Australian News

GLW Issue 1047

Up to 15,000 people joined the Palm Sunday Walk for Refugees in Melbourne on March 29, more than double the numbers from last year refugee advocates said.

Large rallies and marches were also held in 12 other Australian cities, and 19 cities overseas, demanding refugees be released from detention.


Photo: Ali Bakhtiarvandi

About 300 people in detention on Nauru also joined the protest and called for an end to offshore detention centres.

No McDonald’s in Tecoma campaigner Richard Pearson was cleared of the charge of “defacing a public footpath” by a Melbourne Magistrates Court.

Representatives of the Wangan and Jagalingou people made this announcement on March 27.

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The Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) people announced today that they have rejected an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with Indian giant Adani to build the huge Carmichael coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

The W&J are the Indigenous traditional owners of the lands earmarked for the mine and of much of the Galilee Basin.

VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT REPEALS ANTI-WIND FARM LAWS

The Victorian Labor government has repealed the worst aspects of the Coalition's anti-wind farm laws.

After a strong community campaign led by Friends of the Earth, the Andrews government announced it will remove the 2km right of veto that allowed householders to block wind farms. This measure will be replaced by a 1km buffer zone.

Rallies calling for the closure of refugee detention centres were held across the country on March 29. The Refugee Action Committee Canberra released this statement on March 25 in the lead-up to the rally.

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Activists from Canberra’s Refugee Action Committee (RAC) took to a boat on March 25 to highlight the plight of asylum seekers and refugees.

The RAC activists held up banners advertising the upcoming Palm Sunday Rally for Refugees.

Activists dropped a banner on cliffs off Sydney’s North Head on March 22 calling for halt to coal and gas mining. Photos: Kate Ausburn.

BRISBANE
Join the protest against Wicked Campers’ abusive tourist slogans. Saturday April 11 at 12pm. Reddacliff Place, Brisbane.

MELBOURNE
Come to a rally to stop the forced closures of Aboriginal communities. Voice your outrage at Colin Barnett’s forced closure of First Nations communities in WA. Friday April 10 at 5.30pm. Parliament steps, Spring St, city.

PERTH
Join the counter-protest to the xenophobic “Reclaim Australia” rally. No Pasaran! Saturday April 4 at 11.30am. Solidarity Park, Harvest Tce, Perth.

Rally and march in Melbourne in solidarity with the Kurdish struggle.

Australians for Kurdistan (AFK) committee has launched a campaign for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to be removed from the Australian government’s list of terrorist organisations.

The PKK was first listed in 2005; its listing comes up for review this August.

GLW Issue 1046

About 2500 people took part in the Sydney March in March, according to organisers. Many issues were raised but the issue that seem to anger most people is the attack by federal and state Coalition governments attacks on remote Aboriginal communities.

Photos by Peter Boyle.

More than 40 people attended a rally in solidarity with the Bolivarian revolution, under the title "Hands off Venezuela", outside the US consulate in Sydney's Martin Place on March 21.

The Communist Party of Australia organised the rally and it was endorsed by the Australia Cuba Friendship Society (Sydney), Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, Bolivarian Circle, Committee in Defence of Human Rights in Guatemala, Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), Grupo Ibiray-Fondo Raul Sendic, Latin America Social Forum, Salvador Allende Monument Inc and the Socialist Alliance.

The Western Australian government has introduced new legislation aimed at criminalising protesters.

Police minister Lisa Harvey said the proposed amendments to the Criminal Code are specifically aimed at protesters who use devices like thumb locks. However, the bill criminalises “presumed” intent to commit a crime and “possessing a thing for the purpose of preventing lawful activity” during peaceful protests.

Socialist Alliance has welcomed support from the NSW CFMEU Construction Division for its state election campaign. The union recently voted to donate $5000 to the campaign and profiled a Socialist Alliance Upper House candidate, CFMEU member and mobile crane operator Howard Byrnes, in its latest union journal Unity.

Associate Professor Jake Lynch, a member of Sydney Staff for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), was assaulted by an elderly Zionist woman during a demonstration in support of Palestine on March 11.

The assault occurred at Sydney University, during a pro-Israel talk given by Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan and supporter of Israel.

Demonstrators interrupted Kemp’s talk, targeting his support for the Israeli occupation in Palestine, chanting “Richard Kemp, you can’t hide, you support genocide.”

Stop CSG Illawarra released this statement on March 16.

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Today the Minister for Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts announced the buy-back of three coal seam gas (CSG) exploration licences that encroach on the Sydney Water Catchment.

"No West Connex: Public transport is the answer," was the theme of a public forum sponsored by Green Left Weekly on March 17 at the Sydney CBD Resistance Centre. Up to 30 people gathered to hear Sue Bolton, Socialist Alliance councillor from Moreland, Melbourne, and Chris Elenor, No WestCONnex activist, discuss issues surrounding the huge toll road projects being pushed in Australia's major cities.

