On 13 March 2010 five women aged from 37 to 69 began walking from Brisbane to Canberra to take a message to the prime minister. The message conveys the hopes and dreams of the Australian people, asking that we take steps towards a nuclear free future.
While Kevin Rudd announced a crackdown on tobacco advertising and increased sales tax on cigarettes, attention was diverted from the elephant in the livingroom: climate change and addiction to coal. At the same time Friends of the Earth Australia denounced the development of two new coal export terminals near Bowen in North Queensland, insisting the expansion of Queensland's biggest contributor to climate change must come to an end. Adding an extra $2 sales tax a pack to cigarettes is a diversion from the real problem: Australia's multi-billion dollar addiction to coal. What Kevin Rudd needs to do is put a $35 per tonne carbon levy on coal to send a significant message to business and the public on climate change and public health.
Related: Punishing the people who stand up for the common good | Conservationists and scientists angry at Rudd retreat on climate | Crikey: Pity the coal lobbyists are more powerful than the tobacco lobbyists
The Federal ALP is planning to bring in laws that would declare anyone who assists asylum seekers in coming to Australia even if they receive no financial gain a "people smuggler" and they face jail time. The Melbourne Age states a "modern day Oskar Schindler" would face 10 years jail. The captain of the Tampa could have been jailed under these laws. The new law also gives ASIO the power to tap phones in Australia to tackle the "problem" of people smuggling.
Federal Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson's ears should have been burning on Wednesday evening as speakers at an information evening at Northcote Town Hall attacked his perverse obsession with building a nuclear waste dump on Indigenous land at Muckaty in the Northern Territory.
Refugee and Human Rights advocates are in shock at the Rudd Government announcement that Curtin, the Howard era hellhole is to be reopened. Curtin Detention Centre was the worst of Australia's hellholes. It was the most secret, most isolsted and the most brutal. Curtin is 28 hours by road from Perth. It is 1/2 hour by road from Derby and 6 hours from Port Hedland. The Rudd government may think that they can detain and hide people in an isolated hellhole but they underestimate the decency and determination of the human rights community in Australia.
On Wednesday, April 14, more than 100 local people, led by three Aboriginal Traditional Owners, held a peaceful demonstration in the contested logging area of Mumbulla mountain on the far south coast of New South Wales. Mumbulla Mountain is sacred to the Yuin people and stronghold of the last koalas in the region between Bermagui and Bega. Logging of Mumbulla Forest koala habitat near Bega started on 29th March 2010. The traditional owners present said "We, the traditional owners of Mumbulla Mountain, are distressed that woodchip logging is taking place on part of our sacred land. The land should be handed over to us to care for it, our sacred sites and the animals that live here. We need to preserve it for our culture and our future generations."
This week we saw hefty fines of $70,000 handed out to three foreign sailors from a bulk carrier, the MV Mimosa, which was caught travelling through restricted waters of the Great Barrier Reef off north Queensland. Also in the news was the arrest and charging of the master and the chief officer on watch of the Shen Neng 1, which ran aground on the Douglas shoal causing damage in a restricted area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
(Permission to post this story here was given by Marc Lavine, Bureau Chief, Australia, of Agence France Presse)
ROEBOURNE, Australia (AFP) - - The windows of Roebourne's once-thriving main street have been boarded up and its pavement is littered with the shards of shattered beer bottles.
Aboriginal elder Peter Jeffries gestures a weathered hand toward the abandoned banks and offices in the Western Australian town, their peeling facades bleached by the desert sun.
A South Australian Supreme Court Judge has awared over $700,000 in damages to 10 people bashed with batons, capsicum sprayed and locked in a shipping container at a protest against the Beverley Uranium Mine in May 2000. The judge slammed the “Star Force” special response police for abusing human rights and using excessive force. He also slammed the Deputy Premier and Police Minister for refuseing to mediate a solution and publically calling the demonstrators “feral”.