Foco Nuevo in August

Foco Nuevo in August 7th August, 2015 8.00 pm Kurilpa Hall 174 Boundary Street, West End (map) After such a wonderful July event, which was packed out (and one of our biggest crowds ever) we’re very much looking forward to … Continue reading

Ten dollar poetry


Shame on the mouth that would deny 
the knotted hands that set us high
                   - Mary Gilmore

“no foe shall gather our harvest, or sit on our stockyard rail” – quote from Mary Gilmore (pictured on $10 note)

Originally posted on andypaine:

Robert Graves once said “there’s no money in poetry, but there’s no poetry in money either”. I think that, like the best poetry, there’s a lot of truth in this quote, but one institution that seems determined to prove it wrong is the Australian mint.

When I was a kid, the nearby town of Gulgong announced with pride on signs at the edges of town that the main street was featured on the old paper ten dollar note alongside a portrait of local poet Henry Lawson. With the change to plastic notes in 1993, both Henry and Gulgong were ditched (those signs are still there, mind you) but replaced with two more poets – Banjo Paterson and Henry’s one-time lover Mary Gilmore.

I appreciate that there’s room for something as fiscally unproductive as poetry (Lawson in particular died broke after a lifetime of alcoholism and interpersonal conflicts) on our national currency…

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Media Watch: does the Courier Mail have an agenda?

Last week it was reported that Joe Hockey told a meeting of tax accountants that it is desirable to reduce the top marginal rate of income tax, currently 47% (including Medicare levy) citing the New Zealand rate of 33% with apparent approval. The G.S.T. rate in New Zealand is 15%. Continue reading

Adani Mine – a train wreck?

[Publisher’s Note: The new Labor government in Queensland is making some big mistakes early, here is one of them. This article is by Michael West of Fairfax, formerly writer of Margin Call in the Australian. One aspect not mentioned in the article is that Adani can’t claim that there lots of new jobs at the Carmichael mine. Sean Ryan (Environmental Defenders Office) said there would be 1,464 jobs on offer if the Carmichel mine project goes ahead not the 10,000 promised by Adani  – Legal Defence of the Environment (Paradigm Shift 24 July 2015)]

Adani shown the door by traditional owners

Adani’s Carmichael project has Treasury officials perplexed, traditional owners incensed, environmentalists upset and yet Queensland Labor remains a cheerleader.

The Wangan and Jagalingou people gathered two weeks ago at a convention centre in Carseldine north of Brisbane.

They were there to vote on a proposal to make sure those responsible for their native title claim were truly representative of the Wangan and Jagalingou people. These are the traditional owners of the land in the Galilee Basin, precisely where Indian company Adani aims to build Australia’s biggest coal mine, the controversial $16 billion Carmichael project.

Twice in three years, the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) had rejected Adani’s advances to sign a land deal for the mine, and twice Adani had dragged them off to the Native Title Tribunal and sought approval for the state to override their opposition to the mine.

It was just after 9am on Saturday, June 20, when two charter buses turned up at the Tavernetta Function Centre in Carseldine. Adani had bussed in 150 people in a sly bid to force consideration of a new memorandum of understanding they claimed to have with W&J, despite the previous ‘no vote’ from W&J. It was an Adani ambush, and it must have cost a fortune: three days of food, accommodation and transport for 150 people.

“We saw the buses turn up and we were wondering what was going on,” says traditional owner and W&J lead spokesman Adrian Burragubba.

“They tried to organise their own meeting after ours in order to get the people to agree to their MoU – a kind of tricked ILUA [Indigenous Land Use Agreement] when they knew they didn’t have one. Right now we’re in the Federal Court precisely because we refused an ILUA and they have tried to override us.”

But Adani’s cunning stunt backfired. They hadn’t counted on their 150 voters changing their minds after impassioned speeches from the likes of Burragubba. W&J tribal elders are deeply concerned about the effect of the mine on their cultural heritage and the risks it poses to water and wildlife.

By the end of the day, Adani’s reps had been asked to leave the meeting. Of the W&J’s 12 “new applicants”, or claim representatives, at least seven were against Adani, despite all the money flying about to skew the vote, and three were in favour. The views of the other two appear in the balance.

Burragubba says Adani has been engaging in tactical skulduggery for years, excluding him from meetings as he represented families which were not in favour of Carmichael.

“They claimed I was disruptive,” he told Fairfax Media.

“But they need all applicants in a meeting to do a deal. So there cannot possibly be a legally binding agreement.

“Adani has been conniving with these other two people [other Indigenous applicants] to try to get an agreement and undermine the Native Title process and our right to free prior informed consent.”

Before the showdown at the Carseldine convention centre, Adani had co-opted two of the W&J applicants, also directors of the trustee for the W&J’s Cato Galilee Trust.

Adani failed to respond to questions on Friday as to its arrangements with Cato Galilee and with the W&J applicants.

Its latest public missive on the subject came three days before the W&J meeting: “Adani deepens partnership with Traditional Owners.”

