The Pine Gap military spy base was established 50 years ago on the traditional lands of the Arrernte people, about 20 kilometres outside of Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory. Pine Gap is supposedly a joint US-Australian defence facility, but very little of it is “joint” or “defence” related.
Climate change is not just a scientific or technical problem, nor can it be solved in the “usual” way. Instead, people need to get organised and develop solutions that improve lives and communities as well as protect the environment. This was the central theme behind the “Creating a climate for change” public meeting held on August 11 in the Northcote Town Hall. The meeting was organised by the Melbourne Playback Theatre Company and Darebin Climate Action Now.
Firefighters rallied outside state parliament house on August 16 to demand greater support for the victims of toxic contamination at the Country Fire Authority's (CFA) former Fiskville training facility. Fiskville was closed down in 2015, but a state parliamentary enquiry found that CFA management had known about the contamination since 2010 and allowed training to continue there. The chemicals have been linked to a rise in the number of incidences of cancer and other diseases among firefighters who trained there.
When a gang of right-wing goons from the Party For Freedom (PFF), dressed as stereotypical Muslims, stormed the Sunday service at the Gosford Anglican Church on August 14, their actions were nominally disowned by Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party in a written statement. However, the statement also sought to justify and excuse the actions of the PFF.
Some would have seen One Nation Senator-elect Malcolm Roberts' performance on ABC's Q&A on August 15. He went hammer and tong repeating ad nauseum that academics are doctoring the science, that the major science bodies are corrupt and that the science on climate change is anything but settled. Here is one small excerpt from his exchange with British physicist Brian Cox: Roberts: “I'm saying ... two things. First of all, that the [climate] data has been corrupted and we know that the 1930s were warmer than today.”
With the highest record of Olympic medals in Latin America, Cuba owes its sports achievements to its socialist revolution. The devastating US blockade on Cuba, which has lasted for more than 50 years and includes restrictions on the nation's sporting industry, has not stopped the island from becoming the most successful Latin American country in Olympics history.
In the recent controversy over the proposed sale of key NSW state-owned electricity company Ausgrid to Chinese bidders, the primary issue seems to have been lost: a vital public asset such as Ausgrid should not be privatised in the first place, whoever the potential buyers might be. A storm broke out over the planned sale of Ausgrid by the state government to either of two Chinese corporations: the government-owned State Grid Corporation of China; or the privately-owned Hong Kong-listed Cheung Kong Infrastructure Group (CKI), controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing.
In Treasurer Scott Morrison's budget speech he promised to "ensure the government lives within its means" and warned "this is not a time to be splashing money around". Shortly afterwards, he hosted an invitation-only party, which cost taxpayers $11,625 for food and drinks. This is more than even Joe Hockey spent on post-budget parties. In all, the Treasurer spent $4620 on a selection of hot and cold canapes, $5445 on alcohol, and $560 for eight wait staff to cater the 90-minute function for 100 people.
Since the mid 1930s, self-styled progressives and many socialists have often justified supporting one of the United States' two major capitalist parties by claiming that it is the “lesser evil” compared to the other one. The “lesser evil” is frequently the Democratic Party. In this year's election, the “lesser evil” is the war hawk and neoliberal Hillary Clinton as opposed to right-wing populist Donald Trump.
Venezuelan labour minister Oswaldo Vera announced on August 10 that the government had taken over another shut-down manufacturing firm, the Morning Star said on August 12. Vera said the Guardian de Venezuela laminated glass plant in Monagas state would be occupied and re-opened by its workers.