims. This was despite the rain.

Rally participants included the young and the old, people with children, church groups, interfaith groups, refugees, Muslims and First Nations people.

There is a growing tide running against the major parties in this federal election, helped by five Labor and Liberal candidates who have resigned or been forced out, including now former Labor Senator Nova Peris in the Northern Territory.

In the seat of Whitlam (formerly Throsby) in the Illawarra, this tide has become painfully clear. Carolyn Currie, the Liberal candidate for the safe Labor seat, quit during an interview on ABC Local Radio Illawarra.

Around 100 Aboriginal grandmothers and supporters gathered at the Redfern Block on May 26, and marched to the Families and Community Services (FACS) office, as part of a National Day of Action on the anniversary of the Bringing Them Home report.

The action was organised by the Grandmothers Against Removals (GMAR), a national network initiated by families who are directly affected by the child removal crisis. It is fighting to bring an end to continuing stolen generations.

The land between the Clarence and Nambucca Rivers on New South Wales’ mid-north coast is Gumbaynggirr country. The Blood Rock massacre took place there in the 1880s, when police surrounded local Aboriginal people and shot them in the waters around Red Rock. A plaque reads: “Gumbaynggirr descendants, especially women, still avoid this headland. The significance of this place, and the rebirthing of our culture, will never been forgotten”.

About 200 residents of inner western Sydney suburbs crowded into the Marrickville Council Chambers on May 24 to protest the undemocratic sacking of three local councils — Leichhardt, Ashfield and Marrickville — by the state government and the appointment of an administrator to run the new, forcibly amalgamated "Inner West Council".

Angry residents drowned out Premier Mike Baird's appointed administrator of the new council Richard Pearson forcing him to abandon the first meeting of the new one-person body.

GLW Issue 1095

The organisers of a rally against racism are adamant that the community rally — months in the planning — will go ahead peacefully on May 28 outside the library in Moreland.

Councillor Sue Bolton told Green Left Weekly that the organisers are committed to a peaceful and safe rally.

“Our rally will be culturally diverse and children will be present so we want a safe space. We aim to do this by organising marshals who are committed to a peaceful rally.

A rally on Saturday May 28 in Moreland in the inner north of Melbourne has been attracting support from organisations keen to show their opposition to racism.

About 55 groups, including unions, community and faith-based groups, community radio and political parties have signed on to the rally initiated by Socialist Alliance Councillor in Moreland Sue Bolton.

The rally's focus is around four key points: Stop the forced closure of Aboriginal communities; Treaty now; Let the refugees in — Close Manus and Nauru; and No to Islamophobia.

The Illawarra Knitting Nannas Against Gas (IKNAG) held a knit-in outside the office of the federal deputy leader of the ALP, Tanya Plibersek, in Sydney on May 16.

IKNAG's Annie Malow contacted Plibersek with two questions asking for "yes" or "no" answers.

The first was: Do you support a ban on CSG mining in drinking water catchment? The second was: Would you move legislation for such a ban?

Plibersek was not in her office, but two of her staffers came out offering the Nannas several balls of wool — all the wrong colours.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles announced a new policy on Facebookfor the Territory election in August on May 14. The policy, called “Knowledge Territory”, promises $500 education vouchers if the Territory receives royalty payments from onshore gas fracking.

The ALP has announced it will declare a moratorium on fracking if it wins the election and this is Giles’ latest attempt to sell the Country Liberal Party’s position of supporting gas fracking across the Territory.

The Divest from Detention network disrupted the Australian Council of Super Investors (ACSI) annual conference in Melbourne on May 10.

Activists gained access to the main stage where they played audio recordings of protesters on Nauru and held banners reading “Close the camps” and “Mandatory detention can't be risk managed”.

Spokesperson for the network Liz Patterson said: “ACSI already recommends divestment from unethical businesses like tobacco. They must extend this to detention.

A group of about 40 homeless people have set up camp in Melbourne's city square to put homelessness in the spotlight, as housing agencies and people sleeping rough grow increasingly frustrated with government inaction.

The camp was set up on May 12, after stories in the Herald Sun about aggressive beggars picking fights with pedestrians cast rough sleepers as a public menace.

Sydney University campus came alive with political discussion, talks and workshops for three days during the Socialism for the 21st Century Conference, held over May 13–15.

The conference had more than 30 sessions and 50 speakers, including international special guests Marta Harnecker, Michael Lebowitz and Ian Angus. Local and international activists shared their experiences of struggle and discussed the necessity of building alternatives to capitalism today. Up to 400 conference-goers faced the task of choosing from a range of stimulating sessions on offer.

About 3000 people, young and old, women, men and children, kayaked from Horseshoe Beach and blocked Newcastle Harbour to stop the coal ships on May 8. Organised by 350.org and other climate change campaigners, the Break Free event was a great success and also fun.

There was a large contingent of First Nations people from all around Australia and internationally, from Samoa and other Pacific islands that could disappear due to rising sea levels.

Hundreds of nurses from the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association protested outside health minister Jillian Skinner's electorate office on May 17.

The odious Peter Dutton, minister for torturing refugees, has plumbed new depths in responding to a Greens proposal to increase Australia's refugee intake from 13,750 to 50,000.

"They won't be numerate or literate in their own language, let alone English," Dutton said. "These people would be taking Australian jobs, there's no question about that.

"For many of them that would be unemployed, they would languish in unemployment queues and on Medicare and the rest of it so there would be huge cost and there's no sense in sugar-coating that, that's the scenario."

Cottesloe Council in WA has prohibited the use of air or helium filled balloons at events approved or run by the council.

Once released into the air, balloons can drift for hundreds of kilometres, or rise into the stratosphere where they burst and return to earth in a spaghetti-like shape. As “airborne litter”, balloons then end up in waterways and the ocean.

Terrestrial and marine animals mistake balloons for food and swallow them or get entangled in the string attached. This can lead to the loss of a limb or even to the death of turtles, whales, dolphins, dugongs or seabirds.

The Australia First Party will not be able to use the Eureka flag as its logo on ballot papers in the federal election on July 2.

Their application was ineligible because it had not been advertised for 30 days as required by law. However, the application will be considered again in 100 days' time, well after voters head to the ballot box.

A multi-generational delegation from the Borroloola Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory's Gulf Country were front and centre at a protest outside global mining giant Glencore's Sydney headquarters on May 19.

The protesters demanded that Glencore close its McArthur River mine and rehabilitate the site as well as the river and the surrounding land, on which they have traditionally relied for food.

Up to 500 people packed into the Balmain Town Hall on May 19 to protest the state government's $17 billion WestConnex tollway project, which will destroy a large swathe of the city's inner western suburbs, and spew massive traffic flows and pollution into suburban streets.

The forum, sponsored by No WestConnex Annandale, heard from a panel of speakers, including Labor member for Grayndler Anthony Albanese and Greens candidate for the seat Jim Casey.

Heavily armed “anti-terrorist” police raided homes in Melbourne and arrested a teenager in Sydney on May 17. This foiled two unrelated terror plots, according to saturation media coverage based on information from police and security agencies that is too secret to be heard in court.

In Sydney, 18-year-old Tamim Khaja was arrested in Parramatta and charged with planning a terrorist attack and preparing for “foreign incursions”.