Australia

[PHOTOS] Sydney: March against forced closures of Aboriginal communities

About 800 people rallied at Sydney Town Hall Square on June 28 as part of the third #SOSBlakAustralia global mobilisation against the threatened forced closures of Aboriginal communities in Western Australia and elsewhere. Protest actions also took place in other cities around the country, and in some cities overseas, over the same weekend.

Frackman details one man's fight against gas multinationals

Frackman
Directed by Richard Todd
http://frackmanthemovie.com

Frackman is a new documentary that follows the story of self-proclaimed “worst environmental activist ever” Dayne Pratzky, a resident of the Tara Estates, Chinchilla, in Queensland.

Australia trashes renewable energy target

On June 23, Australia's parliament voted to reduce the Renewable Energy Target for 2020 from 41 to 33 terawatt hours of renewable electricity, following a long struggle by the government to win support from minor party Senators for the cuts.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he “would frankly have liked to reduce the number a lot more”.

The deal he cut in the Senate will see the potential for “wood waste” from logging of native forests to be burned to generate “renewable electricity” as part of the target.

Paper threatens free education

Since 1880, it has been a fundamental right of every Australian to access free public education.

Recently this came into question when a federal government discussion paper was leaked, which posed the idea of the federal government taking over education funding and charging wealthier parents who send their children to public schools.

Education Minister Christopher Pyne has come out in opposition to the suggestion, commenting on Twitter: “Charging wealthy parents for their children to attend public schools is not the government’s policy. I don’t support it.”

Largest marriage equality rally in Canberra demands the bill be passed

Fifteen hundred people filled Canberra city centre with rainbow pride on June 21, to demand marriage equality.

The vibrant rally, organised by GetUp! and Australian Marriage Equality (AME), heard from Samantha and Hayley Wilson, Ebony and Ben Grady, Angie Shillington and Ally Howe, Yvette Berry from ACT Labor, Shane Rattenbury from ACT Greens and Ivan Hinton Teoh from Australian Marriage Equality.

NSW budget rides on 'housing tax' windfall

"The NSW Coalition government's 2015 budget has a massive 'housing sales tax' windfall from stamp duty arising from the Sydney housing bubble," Susan Price, Socialist Alliance candidate in the recent NSW state elections, said on June 24.

The government expects to reap more than $30 billion in stamp duty in the next four years, but the budget papers note that the cyclical nature of the property market means that revenue source is "inherently volatile".

Abbott government’s RET returns Australia to dark ages of energy production

The Abbott government’s Renewable Energy Target legislation passed by the Senate this week means consumers will think they are buying so called “renewable energy” when it is actually generated from burning wood from unsustainable native forest logging.

The Australian Forests and Climate Alliance released this statement on June 23.

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The Australian Forests and Climate Alliance (AFCA) has condemned today’s decision to make burning native forests eligible for Renewable Energy Certificates under the Renewable Energy Target.

Protest creates possibilities

Brad Chilcott is the director of Welcome to Australia, a community organisation that, according to its Facebook page, is “dedicated to giving asylum seekers, refugees, new arrivals and long-term migrant residents of Australia a warm, dignified and positive Welcome to Australia”.

An article by Chilcott entitled Possibility before Protest has appeared on Chifley.org, a website for ALP members and supporters.

The article does not clarify Chilcott’s relationship with the ALP.

Manufacturing industry – what policy?

More than a decade ago, BHP Billiton demerged its steelmaking facilities from its then highly profitable minerals and energy division.

The two steel plants in Port Kembla and Whyalla, which were formerly part of an integrated company that produced the iron ore and the coking coal for steelmaking, became stand-alone steelmakers at a time when China became a serious competitive threat.

Its Port Kembla and Whyalla operations were also separated from each other, becoming BlueScope in Port Kembla and One Steel (now Arrium) in Whyalla.

Tony Abbott’s assault on democratic rights

It has become a disturbing hallmark of the current government that the degree to which Prime Minister Tony Abbott adopts the style of a Nazi leader addressing the Nuremburg Rally is a reflection of the policies being foreshadowed. At Abbott's June 23 press conference, the flag count was up to 10. The parliamentary sitting week that followed was an assault on democratic rights.

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