Comment and Analysis

“I look at the body I have, which is a male body, and I want a female body”, Alexis Greenwood, a young woman transitioning from male to female, told Green Left Weekly.

Greenwood is speaking up about the barriers she faces because she wants more people to ask questions. She wants more people to be less ignorant about being transgender.

Greenwood said she “always knew something was wrong”. At 16 years old, while performing a monologue in her drama class about a transitioned person, she thought: “This feels right, this is me”.

With calls for a royal commission into the banking sector growing, the argument for a new "people's bank" to challenge the domination of the big banks is gaining strength.

A number of recent events have propelled community anger at the "Big Four" — Commonwealth Bank (CBA), NAB, Westpac and ANZ — to the point that a royal commission seems increasingly likely.

This is the Australian version of the open letter created by Letters for Black Lives, an ongoing project for people to create and translate resources on anti-Blackness for their communities in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter.

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Mum, Dad, Uncle, Auntie, Grandfather, Grandmother:

We need to talk.

You may not have grown up around people who are Black, Aboriginal or African but I have. Black people are a fundamental part of my life: they are my friends, my classmates and teammates, my roommates, my family. Today, I'm scared for them.

Carlton United Breweries' (CUB) attack on its maintenance workers was clearly premeditated.

The brewery forced workers to do large amounts of overtime to build up its stock before sacking 55 maintenance workers on June 10.

Although the 55 workers were told they could reapply for their jobs through a new contractor, they were not told who the new employing contractor would be or what their new terms and conditions would look like.

Meanwhile, CUB had secretly recruited temporary workers from interstate to replace the sacked workers.

The Pine Gap military spy base was established 50 years ago on the traditional lands of the Arrernte people, about 20 kilometres outside of Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory.

Pine Gap is supposedly a joint US-Australian defence facility, but very little of it is “joint” or “defence” related.

A fight broke out on a beach on the French island of Corsica on August 13 after a tourist began taking photos of women wearing burqinis. Following the altercation, the local mayor decided to ban the full-body swimwear.

That's right: someone took photos of women without their permission, people got upset and, in response, the state is now dictating what women can and cannot wear.

A week after Green Left Weekly reported on the Brighton Grammar scandal, it has been revealed that this is just the tip of the iceberg: a large-scale child pornography ring is being run by boys and young men at high schools across Australia.

The refugee rights movement is gaining momentum, but the establishment is looking for ways to placate and demobilise it.

The growing breadth of the campaign is evident in the response to the Guardian's release of the Nauru Files, which contained more than 2000 reports detailing sexual assault, child abuse and acts of self-harm in Nauru detention centre.

Almost immediately, "Love Makes A Way" actions were organised, involving a diversity of organisations protesting outside more than 40 Coalition and Labor MP's offices across the country on August 15.

When a gang of right-wing goons from the Party For Freedom (PFF), dressed as stereotypical Muslims, stormed the Sunday service at the Gosford Anglican Church on August 14, their actions were nominally disowned by Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party in a written statement. However, the statement also sought to justify and excuse the actions of the PFF.

Nicholas Miklouho-Maclay (1846-1888) was a Russian anthropologist, biologist and explorer who lived and worked in Sydney for nine years and established himself as a respected member of the New South Wales scientific community.

On January 26, 1988 - the bicentenary of the invasion of Australia - Burnum Burnum planted the Aboriginal flag under the white cliffs of Dover and took possession of England on behalf of the Aboriginal people.

Fifty years ago this week, 200 Aboriginal stockmen and domestic servants walked off the job at Lord Vestey's Wave Hill cattle station, 600 kilometres south of Darwin. Most of them were members of the Gurindji people, with small numbers of Walpiri and other indigenous people. They were to stay out on strike for ten years.

The issue of just treatment of asylum seekers is close to my heart. I am Jewish and the child of refugees who fled the Nazis. As a child of immigrants in Australia, I was picked on for being “different”.

My life of activism for social justice is rooted in this history. I am driven by a passion that all human beings should be included, should be valued, should be embraced. Inclusion is a fundamental value for me.

When we look at what this country is doing to people incarcerated in our detention centres, what other word can we truthfully use besides “cruelty”?

