Monthly Archives: September 2014

Our Friends in the North

'Doesn't matter who wins elections, nothing changes ... 
the Labour Party was the first to stab the Jarrow 
marchers in the back'

So states a pitman from ‘Our Friends in the North’, a BBC drama series about working class attempts to change Britain through the period 1964-1995, from Hume to Blair.

The protagonist of the series was inspired by civil rights marches in the US and a desire to abolish housing slums in Newcastle by building ‘streets-in-the-sky‘ pre-fab high rise. So what was the outcome? … the writer of the original play was Peter Flannery who grew up in Newcastle … was it a socialist dream or did the tower blocks turn out to be shonky built by a developer who bribed Labour candidates on-the-take?

I’ll say no more, I’ll spoil the ending 😉

Ian Curr
Sept 2014

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Saigon, Dunkirk or the Alamo? – VET in Australia

The next meeting of the 17 Group will take place onWednesday the 1st of October at 7 pm in unit 6 at 20 Drury St West End. Dr John McCollow will revive the recently overshadowed topic of the Coalition’s unpopular … Continue reading

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Why we will protest the #Genocidal20

We’ll protest the #Genocidal20 for the same reason Pemulwuy fought the British, the same reason the Aboriginal Embassy was established on the Australian government’s doorstep in 1972, and the same reason we protest Australia’s celebration of invasion on the 26th of January every year. Because we refuse to be treated as aliens in our own lands, and because the only justice we will get is the justice we take. Belonging to a nation is about rights and responsibilities, and nations must fight for their self-determination.
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4 catch-ups

the last catch-up relates to the success of the 2nd aboriginal passport ceremony that was held, as was the first, at the settlement and we much appreciate their support in allowing us to use their event-friendly spaces. Continue reading

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G20-related community events

1) Gig: Band Together- Oct 1 2) G20 People’s Summit: Idea Jam – Sept 27 3) Brisbane Community Action Network (BrisCAN) G20 Meeting – Sept 28 4) G20 and Homelessness – New Farm Neighbourhood Centre 5) G20 Security & Safety … Continue reading

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October Meeting of the 17 Group

The next meeting of the 17 Group will take place onWednesday the 1st of October at 7 pm in unit 6 at 20 Drury St West End. Dr John McCollow will revive the recently overshadowed topic of the Coalition’s unpopular … Continue reading

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G20 Legal information session

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Caxton Legal Centre’s Independent Legal Observer Project is hosting a free community information session to explain how these laws could affect you and your rights. Continue reading

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Expanded doctrine of terra nullius – very much alive in Australia

attached and below is further understandings and explanations of the how and the why of the continuing colonialism that we aboriginal peoples are still forced to live, or survive, under. a major plank of this colonialism is the legal blindness … Continue reading

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Tangled Turkish-Kurdish-Syrian-Iraqi Web

The article “Two thousand Turkish Special Forces in ISIS” published on 20 September 2014 at Kurdish Question [http://kurdishquestion.com/kurdistan/west-kurdistan/two-thousand-turkish-special-forces-in-isis.html] reports Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Demir Celik stating in a press conference in the Turkish Parliament (and I have added extra … Continue reading

The Lunchbox

A film about being on the wrong train but still getting to the right destination … India, despite being a country of chaos, poverty and inequality, still manages to support the distribution of fresh home cooked meals to workers … the distribution system uses bicycles, public transport, incredible organisation … and this film reveals its beautiful people … and sadly, its deep paternalism.

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Deep in philosophical discussion?

Are we safe – contest of fear and hope?

The Westender found this news story that we re-published in 
May last year (2013) .... If you substitute “ISIL” for 
“Al Qaeda” throughout, it still makes perfect sense today.
                         -- Quote from local paper, Brisbane

I understand The Westender is trying to highlight the specter of fear that western governments and Mass Murdoch push but I would like to look more closely at the politics of fear and show how words are important.

The word Al Qaeda (arabic word meaning ‘The Base‘) only appears once in the article referred to by The Westender:

Jabhat al-Nusra, affiliated with Al Qaeda and other extreme Islamist groups, control the majority of the oil wells in Deir Ezzor province, displacing local Sunni tribes, sometimes by force.

