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GLW issue number 915

Gas a climate menace, says new study

The gas industry is fond of saying that burning gas for energy will help tackle climate change. Australian energy company AGL says burning coal seam gas (CSG) results in 50% less greenhouse gas emissions than coal. Industry advertising campaigns bump up that figure to 70%.

Sydney Uni students fight against cuts

All suggestions of an insipid and apathetic Sydney University political culture have been shot dead over recent weeks by an inspired campaign by staff and students to defeat Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence's plans to cut 340 university staff, and cut courses and the budget by a further $28 million.

Starting with a stunt at Orientation week, which disturbed Spence's opening address at the Great Hall, and a rally and march through the centre of the university, students have ensured that they've kept the pressure on Spence and his management cronies.

Climate catastrophe on our door step

The latest State of the Climate report by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO was launched at a weather monitoring station on remote Cape Grim in Tasmania. The location was an apt choice for a report that has very bad news about Australia's continuing failure to respond adequately to the climate change crisis.

Victorian nurses celebrate victory over Baillieu

Victorian nurses crowded into Festival Hall in Melbourne on March 16 to hear their nine months of struggle had reached a successful outcome.

After what the ABC said was Victoria’s longest running industrial dispute, nurses have won 14-21% pay increases and kept their nurse-to-patient ratios in return for minor productivity offsets.

Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said: “This is a bittersweet victory for nurses and midwives after an unprecedented industrial marathon with the Baillieu government to protect patient care and secure a fair pay rise."

The Northern Territory: Australia’s refugee detention capital

The Northern Territory has become Australia’s refugee detention capital. The federal immigration department’s new plan is to fund extra police for NT detention centres.

The immigration department, Australian Federal Police and the NT police agreed on March 12 to a two-year deal for 94 new police officers, worth $53 million.

NT chief minister Paul Henderson said it was “great news for the people of Darwin”.

Support Palestinian hunger striker Hana al-Shalabi as her health declines

The parents of hunger-striking political prisoner Hana al-Shalabi issued a call on March 14 to all Palestinians to protest in support of their daughter, who was on her 28th continuous day without food in protest at her detention without charge or trial by Israel.

The statement said: “We call upon the Palestinian National Authority, the Palestinian national factions, and all Palestinians to take to the streets on Saturday, March 17 and to demonstrate in support of our daughter Hana Shalabi and all administrative detainees.

Letters to the Editor

Population growth

I’m tired of hearing how population growth and leaky boats cause the destruction of our environment — as if two-child families, frugality and no migration would make us sustainable.
 
Take any industry you like, sustainability is blatant nonsense. A log truck speeding down our country roads, even if it’s full of plantation trees is incredibly destructive. These trees are ripped out like carrots every few years. How many wooden rocking chairs do you need? This timber is largely intended for woodchips and those are probably earmarked for export.
 

Interview: New sun rises for Xavier Rudd

Follow The Sun Tour
Xavier Rudd
www.xavierrudd.com

Victorian surf/roots musician Xavier Rudd has long been known for his progressive politics and championing of Aboriginal and environmental issues. Green Left Weekly’s Mat Ward caught up with the multi-instrumentalist before his Australasian tour for “Follow The Sun”, the lead single off his forthcoming new album.

* * *

Tell us about the new album.

High-speed rail better than a second Sydney airport

Newly appointed foreign minister Bob Carr said in a January blog post: “As [NSW] Premier, I never saw a demonstration that didn’t hurt the side that mounted it. And I was never persuaded by a noisy crowd with a few placards.”

But on March 2, the same week he was appointed, the federal government gave a powerful confirmation of the power of protests.

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Gonski review right on need for more public education funding

The recently released independent Gonski review into school funding reaffirms what many teachers and parents already knew. Current school funding arrangements are dysfunctional and inequitable and the failure to reform the way we resource our public schools has come at an immense social and economic cost.

Gonski’s recommendations are far from perfect and recommend continued public funding of elite private schools. But they do highlight the need for an immediate injection of funds into public schools.

The problem

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