Waverley Council in Sydney recently voted to remove Greens councillors from their positions as Deputy Mayor and Committee members due to their position on the Israel/Palestine conflict. I was terrified of the deep irrationality and over-powering hatred and anger on display at the meeting.
Mat Barrie, CEO of http://Freelancer.com an IT company describes Australia's immigration Ponzi scheme in no uncertain terms. This is a long interview but the immigration part of interest is in the first half.
Developers want to treat Australia as their backyard, and they want you to shut up.
At the Sydney protest for Julian Assange last Thursday 25 May, David McBride, the former SAS officer who exposed the murder of unarmed Afghans by Australian troops, spoke alongside Stella Assange and Scott Ludlum. McBride's speech is included immediately below, whilst Stella Assange's speech is included further below.
SUNDAY, 19th March, 5pm, Marrickville Town Hall, Marrickville Rd, Marrickville,NSW. You can join the meeting virtually livestream via the Marrickville Peace Group Facebook. Speakers: Bob Carr, David Shoebridge, Alison Broinowski, Lawrence Wilkerson. IPAN supports this event.
In person and online event this Saturday 4th of March the Belmarsh Tribunal reconvenes for its fifth session in Sydney University Great Hall.
Hands Off Syria is calling for a rally in support of Syria. After the catastrophic earthquake, people around the world want to help Syria, however, the criminal US sanctions are impeding assistance, in particular reconstruction.
Sanctions kill, sanctions starve; sanctions stop reconstruction efforts. End the Sanctions Now. The Syrian people need our help now.
To All Julian Assange Supporters: We are back "on the steps" again, today, Friday at 4pm to 6pm (E.S.T.) for the: 131st Julian Assange Sydney Town Hall Gathering.
Dear Sydney Water, I recently received my latest copy of Waterwrap, and wish to comment on aspects of Sydney water management in general. I should point out that only a tiny minority of your customers are as frugal with water usage as I am, so I am not complaining about being restricted. In fact, my usage is about one third of the statistical average, according to your data. This is despite my land being larger than most suburban blocks and my ability to grow so much food
People in charge of emergency services in New South Wales have scheduled a call for a national bushfire summit, claiming that Australia's political leaders are failing to deal with the NSW bushfire crisis, which their press release ascribes entirely to climate change. Unfortunately, it does not note the services to climate that forests provide. Nor does it note the many other impacts on forests that are drying them out - but could be mitigated - aside from overall climate change. These causes of drying are land-clearing for population expansion, thinning of old-growth forest, and the predations of pyromaniacs or electrical equipment, which are the chief causes of bushfires. And, in the appendix to their press release, they prioritise 'fuel reduction', rather than protection of forests and ways of keeping them wet. Their press release does mention the danger to wildlife as well as to property.
Press release follows:
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S leadership vacuum on Australia’s bushfire and climate crisis has prompted Emergency Leaders for Climate Action to announce a national bushfire emergency summit after the current bushfire season.
The group has also expanded its membership to 29 former emergency chiefs, with six new members joining calls for the Federal Government to better prepare Australia for worsening extreme weather events. The new members include former Deputy Fire Commissioners, former Directors General of Emergency Management Australia, former Director General of NSW National Parks, and a former Deputy SES Commissioner.
Greg Mullins, former Commissioner, Fire & Rescue NSW, said: “We are deeply concerned with the unprecedented scale and ferocity of the current bushfire crisis. Summer has barely begun but record numbers of homes have been lost in Queensland and NSW, major cities have been shrouded in smoke and destructive fires are burning across Australia. Climate change is the key driver to the worsening conditions but the Federal Government remains in denial as far as credible action on emissions goes.”
PRESS CONFERENCE DETAILS:
WHEN: Tuesday, 17 December, 10:30am AEDT
WHERE: Mrs Macquarie’s Road, Royal Botanic Gardens, SYDNEY (Near Andrew Boy Charlton Pool)
VISION: Former fire and emergency chiefs delivering press conference in front of fire truck
WHO: Six former commissioners, emergency chiefs, fire officers, etc. from NSW (Greg Mullins), QLD (Lee Johnson), TAS (Mike Brown), ACT (Peter Dunn), VIC (Craig Lapsley), WA (Naomi Brown)
“Over the weekend homes were lost near both Sydney and Perth, and a large 737 air tanker was sent from NSW to WA. This underlines our grave concerns that despite the support and efforts of state and territory governments, of current fire chiefs and our brave firefighters, Australia does not have adequate resources to fight fires of this scale or to tackle worsening conditions and simultaneous fire seasons in years to come," said Mr Mullins.
