Most Melbourne people wouldn’t know that there is a refugee detention centre, called the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation, in Broadmeadows. It is hidden away behind the Maygar army barracks on Camp Road with no sign to indicate it is there. The Socialist Alliance organised a protest outside the centre on August 11 to publicise its existence. When the local media was notified about the protest, none of the journalists approached had heard of it.
On August 12, candidates from the Greens, Socialist Alliance (SA) and newly formed First Nations Political Party (FNPP) spoke to a group of 50 people at La Tropicana cafe in Fremantle. The forum was organised by SA to highlight environmental and social policies ignored by the major parties in the federal election campaign. The event was chaired by Fremantle councillor and Western Australian SA co-convenor Sam Wainwright Kate Davis, Greens candidate for Fremantle, said: “The Greens have a renewable energy target of 100% by 2030.
As Colombia launched its new offensive against Venezuela, an emergency summit of Central American presidents on July 20 restored Honduras to “its rightful” status. That status was lost internationally when former president Manuel Zelaya was overthrown in a military coup in June 2009. Using the pretext of the relaunch of the Central American Integration System (SICA), the presidents of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama agreed to reincorporate Honduras into the regional bloc and encouraged the Organisation of American States (OAS) to do the same.
If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, Friends of Palestine (WA — FOPWA) must be doing something right: Friends of Israel (WA) was launched on August 8. The group’s website is a mix of nationalism and barely concealed racism. “Israel is in the front lines of the global battle between those who love life and those who glorify death”, it says. The launch took place at the Victory Life Centre, a fundamentalist Christian church, in Osborne Park, Perth.
If you are not at least a little bit scared about the Russian heatwave or the huge floods in Pakistan, then you really should be. Extreme and dangerous weather events will be far more common in a warmer world. These devastating fires and floods are a taste of our future climate — unless we can force a political breakthrough on climate change and cut greenhouse gas emissions sharply. The disasters of the past few weeks sound an unmistakable warning: we’ve emitted so many greenhouse gases already that we are losing a safe climate.
The article is abridged from an August 11 Palestinian Centre for Human Rights report. * * * The signs which dot the beach along the Gaza City waterfront read: "This beach is polluted.” Yet they serve only as obstacles for children running to the sea, rather than warnings of the serious health risks. One need only stroll north along the beach for a couple hundred metres to see raw sewage being pumped directly into the Mediterranean Sea from one of the 16 discharge sites along the coast. Yet thousands of people fill Gaza's beaches.
Amnesty International has launched a campaign to revoke the Northern Territory intervention that discriminates against Indigenous communities, as the Australian government tries to justify its continuation to the United Nations (UN). On August 5, Amnesty said: “Over three years, the Northern Territory Emergency Response has taken away many rights from Aboriginal communities.” It urged people to email the leaders of Australia’s major political parties to “demand that, regardless of the election outcome, the Australian Government must respect the rights of Indigenous people”.
A dozen women filled the public gallery of Whittlesea City Council chamber on July 27 to oppose an ALP council back-down on the appointment of a part-time women’s policy officer. The women were mostly part of the council-sponsored “Women Matter Two” network, which seeks to enhance women’s participation in public life and politics in Melbourne’s working-class, outer-north suburbs. In June, council voted almost unanimously to set aside $50,000 in the council’s annual budget to create this part-time position: 2010 is the Year of Women in Local Government.
Outstanding service Fairfax columnist Gerald Henderson quotes Australian Workers’ Union leader Paul Howes concerning the family background of Greens Senate candidate Lee Rhiannon in the July 27 Sydney Morning Herald. I knew her parents, Bill and Freda Brown, since 1944, and I was privileged to be Bill’s campaign director when he stood for the federal parliament on several occasions.
Abdul Ramahi is a Palestinian-Australian who lives in Melbourne. A member of the Socialist Alliance, he is active in campaigns to raise awareness on the plight of the Palestinian people. His own story, which he told Green Left Weekly, illustrates how the lives of Palestinians in the global diaspora are shaped by the ongoing injustice and resistance in their homeland. Born in 1938, in a village called Muzeira, five kilometres from present-day Tel Aviv, he had a happy childhood. His father was a justice of the peace and owned a large amount of land — close to 100 hectares.