Australian News

GLW Issue 961

Australian Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Sydney released the statement below on April 12, after the Student Representative Council voted to support an academic boycott of Israel.

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The Student Representative Council (SRC) at the University of Sydney passed a motion this week endorsing Associate Professor Jake Lynch’s academic boycott of Israel.

The Coal Terminal Action Group released this statement on April 10.

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Community groups in the Hunter Valley have responded with relief and celebration to the announcement of a two-year delay to Newcastle’s proposed fourth coal terminal (T4).

“There will be celebration and relief today in suburbs including Mayfield, Tighes Hill and Carrington where residents already live with particle pollution well above the national standard,” said Coal Terminal Action Group spokesperson Annika Dean.

The Victorian government has taken retribution against public housing tenants and their supporters who successfully fought off the privatisation of their open space at two of Melbourne’s public housing towers — Richmond estate and Atherton Gardens estate.

Socialist Party Yarra councillor Stephen Jolly doorknocked and organised meetings of tenants and their supporters in a successful campaign. The doorknocking was critical to inform tenants of the state government’s plans.

The Broome community and environmentalists around Australia are celebrating an important victory. Oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum said it would not go ahead with a gas hub at James Price Point in the Kimberley.

Long-time Broome resident Nik Weavers told Green Left Weekly: “We've got rid of the one big thing we set out to do, which was to stop the project, so I feel really excited about that.”

Weavers, a member of the Broome No Gas group, said: “I feel really warmed that so many other people have gathered [in Broome] and are feeling really good.”

The SEARCH foundation held a conference called “Secure Jobs in a Green Future: Australian Left Renewal Conference”, on April 6-7. It featured international guest Costas Isychos, a member of the Greek left party SYRIZA and head of the party’s external and defence policy.

Compulsory income management of disadvantaged welfare recipients was slammed by speakers at a forum at the Bankstown Arts Centre on April 11.

The forum, organised by the Say No to Government Income Management: Not in Bankstown, Not Anywhere campaign coalition, attracted about 40 people to hear representatives from unions and Aboriginal, migrant and youth groups call for a campaign to stop the extension of income management from July 1 this year.

GLW Issue 960

About 80 protesters made their voices heard from outside Sydney's Intercontinental hotel as the former Australian Prime Minister John Howard gave his “no regrets” on Iraq speech, hosted by conservative think-tank the Lowy Institute on April 9.

The protest was organised by Stop the War Coalition and a network of concerned groups and individuals.

The Refugee Action Collective released this statement on April 11.

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The Refugee Action Collective (RAC) and refugee supporters will begin an ongoing vigil, with tents to stay overnight, outside a detention centre in Broadmeadows from 6.30pm on April 11.

Long-term refugee visitors are growing increasingly concerned for the welfare of the hunger strikers, two of whom have now been taken to hospital by ambulance. One has now been returned to the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation detention centre (MITA) after having refused medical treatment.

The Refugee Action Coalition Sydney released this statement on April 8.

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At 2am on April 8, 28 ASIO-negative refugees — 24 Sri Lankan, two Iranian and two Rohingyas — began a hunger strike at the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) detention centre. They have gathered on the playground inside the detention facility.

Sydney Stop the War Coalition released this statement on April 9.

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Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, John Howard has been invited by the conservative think-tank the Lowy Institute for International Policy to present his views.

It will be yet another “no regrets” speech. This is despite the horrifying evidence, over the last 10 years, of Iraq’s devastation by the Coalition of the Willing.

Refugee rights activists from around Australia will converge on the Yongah Hill detention centre near Northam on April 26-28. Yongah Hill is near Northam, about an hour and a half from Perth.

Protesters will be highlighting the fact that thousands of refugees locked in detention centres around Australia are being denied their basic human rights. The decisions to reopen detention centres at Nauru and Manus Island have made this situation worse.

About 70 people attended a community forum in Adelaide on March 27 to learn more about plans for unconventional gas extraction in South Australia.

“While ALP politicians are fleeing in terror from factional and media accusations about using ‘class war rhetoric’, the reality is that there is an ongoing class war that is about to be dramatically escalated if Abbott wins the September 14 elections,” says Peter Boyle.

Boyle was preselected on April 3 by the Socialist Alliance to run in the federal seat of Sydney. He is a national co-convenor of the Socialist Alliance and has been an active socialist since the early 1970s, becoming radicalised around war, race and class issues.

He has two daughters and two grandchildren.

Bernie Rosen really was a man for the people.

He battled for the rights of the exploited and oppressed, from being a teenager before WWII, right to the very end of his life.

I have a collection of letters from Bernie, each in his increasingly spindly handwriting and each packed in a little envelope. Every letter is an encouragement to his comrades to carry on the struggle and advice on how we should do so.

Socialist councillor Sam Wainwright has vowed to run a fierce campaign for the seat of Fremantle aimed at winning public support for confiscating the wealth of the mining billionaires and the big banks.