– from European powers fund Al Qaeda looting of Syrian oil

Al Qaeda is mentioned here to differentiate it from Jabhat Al Nusra (arabic word القصاص meaning retribution). *

It is true that western leaders, including the Australian Prime Minister, now refer to ISIL much more than they do to Al Qaeda, western government’s  buzz word for evil only a few months ago.

In The Westender there is a confusion, admittedly shared by the Australian Federal Police, that people can interchange willy nilly names such Al Qaeda or Al Nusra or ISIL.

The reality is that Al Nusra and ISIL are engaged in a bloody conflict where they are shooting and killing each other in Iraq. This may be seen by the Australian Federal Police as a quibble over words but when journalists, whose business is words, also join in, its a worry.

Take for example, recent raids against members of the Islamic community in Brisbane and Sydney. Police allege that Omar Succarieh from Logan City demanded $7,000 be returned to him so that he could pass it on to Al Nusra.

Brisbane journo, Sarah Elksin, claims in her frontpage Australian article titled The rocky road for Logan’s zeroes that Succarieh was ‘charged with funding the terrorist group of choice for his brothers, Jabhat al-Nusra‘.

The Australian article claims that his co-accused, 22-year old Agim Kruezi, is charged with ‘with preparing for hostile foreign incursions into Syria’. Succarieh is charged with this and with extorting the $7,000 from Kruezi’s schoolmate, Adrian Vaevae, at least according to the Murdoch press.

At the same time, the Australian government has promised 8 Super Hornet Fighters to assist the US in bombing ISIL and to equip their enemies with weapons. The Australian military have already supplied arms to the Peshmerga (Kurdish word meaning ‘those who confront death’).

And Prime Minister Abbott has claimed that “… exhortations, quite direct exhortations, were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country.

Police say that Azari “did conspire with Mohammad Baryalei and others to do acts in preparation for or planning a terrorist act” meaning picking out random people and cutting their heads off. Only problem is, both police and Abbott are talking about ISIL not Al Nusra. And two of the accused from raids last week in Brisbane and this week in Sydney, namely Azari and Kruezi, are supposed to be connected with Al Nusra but at the same time planning to work for ISIL – groups that are fighting with each other. Surely police can do better than this?

Australian Federal police, the Australian, and the Prime Minister are all involved in the same thing, confusing words to advance the politics of fear.

As the No vote in the Scottish Independence referendum demonstrates, fear sells.

The Australian newspaper is publishing maps to show countries “that have committed resources towards a US-led stronghold to repel and defeat Islamist extremists in parts of Iraq and Syria” – direct quote from the Australian. The Australian government has promised:

. Military transport planes to deliver weapons to Kurdish forces.
. to deploy 600 troops to the UAE.
. $4.6 million in humanitarian aid.

middle-east-map.jpg

All police, mainstream media and government are doing is killing hope that some settlement can be found by highlighting lunatic acts on video … surely journos and local newspaper can do better and not get sucked in.

What is more brutal: being killed by a knife or by precision bombing of your home by a Super Hornet jet fighter?

Conclusion
The only hard facts police have presented against Succarieh and Kruezi in court is that they tried to get money out of a school kid to send to Syria. The rest is speculation seemingly based on a misreading of intelligence provided to them about al-Nusra and ISIL. Until police come up with some hard evidence that these men are committing crimes, the rest is a beat-up by the mainstream media and the government. It is guilt by association for followers of Islam.

Attempting to make people feel unsafe is no way to conduct policing at home or foreign policy abroad. Nor is following the US and its agencies into another war in the middle east. Australia needs to make its own decisions as to what is right for those people abroad who do not have the luxury of being safe. Australian government should withdraw its offer of troops and planes until a proper debate about what is going on and how best to deal with it.

The middle east is a huge oil field and everybody wants a piece of it; western powers, Russia and Islamic fundamentalists.

At the end of the day, its poor middle eastern people who are suffering, this war is so bad and good people are powerless. And it hurts … we need to help by trying to understand not by inflaming the situation.

Ian Curr
September 2014

Postscript
See also Tangled Turkish-Kurdish-Syrian-Iraqi Web :

Is Australia (together with our NATO allies) now unofficially at war with Syria, together with a rather large number organisations, some of which we have prescribed (proscribed, sic) as terrorist organisations?