“Australia has become hotter and drier due to climate change, but politicians in Canberra seem incapable of admitting the link. There are no credible climate policies to phase out fossil fuels, or bring down emissions, and our government embarrassed us in Madrid.
“We feel a duty to fill Canberra’s leadership vacuum on the fires and will call our own national emergency summit after the current bushfire season to bring together a range of interested parties to look at how we can adapt to a far more dangerous environment. The safety and well-being of communities, firefighters, and wildlife is on the line.
“Our coalition of concerned leaders is growing, and we are not going away until we see action that matches the scale and urgency of the climate emergency and gives some hope for future generations,” said Mr Mullins.
ELCA is releasing in full the list of recommendations it provided to Minister David Littleproud and Minister Angus Taylor in early December.
Major General Peter Dunn (ret), Former Commissioner, ACT Emergency Services Authority, said: “Bushfires are burning simultaneously in several states and territories, and worse conditions are expected over the summer. People’s lives and properties at risk; this is what climate change looks like.”
“Intense drought and extremely hot weather put unprecedented strain on firefighting agencies as well as firefighters, emergency workers, health services, and others. Australia needs a national approach to ensure that states and territories have the resources needed to keep people safe.
“We have been calling for a bushfire emergency summit to work out a coordinated strategy for worsening extreme weather in the future. We will now take it upon ourselves to host it in March. The Prime Minister is invited to join us, and to show the leadership Australia badly needs on emergency management and climate action,” said Mr Dunn.
Please consider attending the PEN Sydney annual Day of the Imprisoned Writer event 15/11/19. This year, Quentin Dempster will interview Jennifer Robinson, counsel to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/challenge-what-you-know-whats-really-happening-to-julian-assange-tickets-75281120859" "What’s really happening to Julian Assange? What has Australia done to protect his welfare? And why aren’t we hearing more about the most intriguing and complex threats to liberal democracy of our time?" Here is a link to the November edition of the Sydney PEN magazine on the Day of the Imprisoned Writer. https://pen.org.au
About this Event
What’s really happening to Julian Assange? What has Australia done to protect his welfare? And why aren’t we hearing more about the most intriguing and complex threats to liberal democracy of our time?
Walkley Award-winning journalist, author and broadcaster Quentin Dempster will interview Jennifer Robinson, counsel to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Quentin will ask the hard-hitting questions to get to the heart of the tough issues around WikiLeaks and Assange, free speech and press freedom – and Assange’s almost decade long legal struggle on Day of the Imprisoned Writer.
Be there 6pm for a 6:30pm start. Free parking after 6pm at Broadway Shopping Centre and $13 night parking available opposite the venue after 6pm.
This event is hosted by PEN Sydney with support from Copyright Agency's Cultural Fund. All proceeds go to PEN Sydney to continue to defend freedom of expression: campaigning on behalf of writers who have been silenced by persecution or imprisonment.
This event is supported by MEAA, and UTS Schools of Journalism and Law.
Find out more at www.pen.org.au
Jen is an Australian barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in London. She has a broad practice in human rights, media law, public law and international law, representing states, individuals, media organisations, journalists and activists in cases before international, regional and domestic courts. She has a particular focus on free speech and civil liberties. Jen is the longest-serving member of Assange’s legal team.
Over the past nine years, she has been involved in all aspects of the various legal struggles faced by Assange and WikiLeaks, including advising on and negotiating the publication of Cablegate, acting for Assange in the Swedish extradition proceedings, acting for WikiLeaks in the proceedings against Chelsea Manning, advising on the financial blockade, engagement with UN human rights mechanisms and in relation to Ecuador’s request to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights Advisory Opinion proceedings on the right to asylum.
Her other recent cases include acting for the BBC World Service in UN engagement over the persecution of BBC journalists by Iran, acting for a Romanian journalist working for the Overseas Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) being sued by an Azerbaijan MP, acting for Vanuatu in the Chagos Islands case before the International Court of Justice, successfully challenging a sweeping anti-protest injunction obtained by a major multinational corporation and having the UK government’s fracking policy declared unlawful on the grounds the government failed to consider scientific developments in climate change. She has advised a wide range of media organisations, including the New York Times, Bloomberg, WikiLeaks and the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists.
She is passionate about using the law as a tool for social justice and to build power in movements for positive change. To that end, Jen created a global human rights program – the Bertha Justice Initiative – which has invested millions in strategic litigation and education for the next generation of movement lawyers. She has also long represented the West Papuan movement for self-determination and its leader in exile, Benny Wenda.
She is a founding board member of the Grata Fund, Australia’s first independent, crowd-sourced public interest litigation fund and sits on the boards of the Bureau for Investigative Journalism, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and the Bonavero Institute for Human Rights at Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes scholar.