Some would have seen One Nation Senator-elect Malcolm Roberts' performance on ABC's Q&A on August 15.

He went hammer and tong repeating ad nauseum that academics are doctoring the science, that the major science bodies are corrupt and that the science on climate change is anything but settled.

Here is one small excerpt from his exchange with British physicist Brian Cox:

Roberts: “I'm saying ... two things. First of all, that the [climate] data has been corrupted and we know that the 1930s were warmer than today.”

Australia's largest cities are urban planning disaster zones.

Two facts in particular bear this out. First is the ongoing housing affordability crisis, which shows no sign of abating. Second is the relentless march of car-dependent urban sprawl, which continues to devour remnant native vegetation and good farming land. You get an eyeful of this latter problem as you approach Perth by plane, by some accounts the second-biggest metropolis in the world by surface area.

In the recent controversy over the proposed sale of key NSW state-owned electricity company Ausgrid to Chinese bidders, the primary issue seems to have been lost: a vital public asset such as Ausgrid should not be privatised in the first place, whoever the potential buyers might be.

A storm broke out over the planned sale of Ausgrid by the state government to either of two Chinese corporations: the government-owned State Grid Corporation of China; or the privately-owned Hong Kong-listed Cheung Kong Infrastructure Group (CKI), controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing.

When the Census website crashed and was taken offline on August 9, the ABS was quick to blame overseas hackers. And in its defence, blaming foreigners has worked pretty well for authorities in this country on pretty much every other issue up till now.

Deaths in Custody Watch Committee WA and Refugee Rights Action Network WA released this joint statement on August 10.

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Every afternoon at 4pm on Nauru, asylum seeking adults and children stage a peaceful protest at the gate of the OPC3 family camp, which they have done since March 20 (Palm Sunday). Four weeks into their protest, refugees in the RPC3 camp opposite joined them.

Brian Jessup is a medical imaging technologist, working in the Victorian public sector, and a proud member of the Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association. This is his story.

While hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities will now get services they have never had under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), we must closely examine how the scheme is being implemented.

The public should demand nothing less in return for the $22 billion of public expenditure and the vulnerability of the recipients. But that is not happening.

The NDIS is brilliant for people with physical disabilities, but the scheme risks further marginalising thousands of people with profound intellectual disability.

When I first came out as a lesbian in high school, I was scared.

Hanging over my envisioned future were a lot of question marks, a familiar feeling for a lot of LGBTQI youth.

Heightened rates of mental illness, suicide, homelessness and assault frame the vision of adulthood with very real uncertainty.

This uncertainty is mirrored by the media. The distinct lack of representation in media robs queer youth of healthy role models.

Without anywhere that is home, Aboriginal people have been without a physical space to reinvent themselves and their culture in modern Australia.

Since colonisation, Aboriginal people have been internally displaced from their country. The doctrine of terra nullius — a land without people — was established under British colonial government and persisted in Australian law until 1992.

A new climate report released on August 3 by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirms the world is hot and getting hotter.

The State of the Climate report said that last year was the second consecutive hottest year on record, surpassing 2014 as the previous warmest year.

They had one job: Count 24 million people in the National Census. But now the Turnbull government looks like a deer caught in the headlights.

One of the most stunning things about the spectacular implosion of the National Census is that it was billed by the government as “the largest online event in Australian history”.

“It was just a group of boys having fun”.

This comment might evoke thoughts of boys splashing around in a swimming pool, skateboarding on the road or tagging a brick wall.

But this comment was made in defence of a vile Instagram account called “ys [young slut]_academy_puspus” which sexually objectified underage girls as young as 11 years' old.
Worse still, the comment was made by a man who identified himself as an “old boys' club” father of one of the Brighton Grammar boys who ran the Instagram account, in a threatening anonymous phone call to a victim's mother.

Activists evaded eviction from vacant houses and apartments in Parkville on August 3. The homes had been acquired for the East West Link, a project axed under community pressure by the incoming Labor government in 2014, with a promise to use the properties for public housing.

Supporters of equal marriage rights will again take to the streets in Sydney and Melbourne on August 13. The date marks 12 years since the John Howard government — with Labor support — passed laws banning equal marriage.

