Mercosur condemns Europe closing borders to refugees

Austria, as well as Serbia and Croatia, have joined other European countries in temporarily closing their borders.

On September 21, Croatia closed its last checkpoint for trucks on the Serbian border where thousands of refugees are waiting to cross in the hope of a better life.

West Papua: Indonesian police beat high school students for leafleting

Demonstration in solidarity with West Papua. Honiara, Solomon Islands.

Indonesian police beat two West Papuan students in Yahukimo, Papua Province, on September 16 for handing out leaflets about the Pacific Islands Forum.

Matildas launch strike as football pay dispute hots up

Matildas players earn only $21,000 a year — below the minimum wage.

The simmering industrial dispute between the nation's football (soccer) players and the Football Federation Australia (FFA) over pay and the right to collectively bargain has now boiled over with the national women's team, the Matildas, pulling out of a planned tour of the US.

Abbott's Syria war will create more refugees

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on September 9 a novel approach to stemming the flow of refugees from Syria: bombing the country.

He also announced plans to accept a further 12,000 Syrian refugees on top of his government's miserly quota, but was quick to dispel any hopes that Australia might be abandoning its status as the Western world's leading abuser of refugees. Abbott told ABC Radio National on September 10 that Syrian refugees being held in the Australian-run concentration camps in Nauru and Manus Island would not be released.

No joke: Pacific outrage at climate inaction

The tasteless joking between immigration minister Peter Dutton and Prime Minister Tony Abbott about the threat of rising sea levels to Pacific Islands — caught on a microphone after the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) meeting — sums up the Australian government's attitude to the victims of its climate inaction.

The 46th PIF leaders' meeting in Port Moresby ended without reaching agreement on a united position to take to the Paris climate summit later this year. Pacific Island leaders could not convince Australia and New Zealand to agree on more ambitious targets.

Women's sport undermined on national and community levels

The focus of discussion about women in sport — specifically the discrimination they face, the lack of support and promotion, the disinterest from the media and the huge pay differences between female and male athletes — has overwhelmingly been on the elite or national level.

Socialist Councillor: "Reject Abbott's lies: Australia can do more to respond to the refugee crisis"

Vienna, September 1.

“Tony Abbott's bizarre proclamation that Australia is leading the world on a per capita basis in welcoming refugees is a lie,” says Sue Bolton, Socialist Alliance Councillor.

Abbott well roasted

Tony Abbott received a much-deserved roasting on the opening night of the Sydney Fringe Comedy festival on September 1.

Unfortunately no actual fire was involved, but the prime minister — played disturbingly well by Jonas Holt (whose Abbott impersonation has featured on Weekend Sunrise and the At Home With Tones webseries) — was subjected to an amusing grilling.

Dyson Heydon has shown his political bias

Dyson Heydon will not step down as commissioner investigating corruption in trade unions, having decided to ignore the widespread perception of his political bias.

Whatever else he might be, Heydon is no fool. When he accepted the job as royal commissioner he knew what was expected of him.

The commission was set up as a political witch-hunt into unions, designed to give the Coalition government an issue which it thought it could win the next election with.
Heydon was happy to oblige and has been handsomely paid for doing so.

Mark Dapin's Vietnam War novel — cynical, emotionally wounded males run amok

R&R: A Novel
By Mark Dapin
Viking, 2015, 287 pp, $32.99

Mark Dapin is a rising star of Australian writing, having first made his mark as a journalist with a string of newspapers. He is a knock-about sort of working-class bloke, who brushed up against the British socialist movement before migrating, a bit of a boxer as well as a writer.

Interviewing the light welterweight world champion Kostya Tszyu for the Sydney Morning Herald, Dapin famously persuaded Tszyu to let him spar with him in the ring. Tszyu didn’t muck about, breaking three of Dapin’s ribs.

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