Quentin Dempster is a Walkley Award-winning journalist, author and broadcaster with decades of experience. He is a veteran of the ABC newsroom and has worked with a number of print titles including the Sydney Morning Herald. He was awarded an Order of Australia in 1992 for services to journalism and is the former Chairman of the Walkley Foundation.
Image credit: Wikileaks/Twitter
Lord Mayor Clover Moore has nothing to congratulate herself on with regard to homelessness in Sydney. The City of Sydney’s most recent street count has revealed that homelessness has risen and crisis shelters are at capacity. Although the City has been collecting levies from developers to create affordable housing since 2004, it has only created 835 new affordable housing dwellings in that time. Whilst the *official* number of homeless in Sydney reached 592 in August 2019 (with so many more couch-surfing and living on credit), Australia has continued to import approximately one million immigrants every two years, pushing up the price of housing and causing pressure on Sydney's very scarce land, to the extent that NSW State Premier, Gladys Berejiklian asked the Federal Government to halve the immigration numbers - to no avail. Lendlease private developments is forcing new suburbs into koala territory despite years of organised protests from nearby residents. It is clear that property development is disorganising human communities, extinguishing wildlife, and over-riding every democratic measure in our society. It is ironic that the City of Sydney, in a country run by property developers for their own enrichment through population growth, should give the biggest private landowner in Australia (the Catholic Church) $100,000 to pay various humble workers to telephone between services looking for empty beds each night for the homeless. The same Catholic Church is a notable property developer, owner of the oldest bank in the world, and a chronic promoter of mass immigration.
According to a press release from the City of Sydney, while the number of those sleeping rough fell by 24 people compared to the count in August last year, occupation of temporary or crisis accommodation rose by 16.8 per cent to 592 people – 94 per cent of available bed capacity.
People Sleeping Rough: 254
Occupied Crisis and Temporary Accommodation Beds: 592
People Sleeping Rough: 278
Occupied Crisis and Temporary Accommodation Beds: 495
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said that the high level of temporary bed occupancy showed outreach services run by the NSW Government, City of Sydney and non-government organisations were working, but that those numbers would remain high without the provision of more stable, long-term affordable and social housing. In 2017 she had blamed the State Government for not providing enough accommodation, and had refused to move people out of Sydney's "tent city".
In NSW State Premier, Gladys Berejiklian's defense, Ms Berejiklian had, in 2018, asked the Federal Goverment to reduce immigration to NSW by half, with no success.
Sydney's Mayor has a complete disconnect about the problem of massive immigration numbers driving up demand for housing and personally welcomes 1000 international students each year, observing that there are now more than 35,000 studying in the City's local area. Whilst homelessness is increasing, she actually describes student immigration as 'increasing Sydney's livability'.
"International students enhance Sydney's vibrancy and liveability through contributing to our city's cultural diversity. The international student community also plays an important role to grow and strengthen Sydney's global connections – today and in the future." 
According to Australia's 2016 census, the number of homeless people in Australia jumped by more than 15,000 — or 14 per cent — in the five years to 2016. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said 116,000 people were homeless on census night in 2016, representing 50 homeless people per 10,000.
Let them eat cake, eh, Clover?
“These figures tell us that people experiencing homelessness are seeking help, and know where to find the services that can offer them a bed or a free meal for the night, but these are temporary solutions to a systemic crisis,” the Lord Mayor said.
“254 people sleeping on our streets is 254 too many. In a prosperous city like Sydney, this is an unacceptable situation demanding decisive and compassionate action. To break the cycle of homelessness we need the NSW and Federal governments to fund provide more social and affordable housing in the inner city. We cannot allow Sydney to become an enclave for the rich. We need a diverse range of housing to accommodate our diverse community.”
Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, Gareth Ward, participated in the count and said the figures showed the NSW Government’s assertive outreach programs are making a real impact.
“Since 2017, our assertive outreach teams have helped house more than 450 people previously sleeping rough on inner city streets,” Mr Ward said. “Our staff are compassionate, skilled professionals and to see a drop in the number of people sleeping rough compared to last year is encouraging, but of course there is still more work to be done. The reality is that across the state, homelessness is an issue. That’s why we recently announced the expansion of assertive outreach to Tweed Heads and Newcastle and the extension of the street count to regional areas. We’re delighted to partner with the City of Sydney in tackling this issue and we will continue to work with other local councils and non-government organisations to build on the strong foundations we have set.”
Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich welcomed the joint action between local and state government on homelessness.
