Comment and Analysis

GLW Issue 1019

This article is based on a speech given by comedian and actor Nazeem Hussain, from Fear of a Brown Planet and SBS's Legally Brown, to a rally for Palestine in Melbourne on July 26.


Indigenous people of Australia will no doubt relate far too well to Palestinians, for they are also a people whose country was stolen from them when the British invaded and created the idea of “Australia” on their country.

The National Tertiary Education Union released this statement on July 31.


The University of Sydney is in the midst of a major cutback to campus library services, with plans to remove collections from four libraries: Medical, Dentistry, Badham and Camden, restrict access to libraries for undergraduates and outsource technical services. Sixty percent of employees face redundancy.

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) said the changes will result in a serious degradation to the university’s ability to meet the library needs of its students and researchers.

The Tony Abbott government's "asset recycling" bill — in effect an incentive for the privatisation of public property by state governments — has been stalled in the Senate.

Amendments moved by the Greens and the ALP were declared unacceptable by the government so parliament went into the winter recess before the bill was voted on.

Warren Mundine, head of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's hand-picked Indigenous Advisory Council, has waged war against environmental groups in recent opinion pieces in the Fairfax and Murdoch media.

It is now two and a half months since budget night. Remember Treasurer Joe Hockey and Mathias Corman smoking cigars, satisfied and smug after doing a job on Australian workers, pensioners and the poor?

The government got a free pass when the Appropriation Bills were waved through by the ALP and the Greens, despite calls to block the budget from within the Greens and strong public sentiment expressed at the March in May rallies. Only independent MP Andrew Wilkie and Palmer United Party (PUP) MP Clive Palmer were prepared to vote against the bills.

Three quarters of Victorians believe improvements in public transport are more important than the construction of the East West Link.

Although its stated aim is to ease congestion, in particular on one of Melbourne’s most congested roads, a government report revealed late last year that it would actually attract more cars and trucks and consequently increase traffic.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) gave approval to a uranium mine at Kintyre in Western Australia on July 28. The mine is about 260 kilometres north-east of Newman in the east Pilbara in an area that was excised from the Karlamilyi (Rudall River) National Park to allow mining in 1994.

Because it is illegal to export uranium from WA, trucks carrying the uranium oxide concentrate — otherwise known as yellowcake — will have to travel 4600 kilometres from the Kintyre mine to Port Adelaide.

Before the 2007 federal election, former Labor minister and ex-party president Barry Jones made a striking analogy between the ALP’s factionalism and its predilection for selling public assets. He said: “The ALP has been privatised and factions are majority and minority stakeholders, run by professional managers, some now in the third generation.”

Less than 18 months later, Queensland Labor Premier Anna Bligh won a state election on a platform that made no mention of privatisation.

Immigration minister Scott Morrison has spun many lies in his role as “border protector”. They have come hard and fast as the government tries to deal with the 157 Tamil refugees kept at sea aboard a Customs ship for weeks.

Below are the four biggest lies that have underpinned this case and the Coalition's entire anti-refugee policy.


Morrison said on July 26 the 157 people would be brought to Curtin detention centre in remote north-west Western Australia so identity checks could be carried out by Indian officials.

GLW Issue 1018

The repeal of Australia’s carbon price is a milestone for a Coalition government that thinks nothing should stand between a mining company and big pile of money.

Jock Palfreeman, a young Australian imprisoned in Bulgaria, wrote this open letter on July 9.


On July 6 at 8.30am, a guard, Peter Petrov, performed the morning roll call. He entered cell 11 and shouted in Bulgarian, a language no one present understood. As the roll call finished for that cell he assaulted a mentally ill man from behind for not moving fast enough.

Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance has created a new zine called Another World is Possible. Let’s Build it Now! It covers a number of issues important to young people today including ecosocialism, racism, feminism, LGBTI liberation, education and class.

Below is an extract from the zine. To get a full copy, email


The NSW Public Service Association (PSA) has launched a campaign against the state government's total privatisation of disability services, being imposed as part of the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in NSW.

The campaign is being supported by the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, and is seeking broader community backing.

You know, sometimes it seems these days all I ever do in these columns is rant angrily about terrible suffering and misery. So I thought I'd try and change it up this week and talk about Gaza.

One of the most significant welfare measures announced in the federal budget is the expansion of Work for the Dole. This will affect jobseekers aged 18-30 who will be forced to undertake placements of up to 25 hours a week for six months.

The Socialist Alliance released this statement on July 24.


The Socialist Alliance conveys its condolences to the families of all victims of the suspected shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over war-torn eastern Ukraine. But it rejects the inflammatory Cold-War-style political posturing of both Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten.

The minister of the death stare (and foreign affairs) Julie Bishop would like us to believe she cares about people and their suffering.