“The mining boom reveals starkly the manifest inequality of capitalism in Australia today,” Wainwright told Green Left Weekly.

“On the one hand, we have Gina Rinehart — who has become the richest person in Australia — and on the other hand we have homeless people on the streets of Fremantle.

About 200 people rallied in Melbourne against media baron Rupert Murdoch in Melbourne on April 4.

Murdoch was speaking at the 70th anniversary dinner of the Institute of Public Affairs, a right-wing think tank dedicated to preserving and strengthening a pro-big business, neoliberal agenda.

Attendees at the $400-a-head dinner included former prime minister John Howard, Murdoch-columnist Andrew Bolt, Opposition leader Tony Abbott, conservative shock jock Alan Jones and Catholic Archbishop George Pell.

A fortnight after the NSW Liberal government announced policy changes to coal seam gas (CSG) mining in NSW to ban drilling within two kilometres of some residential areas, about 400 local residents met at Springwood Civic Centre on March 24 for the “Coal seam gas — it still stinks” public forum.

Speakers explained the continuing threat to the environment, residents’ health and the world heritage values of this area posed by the CSG industry.

Income support for single parents has been slashed by up to $140 a fortnight as part of a new “fair incentives to work” bill adopted last year, similar to a 2006 law designed by the former John Howard government.

Insidious in nature, the new rules will move many sole parents onto Newstart once their youngest child turns eight. The federal government says this will encourage parents to find work.

But it may conflict with state-based child protection laws.

The annual Western Sydney fundraising dinner was held on March 23. In a great start to the year, organisers filled Granville Town Hall and raised more than $1600 for the Green Left Weekly fighting fund.

Speakers Viv Moore and Trevor Grant addressing protesters inside the National Gallery of Victoria on April 4. The occasion was the 70th anniversary of the right wing think tank the Institute of Public Affairs. It featured Rupert Murdoch and Andrew Bolt and Gina Rinehart and Tony Abbott were in attendance.

On March 30, Students for Palestine organised a rally against Australian university complicit in Israel's crimes.

BAE Systems is a defence company worth $US38 billion. They make everything from assault rifles, missiles, tanks, drones, nuclear weapons, and even the shackles used in Guantanamo Bay. BAE has been targeted because of the horrifying weapons systems it sells to Israel.

National co-convenor of the Socialist Alliance, Peter Boyle, addresses the opening night session of the Marxism 2013 conference.

Marxism 2013 has been organised by Socialist Alternative and supported by Socialist Alliance, Green Left Weekly & the Revolutionary Socialist Party.

This talk discusses some of the challenges and prospects of left unity in Australia.

On March 9th, 2013, around 400 people gathered in Melbourne to say no to violence against women.

Photos by Ali Bakhtiarvandi.

A capacity crowd of about 350 people filled the room for the opening night of the Marxism 2013 conference in Melbourne on March 28.

The forum, called "Uniting the left to resist austerity, war and crisis", heard from six speakers, including Australian unionist Bob Carnegie, striking airline union PALEA president Gerry Rivera, US teacher and socialist Brian Jones, Socialist Alliance co-convener Peter Boyle, Socialist Alternative national executive member Vashti Kenway, and the Revolutionary Socialist Party's (RSP) Kim Bullimore.

Sydney University staff have successfully shut down campus as part of their ongoing enterprise bargaining campaign today (March 26). The two-day strike, by members of the National Tertiary Education Union and Community and Public Sector Union, is continuing tomorrow.

GLW Issue 959

A protest was held outside the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Sydney on March 19, to oppose the controversial state visit by the Myanmar president Thein Sein.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard met with Thein and announced a $20 million two-year aid program, as well as the posting of a resident military attache and a trade commissioner in Yangon.

Protesters representing the Rohingya, Karen and Kachin communities demanded the Australian government address the gross human rights abuses before business and military deals are made.

Photos by Peter Boyle.

A protest against racism outside Labor MP Tanya Plibersek's office on March 21 demanded an end to the Northern Territory intervention and its expansion into areas such as Bankstown in south-west Sydney.

Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney (STICS) organised the rally, which highlighted the small but significant steps being taken to bring Aboriginal communities, unions and others together to prevent the spread of these apartheid-like policies.

The protest was held on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and national Close the Gap day.

This letter was read out to 300 people who rallied in Campbelltown, NSW on March 17 to protest against coal seam gas (CSG) expansion in the area.

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Good afternoon all. My name is Debbi Orr and I live in the Tara Estates — a gas field in Queensland.

Since CSG invaded our area, all of my six children have become sick. Headaches, nosebleeds, burning itchy eyes are a regular — sometimes daily — occurrence in our house.

There has long been support across Australia for sustainable job creation. With new environmental technologies being created at a rapid pace, green jobs have been created in installation and retail — but what about sustainable manufacturing?

There is now a push for sustainable jobs that consider the future of communities where local jobs are reliant on coal, such as Morwell in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.