Australian News

GLW Issue 937

A prime opportunity for the TAFE campaign to give voice to community opposition to the TAFE cuts came on September 6. Victoria's Upper House of parliament was sitting in Bendigo and its Lower House was at the University of Ballarat.

More than 300 people surprised unionist and community legend Fred Moore on September 1, throwing him a huge 90th birthday party.

Moore said it was the biggest surprise of his life when he walked into his local community centre hall in Dapto to find hundreds of people cheering his name. It took him several minutes to reach the front of the hall as he hugged nearly everyone on the way.

The Sydney Refugees Action Coalition released the statement below on September 7.

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A High Court decision this morning has dismissed an application of behalf of five asylum seekers seeking to extend judicial review to discretionary ministerial decisions.

In a similar application (M61) in 2010, the High Court found that asylum seekers were entitled to judicial review of appeal decisions.

The High Court judgment means that there is now no legal impediment to the government moving to deport a large number of asylum seekers.

Labor for Refugees released the statement below on September 6.

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Labor for Refugees today wrote to Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs, to refute his damaging speculation that there could be 180,000 boat people coming to Australia in the near future.

Pearse Donerty, Sinn Fein finance spokesperson and member of Ireland's Dail (parliament) is visiting Australia in September, meeting Irish emigrants, trade unions, campaign groups and legislators in Perth, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. He will speak at a number of public meetings to engage with the new diaspora on the economic crisis. The details of events in Perth and Sydney are at the bottom.

Equal Love Melbourne released the statement below on September 6.

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Prime Minister Julia Gillard has succumbed to the pressure to cancel her appearance as keynote speaker at the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) conference. The announcement was made following homophobic comments from the ACL’s managing director Jim Wallace, and at the same time as thousands of equality supporters were preparing to descend on Canberra [on October 6] to protest the event.

Reclaim the Cove, the Fullerton Cove campaign to stop coal seam gas mining, released the statement below on September 6.

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In a historic decision, the Fullerton Cove Residents Action Group today won an injunction to prevent Dart Energy from drilling for coal seam gas at Fullerton Cove, near Newcastle, until a full legal challenge has been heard.

The Lock the Gate Alliance released the statement below on September 6.

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Lock The Gate Alliance has this morning criticised the NSW government for its excessive and heavy-handed response to peaceful protest against coal mining expansion in the Gunnedah Basin earlier this week.

More than 400 schools were closed across Victoria on September 5 by a 1-day strike by teachers, principals & education support (ES) workers. About 40,000 workers in the sector stayed away from work. About 20,000 took to the streets of Melbourne.


More than 400 schools were closed across Victoria on September 5 by a one-day strike by teachers, principals and education support (ES) workers. About 40,000 workers in the sector stayed away from work. About 20,000 took to the streets of Melbourne.

Dozens of students protested an appearance by Prime Minister Julia Gillard at Perth’s Curtin University on September 5. The PM sneaked in through a back door while large numbers of police guarded the front. Invitations to the function to launch a new building were issued only to a select few.

Protesters argued the case for equal marriage rights and to free the refugees. One person spoke out against the ongoing crime of the war in Afghanistan.

The rally was organised by Equal Love Perth and was supported by the Curtin Refugee Rights Action Network.

About 15,000 Victorian teachers packed in to Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena on September 5 in the biggest teachers strike in the state's history.

The Australian Education Union organised the rally to protest the Ted Baillieu state government's attacks on public education and its low offer of a 2.5% wage rise. After the rally, the teachers marched on state parliament.

Rising Tide released the statement below on September 6.

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Activists are scaling a crane at a Newcastle coal terminal, stopping work on the construction of new coal loading facilities.

Activists entered the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG) coal terminal construction site on Kooragang Island before dawn this morning, and two people are now scaling the crane, preparing to unfurl a banner reading “Stop the coal rush! For health, water & climate.”

Around 50 students protested an appearance at Curtin Uni by Julia Gillard on September 5. The prime minister sneaked in through a back door while large numbers of police guarded the front door. Invitations to the function to launch a new building were issued only to a select few.

Protesters argued the case for equal marriage rights and to free the refugees.

One person spoke out against the ongoing crime of the war in Afghanistan.

GLW Issue 936

Rising Tide released the statement below on September 5.

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Activists have closed down a coal haulage railway construction project in the NSW Hunter Valley, to protest the rapid expansion of the export coal industry and its impacts on public health and the environment.

Activists arrived at the Hunter 8 Alliance construction compound at Rutherford before dawn this morning, erecting a wooden tripod to prevent access to the site. An activist is perched on the tripod, 10 metres over the gateway to the site, refusing to move.

A group of activists protesting coalmining near Maules Creek in NSW, released the statement below on September 4.