“Sadly, it is no secret that homelessness has reached a crisis point in NSW,” the Member for Sydney said. “The latest street count results prove once again that people are seeking help, but that the system is at capacity – we need to provide safe and affordable homes in order to truly stop the cycle of homelessness in our state.”
The homeless in Sydney count was conducted in the early hours of Tuesday, 6 August. A total of 195 volunteers made up of residents, sector workers, students, local businesses 15 advisers who have lived experience of homelessness and 30 City staff members took part in the count from 1am to 3am.
In February, the City signed an agreement with the NSW Government, the Institute of Global Homelessness, St Vincent de Paul, St Vincent’s Health, Mission Australia, Salvation Army, Wesley Mission, Neami National and Yfoundations to:
- reduce rough sleeping in the City of Sydney area by 25 per cent by 2020
- reduce rough sleeping in the City of Sydney area and NSW by 50 per cent by 2025
- work towards zero rough sleeping in the City of Sydney area and NSW
These goals are totally inadequate given the number of new migrants coming into Sydney every day plus all the overseas immigrants and the likely total by 2025.
The City has contributed $100,000 to the St Vincent de Paul Society to establish a Sydney office to coordinate the project. It says that the local, *independent* organisation is bringing together organisations and services working to reduce homelessness. The city believes that this will allow for greater information sharing and enable a more coordinated response to reduce the number of people sleeping rough and to prevent people entering in to homelessness.
It is ironic that a City in a country run by property developers for their own enrichment through population growth should give an organisation affiliated with the biggest private landowner in Australia (the Catholic Church) $100,000 to pay various humble workers to telephone between services looking for empty beds each night for the homeless.
The City has also invested $6.6 million over three years to help reduce homelessness in the city. This includes a $3.5 million contribution to the NSW Government’s Department of Family and Community Services over three years to fund specialist homelessness services.
The City of Sydney says that it has helped build 835 new affordable housing dwellings since 2004, by collecting levies from developers and selling *our* land to affordable housing providers at discount rates.
Meanwhile, between 2014 and 2017 'Cloud Arch', a single ribbon of steel shaped sculpture intended to be installed over George Street in Sydney, had its budget rise from A$3.5 million to 11.3 million dollars. It has been criticised on cost and aesthetics, but the mayor has said that it will become a "drawcard for residents, workers, tourists and visitors." She obviously hasn't figured out that Sydney isn't coping with its current population, if she wants to attract even more people.
 "On Wednesday the New South Wales premier, herself the daughter of Armenian immigrants, called for a halving of the state’s migrant intake, citing concerns about population growth in Sydney. But a Guardian analysis of immigration data shows any reduction in migration in Australia would involve hard and potentially costly choices for the state’s economy. While permanent arrivals in Australia are at the same level as they were under the Howard government, the increase in net overseas migrants has been driven by the lucrative international student market, tourists and skilled workers." source: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/10/gladys-berejikilian-calls-for-immigration-cut-but-it-could-cost-nsw.
 "The St Vincent de Paul Society is a lay Catholic organisation and does not receive any direct funding from the Catholic Church. The Society enjoys a close relationship with the Catholic Church and is assisted through parishes and schools." (Source: https://www.vinnies.org.au/page/About/FAQs/Is_the_St_Vincent_de_Paul_Society_a_part_of_the_Catholic_Church/)
The Vatican, on the other hand, manages $64 billion of assets on behalf of its 17,400 customers, according to a Dec. 5, 2014, article in International Business Times .
The Vatican bank owns $764 million in equity. The bank keeps gold reserves worth over $20 million with the U.S. Federal Reserve. (Source: https://www.nasdaq.com/article/how-much-money-does-the-vatican-have-cm500605.
Ex Labor leader, Mark Latham, recently joined Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party and will be running for the NSW legislative council at the next state election. Here is his 8-Point Plan to "save Sydney “suffocating” from overpopulation and overdevelopment."
Latham's 8-Point Plan
1. Our immigration program must be framed in the interest of the people who live here now. This is especially true of policies impacting on an over-crowded, increasingly dysfunctional city like Sydney.
2. Permanent immigration numbers should be slashed, bringing them closer to their 20th Century average of 70,000 per annum (down from 190,000 currently). Temporary visas must also be cut back.
3. NSW should not take any more special refugee intakes, given the mismanagement of Syrian refugee settlement by the Baird Government.
4. Sydney’s planning laws must be overhauled to make the city more efficient and sustainable. An urban containment strategy is needed. For existing suburbs, One Nation supports development and density restrictions in under-serviced, over-crowded LGAs. The Government should publish a comprehensive report identifying these suburbs (most likely, most of the city).