As far as W&J are concerned nothing could be further from the mark. While Adani has signed up ILUAs with other Indigenous groups – the Juru, Birriah and Jangga Aboriginal people – whose land lies either on the rail corridors from the Galilee or on the coast at Abbot Point where the coal is to be shipped to India, there is only a draft memorandum of understanding intended for the W&J, and one which is not representative of the majority of families at that.

It is getting messy. W&J now has a claim before the Federal Court alleging Adani misled the W&J people. The Native Title Tribunal and the state of Queensland are also listed as defendants for failing to properly follow process.

So here we have a deal which is no only an utter white elephant on a financial basis but which does not have consent from the traditional landowners in the Galilee Basin. They say the mine will destroy their land, yet the Labor government of Queensland came out this week in ardent support of it.

We welcome the “sustainable development of the Galilee Basin”, was the line from Treasurer Curtis Pitt on Wednesday, notwithstanding revelations in Fairfax Media the day before that Queensland Treasury thought the project unbankable.

There is zero chance of “sustainable development”. Adani’s own financial modelling assumes coal prices have to double for the project to make money.

As one incredulous hedge fund source pondered this week: “Peabody does 36 million tonnes per annum and they’d take $2 billion any day of the week … what am I missing here? Money laundering?”

By week’s end the Peabody reference was even more poignant. Here was the US coal giant, with huge mining operations in Australia, desperately fending off its creditors.

Its share price sank another 20 per cent this week, hitting a record low and a market cap of $US520 million ($680 million). It is down 40 per cent for the month, is carrying $US5.5 billion in debt and is on the hook for nearly $1 billion in mining rehabilitation costs in Australia alone.

If Adani had the remotest interest in sane investment and value creation for its shareholders, why would it not just bid for Peabody’s mines?: buy immediate cash flow, eliminate project risk, and get higher quality coal at a fraction of the price.

In fact, the value equation is 10 per cent less tonnage for four times the price. Adani’s plan is to build a 32 million tonne per annum mine, stage one (versus Peabody’s production of 36 million tpa).

They still need to spend $3.5 billion to build the mine, then another $3.5 billion to build the rail line and then $3 billion for the port expansion.

This is far too sensible for Adani and the government of Queensland, who prefer to pursue a project with no prospect of success, unless the coal price miraculously doubles, and with enormous environmental risk in the face of trenchant community opposition.

Even if it did succeed, against all logic, the job creation would be less than one-fifth what Adani claims; that is, 1400 versus Adani’s ambit claim of 10,000. And if it did ever make money, thanks to the structure of Adani Mining any profits would wend their way via Singapore to Mauritius.

Queensland, the Peabody share price is telling you something, you are riding a white elephant with wings way above a magical landscape of dreams.

Michael West


The 17 Group: Out of the Sandstone and into the Streets …


Day of Action to defend West End from Developers

This gallery contains 1 photos.

I thought you might be interested in signing this e petition called ‘Objection to development application at 93 Boundary Street, West End’. You can find the epetition at This developer is proposing 25 storeys right in the heart of … Continue reading


Unions and Community rally against imperialist ‘Free Trade’ deals

On 24 July, more than 300 unionists and community members attended an enthusiastic rally outside the Labor Party National Conference in Melbourne to oppose the China Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The rally was … Continue reading

#TURC The law as the disorganiser of labour


“Whilst there is an attempt by some to associate Lomax with Halafihi Kivalu an ex-CFMEU official who is accused of acting corruptly for personal benefit and has subsequently been expelled from the CFMEU this seems to be nothing more than a simple smear (CFMEU 2015b). “

Originally posted on The Word From Struggle Street:

Construction workers march in the city centre in Melbourne, Tuesday, April 30, 2013. The CFMEU today marched on Grocon sites calling for improved safety. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING Construction workers march in the city centre in Melbourne, Tuesday, April 30, 2013. The CFMEU today marched on Grocon sites calling for improved safety. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING

John Lomax, a CFMEU official, has been charged with blackmail. The CFMEU reports that ‘Mr Lomax was told by police that he was accused of forcing an employer to enter into an EBA and that as a result the employer suffered financial loss due to paying workers higher wages’ (CFMEU 2015a). Lomax has not yet appeared before the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption however ‘ACT police said his arrest was “in relation to the Canberra hearings” of the royal commission’(2015). Whilst there is an attempt by some to associate Lomax with Halafihi Kivalu an ex-CFMEU official who is accused of acting corruptly for personal benefit and has subsequently been expelled from the CFMEU this…

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Bolivar – the Liberator

The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) invites you to the premiere of:


(EL LIBERTADOR – Venezuelan film)
to celebrate Latin America’s Unity
Free event

Sunday 16 August 2015, 3:00 pm
The New Globe Theatre
220 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley
(a few doors down from Railway station)

You are invited to some nibbles and a complimentary glass of champagne
Book your seat by visiting: Eventbrite

For more information phone:
Margaret: 0439 411 330 I
Eulalia: 0424 364 588

Sponsored by the Embassy of Venezuela in Australia


Unions oppose China Free Trade Agreement

What is ChAFTA? The China-Australia free trade agreement is a wide-ranging agreement between Australia and China that was negotiated in secret without public or parliamentary input. It gives Chinese companies preferential treatment in Australia. Some clauses contained within the agreement … Continue reading