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.
Issue 41 - February-March 2013
[The following is a slightly expanded version of a speech given at the launch of the new Socialist Alternative office in Brisbane on December 1.]
Issue 35 - September 2011
In the lead-up to the introduction of the carbon tax legislation into federal parliament, the federal opposition and other opponents of the tax have intensified their campaign against it.
Issue 34 - August 2011
Signing the refugee swap deal with the Malaysian government on July 25, the Gillard Labor government has confirmed again that it is a world leader in dealing misery to refugees. The arrangement between Australia and Malaysia will exchange 800 asylum seekers who have sought asylum in Australia for 4000 refugees living in Malaysia.
Zack Furness is the author of One Less Car: Bicycling and the politics of automobility (Temple University Press, 2010). He was interviewed via email by Jon Lamb.
Issue 33 - June-July 2011
The Queensland state budget delivered on June 14 has confirmed again the state Labor government’s willingness to pander to the needs of big business, while workers pick up the tab for the sell-off of large chunks of the state’s infrastructure. In a post-budget media event, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh beamed as she announced: “The sun has come back to the sunshine state”.
Carjacked: The Culture of the Automobile and Its Effects on Our lives
By Catherine Lutz and Anne Lutz Fernandez
Palgrave Macmillan, 272 pages
Issue 31 - April 2011
The nuclear accident in Japan caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami has affirmed many of the concerns that anti-nuclear campaigners have been warning of for decades. Above all else, nuclear power is a deadly form of energy production. At every point of the nuclear energy cycle, there is a risk of a major environmental and social catastrophe.
On March 22 the federal government finally passed the flood and cyclone levy, a one-off tax to help with the reconstruction of parts of Australia affected by recent natural disasters. The Julia Gillard Labor government expects the levy (formally known as the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangement – NDRRA) to raise $1.8 billion.
Issue 29 - February 2011
There is much that could be said about the furore surrounding PM Julia Gillard’s proposal for a flood levy to assist with the reconstruction process. One thing patently clear is that most of the outcry – whether in support or against the levy – is that it is shrouded in political opportunism and manoeuvring.
The devastating floods across Queensland and Victoria have killed dozens of people, displaced thousands and wreaked billions of dollars in damage to infrastructure and industry, leaving scores of shattered towns and cities.
Issue 28 - November-December 2010
The People’s Train
By Tom Keneally
When President Obama dumped his emissions trading policy after the trouncing of the Democrats in the recent US mid-term elections, he received cheers from his carbon-rich polluting allies here in Australia. The Julia Gillard Labor government, not to be outdone by Tony Abbot’s “direct action” nonsense, has promised much and delivered nothing.
Issue 27 - October 2010
More than 40 climate change activists on September 26 occupied the Newcastle Coal Terminal – the world’s largest coal export facility – in protest over the failure of state and federal governments to halt Australia’s contribution to the climate change crisis. Organised by Rising Tide, the protesters demanded an immediate moratorium on the expansion of the coal industry.
The hysteria about refugees and asylum seekers has not skipped a beat since the racism-driven election campaign. Nearly 5000 refugees are being held in detention centres in deplorably inhumane conditions. Many have to wait 10 months or more before their claims are even assessed.
Issue 26 - September 2010
Figures released on August 24 on the housing market in the United States reveal that further tough times lie ahead for the ailing US economy. Existing home sales in the US fell 27.2% in July – the biggest drop in one month in the home sales market in the last four decades and the lowest number of sales since 1999.
Sixty years ago, on September 1, 1950, Frank Hardy published Power Without Glory, one of the most influential and provocative pieces of working-class literature ever written in Australia. It met with wide acclaim and respect from workers through to intellectuals, while being ridiculed and condemned by conservativesand reactionaries of the day.
Issue 25 - August 2010
Without a doubt, the biggest winners of the 2010 federal election will be the huge corporations that run Australia.
Issue 24 - July 2010
In a surprising turn of affairs, the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) confirmed on June 18 that it was commencing two separate investigations in relation to the death in custody in 2004 of Palm Island man Mulrunji Doomadgee. A report released by the CMC noted that it will investigate compensation claims made by previously exonerated officer Senior Sergeant Ch
Issue 23 - June 2010
The East Timorese government is refusing to accept a proposal by Australian-based exploration company Woodside Petroleum to develop the Greater Sunrise gas deposit in the Timor Sea with a huge floating processing plant. Despite heavy pressure from Woodside, with the backing of the Australian government, East Timor is adamant that the gas should be processed in East Timor.