5. The release of greenfields residential land also needs to be limited to prevent further urban sprawl. Priority should be given to the development of employment land in Sydney to reduce commuter-travelling times, especially in the city’s outer suburbs.
6. The Greater Sydney Commission should be disbanded (at an annual cost saving of $18 million) as it has become a mouthpiece for Big Australia immigration and unlimited population growth in Sydney. Political appointments and unrealistic planning strategies have dominated the Commission’s work.
7. The Greater Sydney Commission’s excessive housing and population growth targets should also be abandoned. NSW Planning should be given the task of containing the city’s growth to reasonable lifestyle, infrastructure and environmental limits. Local Councils, as the level of government closest to the people, also have a critical role to play in limiting densities and development in line with local infrastructure/service capacity. One Nation respects this vital local government urban planning role.
8. The State Government should scale back the responsibilities of the so-called Western Sydney Aerotropolis to focus on employment creation in the immediate vicinity of the new Badgerys Creek Airport, rather than land acquisition and development for residential purposes. In the fair treatment of existing property rights, affected landowners should be bought out at enhanced (rezoned) land values, rather than current unimproved rates.
These speeches moved to a different address on you tube. We have located them again, for the moment. See article above this one for the transcript of John Pilger's excellent speech.
RALLIES ON TUESDAY 19 JUNE IN AUSTRALIA: Melbourne - outside the British Consulate 12-2PM (British Consulate General Melbourne, 17th Floor, 90 Collins St Melbourne). Will be attended by Julian's father, John Shipton and another young member of Julian's family and Shirley Shackleton. Brisbane - Vigil 4-6PM at the Ann Street Shrine of Remembrance opposite Central Station; Perth - 12PM-2PM at Forrest Chase.
The Socialist Equity Party should be applauded for having organised and recorded the June 17th protest speeches. We should not however forget that Julian Assange's work goes wider than worker protest. It goes to preventing globalist media, corporations and governments from taking away our rights as citizens of nations. The issues go to the nation itself and to the need for solidarity and communication between citizens, always, plus the recognition that Julian is one of us. This cause should be embraced by other forces as well as the Socialist Equity Party. Anyone who supports free speech, human and civil rights, and opposes war, should attend these protests and get others to attend with leaflets, posts to social media, and calls to talk-back radio etc.
See also: Pamela Anderson Says Trump Should Pardon Julian Assange Next (6/6/18) by Jasmine Sanders |the Cut.More news about Julian Assange on the World Socialist Web Site about Julian Assange: Australia has a legal obligation to protect Julian Assange (11/6/18) by Richard Hoffman, Press conference to be held in Sydney ahead of rallies in defence of Assange (11/6/18), The pseudo-left stabs Assange in the back (11/6/18) by Andre Damon, Sheila Coombes, Professor Tim Hayward and journalist Vanessa Beeley demand freedom for Julian Assange (11/6/18), Free Julian Assange! Support the June 19 vigil in London (11/6/18).
At 1:00pm on Sunday 17 June, there will be a demonstration at the Town Hall Square in Sydney to demand freedom for the heroic and visionary Australian journalist, Julian Assange. Julian Assange has been illegally imprisoned  in the London Ecuadorian Embassy for almost six years now The alternative to his ongoing imprisonment is extradition to the United States, show trial, and long imprisonment, should he be made to leave the embassy. Should Assange remain, he faces grave threats to his health due to a lack of exercise within the embassy walls and lack of direct sunlight, so far, for six years.
The demonstration has been called by the Socialist Equity Party (SEP). The excerpt below, from the SEP's article advertising the protest, explains Julian Assange's plight:
Assange's situation stems directly from the Australian government's refusal to protect one of its citizens from persecution by other governments. Canberra has instead trampled on Assange's rights in the most reprehensible manner.
The American state accuses WikiLeaks and its personnel of "espionage" for publishing leaked data in 2010 that exposed the extent of its war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and its sinister intrigues around the world. Last year, WikiLeaks published further material that exposed CIA operations to hack and spy on Internet and other communications.
If Assange were put on a show trial in the US, he could face decades of imprisonment, or even the death penalty (my emphasis), for doing what a journalist should do: provide the world with the truth.
In late 2010, the Australian Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard took no action when a Swedish prosecutor initiated a politically-motivated investigation into allegations that Assange “may” have been involved in sexual assault. Under conditions of a furious campaign against WikiLeaks for the damning information it was publishing about US war crimes, the aim of the slander was to both discredit Assange and justify a warrant for his extradition to Sweden for “questioning.” If he were detained in Sweden, Assange and his lawyers rightly feared he could have faced rendition on to the US.
