Monthly Archives: March 2010


Book Launch of Joanne Watson’s ‘Palm Island through a long lens’ Joanne Watson’s ‘Palm Island through a long lens’ “My people don’t need no introduction, we are the people you label with white dysfunction, our beauty, our pride you just … Continue reading

Pro-Choice benefit gig

Pro-Choice or No Choice
Benefit Gig
Pear & The Awkward Orchestra
Anarchist Duck
Ofa Fanaika (from Chocolate Strings)
Girl With Cake
Eden Must Burn

The Globe Theatre
220 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley
Saturday 17th April
Doors open from 7pm
Organised by the Pro-Choice Action Collective
All funds to the pro-choice campaign
Tickets: $15/$10 concession
Pre-sale tickets available at OzTix

Help spread the word:
Click here to join the Facebook group and invite your friends

Click here to download the poster

Video: ‘With Babies and Banners’

Women of the Emergency Brigade in the 1937 sit down strike

This video traces the role of the Women’s emergency brigade in the Labour movement and the formation of the United Auto Workers. it contains interviews and archival footage.

Necessarily ‘With Babies & Banners’ deals with a different era of capitalism when workers were employed en mass in factories, where now much of that work is done by robots.

‘With Babies and Banners’ has some great accounts and film footage of the General Motors strike at Flint Michigan strike in 1937.

The role of the women’s auxiliary was pivotal in winning that dispute and in the formation of the United Auto Workers union.

The Women’s Emergency Brigade who wore distinctive red berets and arm bands were on the picket lines, they stood between the armed police and the striking workers and demanded a greater role for working women and housewives in the union. They provided blankets and food for the men during the 1937 sit in strike at the General Motors plant in Michigan. 40 years later the same group of women who set up the auxiliary got together to tell the story and reminisce.

Today 2010 General Motors is no more, or at least a shadow of what was, capitalism has moved on to a different era of exploitation using workers in offices, on computers and running huge financial institutions (i.e. super funds) to shore up the capital to dominate and exploit workers.

Running Time is 46 minutes.

Ian Curr
March 2010


Producers: Lyn Goldfarb, Lorraine Gray, Anne Bohlen
Director: Lorraine Gray
Editors: Mary Lampson, Melanie Maholick
Director of Photographer: Max Reid
Broadcast in 1978 on American PBS.

Foco Nuevo News April/May 2010

APRIL 2010

On the move again! Finding a home for Foco Nuevo has been elusive and, while we enjoyed the atmosphere at Souths and appreciated the cooperation of the venue managers, it proved not to be viable for the bar. Fortunately we have been able to secure Kurilpa Hall in West End for this year, right through to December.

At 174 Boundary Street West End, next to the West End library, Kurilpa Hall has a lomg history of communty activities. We held the October and Novbember Foco Nuevo there last year and are pleased that it will be our home for the rest of the year.

Next Foco Nuevo – May 7

Because the first Friday of the month falls on Good Friday, our next Foco Nuevo will be the first Friday in May. So be sure to mark May 7 in your calendars when we return with more great music in a relaxed atmsophere.

Upcoming Jumping Fences gigs

April 10: The Australia-Cuba Friendship Society is organising ‘APRIL SUN IN CUBA’, a concert to coincide with their annual National Consultation meeting. As well as Jumping Fences, the program includes Ovidio Orellana and Nelson Mansilla, Brian Hungerford (from Canberra), Venezuelan folkdancing from Vanessa Losada, and more!

April 22: The BUG Muddy Farmer Hotel, cnr Ipswich Rd and Annerley Rd, 8.00 p.m. Annerley free admission – meals available. Other artists: Rose Wintergreen-Arthur, Mark Cryle and the Redeemers

May 1: Celebrate May Day: Concert and celebration for the International Day of the Workers, at the Paddington Workers Club, 2 Latrobe Tce, Paddington.

hope to see you soon

Lachlan and Sue

You have received this email because you have indicated that you are interested in receiving information about Jumping Fences gigs. If you believe that you have received it in error or wish to discontinue please reply to sender with ‘unsubscribe’ in the subject line.


Kurilpa Hall

174 Boundary Street

West End [Next to the West End Library].


for a map

First Friday of the month

$10 / $7 concession

Maggie’s delicious cakes, tea and coffee on sale.


click !

Middle East: powder keg blowing up


Reports on the ground in Palestine sound a warning.

Amidst all the diplomacy and protests, Israeli tanks re-enter Gaza. Israeli jets blow-up tunnels that provide a lifeline from Egypt.

The whole region is effected.

All the international diplomacy has been for nought.

al Quds

Obama’s promises in Cairo rendered meaningless.

Hilary Clinton pleas to Netanyahu about building more settlements on the West Bank are just hot air.

Meanwhile on the ground the Middle East is a powder keg.

Yesterday (Fri 26 mar2010) Israeli tanks went into Khan Younis in Gaza, now Israeli planes are bombing the life-line of tunnels into Gaza, tomorrow Israeli soldiers will be firing live rounds at non-violent protestors in the West Bank.

Recent reports from Lebanon say that the only reason Israeli jets are not bombing Southern Lebanon is because the Israeli government is afraid that Hezbollah will retaliate with rockets of its own.

Israeli jets continue terror raids with sonic booms over southern Lebanese villages – villages gutted by the 2006 assault with people living in poverty on a scale with Gaza.

Israeli threats remain against Syria, Iraq and even Iran.

A solution to prevent Israel from blowing up the region has to be found now. For some recent background see Report on Palestine by Sameh Habeeb.