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An 84-year old birdwatcher, Russ Watts, has this morning chained himself to the gates of a coal mine in protest at the environmental damage that will be caused by a massive expansion of open-cut coalmining in Leard State Forest and surrounds, east of Narrabri.

Young workers and activists staged pickets outside Hungry Jack's restuarants around Australia on August 31, in solidarity with workers in New Zealand facing a “vicious anti-union rampage”. Actions were held in Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney.

Its counterpart Burger King in New Zealand pays staff the lowest wages of the big fast food companies and workers who join a union to push for better pay and conditions are emotionally and financially intimidated.

About 1000 people marched in Melbourne in a September 1 “Slutwalk” rally to stop violence against women.

Author and playwright Van Badham told the crowd: “This is a society that allows 1 in 3 women to be raped in their lifetime. We are human beings with rights.”

A lack of communication regarding the fate of Sydney University’s Koori Centre has left students fearing a repeat of the dangerous rhetoric that made way for 340 proposed job cuts last semester.

The “Wingara Mura — Bunga Barrabugu” strategy will scatter the Koori Centre’s functions and staff across campus in 16 faculties. 

An in-confidence report to the department of immigration in January said detention camps on Nauru would need three to five months work before they could be functional. It also said the sites could house a maximum of 400 at the island's two previous detention sites, and any more would lead to crowding and “tension and behavioural issues” very quickly.

More than 80,000 NSW public sector workers will lose basic entitlements such as annual leave loading, penalty rates and remote living allowances under new plans from Barry O'Farrell's Coalition government. Some sick leave and parental leave also face the axe.

The latest attack comes after 15,000 jobs were cut, public-sector pay rises were capped below the inflation rate, and workers' compensation rights for sick and injured workers were stripped.

Activists in Melbourne commemorated International Day of the Disappeared with an August 30 vigil that called on the Sri Lankan government to end to its practice of “disappearing” political dissidents.

Long-term Sri Lankan human rights activist Lionel Bopage said: “From 1988 onwards, there was a marked increase in disappearances and killings. This has been part of repression of people critical of the regime.”

The remote Northern Territory Aboriginal community of Amoonguna said on August 23 that it wants its power back and refused to renew a five-year government lease, which expired on August 17.

Amoonguna, 15 kilometres south of Alice Springs, has also started legal action to remove all government workers from its land.

The Refugee Action Coalition released the statement below on August 30.

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The Refugee Action Coalition has renewed its call for a full independent inquiry into Australia’s response to safety-of-life-at-sea (SOLAS) situations involving asylum boats.

The latest boat tragedy may have cost the lives of 140 or more people. This is the second time in three months in which the delayed responses of Australian authorities have cost lives. In June, 90 asylum seekers were drowned despite calls to Australian authorities over a period of 40 hours.

Up to 1000 students rallied on August 29 at the University of Queensland (UQ) to demand fair student elections at the university.

Recently UQ has been the site of a scandal involving incumbent Liberal-aligned "Fresh" ticket, which has been accused of perverting electoral procedures and misusing union funds for their own election promotional material.

About 400 people rallied in Port Kembla on August 26 to oppose the privatisation of the port. In late July, the NSW government signed off on a recommendation to lease the port for 99 years.

The government says 20% of the expected $500 million to be made from the lease will be spent on infrastructure projects in the Illawarra. Unions and the community opponents say they fear a commercial operator will put profits before people and jobs at the port.

About 2000 building workers rallied at Grocon's central Melbourne site again this morning to support the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union in its dispute with the company. Police used horses and capsicum spray to violently break up the picket on August 28 but pulled back when building workers from other city sites began to arrive.

A new group has formed in Adelaide to organise young people to fight against homophobia.

The Rainbow Youth Collective was formed out of a discussion hosted by Resistance on the topic of homophobia and queer liberation, following the Adelaide equal marriage rally on August 11.

Presentations by Resistance activists on the marriage campaign, the origins of homophobia and the next steps for the movement were followed by great discussion around issues facing young queer people today.

Civil rights lawyer Rob Stary has called for a Senate inquiry into Australia's role in the war in Sri Lanka. Stary defended three Australian Tamil men charged with terrorism offences in 2007. He said such an inquiry would look at the reasons for the decision to prosecute the three.

Stary made the call when delivering the Eliezer Memorial Lecture at Monash University on August 26. The lecture is held annually in honour of Professor C J Eliezer, a leader of Australia's Tamil community who died in 2001.

Thousands of building workers have left worksites across the Melbourne CBD to support a picket line at a Grocon site after police tried to violently break it up this morning.

Police used capsicum spray and horses on the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union picket line. The picketers held their ground and the police retreated once more building workers started to arrive.

Below is footage taken at the picket line, at the intersection of Lonsdale and Swanston Streets, by Geelong Trades Hall Council secretary Tim Gooden.