Refugees: Rudd replaces 'Pacific' with 'Indian Ocean solution'

By Kerry Vernon

In a media release on November 20, Edmund Rice Centre director Phil Glendenning said the response to a November 19 SBS broadcast of the new documentary A Well-Founded Fear had been overwhelming. The documentary, by Anne Delaney, highlighted the centre’s research into the fate of more than 400 asylum seekers deported from Australia. Centre staff tracked down more than 250 returnees in 22 countries whose claims for asylum were rejected by the Howard government. The film, shot in Afghanistan, Syria, Turkey, Iran and Canada, documents the deaths of nine refugees following their return to Afghanistan, although Glendenning believes there could be close to 20 such deaths.

Acre pogrom highlights Zionist anti-Arab racism

By Kim Bullimore

Violent attacks by Jewish residents in the Israeli city of Acre last month have left 14 Palestinian families, a total of 72 people, homeless. All 72 are Israeli citizens who had their homes destroyed. For the more than 1 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, the Jewish “riots” in Acre are only the most extreme example of the systematic discrimination they face within the Zionist state.

Free Lex Wotton – political prisoner

By Kathy Newnam

A 400-strong rally was held in Brisbane on November 1 as part of the campaign to free Lex Wotton, an Indigenous community leader from Palm Island, who was found guilty on October 24 of “rioting with destruction” by an all-white jury in Brisbane’s District Court. Wotton was singled out for his participation in the protest on Palm Island that took place following the death in custody on November 19, 2004, of Mulrunji Doomadgee, a 36-year-old Palm Island man, at the hands of Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley. Despite admitting responsibility for the death, Hurley was subsequently acquitted of manslaughter by an all-white jury in Townsville on June 19, 2007.

Intervention review expected to back land grab

By Hamish Chitts

On September 29, the Rudd government announced that it would give a 2-week extension to the review board and panel of experts handpicked to look at the federal government’s intervention into remote Northern Territory Aboriginal communities. A cursory glance at the participants in this review reveals why they were selected and how all of them are likely to make personal gains if the NT’s Aboriginal lands are opened up to capitalist exploitation.

Aboriginal deaths in custody: Protests to demand justice

By Kathy Newnam

Protest actions are being planned for Brisbane in October when Lex Wotton faces court. Wotton has been portrayed by the Queensland police, government and establishment media as the leader of the “riot” that occurred on Palm Island on November 26, 2004. A police station and residence were destroyed after a police report on the death of community member Mulrunji Doomadgee was read at a public meeting; the report concluded that his death was an accident. The October protests will call for the dropping of all charges against Wotton and demand an end to Aboriginal deaths in custody.

Labor retains mandatory detention of refugees

By Kerry Vernon

In a July 29 speech, Labor immigration minister Chris Evans announced an end to the previous Howard Coalition government’s costly “Pacific Solution” to “illegal” asylum seekers — closing the offshore processing centres on Nauru and PNG’s Manus Island. However, the Rudd Labor government has retained the $400 million prison-like facility on Christmas Island, 2600 km north-west of Perth, in the Indian Ocean.