"Time and time again, I would say to those that we were negotiating with over the terms of the resolution that this is all about the human side of this. It was all about the victims."

As the bombs fall on the Gaza Strip, taking the lives of over 750 Palestinians — including many civilians and children — one voice has emerged attempting to defend the Israeli regime on a very curious basis: that Israel should be defended because it is a bastion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights and dignity in a sea of nations that would deny these rights.

More importantly, American LGBTI people should be thankful “for all Israel has done for us” and remember how important Israel is to the US in the region.

The article below is based on a speech given at a Socialist Alliance forum on July 20 in Sydney after the thousands-strong rally against Israel's assault on Gaza.


I have been an activist for justice in Israel-Palestine for 25 years. My parents were refugees from Hitler and I have drawn from them a strong humanist ethic.

I have visited Israel-Palestine many times and worked along side fellow Jews and Palestinians and international activists in actions to alert the world to the situation of the Palestinians.

The Socialist Alliance released this statement on July 23.


Socialist Alliance councillors Sam Wainwright, from the Fremantle City Council in Western Australia, and Sue Bolton from the Moreland City Council in Victoria, today called on the Australian government to expel Israel's ambassador to send a strong message of condemnation of the brutal Israeli military offensive against Gaza.

GLW Issue 1017

Thousands of people in Sydney joined many demonstrations around the world in support of Palestine on July 20, staging an angry demonstration starting at Town Hall.

Numerous wind farm developments across Victoria may face termination due to the highly inflexible and restrictive nature of the Denis Napthine government’s anti-wind farm laws and permit rules.

The Weekly Times reported that the 20 companies granted permits before the introduction of these laws have been denied the ability to make simple upgrades to their turbines.

It was the theme du jour at the B20 gathering in Sydney, which brought together more than 300 business leaders seeking to shape the agenda of the G20: Business knows best so leave the big decisions to us.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said it and numerous self-serving CEOs happily served as a chorus.

But the standout croaky voice was that of global media mogul Rupert Murdoch: “Everybody in this room knows dozens or hundreds of very, very fine businessmen. How many people know a politician who can run a business?”

You know, there is a lot of ridiculous and quite unfair criticism of Israel floating around, simply because it has been relentlessly bombing 1.5 million people trapped in a 360 square kilometre open-air prison over which it maintains a brutal siege and has slaughtered hundreds of people including dozens of children, supposedly in retaliation for homemade rockets fired from Gaza that has kill a total of one person in the current conflict.

But there is a little reported story that shows exactly what Israel's true values are.

Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe came out in an interview with Michael Parkinson on July 13.

Thorpe is a sporting hero. He has smashed 22 world records and won five gold, three silver and one bronze Olympic medals. He retired from professional swimming in 2012 after battling depression.

In the interview, Thorpe said: "I'm not straight and this is only something that very recently — we're talking in the past two weeks — I've been comfortable telling the closest people around me."

Two teenage asylum seekers have been taken from their homes in a community detention program in Adelaide’s inner-northern suburbs and sent to a closed detention centre, causing other young asylum seekers to run away from their homes in fear.

On June 26, two young Vietnamese asylum seekers, who attended Woodville High School, were taken from their homes and detained by the immigration department.

ABOUT 10,000 PEOPLE rallied in Melbourne on July 12 to protest against Israel's attack on Gaza.

Samah Sabawi, a playwright, poet, political analyst and human rights advocate originally from Gaza, gave the speech below to the rally.


As Israel continues its ruthless bombardment of the Gaza Strip, Palestinians in Gaza have been sending their messages to the world using social media. They want us to hear their voices and to carry them to those around us. I will start by honouring their request and sharing with you some of their messages.

The Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has asked for another $104 million from the federal government to hold hearings until the end of 2017.

The commission has released an interim report, for which they held more than 1600 private sessions and received more than 1600 written accounts from survivors of sexual abuse.

One petition I saw circulating recently called for both Israel and Hamas to put down their weapons. I dispute this approach that blames both sides equally. Israel is the aggressor. Not only is Israel bombing indiscriminately with a view to maximising civilian casualties, it continues to maintain its inhumane and illegal siege of Gaza.

The kidnapping and murder of the Israeli teenagers was simply a pretext. There is no evidence that it was a Palestinian or a Hamas member who killed the teenagers.

Israel has set itself as judge, jury and executioner. 

GLW Issue 1016

Letters to the editor

Jock Palfreeman has a heart as big as Phar Lap. After seven years in a Sofia prison in the dysfunctional Bulgarian state on a trumped-up charge of murder, you might reasonably expect that he would be somewhat depressed and introspective.

All avenues of appeal have been exhausted and in a recent interview he said that he was resigned to serving the full 20-year sentence that he so unjustly received. The most recent reports are that he was again assaulted by prison guards last week.