Ian Curr
27 March 2010

Fear and foreboding in the Middle East
By Jeremy Bowen, BBC Middle East editor

al-Quds (Jerusalem)

Israeli troops killed in Gaza clash

“An Israeli army force raided 500 metres into Palestinian territory, and was confronted by our gunmen,” Abu Obeida, a Hamas spokesman, said.

“This was our work, but was carried out for defence.”

From Al Jazeera
Israel pursues settlement growth
Israelis protest settlement freeze
Map of East Jerusalem housing plan
Jerusalem’s religious heart
Settlements strain US-Israel ties
Jewish settlements
Riz Khan:
The Middle East peace process
The battle over Israeli settlements
Inside Story:
US and Israel poles apart
Israel: Rise of the right
Holy Land Grab

Al Jazeera’s Barnaby Phillips, reporting from Gaza, said: “The al-Qassam Brigades gave a press conference and said that at 2:30pm local time an Israeli incursion began into Gaza. Israeli soldiers on foot, tanks and helicopters crossed into Gaza and the al-Qassam Brigades responded with sniper fire.

“Witnesses in the area are saying that what took place is now over; it is quiet and Israeli tanks have withdrawn.

Breaking Gaza: 2 martyrs and many critically injured in Khan Younis

Friday, 26 March 2010 18:39 Added by PT Editor Omar Ghraieb

Israeli troops and tanks enter Khan Younis

All kinds of Israeli air crafts were over seeing and protecting the ground IDF during the invasion, then they missiled a playground in Khan Younis targeting a bunch of children playing football.

Three children were critically injured, Abd Rabbu, 6 years, got hit in the back and is currently in the ICU.

Muawiya Hassanein, director of ambulance and Altaure hospital sector, said that two citizens were martyred and several others wounded in artillery shelling that targeted resistance fighters in the area of New Abasan in Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip, Friday afternoon [26 Mar 2010].

Hassanein said that ambulances headed to the area of the event, but the occupation forces prevented medical teams from evacuating dead and wounded and opened fire on the ambulances.

Israeli tanks ‘enter Gaza’ after deadly clashes

BBC Website 27 Mar 2010

Israeli tanks are reported to have advanced into the Gaza Strip following clashes with Palestinians in which two Israeli soldiers died.

Witnesses in Gaza said tanks and bulldozers were moving towards the southern town of Khan Younis.

They also said there had been firing from the Israeli navy along the Gaza coastline.

It is the first time Israeli soldiers have died in Gaza since Israel’s 22-day offensive there more than a year ago….READ MORE

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism evening

Dear friends,

Democratic Rights in Queensland (from matt mawson)

Please come along to the Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism evening – this Saturday evening at Kurilpa Hall in West End. It is shaping up to be a great evening – there will be inspiring performers and great protest footage and photos – featuring the right to march protests, Aboriginal rights protests, Palestine solidarity protests, the pro-choice campaign, union marches and much more.

The ticket price ($25/$15 concession) includes a tasty meal and coffee/tea. There will also be cheap drinks available.

The evening kicks off at 6:30pm with the meal and a chance to view the photos and protest footage. Performances will start at 7:30pm through to just after 10pm. If you can’t make it early in the night, but would still like to drop in, entry after 8:30pm will be $10/$5 concession.

Your attendance will be greatly welcomed and appreciated. Please email bookings to or phone the Direct Action Centre on 3391 1903.

In solidarity,
Kathy Newnam

Aboriginal News UN Statement by Australia

Editor’s Note: This same day that we publish Les Malezer’s email is ‘Close the Gap’ day.
It is worth reflecting on the society we live in, and how after all these years we still have a the life expectancy gap of 10 to 17 years between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and non-indigenous Australians.

Although it is now a few months old, the statement to the UN (below), on behalf of Australia, shows the hypocrisy by the government regarding human rights of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


On one hand the Rudd Government is extending the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act in Australia while at the very same time telling the UN that ‘we continue to be mindful of past injustices’, that there is ‘the beginning of a new relationship between indigenous

and non-indigenous Australians’ and ‘the Australian Government has renewed its commitment to meeting Australia’s international human rights obligations’.
Australia also claims to be closely examining the report of the National Human Rights Consultation when we know there is no such action being taken and that the report is shelved.


The evidence provided by Australia that it is concerned about the human rights of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is not evidence of self-determination and empowerment. It is not evidence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people speaking for themselves. It is not evidence of the development of the people and their communities. It is not evidence of the cultural survival through languages, customary law, self-governing institutions. The government makes the claim of a ‘$5.6 billion’ investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander development. This dollar figure is meant to impress the ignorant and silence the dissenters. It is meant to trump the claims of the Howard government of $4 billion expenditure, and stands as the benchmark to be overtaken by the next government.
Nobody – absolutely NOBODY – knows what this figure represents or where to find any details.
The figure actually represents how much unemployment benefits are paid to the huge numbers of unemployed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the workforce. It represents the estimate of how much mainstream health expenditure is proportionally for our people, and it represents how much mainstream education expenditure is supposedly available. It is a lie, an absolute out and out lie.

It has been the standard for government reporting for the past fifteen years, implying that the ‘burden’ of pursuing Aboriginal and Islander people equality in Australia is evidence of goodwill, and that should be enough effort in ensuring their human rights.

However, it does not represent an investment at all when you realise other figures paint a different picture, eg
– the total government ‘investment’ in the Australian population in the last budget was $340 billion, and the corresponding ‘investment’ in the 2% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population was only 1.6% – (and not evidence supporting the supposed delivery of equal services and infrastructure in remote communities). (see graph at bottom)

– the export of raw products from Australia – minerals and agricultural products from the lands stolen from the Aboriginal people – in the last financial year alone was over $215 billion.

