Comment and Analysis

Mining industry slammed at Queensland Water Summit

About 50 people attended the Queensland Water Summit in Dalby on September 23. Despite its midweek timing, a wide range of people attended from across the state, including farmers threatened by increasingly severe drought and mining company pollution of their water sources, to community members, doctors and clergy from communities impacted by coal seam gas, underground coal gasification and coalmining.

The summit was organised and funded by independent Senator Glenn Lazarus, who spoke briefly but mostly listened to the concerns raised by attendees.

Solidarity with Palestine speak out in Melbourne

The Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid held a speak-out for Palestine in Melbourne on October 23. Among the demands were: end Israeli occupation now; dismantle Israeli apartheid; tear down the apartheid wall; lift the siege on Gaza; and end extrajudicial killings.

Speakers called on the Australian government to cut all ties with Israel and spoke in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign.

Turnbull's popularity rests on Labor's credibility gap

Several polls show that the new PM — and by extension, the Coalition — is very popular. Explaining Malcolm Turnbull's high approval rating is relatively easy: it is not too hard to be more popular than the hated Tony Abbott and Labor has long since given up on being an opposition.

According to Newspoll, Fairfax-Ipsos, Roy Morgan and Essential Research, Turnbull's numbers keep improving, even after 6 weeks in office. Depending on which poll you look at, Turnbull's approval is either Mr 52%, Mr 53% or Mr 68%.

Fighting Fund: Wasting billions on offensive weapons

It is rare that a critical article on Australia's military spending appears in one of the corporate newspapers but on October 25, the Melbourne Age published such an article by senior correspondent Daniel Flitton entitled “Does Australia's military need such tentacles of defence?”.

Flitton argued that while Australian governments have “talked the good talk of regional co-operation and engagement for decades” their “staggering shopping list of new military hardware was signalling a very different message to the region.

For a fossil fuel free planet: Solidarity with UTas occupation

Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance (RYSA) released the following statement on October 27 in support of the Fossil Free UTas occupation.

The following day Fossil Free UTas announced that they were ending the occupation and restarting negotiations after two days of productive meetings with the university management.

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Our Common Cause: Winning rainbow liberation

The recent knifing of Tony Abbott by Malcolm Turnbull held a brief glimpse of hope for marriage equality in Australia. Unfortunately, the change of PM did not bring any change of policy, and the Liberal Party’s homophobic agenda has remained the same.

Turnbull professes to personally support marriage equality, but has asked the rainbow community to wait for a plebiscite until after the federal elections. This amounts to a position worse than Abbott who was dragged kicking and screaming to agree to a plebiscite together with the elections.

National Union of Workers condemns racism

The National Union of Workers released this statement on October 23.

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Recently the Victorian Trades Hall Council passed a resolution that included this statement: “That VTHC celebrates the contribution to our community from Victorians of many cultures and many faiths. There is no place in Victoria for discrimination or racism and we deplore those who would demonise any group by reason of their faith, race or culture.

Three reasons Greer is wrong (and three response fails)

Feminist author and career academic Germaine Greer has sparked outrage once again following a controversial interview she gave to the BBC on October 24 where she reaffirmed her position that transgender women are not “real” women.

Greer’s devolution from an ideological pillar of the 1960’s women’s liberation movement to a source of loathing for sections of the feminist community needs to be discussed. Her comments provide an important opportunity for putting forward a clear argument against trans-exclusionary feminism.

Inside immigration detention — Part 8

Carol Hucker worked in Manus Island Detention Centre as a counsellor for International Health and Medical Services (IHMS) and as a case worker for the Salvation Army from June 2013 to July last year.

She has allowed Green Left Weekly to publish her account so that people can become more aware of what is happening in Australia’s offshore detention centres.

She said: “It is my hope that through this brief account the men on Manus will not be forgotten.”

This is the eight part of a multi-part series and covers her time there in June and July 2014.

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Genuine democracy means challenging corporate control

Most people think that democracy and elections are pretty much the same thing. The truth is that any meaningful push for genuine democracy would require a lot more than just electoral reform.

The change of prime minister from Tony Abbott to Malcolm Turnbull shows that a change of leader means very little in terms of actual policy change. And this is not because the policies they push are popular.

We need a change of government: not just a change from the Liberals to Labor, but a change from corporate power to people power.

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