References
*Suqour al-Sham commander: “Our land can’t bear a proxy war.”
Coalition against the Jihadists

Killed by Council Inaction – call for Safety Summit

Rebekka MeyerThe recent death of a Danish student, Ms. Rebekka Tine Lousdal Meyer, 22, has heightened existing concerns regarding the safety of cyclists on the roads of Brisbane.

According to the police, Ms. Rebekka Tine Lousdal Meyer was pronounced as deceased on the scene following a collision at the corner of Stanley Street and Annerley Road in South Brisbane at about 07:45am on 11th September.

She was struck by a semi-trailer travelling in the same direction, and was dragged about 20m by the dog trailer of the truck which killed her instantly. Ms Meyer was a humanities student at the University of Queensland.

Local Councillor, Cr. Helen Abrahams of The Gaba Ward, is disappointed that neither the Minister for Transport nor the Lord Mayor have allocated funds to improve the bicycle safety on the number one hot spot for cyclist accidents, as identified by RACQ in February, this year.

“Data shows that there has been 34 crashes and 14 hospitalizations reported along the Annerley Road corridor, but I’m aware of many other cycling accidents in this area, including one of my own,” Cr. Abrahams said.

“It doesn’t take a safety expert to see that the Vulture Street, Stanley Street and Annerley Street cycling route doesn’t have a consistent approach to bike lanes with the lane widening and narrowing to accommodate cars and trucks,” she said.

“I’ve repeatedly written to the Lord Mayor asking for immediate funding for safety improvements for cyclists along the Vulture Street, Stanley Street and Annerley Road corridor. So far, no real action has been taken to address the cycling community’s concerns and I’m worried it’s because the Lord Mayor and his Administration don’t want to invest in on-road cycling improvements.”

The Public and Active Transport Chairman, Cr. Peter Matic, said that last week’s cyclist incident at South Brisbane was currently under QPS investigation and if required Council would act on any recommendations.

“The Council conducted a road safety review along Annerley Road earlier this year. This review identified a number of improvements to enhance safety, including refreshing line markings, replacing missing and damaged signs, and removing overgrown vegetation. This work has been completed,” Cr. Matic quoted.

“Additionally, Council has made a number of safety upgrades at the intersection of Stanley Street and Annerley Road in recent months, based on feedback from Cycling Queensland,” he added.

“Council has made an unprecedented investment into bikeway infrastructure across Brisbane, $220 million across the last two terms and all of Council’s cycling facilities are constructed in accordance with relevant local, State and Australian Standards. Council has over 1,100km of dedicated on-road and off-road cycling paths and continues to deliver practical measures to increase safety.”

The council’s repetition of this claim on various platforms motivated the co-convener of Brisbane CBD-Bicycle User Group (BUG), Dr. Richard Bean, to conduct an analysis of the data used to underpin this figure, and he concluded that the Council used incorrect and inconsistent approaches to measure the network.

“This issue affects me as a cyclist because the Council is adopting a strategy of appearing to do something and proclaiming that much has already been done, as opposed to actually building the infrastructure or upgrading the quality of the existing amenities. We are dealing with a Council that proclaims a statistic of 1,100 km without taking into account connectivity or quality.” Dr. Bean said.

“ BCC’s annual spending on cyclists is approximately 2% of the total annual BCC transport budget and is only window dressing – all they want to do is throw good money after bad in the futile exercise of trying to deal with traffic congestion by expanding the road network, an approach that hasn’t worked anywhere in the world,” he added.

On 7th September, the Minister for Transport and Main roads, Mr. Scott Emerson, released a media statement  announcing the state government’s plan to invest $2 million for the construction of a new cycle path to ensure a safer and more direct connection between Brisbane CBD and the northern suburbs.

Cr. Helen Abrahams said enough is enough, and to address this issue she has called for an immediate cycle safety summit in Brisbane.

“I am aware that the Minister for Transport and Main roads, Scott Emerson, has announced a new cycle- way in his electorate. It is disappointing that neither the Minister for Transport nor the Lord Mayor have allocated funds to improve the bicycle safety on the number one hot spot for cycle safety, as identified by RACQ earlier this year,” Cr. Helen Abrahams said in response to the state government’s plan.