The dollar figure is even more pathetic when you take into account:

– State and Territory governments direct money away from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for mainstream expenditure.

– Allocated funds are largely unspent for the year, and are then re- announced in the next budget.

– Any funds that make it into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs are skimmed by high administration and delivery costs, with very few dollars ‘hitting the ground, in communities’.

– A large proportion of the expenditure in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs is used by government to closely monitor and manage communities, organisations and individuals in a way to prevent decision-making, development and self-determination.

This statement by the Australian government reinforces the concerns of FAIRA that the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the sub-committee responsible for human rights and humanitarian issues, is an off-track, unaccountable body which ultimately sidelines the work of the Human Rights Council and leaves human rights in the politicised community of the UN diplomats based in New York. Note, for instance, that Australia makes no reference at all to the work and the report of the Human Rights Council.

For the uninitiated, the Human Rights Council is the UN body established in the new millennium (and made operational in 2006) to elevate the importance of human rights in the work of the United Nations. During the early stages a challenge was made to the existence of the Third Committee of UNGA once the Human Rights Council was created. It was argued by UNGA that the Human Rights Council, as the ‘third pillar’ of the UN, should stand equal to the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council, in ensuring ‘security, development and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing’. The Human Rights Council along with the High Commissioner for Human Rights are based in Geneva and this is where the non-State organisations for human rights are committed and focussed.
At the Third Committee, in New York, the doors effectively remain closed to Civil Society and non-State bodies. While observers are allowed to witness the sessions, only international organisations and New York-based societies are able to attend. The Third Committee clearly remains an ‘inner sanctum’ for governments to filter human rights matters without accountability.
The statement by the Australian Ambassador should have been pre-empted in a more accountable forum such as the Human Rights Council to ensure that the claims were legitimate and that Australians were made aware of the international face of the racist Rudd government.


As an endnote, I should add that I have strong praise for the Minister >or Foreign Affairs and his department who are trying to demonstrate a commitment to the positive role of the United Nations and to the human rights obligations of Australia. I praise that the government has, in this statement, announced it has supported the United Nations trust fund to honour the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave rade and is an early contributor to that fund.

Unfortunately the murky and sinister side of government towards the Indigenous Peoples lies embedded in the administration of FaHCSIA, including the Minister, which exists to ‘bottleneck’ all policy addressing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lives.


Regrettably, Australia’s policy and administration on indigenous affairs is now a political act of ‘State-based’ segregation, where the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are different to non-Indigenous Australians and the lives of our people are micro- managed by the incompetent formula of bureaucrats aligned to a over- zealous, fanatical Minister, rather than the people they are supposed to serve.
Australia is described as a parliamentary democracy. It is no such thing.
It is a modern form of colonial government where the rights of the FIrst Peoples have been downtrodden and sidelined to make way for aliens, and where those aliens have formed a system of government for themselves while stealing and keeping the lands and resources of the First Peoples. No provision has been made in the alien government for fair political representation of the First Peoples, for the inherent rights of the First Peoples to be respected, for restitution of the stolen properties including lands, waters and resources, or for compensation of injustices including racism.

The State of Australia cannot be a political democracy until those deficiencies are addressed, because a democracy is in definition a political state where all peoples are equal, peoples determine their own political status, all peoples freely choose their representatives and peoples can exercise the rights to economic, social and cultural development.

Even the proposed national indigenous representative body, ‘the First Nations Congress’, is tailored to suit the government. It is structured not to be something positive but to be something the government can accept. We know what ‘not another ATSIC’ means. It means the thirty years of development and progress we had made since 1973, is to be buried and not resurrected. A new path must be forged by this supposed ‘representative’ body based upon ‘white’ values, forcing:- a body with no powers except to advise government- an ethics committee to screen candidates (- would parliamentarians pass such screening?),- a prescriptive gender allocation, not as a special measure but as a permanent pre-requisite for selection,- an elite form of executive governance involving only a handful of people,- no direct path for community level people to influence or direct executives,- no provision for community reporting, transparency, accountability, monitoring or appeal, and- an institution no less vulnerable than ATSIC to public ridicule and media attacks if it pursues self determination.
The government has ensured that this ‘representative’ body has no powers other than to advise government, and provided just enough budget to keep it busy in the play pen rather than advance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination.
Regrettably, Australia still cannot present an honest face internationally over the continued colonisation and oppression of the Indigenous Peoples.

Les [Malezer]

Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly28 October 2009H.E Gary Quinlan Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia National Statement on Human Rights Today, I reaffirm the Australian Government’s commitment to human rights.

Since coming to office two years ago, the new Australian Government has turned this commitment into genuine progress in the promotion, protection and realisation of human rights at home – and abroad.

Necessarily, the Government began with a focus on the needs of the most marginalised in Australian society.

The Prime Minister’s apology, on behalf of our nation, to Indigenous Australians for past mistreatment, signalled the beginning of a new relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

This new beginning was backed by a $5.6 billion investment to address Indigenous disadvantage.And in April this year, the Australian Government announced its support for the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

More broadly, the Government announced on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the most extensive community consultation on human rights in Australia’s history – the National Human Rights Consultation. The Consultation held more than 65 community roundtables and public hearings in more than 50 urban, regional and remote locations across the country.

It received more than 35,000 submissions. The Consultation generated a considerable discussion of human rights across Australia.

The Consultation has provided the Government with a valuable document. The resulting report identifies what Australia does well, where we can do better, and assesses options for greater protection of human rights in Australia. The Government is now closely examining this report.

