Australian News

Moreland anti-racism rally attracts huge support

A rally on Saturday May 28 in Moreland in the inner north of Melbourne has been attracting support from organisations keen to show their opposition to racism.

About 55 groups, including unions, community and faith-based groups, community radio and political parties have signed on to the rally initiated by Socialist Alliance Councillor in Moreland Sue Bolton.

The rally's focus is around four key points: Stop the forced closure of Aboriginal communities; Treaty now; Let the refugees in — Close Manus and Nauru; and No to Islamophobia.

Knitting Nannas ask ALP for answers; get long yarn not worth knitting

The Illawarra Knitting Nannas Against Gas (IKNAG) held a knit-in outside the office of the federal deputy leader of the ALP, Tanya Plibersek, in Sydney on May 16.

IKNAG's Annie Malow contacted Plibersek with two questions asking for "yes" or "no" answers.

The first was: Do you support a ban on CSG mining in drinking water catchment? The second was: Would you move legislation for such a ban?

Plibersek was not in her office, but two of her staffers came out offering the Nannas several balls of wool — all the wrong colours.

NT Chief Minister's desperate bid to push gas fracking

Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles announced a new policy on Facebookfor the Territory election in August on May 14. The policy, called “Knowledge Territory”, promises $500 education vouchers if the Territory receives royalty payments from onshore gas fracking.

The ALP has announced it will declare a moratorium on fracking if it wins the election and this is Giles’ latest attempt to sell the Country Liberal Party’s position of supporting gas fracking across the Territory.

Divest from Detention activists disrupt conference

The Divest from Detention network disrupted the Australian Council of Super Investors (ACSI) annual conference in Melbourne on May 10.

Activists gained access to the main stage where they played audio recordings of protesters on Nauru and held banners reading “Close the camps” and “Mandatory detention can't be risk managed”.

Spokesperson for the network Liz Patterson said: “ACSI already recommends divestment from unethical businesses like tobacco. They must extend this to detention.

Melbourne protest camp grows

A group of about 40 homeless people have set up camp in Melbourne's city square to put homelessness in the spotlight, as housing agencies and people sleeping rough grow increasingly frustrated with government inaction.

The camp was set up on May 12, after stories in the Herald Sun about aggressive beggars picking fights with pedestrians cast rough sleepers as a public menace.

Socialism for the 21st Century conference a success

Sydney University campus came alive with political discussion, talks and workshops for three days during the Socialism for the 21st Century Conference, held over May 13–15.

The conference had more than 30 sessions and 50 speakers, including international special guests Marta Harnecker, Michael Lebowitz and Ian Angus. Local and international activists shared their experiences of struggle and discussed the necessity of building alternatives to capitalism today. Up to 400 conference-goers faced the task of choosing from a range of stimulating sessions on offer.

Break Free blocks Newcastle Harbour

About 3000 people, young and old, women, men and children, kayaked from Horseshoe Beach and blocked Newcastle Harbour to stop the coal ships on May 8. Organised by 350.org and other climate change campaigners, the Break Free event was a great success and also fun.

There was a large contingent of First Nations people from all around Australia and internationally, from Samoa and other Pacific islands that could disappear due to rising sea levels.

Peter Dutton: minister for contradicting himself

The odious Peter Dutton, minister for torturing refugees, has plumbed new depths in responding to a Greens proposal to increase Australia's refugee intake from 13,750 to 50,000.

"They won't be numerate or literate in their own language, let alone English," Dutton said. "These people would be taking Australian jobs, there's no question about that.

"For many of them that would be unemployed, they would languish in unemployment queues and on Medicare and the rest of it so there would be huge cost and there's no sense in sugar-coating that, that's the scenario."

Nurses protest at health minister's office

Hundreds of nurses from the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association protested outside health minister Jillian Skinner's electorate office on May 17.

Perth Council bans balloons to save wildlife

Cottesloe Council in WA has prohibited the use of air or helium filled balloons at events approved or run by the council.

Once released into the air, balloons can drift for hundreds of kilometres, or rise into the stratosphere where they burst and return to earth in a spaghetti-like shape. As “airborne litter”, balloons then end up in waterways and the ocean.

Terrestrial and marine animals mistake balloons for food and swallow them or get entangled in the string attached. This can lead to the loss of a limb or even to the death of turtles, whales, dolphins, dugongs or seabirds.

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