Australia

The war on dissent in Queensland

“The Battle of Brisbane.” These were the words that greeted readers of Queensland’s Courier Mail on October 28.

The article, taking up the front cover and several subsequent pages, dealt with the alleged threat of violent protests at the G20 summit to be held in Brisbane on November 15 and 16.

The police, according to the Courier Mail, should meet the protesters with brutal suppression. The actual threat of violence was left vague.

In many ways, the phrasing of the subhead for the piece told it all: “Cops vow to crush G20 ferals”.

Aboriginal communities resist government attacks

Aboriginal activists in Western Australia are gearing up for a rally on November 12 to protect remote communities in the face of federal government attacks. It will follow a September 16 rally against state government threats to Aboriginal heritage and an October 23 rally against ongoing Black deaths in custody.

The federal government announced on September 24 that it would withdraw funding for 180 remote Aboriginal communities in WA. It will grant $90 million to the WA government for a two-year “transition period”.

Aboriginal communities rally against land grab

About 300 Aboriginal people and supporters from around NSW rallied against legislation being pushed through state parliament that threatens the land rights of coastal Aboriginal communities.

On November 3, Hyde Park was awash with Aboriginal flags and community members, young and old, representing many of the 120 Aboriginal land councils across the state. They were there to protest against the Crown Lands Amendment (Public Ownership of Beaches and Coastal Lands) Bill. The bill was introduced by Minister for Natural Resources Kevin Humphries last week.

Tony Abbott’s selective concern about corruption

Sarah Hathway and Sean Brocklehurst are running as Socialist Alliance candidates in the Victorian election. They released this statement on November 7.

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The federal government's concern about “corruption” is very selective.

For many months, there have been calls for a royal commission into the Commonwealth Bank and ASIC to investigate how thousands of people were stripped of their life savings as a result of fraud by dodgy financial planners working for the bank.

Denis Napthine calls for CFMEU to be deregistered

The witch-hunt into unions descended into farce last month as the Royal Commission’s attempt to justify its existence instead showed that it is an inquiry compromised by its politically motivated construction and damned by its own incompetence.

The week began with Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) assistant secretary Tim Lyons attacking royal commissioner Dyson Heydon and senior counsel assisting Jeremy Stoljar for confusing workplace bargaining with corruption and failing to understand the role of unions they had been asked to investigate.

Australia shuts down sexist ‘pick up artist’

Protesters successfully stopped self-described “pick up artist” Julien Blanc from giving his planned seminar on October 6 on how to manipulate and sexually assault women.

Protests followed Blanc throughout his attempted Australian tour, causing venues to dump his events in multiple cities, and he finally returned to the US on November 7.

Cambodians urge Australia to not resettle refugees there

A campaign organised by Cambodians has led the country’s first vice-president of the National Assembly to urge Australia to back down from its bid to resettle refugees there.

Kem Sokha said in a letter to the Australian Ambassador to Cambodia, Alison Burrows, that the deal to transfer up to 1000 refugees from Nauru could have “negative impacts which would possibly be caused by economic, social situations”.
Joyce Fu, who works for NGO Corner Link and was part of organising protests and petitions calling for the refugee deal to be abandoned, said Cambodia was ill-equipped for the plan.

Tackling tax avoidance at the G20

Oxfam released a report in January that found companies have hidden between $21 trillion and $32 trillion in offshore bank accounts to escape paying tax. That amount is double US GDP or about 20 times Australian GDP.

One of the issues that will be discussed at the G20 meeting in Brisbane is how to set up an international framework to stop this tax avoidance. Unfortunately, it will not work.

People power can stop the East West Link

This statement was released on November 6 by Sean Broklehurst, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Pascoe Vale in the November 29 Victorian elections, and Sarah Hathway, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Geelong.

It refers to the project, set to cost at least $15 billion, to link Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway and City Link, with the major part of the project being a 4.4 kilometre tunnel.

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Conference discusses future beyond coal and gas

Almost 300 people gathered near Ipswich in Queensland for The Sunrise Project's Beyond Coal and Gas conference from October 24 to 27.

The event featured more than 100 workshops and drew people from all states and territories as well as international visitors. There was a huge diversity of people and organisations including campaigners, activists, researchers, traditional owners and youth.

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