This was a key moment in Australia’s history in moving our domestic debate on human rights forward and we welcome the enthusiasm expressed by so many Australian men and women towards a better realisation of human rights for all.In parallel with these domestic efforts, the Australian Government has renewed its commitment to meeting Australia’s international human rights obligations.

And it has taken steps to assume further international obligations under relevant treaties.

Australia has long played a part in the international protection of human rights. We draw continuing inspiration from the work of our former Foreign Minister and third President of the General Assembly, Dr Evatt, whose influence is reflected in Article 55 of the United Nations Charter.

This article – which became known at the San Francisco conference as the ‘Australian pledge’ – commits the UN to promote ‘higher standards of living, full employment and conditions of economic and social progress and development’.

Evatt’s vision remains as important today as it was in 1945.Faced with global food, debt and financial crises, it is critical that the international community acknowledge the importance of economic, social and cultural rights, as well as civil and political rights.

The international community should – as Australia does – recognise that the processes of development must be equitable and accessible to all, including to the most vulnerable. Individuals and communities must have the right to participate in the development processes that affect them.

Australia looks forward to using our seat on the Economic and Social Council to advance the realisation of these fundamental rights – and widespread adherence to the treaties that support their implementation.

Realisation of gender equity is fundamental to the achievement of economic development. Australia welcomes strengthened institutional arrangements to support gender equity and the empowerment of women. We support efforts to establish a composite UN agency for women. We look forward to the swift appointment of a strong and competent Under- Secretary-General to build a dynamic entity able to fulfil its mandate. Gender architecture reform will better enable member states to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment nationally, as well as to fulfil international commitments to women.

The time has come for all countries to address discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. The Australian Government has introduced reforms to enable same-sex couples and their children to have the same entitlements as opposite sex de facto couples under our national law.

One enduring global human rights concern is the death penalty. Australia strongly opposes the death penalty and we reiterate our support for a moratorium on executions. We call on countries retaining the death penalty to follow the example set recently by the Republic of Togo in abolishing the death penalty.

We want to register our opposition to corporal punishment when used as a criminal sanction by Governments. Floggings, amputations and such methods of criminal punishment have no place in any judicial system in the 21st century.

Mr Chairman The protection of human rights is a paramount obligation of each and every State.

Many States have recently taken significant steps to improve human rights. We welcome Laos’ and Burkina Faso’s recent ratification of the Disabilities Convention and Laos’ ratification of the ICCPR. Brazil acceded to both Optional Protocols to the ICCPR this year.

We commend the constructive way in which small nations – such as Vanuatu, Tonga and Tuvalu – have approached their Universal Periodic Review, notwithstanding the challenges facing small island states without representation in Geneva.

Australia welcomes the launch of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, the first regional human rights body in the Asia-Pacific. We look to the Commission to fulfil the expectations of the people of the region.

Australia focuses on current challenges, but we continue to be mindful of past injustices. As we recognised through our apology to Indigenous Australians, we cannot move forward until we examine the past. In this vein, we welcomed the launch earlier this year of the United Nations trust fund for a memorial to honour the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade and were honoured to become an early contributor.

Unfortunately, some countries have failed to live up to their obligations to their people.

The situation in Fiji has worsened since April when the military regime abrogated the Constitution, imposed draconian Public Emergency Regulations, dismissed the judiciary and delayed elections until 2014. We call on the regime in Fiji to withdraw immediately these regulations, to make good on its commitment to genuine dialogue, and to move quickly to free and fair elections.

We share longstanding concerns about Iran’s fulfilment of its human rights obligations. Iranians should have the right to peaceful protest and free expression of their political views. We deplore the violence that followed the June presidential elections. We are concerned by the continued detention of so-called opponents of the regime, executions of juvenile offenders and discrimination against minorities such as the Baha’is. Australia urges Iran to ensure transparency in its judicial system, and to investigate fully reports of torture, rape and death in detention.

We have consistently called for democratic reform and reconciliation in Myanmar, including the release of all political prisoners [Lex Wotton (sic)].

While condemning the conviction of Aung San Suu Kyi on spurious charges in August, we welcome the recent contact between her and the Myanmar Government, and we urge genuine dialogue. Australia strongly supports the engagement of the UN Secretary-General on Myanmar, and we urge Myanmar to respond constructively to his proposals.

Australia, along with the international community, continues to monitor closely the Sri Lankan Government’s progress on the difficult challenge of its internally displaced people, including on their resettlement, as well as how it institutes political reform and reconciliation. Success in these areas is the key to creating a peaceful, stable and prosperous future for Sri Lanka.

We have long held concerns about the human rights situation in Zimbabwe. We were concerned to read reports today of the visit of the Special Rapporteur on Torture being cancelled as he was en route to Zimbabwe. We emphasise the importance of country visits to the proper performance of duties by the special procedures and urge Zimbabwe to facilitate access on this occasion.

Mr ChairmanThe strength of the Australian Government’s engagement on human rights reflects our conviction that national implementation of human rights standards is paramount. And vital global human rights institutions and initiatives should guide and assist States in this process.

For this reason the international community must use the forthcoming review of the Human Rights Council to assess the effectiveness of the international human rights system.

Australia has been encouraged by aspects of the Council’s work, particularly the Universal Periodic Review and the valuable work of the Special Procedure mandate holders. We value the independence of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. And we believe the Human Rights Council can do more to respond to urgent human rights challenges.

In this endeavour, and in the promotion, protection and realisation of human rights more broadly, Australia will remain an active and constructive partner.