“I have been calling for a Copenhagen style bike lane along Stanley Street for five years. Each year it is one of my top priorities for funding in the annual budget. My requests have been ignored. I believe that the Stanley Street and Annerley Road are the major arterial route for on road cycling in Brisbane as they are the most direct link from the Goodwill Bridge and the Eleanor Schonell Bridge. The allocation of road space should be consistent with the number of cyclists using these roads,” she added.

“We need to get in a room and close the door until Council’s decision makers and south side cycle groups have hashed out a plan to improve cyclist safety along the Vulture Street, Stanley Street and Annerley Street corridor.”

On the contrary Dr. Richard Bean thinks that the Minister’s announcement of $2M to improve connectivity between the CBD and the suburbs is a re-announcement of funding that was detailed in the Queensland Government’s June 2014 budget.

“Cr. Helen Abrahams is genuine in her desire to stop more cyclists being killed – but a summit is likely to suit the BCC administration in being just a talkfest.  We just finished having a Cycling Issues Inquiry so the time for talk is over. The only thing that matters now is real action on new segregated cycling infrastructure and road rule changes to protect vulnerable road users,” Dr. Bean commented.

The current building boom in West End and South Brisbane has seen a huge increase in the number of heavy vehicles using local roads. As well as causing noticeable damage to the road surface, they make it far more hazardous for other road users.

While Dr. Bean suggested that restrictions must be enforced on heavy vehicles during peak hours, Cr. Abrahams commented that she was not aware of any existing restrictions on heavy vehicles.

Meanwhile a spokesperson for the Transport and Main roads said “Our Transport Inspectors randomly patrol West End, monitoring compliance and enforcing transport laws, including regulation mass, dimensions and loading. We also act on received complaints from the public but do not enforce council by-laws.”

Finally when Dr. Bean was asked to rate the council’s response to address cyclist issues, he replied “somewhere between head in the sand and callous indifference,” whereas when Cr. Abrahams was asked what the council is doing, she replied “ They have done nothing to date.”

Sam Navin 17 September, 2014 Community News, Cover, Ride 31 Comments

CORONERS- Inquest – cyclist death involving conventional truck and dog trailer

Politics of fear

Don’t blow out the lantern
Or the snow will collapse in the center of your pain.
                    - Candile de Nieve by Raul Torres

see evilFollowing on the Prime Minister’s announcement last night (18 Sept 2014) that people are going around thinking of cutting other people’s heads off, the Australian government is sending eight (8) Hornet jets to bomb Iraq to help people feel safe.

Which is more brutal, to be killed by the knife or by precision bombing of your home?

Retiring ASIO chief Irving has accordingly issued this poster to Government Printers for immediate publication.

With mad announcements of yet another war in the middle east  and at a time when there is a sense of isolation for progressive ideas and organisation, some solace can be found in the way Cuba struggled to overcome the US embargo in the 1990s.

This song reflects those feelings and that struggle.

Ian Curr
September 2014

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Help needed with distribution of G20 Peoples Summit leaflets

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The organising for the Peoples Summit social forum, rally and march and other events to coincide with the November G20 leaders summit is shaping up. International speakers, including Sharan Burrow, will be addressing the Peoples’ Summit. The issues will include … Continue reading

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BrisCANG20: upcoming Gig & events info

BrisCAN G20 community action network – upcoming events and exciting meetings 1) Gig: Band Together- Oct 1 2) G20 People’s Summit: Idea Jam – Sept 20 3) Brisbane Community Action Network (BrisCAN) G20 Meeting – Sept 28 Gig: BAND TOGETHER! … Continue reading

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2014 Australian Climate Change Action Summit

This weekend will be a huge weekend for climate change in Australia because of the Summit and because of the massive Peoples Climate Mobilisation events taking place all over the world. Please help us get as many people to the … Continue reading

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Boycott SodaStream and defend the right to organise

The left wing Socialist Alternative group is copping a lot of flak from right wing university administrators, Zionists, the Murdoch press and Abbott government ministers, especially Christopher Pyne.
I urge you to sign and to circulate it widely. I’m not a member of SA but the left as a whole should unite to defend them. The real villain of the piece is the ineffable Christopher Pyne.
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Jewish State and Islamic State, Like Breeds Like

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Victims from the Sabra and Shatilla massacre in Lebanon, Sep 1982,carried out by the Israeli army and their allies. (Reuters/file) Sixty-six years after the establishment of the “Jewish State” in the Middle East, the world is witnessing the establishment of … Continue reading

World War III?