Instead of defending Assange, Gillard and her Labor ministers denounced WikiLeaks for "illegal" actions and declared they would assist the US to prosecute him.
Denied any protection by Australia, Assange was forced to seek political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London on June 19, 2012, after a British court rejected his last legal appeal against extradition to Sweden. For six years, he has been effectively imprisoned in the embassy by the insistence of the British government that if he leaves the building it will arrest him on a charge of absconding on bail. The British government, moreover, has refused to give any guarantee that it would not facilitate his extradition to the US (my emphasis).
This was despite the finding of a United Nations working group in February 2016 that Assange had been arbitrarily detained in contravention of his human rights, and should be allowed his freedom.
In May 2017, Swedish authorities, after finally agreeing to question Assange in Britain, dropped their investigation. No charges were ever laid against the WikiLeaks editor.
The Australian government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, however, refused to intervene and demand that Britain drop its pursuit of Assange over bail-related issues and allow him to leave the London embassy.
After six years of confinement inside a small building, with no direct sunlight and deprived of necessary medical treatment, Assange's health was already severely compromised before the immense pressure of almost total isolation was inflicted on him. Reports indicate that Assange is being pressured by Ecuador to leave the embassy, or that the Ecuadorian government may even renege on its grant of asylum and hand him over to waiting British police.
Under conditions in which the British government will not relent on its determination to charge Assange, or guarantee he will not be extradited to the US, the full culpability of the Australian government and the broader political and media establishment is evident.
The Australian state has undeniable means at its disposal to extricate an Australian citizen and journalist from persecution. It can act to return him to Australian territory and provide him with an unconditional guarantee that he will not be extradited.
There are obvious recent precedents.
Australian journalist Peter Greste was arrested by Egyptian authorities in December 2013, along with other Al Jazeera employees, on framed-up charges of “damaging national security.” He was subjected to a show trial and sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.
In response to immense public outrage in Australia, the government, backed by Washington and the United Nations, called for Greste’s release. Intense diplomatic pressure was applied on Egypt. On February 1, 2015, Greste was released and deported back to Australia.
Earlier, in 2007, under the pressure of widespread anger over the imprisonment of Australian citizen David Hicks in the US concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, the government entreated the Bush administration to release him.
If the British government continues to insist on railroading an Australian citizen into an American prison or worse, then there are a wide range of actions that the Australian government can take to secure his return to Australian jurisdiction.
It would only do so, however, under conditions of the greatest pressure produced by the mobilisation of the working class. Under both Labor and the Liberal-National Coalition governments, the Australian state has demonstrated its hostility to Assange and WikiLeaks.
The article cited above is spot on when it says:
The Australian state has undeniable means at its disposal to extricate an Australian citizen and journalist from persecution. It can act to return him to Australian territory and provide him with an unconditional guarantee that he will not be extradited.
Had the Australian government carried out its basic duty of care as suggested in the above quote and as it had towards Peter Greste, also cited in the article, this whole shameful episode could have been ended years ago.
Every Australian voter, who shares our concerns about Julian Assange, should ask of his local member of Parliament, what he/she has done to help Julian Assange during his last six years of imprisinment. He/she should also ask of every candidate, seeking his/her vote in the next federal election, how he/she intends to help Julian Assange once elected.
Other rallies for Julian Assange in Sri Lanka and India - #whyNotMelbourneAlso">Why not Melbourne also?
The Socialist Equity Party must be applauded for publicising Julian Assange on the pages of the World Socialist Web Site and for taking the intiative to organise this rally in Sydney. However, I am sure that a good many others in other parts of Australia - Brisbane, Townsville, where Julian Assange was born, Melbourne, where he spent more than 15 years of his life before leaving Australia, Canberra, etc. - would also like to show their support.
Unless another rally is officially called in the meantime, those, in Melbourne, who want to show their support for Julian Assange could, perhaps, at 1pm on Sunday 17 June, the same time as the Sydney rally, assemble, with placards and leafleats, on the steps of the Victorian State Library as supporters of Syria did on Monday 30 April.
Appendix: Video from RT article
In the video embedded above, Bob Beckel, a former presidential strategist calls for the U.S. to "illegally shoot the son-of-a-bitch". Also, in that video, another spokesman for the U.S. government said of Julian Assange "that if we catch you, we're going to hang you."
 Two rulings by the United Nations have found the detention of Juian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy to have been illegal. So, figures in the the Swedish government, the British government, including Prime Minister Theresa May, and others complicit in the detention of Julian Assange since 19 June 2012, almost 12 years ago, have broken international law and should face trial before the International Criminal Court for their actions.
