Australia

ALP awards U.S. general for illegal Iraq war

Just when you thought the ALP could not sell out anymore, we saw this week Defence Minister John Faukner gave General David Petraus, the general who oversaw the "surge" in Iraq and now head of U.S. Central Command an honoury Order of Australia medal for his work in Iraq. As the World Socialist Website points out, this move highlights the subservient relationship of the Australian governmnent to U.S. imperialism regardless of the party in power.
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/nov2009/faul-n06.shtml

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New video of Ampilatwatja walkoff - Richard Downs & Harry Nelson in Melbourne

During October '09, Ampilatwatja's spokesperson, Richard Downs, conducted a speaking-tour along the east coast of Australia, talking at Universities, Workers' Unions, Indigenous communities and at public rallies in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, raising awareness of the walk-off against the NT Intervention and appealing for funds to help the walkoff camp to remain self-sufficient. A new video by Juice Media of this tour has been made.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nJKEl9asqQ

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Unions and refugee advocates call for humane response on refugee stand-off aboard Oceanic Viking

Photo by cactusdude666 on Flickr - Australia's Shame - Nov 2, 2009
Refugee advocates and the Australian Union Movement have called on the Rudd Government to take the 78 Sri Lankans on the Oceanic Viking to Christmas Island where their claims as refugees and asylum seekers can be processed. Many of them have languished in Indonesian Immigration Detention for several years and already have been determined as refugees. They are refusing to leave the Australian Customs ship Oceanic Viking to go to the Tanjung Pinang Detention Centre resulting in a standoff between the Australian Government and the Indonesian Government.

See also: Australia's refugee resettlement program from Indonesia grossly inadequate | Tell Kevin Rudd: respect refugees’ rights

Climate change action means thousands of new jobs

Media Release - Climate Institute
Wednesday, 04 November 2009

Up to a million new jobs could be created over the next 20 years if Australia's politicians and business leaders adopt strong policy action to combat climate change, a coalition of union, environment and social service groups told a public forum in Brisbane today.

Australia’s refugee resettlement program from Indonesia grossly inadequate

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 ‚ÄėBehind Australian Doors: Examining the Conditions of Detention of Asylum Seekers in Indonesia‚Äô (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.

Related: Behind Australian Doors Blog | Help bust the asylum seeker myths on Melbourne Cup day | Tell Kevin Rudd: respect refugees’ rights

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Help bust the asylum seeker myths

By GetUp!

With the tragic news over the weekend that another group of asylum seekers may be missing at sea, it is time for our politicians to stop using their plight as a political football.

For years GetUp members have stood shoulder to shoulder with like-minded Australians to defend some of the world's most vulnerable people. We all thought that shameful chapter of Australian history had closed forever. In 2009, sadly, it hasn't.

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Unions fight Building Commission draconian powers and prosecution of Ark Tribe

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.

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173 million people stand up against poverty

Between the 16th and the 18th October 173,045,325 citizens gathered at over 3,000 events in more than 120 countries,
demanding that their governments eradicate extreme poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). ‚ÄúStand Up, Take Action, End Poverty Now!‚ÄĚ, now in its fourth year, has been certified by Guinness World Records as the largest mobilization of human beings in recorded history, an increase of about 57 million people over last year.

Overfishing: Bluefin tuna crashing toward extinction

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.

Related: Papua New Guinea tuna factories threaten regional ecology, livelihoods

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