"The Greek Elections: What Next? SYRIZA and the fight against austerity," was the theme of a forum, presented by the Department of Political Economy, Sydney University, and the Australia-Greece Solidarity Campaign, on March 10 at the New Law School. Up to 150 people packed into a lecture theatre to hear a panel of speakers, followed by a lively discussion period on the key issues.

INDIGENOUS PERUVIANS WIN PAYOUT FROM US OIL GIANT

The Queensland Labor government has paved the way for the huge expansion of coalmines in the Galilee Basin.

New Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on March 11 that a deal had been made with Adani and GVK-Hancock to allow the dumping of dredge spoil from the expansion of the coal port at Abbot Point in unused industrial land adjacent to the port.

Palaszczuk said the deal met her election campaign commitment to ban dumping of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park or in the Caley Valley Wetlands.

Two groups of Tamils walked from Glen Waverley and Sunshine to the Melbourne CBD on March 15 to “alert Australians to war crimes and genocide in Sri Lanka”.

The walkers converged in front of the State Library, where a rally was held.

The Campaign for Tamil Justice organised the walk to coincide with a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The UNHRC meeting had been expected to hear a report on Sri Lanka by the UN human rights commissioner, but this has been delayed for at least six months.

After nearly four months of protesting, students have helped defeat the Higher Education Reform Bill for the second time.

However, Education Minister Christopher Pyne has promised that he “won’t give up”, indicating that the bill will be put before the Senate once again, with further concessions to crossbenchers.

Members of the NSW Education Action Network (EAN), locked themselves onto the door of the office of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Micheal Spence, on March 16 to pressure him to come out against the bill. As it stands, Spence still supports the bill.

Victorian rally against factory trawlers

A rally was held in Geelong on March 22 calling for a permanent ban on large freezer factory trawlers berthing in the town. Coordinator of the Stop the Trawler Alliance Rebecca Hubbard said: “The new factory trawler proposing to fish will be the largest freezer factory trawler to ever operate in Australia’s Small Pelagic Fishery, and poses significant threats to protected dolphins, seals and seabirds.”

Richest companies avoid tax scrutiny

On March 11 around 90, mainly young people gathered outside parliament house to raise awareness about housing affordability in Sydney.

Many carried furniture, signs and banners about youth homelessness directed at NSW Premier Mike Baird. Signs asked if protesters could move into parliament house with Mike Baird, as there are no affordable housing options in Sydney.

GREEK ELECTIONS REPORT BACK

GLW correspondent Dick Nichols reported from Athens during the Greek elections and will speak on SYRIZA and the fight against austerity.
Brisbane: Thursday March 26, 6pm Electrical Trades Union, 41 Peel St South Brisbane
Armidale: Saturday March 28, 6pm. Followed by a Mediterranean feast and the launch of the Socialist Alliance New England statement. Kent House, 142 Faulkner Street, Armidale. Phone: Bea 0458 752 680

MARCH ON PALM SUNDAY MARCH 29
Walk for justice for refugees.
Adelaide: 1.30pm @ Parliament House

Friends of the Earth released this statement on March 13.

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A judge has ruled that the environmental group Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) has a right to voice concerns over potential harm to bees from a neonicotinoid pesticide, Thiacloprid.

The judge in the Duesseldorf Regional Court revoked a previous injunction in favour of BAYER CropScience. Thiacloprid is used on crops such as oilseed rape and apples and is sold to the public in garden bug-killing products.

Residents and activists from the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy will be protesting against the developer threatening to instigate a new development on the land known as the “The Block”.

The protest will take place on Saturday, March 21, starting at 11am at the Tent Embassy opposite the Redfern Community Centre.

Developer DeiCorp recently advertised its Redfern developments by saying: “The Aboriginals have already moved out, now Redfern is the last virgin suburb close to city.”

Land rights activists gathered outside the New South Wales Parliament — on the land of the Gaddigal people — today to protest against the closure and removal of services of remote Western Australian Aboriginal communities.

Redfern Tent Embassy residents and activists, Greens MLC David Shoebridge and members of the Socialist Alliance came to show solidarity with communities which are facing permanent closure of their communities on which they have lived for many thousands of years.

GLW Issue 1045

Student activists dropped a huge banner from Sydney University’s Fisher Library which read "No cuts, no fees, no dereg. Fightback now!" to raise the alarm about the federal government’s looming attempt to deregulate university fees.

Six students also locked themselves to the Vice-Chancellor's office, to demonstrate their opposition, and called on all university Vice-Chancellors to oppose the bill.

An Aboriginal encampment returned to Matagarup (also known as Heirisson Island) on March 1. Police moved in on March 13 to close it down but were unsuccessful.

Australian groups have condemned the decision of US President Barack Obama to issue an executive order on March 9 declaring Venezuela “a national security emergency” and imposing sanctions on Venezuelan officials.

Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network co-convenor Roberto Jorquera said: “We are extremely concerned at this latest escalation in US attacks on the sovereign nation of Venezuela. We share the concern of the Venezuelan government and many others that this could be a prelude to an economic blockade or even military attack.