Last year marked an important turning point in the struggle of Aboriginal people for justice and sovereignty.The 40th anniversary commemoration of the Tent Embassy in Canberra, culminating in the January 26 Invasion Day protest, sparked a renewed fight by activists young and old against the ongoing and institutionalised racism endured by Aboriginal people.
Australian News & Analysis
Issue 41 - February-March 2013
The punitive conditions of the Australian government’s mandatory detention of refugees are well known around the country and even internationally. However, despite all the cruelty that the system imposes, it has not deterred refugees.
The reason for this is quite simple.
If your only recent source of information about the Greens was media releases coming from acting leader Adam Bandt’s office, you could be forgiven for thinking the party was suddenly moving to the left.
Issue 40 - November-December 2012
One of the main barriers for refugees seeking asylum and residency in Australia is ASIO’s security assessments. These are conducted on an arbitrary basis, with very little recourse for refugees to challenge decisions against them.Typically, the assessments take many months or even years, and refugees have no access to their findings.
Between 6000 and 7000 people, an unprecedented number for Melbourne, took to the streets on October 20 for Reclaim the Night 2012.Since its inception, Reclaim the Night has been a staple of feminist activism.
The tragic and unacceptable abduction, rape and murder of young Irish woman and ABC radio staffer Jill Meagher in Melbourne on the night of September 21 has justifiably sparked a public outcry in the social media and also on the streets. All instances of violence against women deserve the outcry that the Jill Meagher case attracted.
The NSW government has passed “consorting” laws as part of a suite of “anti-bikie” laws in the Crimes Amendment (Consorting and Organised Crime) Bill. These laws have such a wide scope that they can be used to criminalise anyone.The former offence of consorting in the Crimes Act was repealed and a new offence inserted.
Movies, musicals, bush meetings and speaking tours continue to characterise the campaign against coal seam gas (CSG).
More than 10,000 public sector workers’ jobs have been cut across NSW. Those workers remaining are having their wages and conditions further attacked.
A common perception of the Salvation Army is that it is a well-meaning charity spreading Christianity through its care for the down and out – those who have fallen through the cracks of society’s welfare net.Apart from its quasi-military structure of volunteers, door-knock appeals and sporadic invasions of pubs rattling tins of loose change, it would seem an unremarkable charity.
San Francisco – When Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, Romney introduced him “as the next President of the United States”. This was of course a slip of the tongue, which Romney corrected. But it was the kind of slip that Freud analysed, one pregnant with meaning.
A 2011 Roy Morgan Poll found that 68% of Australians support same-sex marriage, up 6% from a Galaxy Poll taken the previous year.
Issue 39 - May-July 2012
The ALP government’s fifth budget, handed down by treasurer Wayne Swan with much fanfare, is a continuation of neoliberal polices, relying much more on stick than on carrot. It headlined in many newspapers as a Labor budget with Labor values, but there was little to differentiate it from any of the budgets of the Coalition when it was in power.
The La Trobe University Management Council on June 20 announced a proposed major “restructure” of the university’s Humanities and Social Sciences (HUSS) Faculty.The proposed changes, announced in an “Organisational Change Impact Statement” (OCIS), would cut up to 45 full-time staff from the faculty, slash the available courses from 1230 subjects (available on rotation) to fewer tha
Increasing unemployment, soaring living costs and the environmental and social impacts of unexpected severe rains and flooding in parts of NSW are impacting on more poor and working-class people and extending into sections of the middle class.
Not a murmur of protest has come from the NSW Labor Opposition over the O’Farrell government’s political use of the state’s police in Operation Goulding against Occupy Sydney.
Both Greens City of Sydney councillor Irene Doutney and NSW MP David Shoebridge have supported Occupy Sydney’s right to protest.
Deeply angered by moves by the resources and mining industry to replace union labour with super-exploited workers from overseas and the employers’ blatant disregard for necessary skills training among unemployed youth, thousands marched in Perth on July 4 to demand that the industry giants negotiate with their employees about who is to share in the massive profits they have generat
Issue 38 - February-April 2012
Two deportations of Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers have been averted at least temporarily, pending a High Court challenge to be heard in the new year. These were to be the first deportations of people who arrived by boat under the current Labor government.
The French multinational Veolia will be “the major target for its boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign work in 2012”, Friends of Palestine WA resolved at its annual general meeting on February 4.
Setting out on Australia Day, the Refugee Rights Action Network (RRAN) travelled to Leonora, a remote town in the Goldfields of Western Australia. The tour, entitled “Boundless Plains to Share”, spent three days in Leonora seeking to expose the conditions of mandatory detention and included protests in solidarity and visits with refugees locked up in the detention centre.
As predicted, the ALP national conference was another low point for the neoliberal pro-capitalist party, which adopted offshore processing as part of its platform. It was a win for Chris Bowen, the immigration minister, who gained support for putting the weight of the party behind the government’s proposed Malaysia solution.
Issue 37 - December-January 2012
The ALP national conference in Sydney on December 3 and 4 should present an opportunity for the ALP to reassess its policy of mandatory detention and an opportunity to adopt a more humane approach towards refugees. But no one is waiting with bated breath.
Discussions in several Occupy Sydney general assemblies have included debates about the nature and role of the police and whether to support the police union’s disputes and their November 22 rally (over injury compensation) with the NSW O’Farrell Coalition government.
One thousand people marched through Perth’s CBD on October 28, the first day of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), despite a massive security presence. The protest, organised by the CHOGM Action Network (CAN), united activists from numerous campaigns behind the slogan “Justice and Climate Action, Not Racism and War”.
The grassroots campaign against coal seam gas mining appears to have won important ground, making it onto the popular ABC program Gruen Transfer and as a dedicated feature launched on the ABC News website on November 24.