Comment and Analysis

How coal devastates health in the Hunter Valley

The devastating effects of the coal industry on public health in the NSW Hunter Valley were highlighted in a public forum at Glebe Town Hall on February 23. The forum was organised by the Balmain Defenders of Land, Water, Future and Climate Change, and Climate Change Balmain-Rozelle.

Suspend offshore refugee transfers

The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network released this statement on February 27.

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The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) has called on the government to immediately halt all transfers of asylum seekers to offshore detention centres until the report into allegations of sexual abuse on Nauru has been released.

The Moss Inquiry report was provided to the Minister for Immigration and Border protection on February 9, but its findings have not been made public, and there has been no timeframe provided for its release.

Public transport: Labor has a bet each way

“Labor’s public transport policy lacks vision. It’s just more of the same — and follows the Liberals’ privatisation agenda”, John Coleman, Socialist Alliance candidate for the Legislative Council said.

“Labor promised $1 billion for a small-scale light rail project to run from Parramatta to Homebush, matching the Liberals’ promise. But while any money spent on public transport rather than roads is money well spent, Labor’s policy doesn’t address the real problems.

People are not the problem

As the federal government lurches from crisis to crisis, the hand-wringing and finger pointing in the mainstream press continues. A piece by Murdoch mouthpiece Janet Albrechtsen published in the Australian on February 18, blames the Australian public. Titled “We, the people, are the threat to fiscal reform”, Albrechtsen continues the conservative mantra that argues that government budget debt is intergenerational theft.

Spinning terror to fuel racism

When 22-year-old Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein murdered two people in Copenhagen on February 15, and was killed in a shoot-out with police, the media and politicians across the world did not hesitate to declare that an act of terrorism had taken place.

US President Barack Obama immediately phoned Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt to offer condolences and invited Denmark to take part in a February 18 summit in Washington to counter violent extremism, Reuters reported on February 16.

Other Western leaders, including Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, responded similarly.

BHP rejects men as primary carers

The Fair Work Commission decided on February 11 that two male mine workers at the Crinum mine in the Bowen basin in Queensland were not eligible for paid primary carer’s leave to look after their newborn children.

The case was brought by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CMFEU) as part of the dispute settlement procedure in the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance Enterprise Bargaining Agreement 2012.

Freedom Rides again. Has anything changed?

A busload of students, Aboriginal activists and musicians embarked on a commemorative trip around regional New South Wales on February 19 to mark 50 years since the first Freedom Ride. Also on the bus were 15 of the original Freedom Riders, filmmaker Rachel Perkins, and musicians Troy Cassar-Daley and Paul Kelly.

South Coast union leader takes on ALP

Secretary of the South Coast Labour Council Arthur Rorris has stepped down from his union position to stand as an independent for the seat of Wollongong in the NSW State election on March 28. The seat is held by ALP right-wing factional leader Noreen Hay.

Rorris lives in the electorate and has been a member of a local ALP branch for many years. Yet when he and other long-time local ALP members attended the Wollongong preselection ballot in December, they were not only denied a vote but physically escorted from the premises where the ballot was taking place.

Remembering Reza Berati

This moving letter for Reza Berati from men incarcerated on Manus Island was released on February 18 by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

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Hello dear Reza. How are you? Are you in a good place?

Everyone is here and they are saying hi to you. I'm sure you remember Mustafa! He is saying to you: "Let's play cards!"

Ali is saying: "Do you remember you would always get 6-6 whenever we played backgammon?"

Hussain is saying: "Do you remember whenever we played soccer, you would always be the goal keeper because you were tall?"

Carlo's Corner: So all of this bias must explain Abbott's woes

“The ABC is trying to destroy Tony Abbott,” reads the first line of Andrew Bolt's whistle-blowing expose, entitled “Bias against Tony Abbott is truly sickening”, that was published in several Murdoch tabloids on February 19.

And I suppose that's what these overpaid ABC bludgers living off our hard-earned tax dollars have the gall to call a “job”! Destroying Tony Abbott? I've had more taxing naps.

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