Report on Palestine

After only 7 hours on Australian soil Palestinian Sameh Habeeb gave his eyewitness account of what happened during the assault and the ongoing siege of Gaza since December 2007.

An audience of mainly students and activists in Brisbane heard Sameh stress his was not a personal story.

It has taken considerable effort for him to get here (Brisbane) from London.

He was thoroughly checked by the Australian immigration officials on arrival at Brisbane International Airport and has been under surveillance and attack in the UK.

He said that the whole population of Palestine is under attack. What the media refers to as the ‘Gaza war’ was ‘a one-sided massacre’. And even before that he said that Gaza was ‘under siege since Hamas took office’. Since the intifada (uprising) of 2000 Palestinians have been unable to get sufficient work or food in Gaza.

The siege affects all sectors of daily life. Sameh had a photo slide exhibit [he is a photo journalist studying in London]. Continue reading

Real facts on Asylum Seekers

MORE HYSTERIA and selective statistics will be splashed over the tabloids today [and the broadsheets (sic)]. Here care of Refugee Council are the real facts.

They will give you comfort and also help argue the case for a reality check on Asylum Seeker issue.

IN case you are wondering about 40% drop in arrivals to Italy on the front page of THE AUSTRALIAN today. It comes at a human cost which no Australian should support.
Berlusconi and Gaddafi have done a deal which involves stopping boats at sea, without checking whether the people have a refugee claim, they are brutally and forcibly pushed off the boats into the hands of the Libyan Navy. Then they are transported to hellholes in Libya.

There woman are raped, men are beaten, some die and and survivors are taken into the desert in trucks and dumped.

The Opposition might think this a good solution but they forget that Indonesia is not Libya.

The Indonesian government does not have the stomach for this sort of brutality even if some Australians do.

Pamela Curr
March 2010


March 24, 2010



Last nights release by UNHCR of 2009 statistics on asylum applications in industrialised countries emphasises that Australia’s share of global asylum applications remains very small, the Refugee Council of Australia says.

In 2009, Australia received 6170 asylum applications, just 1.6% of the 377,160 applications received across 44 industrialised nations, Refugee Council CEO, Paul Power, said. Of the 44 nations, Australia was ranked 16th overall and was 21st on a per capita basis.

No doubt some politicians will try to make political capital out of an increase in asylum applications in Australia of 1400 on the previous year. However, the applications received in Australia must be viewed in light of the numbers of the 286,680 applications received in Europe and the 82,270 applications received in North America.

The industrialised countries with the largest number of asylum applications in 2009 were the United States (49,020), France (41,980), Canada (33,250), United Kingdom (29,840), Germany (27,650) and Sweden (24,190).

Afghanistan was the single largest source country of people making asylum applications in industrialised countries. The 940 applications lodged in Australia by Afghans made up only 3.5% of the international total of 26,803. Afghans were four times more likely to lodge an application in Norway than in Australia.

These figures should put to rest any claims that Australia is being flooded by asylum seekers. The only flood we are seeing is of self-serving political rhetoric.

“It is clear that refugees continue to seek protection in stable democracies which respect international law and human rights. Even though Australia’s share of asylum seekers is small, Australia should still be proud to be included among those receiving countries.

Our country is making a modest but valuable contribution to protecting people from persecution, a practical demonstration of Australians strong opposition to oppression.

Media enquiries:

Kate Gauthier

Communications Manager

p: 02 9211 9333

m: 0414 876 139

e: media


1. United States 49,020

2. France 41,980

3. Canada 33,250

4. United Kingdom 29,840

5. Germany 27,650

6. Sweden 24,190

7. Italy 17,600

8. Norway 17,230

9. Belgium 17,190

10. Greece 15,930

11. Austria 15,830

12. Netherlands 14,910

13. Switzerland 14,490

14. Poland 10,590

15. Turkey 7,830

16. Australia 6,170

17. Finland 5,910

18. Hungary 4,670

19. Denmark 3,750

20. Cyprus 3,200


1. Afghanistan 26,803

2. Iraq 24,341

3. Somalia 22,558

4. Russian Federation 20,367

5. China 20,100

6. Serbia 18,597

7. Nigeria 13,310

8. Iran 11,479

9. Pakistan 11,184

10. Georgia 10,994

11. Eritrea 10,164

12. Mexico 9,987

13. Sri Lanka 9,979

14. Zimbabwe 8,527

15. Bangladesh 6,189

16. Armenia 6,226

17. Bangladesh 6,189

18. Dem. Rep. of Congo 5,189

19. Syria 5,029

20. Guinea 4,969


1. Norway 3,871

2. United Kingdom 3,535

3. Germany 3,302

4. Austria 2,233

5. Sweden 1,694

6. Belgium 1,659

7. Greece 1,510

8. Netherlands 1,281

9. Hungary 1,194

10. Turkey 1,009

11. Australia 940


1. China 1,186

2. Afghanistan 940

3. Sri Lanka 553

4. Zimbabwe 344

5. Iran 303

6. Iraq 288

7. Pakistan 256

Figures drawn from Asylum Levels in Industrialized Countries 2009, UNHCR, March 2010


antipodeans conscience turner wud sting albions genteel conscience to the core with his masterful slave ship painting wholl take the antipodeans racialist throat? sing out loud turn over the rot & decay stasis vis-à-vis protanopia while seeing off the the … Continue reading


by Les Malezer Many recipients of this email [/readers] will not need to be reminded of Chicka Dixon and his impact on Aboriginal affairs. However, because of his illness over recent years his persona may not be known to many … Continue reading

September 22 deserves to be celebrated along with the centenary of Federation

September 22 deserves to be celebrated along with the centenary of Federation. On that day in 1951, defeat of the referendum to ban the Australian Communist Party confirmed that Australias temper would remain democratic. Had the vote gone the other way, the presumption of innocence would have been impaired and a star chamber installed.

