Kathy Fairfax

Climate and renewable energy activists are furious that the federal and Victorian governments are throwing $100 million into a dubious “clean energy” pilot project to produce hydrogen from brown coal in the Latrobe Valley.

The $500 million demonstration plant is at AGL’s Loy Yang power station and mine near Traralgon. It is being built to develop the technology to gassify brown coal and will produce up to three tonnes of hydrogen in its first year. It is expected to create about 400 jobs.  

Protesters gathered outside the Sydney studio where Channel Seven broadcasts its breakfast show Sunrise on March 16.

They were there to express their outrage at comments made by two panellists, neither of whom are Indigenous, on the show on March 13. They, and many on social media, objected when one, who had no experience in child welfare or Indigenous affairs, argued the Stolen Generations were justified because Indigenous children were being abused by their parents and a second Stolen Generation was needed.

Scientists and conservationists have called on the federal government to strengthen Australia’s national environment laws, chiefly the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBCA).

Regular readers of Green Left Weekly will sometimes admit their favourite part of the paper is Carlo’s Corner, the semi-regular satirical column by comic writer and performer Carlo Sands.

In a paper filled with heavy and even gloomy topics, people appreciate the chance to laugh — especially at the seemingly all-powerful forces who presume to be our betters yet cause so much pain.

“No joke can change the world, or really anything at all,” Sands says, ahead of his stand up show Inspired? at the Sydney Fringe Comedy Festival.

Homelessness is a growing problem in Australia.

The South Australian Racing Minister Leon Bignell has called on the state’s horseracing authority to ban jumps racing after five-year-old Wheeler Fortune was euthanised on April 15 after falling during the Somerled Hurdle race in Oakbank.

Bignell called on Thoroughbred Racing SA to act, labelling jumps racing “cruel and “barbaric”. But the controlling body said jumps racing was an “integral part” of the sport and would continue.

International Women’s Day (IWD) in Australia has lost its radical edge. In recent years, it has become more about holding cosy breakfasts and receptions where female bureaucrats and businesswomen can rub shoulders with political leaders and congratulate themselves on their “success”.

These events can make us forget that IWD has a radical socialist history of women determinedly marching for their rights. And once it even helped spark a revolution.

Gas giant Santos’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for its proposal to create a gasfield in the Pilliga Forest was made public on February 21, two weeks after it was lodged with the government for assessment. It will be on public exhibition until just April 24.

The EIS shows that Santos still intends to drill coal seam gas (CSG) production wells despite widespread protests over the trouble-plagued Narrabri Gas Project.

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.

Caltex workers on picketline

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.

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