[Editor’s Note: The Australian Government has committed to US military involvement in Iraq. Various reasons are advanced for this. The Storm Clouds Gathering video titled ‘The Geopolitics of WWIII”  tries to link the US military involvement with the Ukraine, Syria and the cold war. However there is no mention in the video of the division between the rich (in Kiev) and the poor in Eastern Ukraine. It is important to know what is going on, and then it is a matter of what you do about it. Kiev’s bombing those that resist their rule and the US’s bombing Iraq will solve nothing.  Which is more brutal – precision bombing someone’s house killing their family and children or executing a person with a knife?]

http://youtu.be/TC3tINgWfQE

Aboriginal Women: punished when DOCs steals their children

property created crime[Editor’s Note: This press release from the Human Rights Law Centre says that it is family violence and removal of Aboriginal children from their families that is causing increased imprisonment of aboriginal women. But what is causing the violence and why do DOCs steal aboriginal children at five times the rate of the stolen generation? Can this be explained without looking at the poverty and the increasing division of wealth between the haves and the have-nots?]

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released figures last week showing that Australia now imprisons 18 per cent more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women than it did 12 months ago.

The Human Rights Law Centre’s Senior Lawyer, Ruth Barson, said the increase was particularly concerning given Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are already the fastest growing prisoner demographic in Australia.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women comprise just two per cent of the general population, yet over one third of the prison population. Clearly, our criminal justice systems are having a disproportionate impact on Aboriginal women and we need to address why the system is producing such discriminatory results when it comes to race and gender,” said Ms Barson.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have specific rights under the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and also under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Australia should be doing as much as it can to provide for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait women – including rights to non-discrimination, to equality before the law, and to self-determination – not ignoring them.

Ms Barson said that most imprisoned women are victims of sexual or physical violence themselves, and as a consequence might also have drug and alcohol problems, experience homelessness or have mental health issues.

“We should not be penalising vulnerability. Prison isn’t a solution to these problems and shouldn’t be our default option. Vulnerable and marginalised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women need culturally and gender specific support in the community so they don’t get caught up in the criminal justice system,” said Ms Barson.

The Deputy Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, Priscilla Collins, said in addition to being far more expensive than early intervention programs, incarcerating women is also more likely to have long-lasting, negative flow-on effects for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities, given many women are also the primary carers of young children.

“The current system clearly isn’t working. Australia needs a smarter approach that acknowledges the unique socio-economic reasons that these women come into contact with the criminal justice system in the first instance. Investing in early intervention strategies and tackling the root problems will yield better and fairer results, and these statistics are a wakeup call to governments at all levels to get serious about such programs,” said Ms Collins.

The Convenor of the National Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services (FVPLS) Forum, Antoinette Braybrook, said that despite increasing need, the services had recently been hit by significant Government funding cuts.

“In comparison with other Australian women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are 31 times more likely to be hospitalised and 10 times more likely to die as a result of violent assault. A recent NSW study found that more than 80% of Aboriginal women prisoners surveyed reported abuse and family violence as a direct contributor to their criminal offending.”

“Family violence is the key root cause of Aboriginal women’s imprisonment and the removal of Aboriginal children from their families. Governments want to be tough on crime but they fail to invest in early intervention and prevention and access to legal representation for victim-survivors of family violence – things that we know reduce the vulnerability of Aboriginal women,” said Ms Braybrook.

Ms Barson said the Australian Government has slashed funding across the board for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services at a time of increasing need.

“We cannot ignore the specific needs and situations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. We should be building the capacity of culturally specific women’s organisations, not dismantling them,” said Ms Barson.

For further information, please contact:
Ruth Barson, HRLC Senior Lawyer on 0417773037
Priscilla Collins, Deputy Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services on (08) 8982 5100

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Lowenstein: Gaza, Libya and technology

Making money from detention is a global business as the number of asylum seekers surges globally, recently topping 50 million people for the first time since World War Two. Many companies are licking their lips. It’s just one focus of … Continue reading

The Northern Territory Government cuts off water to Irrkelantye

Without any notice to the impoverished community of Irrkelantye, also known as Whitegate, the Northern Territory Government cut off the water supply. In the past, the United Nations has slammed as “an affront to human rights” such scandalous measures to shut down communities and move on people. Irrkelantye is all that its residents have known as home and indeed they have nowhere to go.

