Daily Archives: September 22, 2010

A Shift in Palestine?

The War Works Hard
How magnificent the war is!
How eager
and efficient!
Early in the morning,
it wakes up the sirens
and dispatches ambulances
to various places,
swings corpses through the air,
rolls stretchers to the wounded,
summons rain
from the eyes of mothers,
digs into the earth
dislodging many things
from under the ruins . . .
2000, Dunya Mikhail
From: The War Works Hard
Publisher: Al-Mada, 2000

A shift may be coming from Palestine.

If the leader of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mahmoud Abbas, can’t negotiate an end to Israeli settlements being built how can there be peace?

I heard a news item on the ABC early this morning (23 September 2010) about an incident in Quds (Jerusalem).

Israeli security guards shot a Palestinian man dead after an altercation with settlers.

Friends visiting Palestine have witnessed such arguments with settlers happening all the time.

After the Palestinian man, a father of three children, was murdered people threw stones at the guards.

Stones versus guns, still.

A Palestinian in Brisbane described the events thus:

… a young Palestinian guy from Quds (Jerusalem) on his way to the mosque to pray at dawn was shot dead and 3 other mates severely wounded by settlers attacking his field. The same way other settlers ( …. settlers ….. what a lovely word….), ruined a grape field few days ago in Khalil (Abraham) city, and other settlers stole olive produce OFF TREES in Nabilus couple of weeks ago (they actually picked the bloody olives off!!!) among hundreds of other similar DOCUMENTED incidents taking place every single year, 63 years running, where no one ever gets prosecuted, or (when they do) ever convicted.

Yet the media still wish to counterpose every act of Israeli brutality and inhumanity with an act of violence by Palestinians no matter how small.

Western press councils are asked to view balanced media reports as anti-semitic.

Another intifada may come – it depends how exhausted Palestinians in the west bank are.

From my own experience of struggle, Palestinians will try.

People worldwide must help prevent the Palestinian authority from selling out – how else can their people achieve freedom from Israeli apartheid?

Thanks to RB and JM for bringing this to my attention.

Ian Curr
September 2010


Israeli raid on Gaza aid flotilla broke law – UN probe

Complaint of anti-Semitic articles is dismissed

In whose hands – public or private?

No politician in Queensland today would advocate the selling of our railways to a syndicate. If it is right and beneficial for the State to build a line and run an engine on it, why should it be wrong and injurious for the State to build that engine or to mine for the coal it consumes? Harry Turley  1896, later a  Labour Senator for Queensland.

There are various forms of coal.

The highest grade, metallurgical (or coking) coal, is used in steel production.

There is no substitute for coking coal in steel production – the demand for coking coal is determined by the demand for steel.

BHP Billiton is the world’s biggest producer and exporter of coking coal.

Two thirds of coking coal transported by sea comes from Queensland.

The Qld Labor Government wishes to privatise the means of transporting Queensland coal to port Queensland Rail (QR National).

If the sell off proceeds, QR National will be bought by institutional investors like super funds and large companies. Some shares may also be bought by small investors. The Queensland government intends to retain about 25% of QR national and use the $5Bn it gains to win the next election by offering people more roads, hospitals and schools.

The Liberal National party in Queensland are split on whether to oppose the sale of QR national.

Two independents recently formed the Queensland Party (Rod Messenger and Aidan McLindon) both question selling off QR.

“Mr McLindon said the government should call an ideas summit including trade unions and business leaders such as Richard Branson in a genuine attempt to rethink privatisation.” MPs to walk a mile in your shoes by Daniel Hurst August 31, 2010 Brisbane Times

Big questions are being asked about what resources and enterprises should be in public hands and what should be at the mercy of the market.

This is a political question where all mainstream parties in Australia have not adjusted to the Global Financial Crisis. Federal Governments (Labor and Liberal) sold Telstra for $30Bn. They now need Telstra to help build a national broadband network. Still, Telstra shares have plummeted in recent times.

There is no organised political voice to analyse and challenge assumptions made by government. There is little analysis in the media.

During the past decade, BHP has become the world’s most profitable and most powerful miner because it has seen the future and executed a strong but simple strategy. It has a diverse portfolio of world-class mines. It is not reliant on any single commodity. It controls its destiny, rather than being a captive to it. Once again, it is taking the lead. And Kloppers (BHP) has found a friend in Bob Brown. Kloppers plays strategic card by backing a carbon tax IAN VERRENDER, SMH September 18, 2010

If a change is gonna come, how?

There is a challenge to private ownership of enterprises involving essential services since the GFC.

This argument is occurring in mainstream economic and political discourse.

Questions like ‘Which is more efficient – public or private sector?’ are resurfacing.

The corollary ‘What enterprises should government own and what should be in private hands’.

The role of the firm is in question again since the giant investment banker Lehman Bros collapsed.

There has been no push for worker control but there has been questions about whether the public sector should enter into Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), whehter it is better to contract out or to keep ‘in-house’.

