Australian News

GLW Issue 927

The editor-in-chief of Wikileaks and Australian citizen Julian Assange has not been charged with any crime in any country yet he now sits alone, abandoned by his government, in the Ecuador Embassy waiting to see if he will be granted asylum.

WikiLeaks Australian Citizens Alliance (WACA) will hold a mass rally on the steps of the State Library in Melbourne on July 1st at noon in support of Julian Assange.

The Darwin Aboriginal Rights Coalition released the statement below on June 21.

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Aboriginal people across the Northern Territory have spoken out against the Stronger Futures laws, which they say continue the discriminatory and racist laws launched with the NT intervention 5 years ago today.

You can sign an online petition to the government of Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa in support of Julian Assange's extradition request.

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Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado
President of the Republic of Ecuador

Ricardo Armando Patiño Aroca
Minister of Foreign Relations, Republic of Ecuador


Raúl Gangotena
Ambassador of the Republic of Ecuador in Australia

Luis Felipe Valencia
Consul General of the Republic of Ecuador in Australia

About 1000 Queensland teachers rallied outside state parliament on June 20 to protest the Campbell Newman Liberal National Party government's "unacceptable" offer on pay and conditions in current enterprise bargaining talks. The government is proposing a 2.7% annual pay rise in return for cuts in rights and conditions.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions released the statement below on June 21.

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Fairfax Media has breached its legal obligation to consult its workers, and failed to explain why it plans to sack thousands of workers, unions will tell a hearing in Fair Work Australia today.

GLW Issue 926

Members of Amnesty International Australia’s Tasmania City Group dressed as bananas and collected signatures on a global petition to help launch Amnesty’s Arms Trade Treaty campaign on June 16 at the Salamanca markets in Hobart.

There is no international standard to regulate the global trade and transfers of conventional arms.

Amnesty Tasmania City Group’s Yabbo Thompson said: “There are complicated rules on the international trade of many products, such as bananas, but no global treaty controlling weapons or bullets.

The Support Assange and WikiLeaks Coalition released the statement below on June 20.

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As Julian Assange seeks political asylum in Ecuador, concerned Australian citizens will protest their government’s treatment of the WikiLeaks founder in Sydney on Thursday, June 21.

Over 2000 people marched in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra and Adelaide to protest twenty years of mandatory detention and to mark World Refugee Day on the weekend of June 16-17.

The Queensland Council of Unions released the statement below on June 19.

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The Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) has strongly condemned today’s announcement that Premier Campbell Newman may cut up to 20,000 jobs from the public service.

QCU President John Battams says cutting so many permanent and temporary public sector jobs would take billions out of the state economy and have a huge impact throughout Queensland.

Protesters tore through a giant run-through banner that read "free the refugees" as part of World Refugee Day rally in Melbourne. Below the slogan, symbolic bars were broken representing the breaking of the fences imprisoning refugees.

More than 2000 protesters took to the streets in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra on the weekend of June 16-17 to say 20 years of mandatory detention is 20 years too many.

The rallies mark the annual World Refugee Day and highlighted the fact this year is the twentieth anniversary of the introduction of the policy of mandatory detention.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said on June 12 that the government would abolish state-sanctioned civil ceremonies for same-sex couples, but still allow them to formally register their partnership.

Same-sex civil unions were introduced in February by the former Labor government.

The move follows a big rally last month to protest against plans to abolish same-sex union laws entirely in Queensland. Newman said he wanted to remove “provisions which 'emulated' marriage”, which we're opposed by Christian churches, the June 13 Courier-Mail said.

The controversial introduction of income management to Playford in northern Adelaide was the subject of a thought-provoking and at times emotional community meeting hosted by Socialist Alliance on June 13.

A sizeable turnout of locals, including individuals from Anglicare, Uniting Care and the Playford City Council, discussed how this policy, to be “trialled” from July 1, will impact on the wellbeing of those on Centrelink payments and the broader community, and how people should respond.

Twenty-seven -year-old Kwementyaye Briscoe died on January 5 while in police custody in Alice Springs, Northern Territory. Last week, the coronial inquest into his death began.

A man who was taken into custody with Briscoe told the inquest he watched police drag him through the watch-house, ABC Online said on June 13. Other prisoners saw that Briscoe was bleeding from the head, and one man told the inquest he could hear him “groaning and gasping for air”.

Forest conservation campaigners in the Yarra Valley, east of Melbourne, released the statement below on June 15.

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The blockade to halt logging in the mountain ash forests of Mount St Leonard continues with protesters planning to lock themselves to log harvesting machinery to delay logging for as long as possible.

The blockade is strongly supported by Toolangi and Healesville residents and business owners, more than 120 of whom turned out for a public meeting three weeks ago to ask VicForests managers why they were logging the loved and iconic mountain.

Aboriginal resistance leaders Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener where executed in Melbourne in 1842. They where sentenced to death for their resistance against the colonial settlers’ drive to take over their land. However, today they are not remembered as heroes. Rather, they are hardly remembered at all.