Labor leader Ben Chifley said the Communist Party Dissolution bill opens the door to the liar, the perjurer and the pimp to make charges and damn mens reputations and to do so in secret without having either to substantiate or prove any charges they might make.

Robert Gordon Menzies had resisted a ban until disclosure of a Soviet espionage ring in wartime Canberra caused the United States in mid-1948 to cease sharing classified documents with Australia. This embargo struck at Britains nuclear program which needed both US secrets and Australian test sites. Communism, Menzies declared, was high treason.

After taking office in December 1949, the Liberal-Country Party coalition set out to dissolve the Party and its affiliated organisations, confiscate its properties and deny communistsCommonwealth employment or office in most unions.

The Act had first to identify communists. Documented membership would not catch the most wanted. Hence, the government proposed to declare people to be communists on the basis of evidence provided by its security service.

After Menzies made his Second Reading Speech on 27 April 1950, he had to amend accusations about five of the fifty-three union officials he had named as Reds.

The Act defined a communist as anyone who supports or advocates the objectives, policies, teaching, principles or practices of communism, as expounded by Marx or Lenin. Menzies reiteration that No Parliament can convert a power over Communists into a power over non-Communists would have been more convincing had the Act been confined to membership. Instead, declaration based on beliefs seemed to open windows onto mens souls.

The slipperiest slide was in the industrial arena. The publics prime objection to Communists was their causing strikes. Thus, every industrial action was labeled Communist.

Menzies had to break the Communist power in trade unions without provoking the labour movement into fearing that banning the Communists would also ban the right to strike. In a gesture to moderates, the Act outlawed communist control of employer bodies..

After the Labor-controlled Senate finally allowed the bill to pass on 17 October 1950, two Communist-led unions briefed deputy Labor leader Dr H. V. Evatt for a challenge in the High Court.

On 9 March 1951, the judges four of whom were Menzies appointees ruled six to one that, although the regulations sought may be valid under the Defence Power, the Cold War did not meet that criterion. In peace time, laws could prohibit only specific acts.

When Menzies sought to amend the Constitution by referendum, his lawyers warned against the dangers of being simple. It was not enough to ask: Are you in favour of banning the Commos?. The government also needed the constitutional authority to amend its invalidated Act. The arcaneness of the 300-word amendment fed suspicions that a Yes vote would let the a cabal declare anyone it did not like.

Menzies gave credence to that concern by allowing himself to be goaded, while the worse for drink, into hinting that two Labor parliamentarians could easily become declared persons.

Newly elected as Federal Labor Leader, Evatt raised the spectre of Belsen-style camps across Australia, an accusation which Menzies characterised as wicked. The Commonwealth War Book, meanwhile, prepared to concentrate over 1000 communist leaders in camps on the outbreak of the world war that Menzies warned was less than three years away. The Solicitor-General expected a round-up as soon as the High Court validated the Dissolution Act.

Evatt buttressed his legal and liberal arguments with attacks on the governments failure to put value back into the pound. On September 22, the No case attracted 50.48 percent, up from 20 percent seven weeks earlier. The press rekindled speculation that Menzies would resign to lick his wounds on the High Court.

As a poll of the whole people, the 1951 vote was more democratic than those leading to Federation, and the decision more democratic than our monarchical Constitution.


Little sense on the Middle East
[This is a response to some of the arguments put on Lavartus Prodeo where most of the articles and most of the comments assume that a two state solution is more probable in the Palestine/Israel conflict. The following response was posted there but parts of it have been censored.]

It makes little sense to propose a two-state or a one-state solution without considering the dominant Arab culture of the people who live there. It is Arab culture, not Islamic culture, that influences the people in the middle east.

One important question that no one on Lavartus Prodeo has considered is the political and cultural origins of Arab people in the West part of Syria, Lebanon, the West part of Jordan, Palestine (West Bank and Gaza Strip), Israel, Sinai (Egypt) — the Levant (Al-Shaam). Continue reading

Anti-Discrimination Act: administration of justice?

[Aboriginal News]

It is imprudent to assess the workings of the legal system from the news stories alone, and without due regard for the merits of the case from both sides. However the following news story seems to a bit of a clanger. This is the gist of the case:

The taxi driver called the man a ‘black bastard’. The man complained to the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal and the Tribunal found that discrimination occurred and the taxi driver must pay $2,000 in compensation.

The Court of Appeal has now overturned the Tribunal decision on a technicality – remember, the racism remains proven – because the racism by the taxi driver was not directed against a customer.

Now the ‘black bastard’ is required not only to repay the $2,000 but also to pay the court costs of the taxi driver.

The Court of Appeal sees reason to make the ‘black bastard’ pay for using the justice system to complain against racism by awarding costs against him. (Perhaps this is a legal technicality of the Court of Appeal’s operations were costs must be awarded to the successful party.)

If the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal had not found that racism exists – and it is most likely that the Tribunal is the one that made the decision to use that particular part of the law – the ‘black bastard’ would now be better off.

So ultimately ‘black bastards’ are at risk of being heavily penalised if making a complaint of racism, even is the racism is proven.

Is there any other way to see this exercise in justice?

No wonder we always feel like ‘black bastards’ in this country!!! Perhaps we deserve to be locked up and be treated like outlaws in our own country.

Justice, Queensland style? No so hard to believe if you live in this State. So if you really want justice, next time a taxi driver in Queensland calls you a black bastard…jump in the car and ask him to drive you somewhere, perhaps to the Court of Appeal.


