Irene Khan, Amnesty International Secretary General, announced after spending a week visiting Aborigines in central Australia, "In the heart of this first world I found scenes more reminiscent of the third world. That Indigenous peoples experience human rights violations on a continent of such privilege is not merely disheartening, it is morally outrageous. The moral imperative to eradicate such poverty is no less an imperative on government than to eliminate torture."
Fifty protestors were arrested on Thursday 19th November in an act of civil disobedience on the steps of the Tasmanian Parliament in Hobart. The protestors were not only calling for the mill to be stopped but against the corrupt passing of the Tasmania Pulp Mill Assessment Act that fast tracked approval of the Mill.
Once again we are witnessing a public hysteria building about asylum seeker boat people seeking the safety of a new home in Australia. A new report âBehind Australian Doors: Examining the Conditions of Detention of Asylum Seekers in Indonesiaâ (PDF) describes poor conditions across many Indonesian immigration detention facilities. Produced by lawyer and refugee advocate Jessie Taylor, the report highlights cramped conditions, grossly inadequate hygiene and sanitation, rodent infestations, inadequate and inappropriate food, polluted water, and a lack of medical care available to asylum seekers. Pitifully few people from these camps are selected for resettlement in Australia with an average of 50 people per year achieving resettlement.
Hundreds of building workers rallied in cities across Australia on Friday, October 30, in support of Adelaide construction worker Ark Tribe, who is charged with 'failing to attend to answer questions' at the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) about a stop-work meeting. The commission has the power to compulsory interrogate and impose fines and jail building workers who do not co-operate. A Jail term of up to 6 months could be imposed.
The 25% cut in the Australian quota for Southern Bluefin Tuna has been described by the Wilderness Society as a step in the right direction, but the cut is too little too late with the fish species teetering close to the edge of extinction. The Quota reduction was made in an agreement at the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna meeting in South Korea in October 2009. The fish was listed in 1996 as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
From Alphington to Warrawong, Broome to Wagga, Townsville to St Helens thousands of people across Australia attended a diverse variety of over 175 different climate action events calling on politicians to set the target for CO2 emissions to 350 parts per million (ppm) for a reasonable chance of avoiding dangerous climate change. CO2 emissions are already at 387ppm so we need to have negative emissions through active programs to draw down and stabilise carbon from the atmosphere.
They make up less than four per cent of people who come to Australia seeking asylum, yet never fail to generate an astonishing political and media storm.
So here are some facts: more than 96 per cent of asylum seekers arriving in Australia step off planes, not boats. Furthermore, the vast majority of boat arrivals are typically found to be genuine refugees â those fleeing for their lives and safety, not simply seeking better lives in wealthier nations. Far from being "illegal immigrants" they are exercising the right to seek asylum under international law.
On October 24, the International Day of Climate Action will cover almost every country on earth, the most widespread day of environmental action in the planetâs history with rallies, stunts and community actions all aiming to highlight the number 350. 350 parts per million is the safe level of C02 in the atmosphere identified by scientists beyond which humans face disaster. There are already over 140 350.org actions planned for Australia.
The Sea Shepherdâs Vessel the âSteve Irwinâ will be docking in Brisbane,Sydney, and Fremantle as part of its tour of Australian ports before heading off to the Antarctic for another Summer of tackling the Japanese whalers with direct action, in âOperation Waltzing Matildaâ . The operation was named in recognise the support of the Australian people, which is in sharp contrast to the opposition of the Rudd Government who is currently blocking Paul Watson and his 1st Officerâs visa pending âcharacter testsâ and them providing their international police records.