"This proposal by Ms Turnbull is just a diversion, an absurdity not worthy of being called a thimble and pea trick, but the agenda behind her smokescreen is worth examining. The GSC is a body set up by premier Baird who, you will recall, had been elected in 2011 on a platform of getting rid of what was undoubtedly the unaccountable and corrupt planning regime of the Labor government. But Premier Baird's promises of returning planning to the community and the councils was soon forgotten and his new government launched reforms that bypassed all community input. These proved to be so unpopular with the public that they were withdrawn and, instead, Premier Baird introduced the GSC, which essentially did the same thing."
Lucy Turnbull is the Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC), and in this role is promoting the idea of “re-imagining" Sydney as three great separate cities - Eastern Harbour City, the Central Parramatta River City, and the Western City in and around the new airport at Badgerys Creek. These smaller cities will, according to Ms Turnbull, be able (in 40 or so years) to meet an essential criteria for a liveable city - the 30 minute transport target where residents can travel to work in half an hour or less. She went on to say that it was essential to embrace the three-cities approach to deal with Sydney's expected population growth. "There's around 4.6 million people living in Sydney now, by 2036, it's expected that number will be more like 6.2 million, and in another 20 years it will be up to eight million." See Michael Bleby and Su-Lin Tan, “Lucy Turnbull’s Grand Plan for Sydney, Australian Financial Review, November 20, 2016.” www.afr.com/real-estate/lucy-turnbulls-grand-plan-for-sydney-20161118-gss887 [Editor: This address is not linked because it lacks the https prefix.]
Sydney does have a major problem with transport – its now ranked 51st out of 100 cities in terms of ease of travel . Congestion cost Sydney $16.5b in 2015 and its been growing every year largely because of increased car numbers. But to suggest that dividing the city into 3 separate identities will somehow mean people will travel less or faster is an absurdity. People commuting to the city centre from Baulkham Hills, Beecroft or Carlingford will still travel the same distance and face the same delays despite having their home address changed to Parramatta River City. And by the same token this name change won't create more employment in Parramatta or western Sydney. Fixing Sydney's transport is almost entirely dependent on providing massive amounts of infrastructure for public transport and has nothing to do with name changing. If previous governments could not do that when the population was 4 million then they certainly won't be able to do it if the population doubles.
The GSC should be aware that retrofitting infrastructure is hugely expensive and disruptive as shown by the unpopular WestConnex which Ms Turnbull described in 2014 as a “necessary evil”. While there are many who would agree that it is evil - the National Trust described the destruction as the “worst hit to heritage” in Sydney’s history and 12,000 submissions from residents as well as 5 councils opposed the project. (These councils were subsequently replaced by forced amalgamations while demolitions were underway.) In 2015 the project was costed at $16.8b but new estimates suggest that it could rise to $45.3b (including $650m so far spent just on legal battles associated with land acquisition) leaving NSW with an impossible debt that will beggar the state for decades curtailing expenditure on other essential projects such as the need to almost double the number of schools & hospitals.
While this scheme may sound a bit like a plot that was rejected by the script writers of the ABC's Utopia it did not receive much in the way of critical analysis. In fact there was even some faint praise because the proposals did mention the importance of cycling, its commitment to women's needs (more street lighting, ramps for prams and footpaths without pot holes) and even gave a slightly bizarre claim to connecting with indigenous history. If you Google “Greater Sydney Commission Plans for Sydney” you will see some inputs that - like the Telegraph -¬ just repeat the governments press release, trumpeting the joys of Jobs & Growth. But there are precious few questioning the validity of the plan let alone the need for population growth - the exception from MacroBusiness. See https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2017/08/heres-lucy-turnbull-can-fix-sydney/
However there is more than just Sydney's congestion to consider. For instance the planned population growth will require the construction of 725,000 new dwellings along with 817,000 new jobs at a time when employment is threatened by technological changes. There will also need to be a matching increase in our capacity to handle waste and supply water yet we have governments that allow mining under Sydney' water catchment and won't apply even the mildest restrictions on plastic usage. Developer-related corruption is rife, yet the NSW government cut ICAC [Independent Commission against corruption] funding in half and the federals won't even consider having such a commission. Ms Turnbull claims that Sydney is not full and we need to grow to become a “World City”. Well we could argue that Mumbai or Jakarta also aren't full but most of us would consider the European capital, Brussels at 1 million more liveable than Beijing with its population of over 20 million.