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has once again focussed attention on the environmentally disastrous petroleum fuel industry. The devastating impact on the ecology of the Gulf of Mexico – along with the impact upon the livelihoods of hundreds of communities reliant on the waters of the Gulf – is far from a unique event.
Issue 22 - May 2010
The Rudd Labor government has dubbed its health and hospital reform package a “health revolution”, but it is a con. It will shuffle around working people’s taxes but will not make any fundamental difference to combating the escalating health problems in Australian society.
Issue 21 - April 2010
Solidarity activists and supporters of the Cuban Revolution will gather this month at the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society National Consultation, where one item of discussion will undoubtedly be how to defeat the stifling economic blockade imposed on Cuba by the US government since 1962.
Indigenous communities, environmentalists and human rights activists are gearing up for a fight against the federal government’s push to create a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory. Traditional owners in the area of the proposed waste dump at Muckaty Station, located around 120 kilometres north of Tennant Creek, are strongly opposed to it.
Issue 20 - March 2010
The East Timorese government is standing firm against pressure to sign a natural gas downstream processing deal for the Greater Sunrise field in the Timor Sea.
Few events in world politics in recent times could be considered more perverse or absurd than the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama. Just prior to the award presentation, his administration announced it would undertake a new military offensive in Afghanistan with a “surge” of an additional 30,000 troops.
Issue 19 - February 2010
The horrendous January 12 earthquake in Haiti has attracted a world-wide response to deal with one of the worst disasters in modern times. In addition to the catastrophic loss-of-life, the impact of the earthquake has literally re-shaped many of Haiti’s cities and towns, uprooting hundreds of thousands who may never return to the places where they once lived.
Issue 18 - December 2009
As leaders of the Western world finger-point and pontificate on this or that way forward to deal with the global climate change crisis, one proposal that keeps rearing its ugly head is the push for more nuclear power generation. With around 40% of the world’s uranium deposits, Australia is a strategic player in the international nuclear industry.
Twenty years ago, on December 11, 1989, the Australian and Indonesian governments signed the Timor Gap Treaty (TGT), giving the go-ahead to energy corporations to exploit the large natural gas and petroleum reserves located in East Timor’s territorial waters.
Issue 16 - October 2009
Among the heads of government gathered at the September 25 G20 summit held in Pittsburgh, Australian PM Kevin Rudd didn’t particularly stand out much in the hoopla surrounding US President Barack Obama’s self-congratulatory speech claiming that action by his and the other governments of the world’s 20 largest national economies had “brought the global economy back from the brink” o
During August and September, Australian and international media outlets ran numerous articles, opinion pieces and commentaries marking the 10 years since the people of East Timor voted for an end to the 24-year-long Indonesian military occupation. On August 30, 1999, 98% of registered voters participated in a United Nations-sponsored referendum.
Issue 15 - September 2009
There is perhaps no better reflection of the health of a society than the way it treats those who have no or limited access to power or control over decisions that affect their daily lives. This is especially so for the rights of indigenous people, women, migrants and young people.
BaliboDirected by Robert ConnollyScreenplay by David WilliamsonStarring Anthony LaPaglia & Oscar Isaac111 minutes
BaliboBy Jill JolliffeScribe Publications, 396pp
Issue 14 - August 2009
Since its inception, Direct Action has been proudly internationalist. DA draws upon the rich socialist tradition that upholds working-class international solidarity as a cornerstone of the fight for social justice for all oppressed peoples.
August 30 marks 10 years since the UN-sponsored referendum on Indonesian-occupied East Timor’s political status.
Issue 13 - July 2009
If you’ve picked-up this paper for the first time, you’ll appreciate it’s not the same as the capitalist press and street mags filled with lies, half-truths and distortions peddled as ‘news’.
Issue 12 - June 2009
The people of Indonesia will go to the polls to elect a new president on July 8. The current president, former general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, will face competition from two tickets in which both vice-presidential candidates – Prabowo Subianto and Wiranto – are former generals.
Issue 9 - March 2009
East Timor has passed through the first year of “stability” since the failed assassination attempts in February 2008 on East Timorese President Jose Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.
Issue 3 - August 2008
This month is the 20th anniversary of Burma’s “8888 uprising”, which began on August 8, 1988, when tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Rangoon, the capital, to protest against decades of military rule and economic mismanagement.
On July 15, the final report from the joint Commission for Truth and Friendship (CTF) was officially received by the governments of Indonesia and East Timor.