Australian News

GLW Issue 823

Eleven men detained in the Christmas Island detention centre have been charged and appeared in court on January 20 over a fight that broke out among 150 asylum seekers on November 21. They were remanded until a later date.

On January 18, the 250 Tamil asylum seekers in Merak, Indonesia, had spent 100 days on their boat in appalling conditions. This is despite almost half of them being already recognised by the United Nations as refugees.

GLW Issue 822

Steve Jenkins (March 10, 1956 — December 13, 2009) was one of the 47 elected Liverpool City Councillors who fought a titanic battle against the right-wing Thatcher government in the 1980s.

Ken Colbung, a long-time leader in the Western Australian Aboriginal community, died on January 12 after a short illness, aged 78.

“It’s been a fantastic, energising experience”, Aboriginal activist and Sydney Socialist Alliance (SA) member Pat Eatock told Green Left Weekly at the seventh SA national conference. Her sentiments were echoed by many of the more than 220 participants in the January 2-5 gathering in Sydney.

The January 15 Australian reported that outback prospector Sam Tomarchio had “struck a new kind of gold in Western Australia by taking control of Aboriginal Centrelink payments”.

Sydney-based shock-jock Alan Jones and Harbour Radio have been ordered to apologise and pay $10,000 compensation for comments made in the days before the Cronulla riots in 2005.

The Western Australian Liberal government is moving to slash public services using a combination of “efficiency dividends” and performance reviews. The plans closely follow the policy wish list presented by the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIWA) before the 2009 state election.

Around 200 people attended Camp for Climate Action (Western Australia) near the coalmining town of Collie, 200 kilometres south of Perth from December 17-21.

More than 150 people are on a liquid-only fast to demand the closure of the United States-run prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. The fast also demands an end to the practice of torture and for all detainees held by the US to be granted full protection under US law.

When the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Legislative Assembly passed a civil unions bill, on November 11, 2009, granting same-sex couples the right to legally binding ceremonies, speculation abounded about how long it would last.

GLW Issue 821

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in cities across Australia in support of serious action against climate change.

About 300 supporters from more than 30 groups rallied in Melbourne to call for the Australian government to let refugees into Australia. The rally opened with a motion of support for the 255 Tamil asylum seekers in the Indonesian port of Merak.

On November 29, 50 people attended a forum on Sri Lanka organised by People for Human Rights and Equality, a multi-ethnic group comprising people of Sri Lankan origin living in Australia.

On November 26, after four months of negotiations, workers at industrial air conditioning manufacturer Buffalo Trident walked off the job indefinitely.

The workers are fighting to have income protection and wage increases of 4% in the first year and 5% in the second year included in their enterprise bargaining agreement. Management at Buffalo Trident is ferociously anti-union. Evidence of this is that there have been no new union members at the plant since the introduction of Work Choices.

Pro-choice campaigners took to the streets of South Brisbane on December 2 to send a strong and clear message to the Queensland government that old laws need not die hard.

Socialist Alliance member and author Terry Townsend launched his new book The Aboriginal Struggle & the Left on December 2 at the Brisbane Activist Centre.

Unchecked urban expansion has chewed up large areas of Adelaide’s productive agricultural land for poorly planned and poorly designed housing developments, with no amenities and little or no access to public transport.

The shooting of two Aboriginal boys in Townsville on November 25 shows that racism isn’t going away in the North Queensland town. The two boys, aged just 8 and 10, were playing in a park in Wulguru when they were fired upon by a drunken Townsville soldier wielding an air rifle.

GLW Issue 820

A national day of action in support of equal marriage rights for all couples took place on November 28.

A national day of action in support of same-sex marriage rights took place on November 28.

On November 26, Paddy "Joe" Hill and Gerry Conlon told a transfixed audience their experience of unjust imprisonment. The event, at the Perth Irish Club, was part of a tour profiling the British Miscarriages of Justice Organisation (MOJO).

The deadline to pass the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) approached, and passed, on November 26, with the Senate extending debate on the issue until the week after. The nation's media were transfixed by the spectacle of the Liberal Party annihilating itself over what position to take.

A statement of support for refugees has received wide support from left parties and unions in the Asia-Pacific region.

A speak-out against the Labor-Liberal dirty deal on the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) was held in Perth on November 26. The action was organised by the Coalition for a Safe Climate.

A November 18 report by the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) titled Building on Our Strengths confirmed that the experience of racism has serious health implications for Indigenous and migrant communities in Australia.

Twenty-eight-year-old Malaysian activist Sivaranjani Manickam will be a special guest at the “Towards Justice, Sustainability and People’s Power: Fighting for Socialism in the 21st Century” conference in Sydney in January.

Results of the recent elections for branch council and senior officer positions in the Australian Education Union Victoria branch were released on October 29. The incumbent union leadership was challenged by the Teachers Alliance, a rank and file group of AEU members that campaigns for an active and democratic union.

Critics of Melbourne's public transport system are preparing to party at Flinders Street Station on December 3 to farewell the much-maligned train operator Connex.

GLW Issue 819

About 20 protesters gathered outside the prime minister's office on November 18 to protest against Australia’s “carbon colonialism”, telling Kevin Rudd “Don't dump on Indonesia”.