Aboriginal rights supporters have organised commemorations for the two men for the past seven years, but a campaign for a permanent public memorial had gone an unanswered, until now.

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) released the statement below on June 15.

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The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has condemned today’s announcement by the ANU Vice-Chancellor Ian Young to savagely cut the School of Music.

The Support Assange and WikiLeaks Coalition released the statement below on June 15.

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has lost his final British appeal against extradition and will be sent by force to Sweden within a matter of days. Australians are taking to the streets to demand the Australian government act immediately to prevent the injustice and harm facing Assange.

In Sweden, Assange will be held in pre-trial detention indefinitely, incommunicado and in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day.

O’Farrell plans to axe 10,000 jobs

The June 12 Coalition NSW government budget outlined plans to cut 10,000 public sector jobs, on top of 5000 sackings already announced, and slash more than $1 billion from government programs. But the government refused to say where to job losses will be. The Labor opposition called the cuts a “betrayal of firefighters, hospital cleaners and teachers”.

The budget also projected the leasing of Port Kembla’s shipping terminal to private interests, adding to existing plans to lease Port Botany.

Several hundred workers from the Queensland Department of Communities rallied in Queens Park on June 13 to oppose job cuts in the sector. The unionists condemned the state Liberal-National government's plan to sack about 1300 temporary contract workers employed in the communities area.

The state government's special audit team, headed by former Liberal Party federal treasurer Peter Costello, issued its interim report on June 15, claiming the previous Bligh Labor government had financed almost all its infrastructure spending from state debt.

About 7000 union and community activists braved heavy rain in Sydney to protest against the NSW government's plans to undermine workers' compensation and entitlements on June 13. They chanted “shame, Barry, shame” and “injured workers in his sights, taking away our compo rights”.

In Newcastle, Hunter nurses took strike action to join up to 1500 workers and supporters. Hundreds also rallied in Wollongong.

The Gurindji people of Daguragu and Kalkarinji in the Northern Territory released the statement below on June 11.

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The Gurindji people at Daguragu and Kalkaringi are today calling on the government to get rid of the “Stronger Futures” laws.

Thousands of workers braved torrential rain to tell Barry O'Farrell and the NSW Government exactly what they think of the proposed attacks on workers compensation. "Dog", "liar", "rotten", "grub", "supporter of the rich", "shameful", "cowardly" were some of the messages to Barry and his government for their planned attacks including reduced pay while workers' recover; scrapping payments and medical costs completely if workers can't recover 'quickly enough', and stopping workers being covered to and from work.

Abbott concerned for BHP Billiton’s profits

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has asked Prime Minister Julia Gillard to promise to never apply its new mining tax to gold, copper and uranium. The June 13 International Business Times said Abbott sought the assurance “on behalf of BHP Billiton”, the world’s third biggest company.

Heavy rain did not deter workers across NSW from turning out in their thousands today to protest against the Barry O’Farrell Liberal-National government’s attack on hard-won workers' compensation rights and entitlements. There were firefighters, nurses, construction workers, factory and office workers recalling workplace casualties and angrily shouting out: "Shame, Barry, shame!" The workers later left flowers outside Parliament House gates to remember those killed and injured.

The Coalition against Israeli Apartheid and Jews Against the Occupation hosted the Melbourne launch of Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists on June 9.

Two Jewish activists and a Palestinian spoke out against Zionism at the launch. All speakers stressed that “speaking out against the actions of Israel is not anti-Semitic”, highlighting the often blurred line between Jewish identity and Zionism.

A vigorous exchange of views took place at the Socialist Alliance and Resistance-sponsored forum, “Women’s Rights today” at the Perth Activist Centre on May 30.

The audience heard from a panel of Bec Copestake, who spoke about the Western Australian government’s prostitution bill, Kamala Emanuel, who spoke about reproductive rights, Zoe Bush, who discussed the rape culture on campus at the University of Western Australia (UWA), and Sanna Andrew, who spoke about the victory of the Australian Service Union’s equal pay campaign and the steps taken to achieve it.

The June 11 Sydney Morning Herald reported that people with disabilities in Australia are paying up to five times more for essential equipment than their overseas counterparts.

Up to 30,000 Victorian school teachers took strike action on June 7 in what the Australian Education Union (AEU) said was the largest teachers’ strike in the state’s history. More than 11,000 — many wearing the AEU signature red colours — marched through the streets of Melbourne to rally at state parliament.

Before the march, teachers packed out Melbourne’s Hisense Arena for a mass meeting. Several hundred more people who could not fit in gathered outside to watch and listen to the proceedings on huge screens.

GLW Issue 925

The Injured Workers Support Network released the statement below on June 12.

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Injured Workers Support Network members will tomorrow take to the streets and join unions and community supporters at a rally at NSW Parliament House in protest of the O’Farrell government’s proposed slashing of workers compensation benefits to injured and ill workers.