(Another black bastard who doesn’t know when he is well-off)

Cabbie cleared over ‘black bastard’ slur

March 18, 2010 – 2:31PM

A Cairns taxi driver will no longer have to pay compensation to a man he labelled a “black bastard” because he was not his customer.

The Queensland Court of Appeal today overturned a ruling made by the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal to award Torres Strait Islander man James Sailor $2000, to be paid to him by Nelson Hubbucks, an employee of Black and White Quick Service Taxis. The Court of Appeal heard taxi driver arrived at a Cairns unit complex in March 2005 after being dispatched to collect a customer at the address.

…

Mining windfall handed to union boss

Mining windfall handed to union boss


March 18, 2010

A former union boss, John Maitland, has amassed a $9.8 million stake in a controversial coalmining project, after the state government granted an exploration permit through a deal which has been slammed as a favour to union mates.

Mr Maitland, previously the national secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, holds the stake in NuCoal, which recently listed on the sharemarket with plans to export up to 4.3 million tonnes of coal a year.

Its key asset is an exploration licence granted by the state Minister for Primary Industries, Ian Macdonald, in 2008 to Doyles Creek Mining, in which Mr Maitland held an 11 per cent stake.

Through a press release issued on Christmas Eve, Mr Macdonald granted the licence for $1.2 million without running a tender, sparking accusations of a special deal for union mates.



It is apparent that the authorities* knew that Snr Sgt Hurley killed Mulrunji. For if they did not know why did they withhold so much information that showed that Hurley is guilty. For example they witheld 66 audio tapes of interviews … Continue reading

Refugee Submissions for Anti People smuggling Bill

Senate Inquiry Update

As you may be aware, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has referred the Anti-People Smuggling and Other Measures Bill to Senate Inquiry.

Should you wish to make a submission to the Inquiry, the deadline is the 16th of April. The report is due of the 11th of May. Continue reading

Sameh Habeeb: Does Israel really want peace in Palestine?

Sameh Habeeb, founder-editor of the Palestine Telegraph newspaper, will be conducting a national speaking tour (“Eyewitness from Gaza”), hosted by Socialist Alternative.

Sameh’s first appearance in Australia is in Brisbane.

Tuesday 23 March at 6.30pm at QUT Gardens Point campus, O Block, Room 520

and his last at the Marxism 2010 conference at Melbourne University (1-4 April). He will also be speaking at four university campuses and in Newtown in Sydney. This will be the first occasion that Sameh has spoken outside Western Europe. Continue reading

Book Launch: “Ordinary Courage” by Donna Mulhearn

Brisbane launch - Flyer for Donna Mulhearn 24 March 2010 (2)

Click to enlarge

This is one woman’s account of finding the ordinary courage to fulfil her purpose, no matter what the odds.
At the age of thirty-four, Donna Mulhearn had become disillusioned by her career as a journalist and political adviser and set off on a journey of self-discovery.

Then one day she heard something radical, a call to action that would change her life forever. A man on the radio was appealing for human shields in Iraq – volunteers to deter the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ from attacking Baghdad.
Donna was already against the war – she was a firm believer in the power of nonviolent action, and like many people she mistrusted Bush and Co’s motives for entering Iraq. She knew immediately what she had to do. Continue reading

Little sense on Middle East

This is a response to ‘Uncommon sense on Israel/Palestine from an interesting source’ on the blog, LarvatusProdeo.

I post it here because my reply seems to have been rejected on that site [It turns out they have now accepted my comment]. The Workers Liberty pamphlet the post refers to states:”A boycott movement against Israel would, once it took off, inevitably become a movement against “Zionists” in Britain. In practice that would mean: against Jews.”

Australian unionists meet with the Palestinian leadership of the BDS campaign (Boycott Israel) in Ramallah. BDS thinks it time for Australia to pull its weight in the anti apartheid struggle.

Australian unionists meet with the Palestinian leadership of the BDS campaign (Boycott Israel) in Ramallah. BDS thinks it time for Australia to pull its weight in the anti apartheid struggle. Australian unionists meet with the Palestinian leadership of the BDS campaign (Boycott Israel) in Ramallah. BDS thinks it time for Australia to pull its weight in the anti apartheid struggle. Photo: Phil Monsour, Union Aid Abroad (APHEDA) Tour, March 2010

This incorrectly equates Zionism with ‘being Jewish’. Yes, Zionism is the pursuit of the Promised Land for Jews solely, to the exclusion of others, but this can cause only conflict for Jewish people.
Nazism had the goal to create a homeland for the ‘Aryan race’ excluding Jewish people.
Europeans supported the colonisation of Israel by Jewish exiles from Europe because of their guilt over the holocaust. Apartheid in South Africa sought dominance over black people thus seeking a similar objective.

Israel like South Africa and Australia are settler societies based on the colonialist model.
Australia implemented its own apartheid under the White Australia legislation and the Queensland Acts.

Israel pursues the settler model to this day and rejects Palestinian rights to the lands of their forefathers.

Most of the arguments and comments on ‘Uncommon sense on Israel/Palestine from an interesting source’ still centre around the assumption that a two state solution is possible. Yet US vicepresident Joe Biden’s attempt to broker a two state solution this week (12 Mar 2010) was met with Israeli PM, Netanyahu, announcing even more settlements in east Jerusalem.

A settler state in the 21st century, still!

The Workers Liberty document incorrectly equates Zionism with Judaism and therefore misunderstands the cause of the conflict. The conflict is political and economic not religious. As if proof is required, many devout Jews are anti-Zionist.