In the past 12 years, thousands have mobilised across the country demanding an end to the ban.

Sonia Kruger criticised the idea of scholarships for LGBTQI high school students on August 1 and even went so far as to refer to the scholarship program as “reverse discrimination”.

Her comments were in response to the Australian Business and Community Network (ABCN) Scholarship Foundation targeting high school students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual transsexual, queer and/or intersex (LGBTQI) for financial and mentoring scholarships.

These comments came after other recent controversial comments from the TV host that Australia should stop all Muslim immigration.

Miranda Devine has written an opinion piece portraying Cardinal George Pell as the victim in an investigation about child abuse.

To the surprise of many, former Greens leader Bob Brown used the ABC's 7.30 on July 29 to launch a blistering attack on recently re-elected NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon.

Brown told the ABC that Rhiannon had given “great service” but that “the old guard that runs the office in New South Wales” needs changing.

When the Olympic Games begin, the news headlines will be swamped with stories of new world records in this or that sporting field. We will be whipped into a frenzy about it. There will be discussions all around the world about how the record was broken, about the ferocious competition to produce record-breaking athletes, about performance-inducing drugs.

Meanwhile, much more significant world records will barely rate a mention in the media.

Footage aired last week of children being abused in a Northern Territory prison sent shockwaves around the nation. These images forced us to grapple with the problem as if it were breaking news, despite the fact that so many people knew so much about it for so long.

Nevertheless, a royal commission is being established, and although many would like to see a wider scope, accountability for abuses of this nature must be the ultimate result.

In May, the Northern Territory government granted a major water licence for a cattle station near Pine Creek, west of Kakadu National Park, to use almost 14 million megalitres of water a year to irrigate crops.

The shocking abuse suffered by children in Darwin's Don Dale detention centre revealed by the ABC's Four Corners on July 25 has angered wide layers of the community. It has also prompted a nationwide demand to take immediate action against the perpetrators and ensure that nothing like this can ever happen again in the juvenile detention system.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's decision to call a narrowly focused royal commission into Northern Territory youth detention centres has been met with justifiable scepticism and criticism.

Grandmothers Against Removals NSW released this statement for Aboriginal Children's Day on August 4.

In Sydney, GAMAR has organised a protest at 12pm at the Family Law Courts, 99 Goulburn Street which will then march to NSW Parliament House.

Grandmothers Against Removals is a network of families and supporters directly affected by forced child removal.

Chace Hill is a young Koori man who lives in Perth. He recently completed an honours degree in criminology at Murdoch University looking at racism. He is also a Resistance Young Socialist Alliance member.

He spoke to Green Left Weekly's Zebedee Parkes about racism in the justice system and the recent Four Corners program about the abuse of Aboriginal children in the Don Dale detention centre in Darwin.

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Tell us about your honours thesis.

Following a community campaign, the Queensland government has announced it will deregister Wicked Campers vans that "fail to comply with determinations by the Advertising Standards Bureau". The vans are banned in northern NSW council caravan parks and bans are being considered by the Tasmanian government.

Privatisation continues to be touted as a quick fix, so the mantra goes “public sector bad, private sector good”.

That is, using community funds and resources to build up a vital service or piece of infrastructure, usually over a period of many years, then when there is a “budget crisis” selling it off to yield a quick cash injection and the removal of an expense from the ledger — regardless of whether it is generating income or not — while giving sweetheart deals to the new owners to ensure monopoly-like conditions to maximise their profits.

Human rights lawyers are opposed to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's plan to introduce laws that would allow people who have been convicted on terrorism charges to be held in prison indefinitely.

When Tasmanian Liberal director Damien Mantach garnered a spectacular promotion to Victorian deputy president in 2011, he left Tasmania to great fanfare and fond farewells.

With champagne toasts still lingering in the air, the party newsletter triumphantly said Mantach left the Tasmanian division “in excellent shape and Damien is to be congratulated for his positive contribution”.

A brilliant party machinist, Mantach was now a coveted Victorian Liberal. Finally in the centre of power, he was rubbing shoulders with premiers and befriending the future prime minister Tony Abbott.