Kathy Fairfax

The University of Sydney has acknowledged many times that students have the right to peacefully protest. For 65 days that is exactly what students and supporters of the university’s Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) did — until dawn on October 25 when 15 police and 20 guards forcibly ended their protest.

The students had been protesting since the university informed students and staff on June 21 of its plan to merge SCA with the University of NSW’s Art & Design Student Centre and the National Art School in Darlinghurst.

Members of the National Union of Workers (NUW) at Caltex’s site in Lytton, Queensland commenced indefinite industrial action on October 25.

The site manufactures lubricants and motor oils. Its key clients are mining companies. It is the only Caltex lubricant manufacturing plant in the country.

After a successful morning's picket that saw trucks backed up to the motorway, NUW members at Caltex lubricants in Brisbane have voted to repeat the blockade tomorrow morning from 5am.

Suicide was unknown to Aboriginal people prior to invasion. There was no word for suicide in the ancient Yolngu language and, up to the 1980s, suicide was rare among Aboriginal people.

But now 95% of Aboriginal people have been affected by a suicide and Aboriginal people are six times more likely to commit suicide than non-Aboriginal people.

In the Northern Territory, 50% of suicides were by Aboriginal people in 2010, up from just 5% in 1991.

A 700 kilometre stretch of mangrove shoreline in the Gulf of Carpentaria has died, James Cook University Professor Norm Duke told the Australian Mangrove and Saltmarsh Network Conference in Darwin in early July.

Duke, a spokesperson for the Australian Mangrove and Saltmarsh Network, said the scale and magnitude of the loss was "unprecedented and deeply concerning" and he had no doubt the dieback was related to climate change.


The Mt Thorley-Warkworth "final void" is too expensive to fill in.

Early this month mining giant Rio Tinto sold its mothballed Blair Athol coalmine to a tiny ASX-listed company called TerraCom for $1. Rio Tinto had been trying to sell the mine since it closed in 2012.

New South Wales has become the first state in Australia to ban greyhound racing, with an announcement on July 7 that it will be banned from July 1 next year.

Premier Mike Baird said the government was left with "no acceptable course of action except to close this industry down" after it considered an 800-page report by a special commission into the "widespread and systemic mistreatment of animals" in the industry.

Oppressed people around the world have long used self-immolation to protest grossly unjust regimes.

Thich Quang Duc protested the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government in June 1963 by burning himself to death at a busy Saigon intersection.

The Arab Spring famously began when Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself alight in December 2010 in response to repeated harassment and humiliation by local officials.

A second refugee has self-immolated in the detention centre on Nauru, just days after 23-year-old Iranian refugee Omid Masoumali died in similar circumstances.

Hodan, a 19-year-old Somali woman, has been taken to Brisbane by air ambulance, but she suffered burns to more than 70% of her body and her condition remains critical.

Witnesses told Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) that all her clothes had been burned off. Another said she had suffered burns to her upper body and face at least as bad as Omid.

Activists from Stop CSG Sydney and the Australian Student Environment Network toured the AGL Camden CSG gasfields on April 17 to see for themselves how close gas wells are to homes. AGL has promised to end gas mining in Camden by 2023. Residents want them shut down now.

The NSW government has said that gas wells cannot be drilled within two kilometres of homes, but it is happy for Landcom, the government's own developer, to sell house and land packages within a few hundred metres of major gasfields.

This year the Earth's climate scored the global warming trifecta: it passed the milestone of 1°C of warming since pre-industrial times; it is set to be the hottest year on record; and it will be the first year in which the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is over 400 parts per million (ppm) on average due to the continued burning of fossil fuels.

This is uncharted territory for the Earth. It came as world leaders met in Paris for Climate talks on how to keep warming below 2°C.

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