Australia

Gloucester stands up to coal seam gas

A local man was arrested on October 23 after locking himself to the access gate to four coal seam gas (CSG) pilot wells in Gloucester, New South Wales.

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of the wells, owned by AGL, was approved in August by NSW Minister for Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts.

But residents in Gloucester stand opposed to any CSG drilling in the area.

A resident of 25 years, Brett Jacobs, said: "AGL has a battle on its hands if it thinks it can turn our valley into a coal seam gasfield. This is our home and we are not giving up or going away.”

Melbourne councillor says heatwaves should be treated as emergencies

Heatwaves are still not considered an emergency by state governments, but they should be.

There was a 24% increase in the number of deaths during the four day heatwave in Victoria in January. An additional 167 people died in the week of the heatwave when the temperature was above 41 degrees for four consecutive days in Melbourne and more than 45 degrees in other parts of the state.

In 2009, there were an additional 374 deaths during the heatwave in the week before the Black Saturday bushfires.

Townsville protests threat to Great Barrier Reef

The controversial issue of where to dump dredge spoil from the Abbot Point coal port expansion was the focus for hundreds of North Queenslanders who want to protect the Great Barrier Reef from the environmental impacts the dredging will cause.

On October 19, boats and kayaks formed a flotilla at the beach as others rallied onshore. After progressing a couple of hundred metres, the flotilla and the marchers were surprised to be joined by a group of scuba divers who emerged from under the water and made their way to the beach to join the rally on land.

Sole parents are slipping into poverty

The recent Australian Council of Social Service report into poverty has found one third of sole parents live in poverty.

Many sole parents are suffering after being switched from Parenting Payment Single to the much lower Newstart Allowance. Under former prime minister Julia Gillard, about 100,000 sole parents were switched to the lower payment.

Carlo's Corner: Plastic sword a perfect symbol for fake terror scare

So it turns out the “sword” confiscated during the September 18 terror raids in Sydney's north-west — you know Australia's largest terror raids everwas actually plastic.

That would be the “sword” the cops had placed in a plastic bag that the media made such a big deal out of to terrify us all with the “threat” of a “random beheading”. Plastic. It was a fucking plastic sword.

Royal Commission union witch hunt given extension

When the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption was set up by the federal government, it was widely seen as a political witch hunt intended to smear the union movement with guilt by association to the scandals that had emerged in the Health Services Union (HSU).

With a bit of good fortune and a lot of spin-doctoring it would also provide the Coalition with handy ammunition against the ALP at the next federal election, likely to be held in late 2016 — a contrived “ticking Tampa”.

Ebola crisis: How Cuba shames the West

The ebola outbreak in West Africa is "unquestionably the most severe acute public health emergency in modern times", World Health Organisation (WHO) director general Dr Margaret Chan said on October 14.

A baby with nowhere that's safe: Court finds Baby Ferouz has no right to refugee status

The decision to deny 11-month-old Ferouz Myuddin a protection visa precedes a plan by Tony Abbott’s government to retrospectively deny all babies born to asylum seekers the right to seek refugee status.

An amendment bill containing extensive changes to the Migration Act was tabled by the federal government last month. The bill would remove most references to the refugee convention and legalise boat turnarounds.

The Coalition government also wants all babies born to asylum seekers who arrived by boat after August 13, 2012 to be declared “unauthorised maritime arrivals”.

Solidarity with Kobani: Why should the left support it?

Kurdish fighters in the northern-Syrian city of Kobani have been fighting an armed struggle against Islamic State (IS) fighters for the past month. The Kurdish fighters are resisting IS attempts to take their city, which would result in a massacre.

There has been some debate among left activists about whether the Kurdish struggle is anti-imperialist, whether the people’s militia groups in Kobani have been calling for imperialist military intervention, and what issue Australian anti-war activists should focus on.

CPSU ballots for industrial action in Dept of Human Services

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) on October 13 gained Fair Work Australia authorisation for a ballot of members on protected industrial action in support of a fairer agreement in the federal Department of Human Services. The electronic ballot will start in late October for the 15,000 CPSU members in Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support.

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