Bob Walker and Betty Con Walker

As long as ten years ago PROF.BOB WALKER with his wife Betty Con Walker wrote a book called ‘Privatisation – sell off or sell out?’ He told Kerry O’Brien on the ABC’s 7:30 report:

We’ve got to the point where government’s sold off so many things that there are still people around looking at what they can sell next.

We’re really saying, “Hang on, enough’s enough.”

I guess we’re just very concerned about the intellectual poverty of some of the arguments being advanced and some of the rather tired rhetoric, such as we need to sell assets to reduce debt, and so forth.

(to be continued)

Ian Curr
September 2010


Calling all refugee supporters to join the
Peoples Assembly in Canberra @ Opening of Parliament
Tuesday 28 September, 12.30-1.30pm (gathering from 12noon)

Speakers include:

Adam Bandt, Greens MP
Sarah Hanson-Young, Greens Senator
Tamil Community speaker
Afghan Community Speaker

Dear Refugee Supporter

The election is over and the real work of government is about to begin. This is an exciting time for a fresh start for our Federal government a new way of doing things.

We are asking for you to join with us at a Peoples Assembly in Canberra at the opening of Parliament on Tuesday 28 September from 12.30-1.30.

We will assemble on the lawns outside Parliament House to call on the new Parliament to introduce humane refugee policies and stop using refugees as political footballs. Refugee groups are asked to bring banners with the key messages of the gathering as well as their own messages.

Was your voice heeded on asylum seekers during this election?
Many of us are worried about the way in which successive governments have treated asylum seekers and refugees. We are tired of seeing asylum seekers used as political footballs where each side of politics scores points by proposing increasingly harsher policies.

We believe that it is time to tell our parliamentarians- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
With the entry of the Greens and Independents as significant players in Government, there is a chance to end this endless round of punitive policymaking and to achieve humane policies for refugees. We want to encourage these new players to demand better standards from the parliament on human rights.

We want to call a halt to this race to the bottom on human rights.

The reason we are coming together on the lawns of Parliament House on this day is to say that we, the people, want to be heard- we care about how vulnerable people are treated and we want our politicians to stop using asylum seekers as political footballs.

At a recent Refugee Advocacy Network meeting in Melbourne it was decided to ask all the refugee and asylum seeker networks, agencies and community groups to support and participate in this Peoples Assembly in Canberra .

Groups in each city will need to organise their own transport. We hope to send a bus from Melbourne, and are also assuming that many people will travel independently. The logistics for the event are yet to be organized in detail.

We are seeking your support for this event. Please rely to Marie Hapke at trconcepts with PEOPLES ASSEMBLY in the title of your email indicating the likely number of people who may attend from your group/organisation.

If your group or you as an individual would like to endorse this proposal please email Marie Hapke at trconcepts with PEOPLES ASSEMBLY in the title of your email and details of your organisation and a contact number.
For further information contact Marie on 0409 252 673 or Pamela Curr on 0417 517 075 or Sue Bolton on 0413 377 978

Signed by 13 Sept 2010:

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
Australian Nursing Federation
Australian Tamil Congress
Blue Mountains Refugee Group
Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project
Community Action Against Homophobia
Free Tamil Eelam
Gippsland Trades and Labour Council
Global Sisterhood Network
Geelong Refugee Action and Information Network (GRAIN)
Gunawirra Limited NSW
Humanitarian Crisis Hub
Little Company of Mary Refugee Project (LCMRP), Sydney
Pax Christi Australia (International Christian Peace Movement)
Refugee Action Coalition (Sydney)
Refugee Action Committee Canberra
Refugee Advocacy Network
Refugee Action Collective Vic
Refugee Action Network Newcastle (RANN)
Researchers for Asylum Seekers
Rural Australians for Refugees – Daylesford & District
Rural Australians for Refugees Mount Gambier Inc
Rural Australians for Refugees Queenscliff
Rural Australians for Refugees Surf Coast
Socialist Alliance
Socialist Alternative
The Greens NSW
Union of Australian Women Victoria
Victorian Greens

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Location change for barracks speakout against Afghanistan in Sydney

Hi everyone

Stand Fast speakout location change.

Due to a recent terror threat (or state fear mongering depending on your pint of view) large steel barriers have been erected and we cannot get within 200m of the main gate of Holsworthy Barracks. In order to get what exposure we can to troops we have moved the speakout to:

Macarthur Avenue, Holsworthy (off Heathcote Rd and adjacent to the Holsworthy Rail Station)

It will still begin at 12 midday Friday Sept. 24.

Please forward to other interested parties so no one goes to the wrong location. Please contact myself or Graeme if you have further enquiries.

Thank you,

Hamish Chitts

Hamish Chitts, Stand Fast (www.stand-fast.webs.com) 0401 586 923

Graeme Dunstan, Peacebus.com (www.peacebus.com) 0407 951 688