One of the residents, Felicity Haynes said she has been living there since 1996 because it is safe, distant from the substance abusing and dysfunction that permeate through some of the forever neglected communities closer to Alice Springs. Irrkelantye is three and half kilometres east of Alice Springs, impoverished and shanty but at least it is a safe space, in the midst of Country and surrounded by sacred sites.

“Irrkelantye is our Country, it is on our traditional lands. It is a safe camp away from the untraditional ways that are elsewhere. Irrkelantye here is part of our traditional ways,” said Ms Haynes.

“There are no (alcohol) drinkers here, this is a no (alcohol) drinking camp. We feel safe here.”

Ms Haynes said that Walpiri woman Bess Price thinks otherwise. Ms Price is the Country Liberal Party’s member for Stuart in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly. Ms Price is the Minister for Community Services. Apparently Ms Price shares a different view of Irrkelantye to that of its residents. Last week, Irrkelantye residents and their supporters protested outside her Alice Springs office. They will convene more demonstrations calling for the reconnecting of the water supply rather than be shuffled off into homelessness or to some of Alice Spring’s squalid town camps rather than at least the safety and open air existence at Irrkelantye.

“We are human beings. We should be treated like human beings. It makes me feel really angry and sick inside at what is happening. The Government promises lots of things but it never gets done. They lie all the time,” said Ms Haynes.

Ms Haynes said that on August 8 she and several others “went to town and when we got back the water was cut off.”

“At first we thought it had something to do with nearby construction but then we learned they had removed some of the pipes and cut off the mains.”

“This is not right.”

“How are we to drink water, shower, wash our clothes, and what of the animals? Myself, I have four dogs and a goat.”

“We will protest again outside Bess Price’s office. We need people to come and support us.”

“The Government cannot just force us off our land like this.”

“They have always let us down, they made this a restricted area with the Intervention and have never helped us with our housing needs, with power, water, always we are ignored into poverty.”

They cart water from 400 metres away.

The United Nations has slammed as abuse the cutting off of water to communities wherever in the world. In Detroit, a third of its residents face having their water supplies disconnected because they are too poor to pay their bill. The United Nations has said this is outrageous – “an affront to human rights”. What may soon occur in Detroit, is a dime a dozen in remote Australian communities – services are shut down, residents forced off their homelands and many of them into homelessness. Not long ago in the Kimberley, Oombulgarri community was shut down and its 62 homes are destined for demolition. Most of its residents are now homeless. There are also moves to demolish the Kimberley shanty of Kennedy Hill, with the families having nowhere to go. And so it continues.

What will the Northern Territory Government say if someone dies at Irrkelantye attributable directly to the closing down of the water supply?

I have left a long message with questions on the mobile of Chief Minister Adam Giles.

by Gerry Georgatos (The Stringer)
September 3rd, 2014

PICTURED: Back row, from left – Harry Hayes, Christiana Hayes, Angelina Hayes & babe, Janessa Ryder, Shirleen Hayes, Ursula Nicoloff, Shawn Johnson, Tyrell Impu-Hayes, Julie Hayes (in shadow), Felicity Hayes and (walking into frame), Kaileen Webb. Image – http://www.alicespringsnews.com.au

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Fractured Country

As part of the ‘Queensland People’s Bill‘ campaign, Lock the Gate Alliance is holding a ‘Film and Food Night’ at the iconic Old Museum – Bowen Hills! Get up to date on what’s happening around Queensland, on issues that affect … Continue reading

Brisbane Developers, Public Assembly, Political Parties, Corruption and Parks

Silly me, more tunnels
 Than child swings
 Big trucks go-between bridges
 Grind down bicycle riders
 Moving goods, jobs and property
 Rates pay for parks
 Plovers sound their complaint
 At sundown
                ian curr

(Interview with Nicole Johnston, BCC Councillor for Tennyson, about the new Park Laws.)

PShift: Please introduce yourself

Q 1 The BCC has proposed new local laws that require people to book public parks for group events, why is that?