In the discussion of an economic boycott, neither Lavartus Prodeo nor its commentators even mention the significant economic effect that a Palestinian boycott would have on Israel’s economy.

I do not know if the boycott movement that is growing strong in France, Germany and Britain will stop the settlements being built, but if you think the Left’s support of a boycott against Israel is anti-Semitic, you are mistaken.

A secular multicultural state that ends the occupation of Palestinian lands seems to be the only hope of peace for Palestinian and Jew alike.

Ian Curr
March 2010


Zionism Laid Bare
by Kathleen Christison
The Lemon Tree
A two-state-solution?

Film: Corazon del Tiempo: The Heart of Time

Corazon del Tiempo: The Heart of Time


A Zapatista Love Story

First ever Brisbane screening!

Friday 12th March 7pm
10 Laura street Highgate Hill

$5 and refreshments and door prize!
(all money goes to Caracol of la Garucha indigenous zapatista communities)

0407 305 306

Nuclear-Free News & Events – March 10

Nuclear-Free News and Events… fun and important things to do!

1) Women begin epic walk to Canberra with message of Peace – launch March 13

2) Make your voice heard on the nuclear waste dump! Submissions due March 15


Haiti Fundraiser


Continue reading


If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is tied up with mine, then let us work together. — Lill Watson RALLY AT PARLIAMENT HOUSE 11AM ON THURSDAY … Continue reading

People going to Work — North Korean art exhibition at GOMA

Nth Korea

: Choe Yong Sun North Korea (DPRK) b.1958 ‘The construction site’ 2005
Linocut on paper 65.5 x 52.5cm Collection Nicholas Bonner, Beijing —One of the exhibits from Nth Korea at GOMA’s APT6

I thought the GOMA exhibit from North Korea was very good and urge people to go and see it. I liked the meaning given to ‘work’ (our labour) that is not appreciated under the alienating system of production here in Australia and elswhere. Continue reading

Palestinian Exhibition at Logan West Library Library

Amira Al Maani wearing Palestine national dress. Photo - Logan West Leader.

Queensland Palestine Association and Justice for Palestine (JFP) took an exhibition Logan West library at Browns Plains and hope it will create greater understanding of the Palestinian situation and its refugees.

But will the Logan City Council follow up and get the exhibit and films in all their libraries?

One of the organisers wrote:

Hopefully, the exhibition will go a long way towards correcting the myth that Palestinians love violence and use it to dispossess others. In fact, the Palestinians are a peaceful, tolerant, indigenous people who have been divested of their land, homes and dignity in the most extremely violent manner imaginable. It is in Palestine that Jewish victims of the dreaded Spanish inquisition sought refuge and were treated with great respect. For centuries, Christians have practised their faith and maintained their holy places in the Holy Land undisturbed.

Continue reading

Phil Monsour in Ramallah

"I (Phil) traveled from Jerusalem to Ramallah and meet four members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. On the return journey the check points were closed probably because of the street fighting around the El Aqsa Mosque after the occupation authorities closed the mosque and sent in the riot squad (or maybe just because they felt like doing it). We circled the city to find an open check point back to Jerusalem the 15 kilometer journey took about an hour.

" Continue reading

‘Without Papers’: Lampedusa and Christmas island

[Publisher’s Note: There is a reference in the story below to an agreement between Italy and Libya in June 2008, claiming that millions were paid by Berlusconi government for Gaddafi to turn back refugees fleeing Libya to Italy and beyond.

Note that there was an agreement signed at that time which Reuters reported was ‘an accord on Saturday under which Italy will pay $5 billion in compensation for colonial misdeeds during its decades-long rule of the North African country.

Regardless of the terms of the agreement, contrast the humanitarian crisis in 2015 with 2008.

A crisis that has grown since the NATO bombing of Libya, the ousting of Gaddaffi and the instability and poverty that has resulted. Yet governments of US, Britain, France and Australia still persist with others to seek a solution to the Syrian crisis by bombing that country.
Ian Curr, Sept 2015]


Without Papers – refugees and asylum seekers at the gate of Europe (2009) is a short film that includes the experience of people arriving in Italy by boat.

Without Papers shows similarities and differences to Christmas Island. Until June 2008 they were taken to the reception centre on Lampedusa and then transferred within a week to the mainland to accommodation while their claims are processed.

There, they  are not locked up but live in the community. You will notice that they are not interviewed for 24 hours  after arrival on the basis that they are too traumatised.

On Christmas Island people are interviewed on arrival by Immigration and the Australian Federal police and then put in “separation detention” .

The other difference is that while Christmas Island is called a ‘Reception and  Immigration Processing Centre’, meaning that people remain in detention there while their claims are processed.

After June 2008, the Italian leader Berlusconi paid millions of dollars to Libyan leader Gaddafi and agreed that boats would be turned back and that the people be handed to Libyan authorities were they are locked up in prisons in inhuman conditions.

Investigators have reported that abuse is rampant.

VIDEO: “Without Papers” – Refugees and Asylum Seekers at the Gate of Europe 17/11/2009

Pamela Curr
Campaign Coordinator
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
12 Batman st West Melbourne 3003
ph 03 9326 6066 / 0417517075


[Aboriginal News] from Ray Jackson Most of the facts of the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee are known. We all know that Hurley was responsible for Mulrunji’s death. Whether accidental or otherwise is a moot point, the unarguable facts are that … Continue reading


Palm Island: Through a Long Lens by Joanne Watson – THE shock headlines in 2004 marked the first time most non- indigenous Australians had been alerted to the existence of Australia’s largest Aboriginal community, Palm Island. Visitors to Palm are … Continue reading