Q2 Council officers, including the BCC Rapid Response team, issue people with infringement notices for parking violations, littering and burning rubbish … if members of a group don’t have permission to use a park, will council officers be able to issue similar on-the-spot-fines? For how much?

Q3 How will these officers know if people are part of a group (in the park)?

Q4 Is council trying to make money out of the new Park permit system?

Q5 Why is council following a user pays model when people have already paid for parks through their rates?

Q6 Are there sufficient green spaces, parks and gardens in Brisbane as the city population grows and becomes more concentrated?

Q7 In the ward of Tennyson, council has permitted a rogue developers put high density apartments in medium density residential areas (in Waverley, Taunton and Frederick Streets, Annerley); these (developments) will place more pressure on infrastructure like roads, stormwater, sewerage, parks and gardens; why are developers allowed to do that?

Q8 In NSW it is unlawful for political parties to accept donations from developers, why are the LNP and Labor Party allowed to do that in Qld? In NSW the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has discovered developers giving money to Liberal Party front organisations (intermediary companies); because this is illegal in NSW, high profile Liberals have been forced to resign from their office. Does the Liberal Party in Brisbane receive donations through front organisations?

Q9 I rang the Lord Mayor’s office on Friday (12 Sept 2014) seeking comment about the new park permit system and was told no one was available to respond. I left my phone number but did not receive a call back. Doesn’t community radio (4ZZZ) count in the minds of the Lord Mayor and his media advisers?

Q10 In the 1970s and 1980s the Liberal National Party government in Qld banned public assembly and at the same time received donations from developers in brown paper bags, are these laws being used to quash dissent from ordinary people about corruption in this state?

Q11 The last time I attended the council chambers I noticed that Nicole Johnston had been banished to outer Mongolia, are we being taken back to the Joh days where dissent is ignored?

Q12 What is the best way for people to get their objection to the new parks laws heard and how can this bad legislation be stopped?

Ian Curr
September 2014

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Grandmothers groups condemn child removal at gunpoint

At a recent conference of our national network, the National Aboriginal Strategic Alliance to Bring the Children Home (NASA), a member from Alice Springs spoke about a baby being ripped from her mothers arms while pepper spray was pointed in her face. Sheila Oakley from Brisbane was recently blinded in one eye by police using a taser when they accompanied “Child Protection” to her house.

It is currently “National Child Protection Week”, sponsored by the Commonwealth government, seeking to raise awareness about child abuse and ensure it is reported to the authorities. But, as demonstrated by these raids, the police force and Child Protection departments are responsible for some of the worst trauma perpetrated on Aboriginal children. Continue reading

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Wandering beneath the grace of clouds

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The following is an edited version of an interview with the writer-scholar-musician Janie Conway-Herron which took place in the beginning of March 2013. It formed part of a Master’s seminar on Australian identity/-ies taught at the University of Barcelona in which Janie Conway-Herron’s first novel, Beneath the Grace of Clouds (Cockatoo Books 2010) was addressed. The interview explores the links between her creative writing, her sense of belonging and place in Australia and her involvement in the alternative protest movements of the 1960s and beyond, especially her engagement with the Indigenous cause through Rock Against Racism. It aims to flesh out the politics behind her creative agenda, which she formulates as follows on the first pages of Beneath the Grace of Clouds. Continue reading

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People in Parks

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People in Parks What a crazy idea! User pays, Buildings stay Businesses, Forty storeys Sound construction Quirky’s right! Better concrete policed by tasers Than wind through leaves Better glass than grass. Silly me, more tunnels Than child swings Big trucks … Continue reading

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Kiribati – Frontline of Climate Change

A realistic picture of the situation for Kiribati, one of the frontline states facing the reality of Climate Change and of Sea level Rise. A Film by Karianako James Nei Tabera Ni Kai Video – 2014

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Response to G20 Summit from Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy

The 12th to the 16th of November will see Brisbane playing host to the G20 Summit. Leaders from the world’s richest economies will be meeting on Jaggera country to discuss how best to control the world and destroy indigenous lands … Continue reading

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People need parks!

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Under Public Land and Council Assets Local Law 2014 Brisbane City Council is intending to limit public assembly in local parks, malls, and gardens. The restrictions on use of public parks require “a person who wants to conduct an activity … Continue reading