This proposal by Ms Turnbull is just a diversion, an absurdity not worthy of being called a thimble and pea trick, but the agenda behind her smokescreen is worth examining. The GSC is a body set up by premier Baird who, you will recall, had been elected in 2011 on a platform of getting rid of what was undoubtedly the unaccountable and corrupt planning regime of the Labor government. But Premier Baird's promises of returning planning to the community and the councils was soon forgotten and his new government launched reforms that bypassed all community input. These proved to be so unpopular with the public that they were withdrawn and, instead, Premier Baird introduced the GSC, which essentially did the same thing. This is a common tactic of governments. The GSC is but one of a number of unloved bodies, like Urban Growth and the Hunter Development Corporation, that can carry out the dirty work while isolating the government from the responsibility of any unpleasantness. Even more importantly the government can dictate the charter of these agencies, in this case limiting their role to planning for population growth without the need to consider adverse consequences. As an example NSW and Queensland recently removed sea level rise from their state planning policies and the former Labor governments sea level planning benchmarks, based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change data, were rejected, and decisions left to local councils. More than $226 billion in Australian commercial, residential, rail, road and industrial assets is at risk from climate change-induced sea-level rise with close to 250,000 residential properties and 8600 commercial buildings vulnerable, as well as ports, power stations, hospitals, and water and waste facilities. See https://www.thefifthestate.com.au/tag/planning-2
It is hardly likely that Ms Turnbull or anyone in the SGC is a climate sceptic, yet they feel no compulsion to listen to warnings from the Climate Council. None of the media outlets – Fairfax, News, or the ABC - felt it necessary to point out that bigger cities are hotter and more prone to damage from severe storms or even that developer-related corruption has become endemic and might be influencing these decisions. Nor did they mention that Sydney's expansion will come at the expense of its green spaces, air quality, and even its food bowl, which provides the bulk of its fresh food production. See https://theconversation.com/urban-sprawl-is-threatening-sydneys-foodbowl-55156
It seems that all those involved in city planning have restricted their activities to searching for land that can be acquired from fortuitously defunct industrial sites or older dwellings – even schools - that can be replaced with high rise. No one seems to heed warnings from the science community on the threats from increased storm intensity, even though at its current size Sydney will be unable to withstand the adverse effects of climate change. Such is the way civilizations have collapsed in the past. Ideology is no substitute for science.
 ‘Thimble and pea trick’: The shell game (also known as thimblerig, three shells and a pea, the old army game) is portrayed as a gambling game, but in reality, when a wager for money is made, it is almost always a confidencetrick used to perpetrate fraud. (Wikipedia)
Come along and ask your own questions.
Come along and ask your own questions.
Sydney Residents Against Coal Seam Gas Mining is a grass-roots organisation fighting to save the environment of Sydney and the rest of NSW from being irrevocably damaged. For more information on how to fight the menace of coal seam gas mining, read this article, or visit their web site at www.nogasmininginsydney.com. For those not yet aware of the threat that coal seam gas mining poses to them and to their children please see the movie Gaslands or view the 4 Corners documentary The Gas Rush of 21 Feb 11.
This article has been adapted from an e-mail I received from Sydney Residents Against Coal Seam Gas. - Editor
From: info [ AT ] nogasmininginsydney.com
Date: Sun, 10 Apr 2011
Time is Running out!!
Submissions to the NSW on their Coal and Gas Strategy are due shortly (Friday 15th April). Submissions are important, no matter how small. The recent success of submissions against the plans for the revitalisations of Marrickville Metro are proof that it is worth taking the time to put pen to paper or fingertip to keyboard.
The scoping document can be found here (pdf, 210K at http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=nyJQKwkDr6c%3D&tabid=495&language=en-AU )
Several community meetings have been attended/or hosted by members of Sydney Residents against Coal Seam Gas. We are now planning screenings of Gaslands in Marrickville, Parramatta and possibly Auburn. Let us know if you can help.
Hope to see all of you on Wednesday 13th April, St Peters Town Hall to learn about City of Sydney's plan for Trigeneration.
See over there >> for opportunities to help!
STAY IN TOUCH
info [ AT ] nogasmininginsydney.com
nocsginsydney [ AT ] groups.facebook.com
Meeting: City of Sydney Trigeneration Plans versus Renewables
Wednesday 13th April 6:30pm
St Peters Town Hall, Unwin's Bridge Rd
The gas company has cited City of Sydney’s plans for a trigeneration network as the need for the St Peters gas well. Come along to hear the CEO of City of Sydney to talk about Trigeneration. We will also hear from Beyond Zero Emissions about renewable energy. RSVP to this event on Facebook.
Friday 15th April
Last chance for submissions to the NSW Government: https://coalandgasstrategy.discussions.nsw.gov.au/
If you would like a copy of our submission to help you write yours contact info [ AT ] nogasmininginsydney.com
Other ways to get involved
Suggest Coal Seam Gas as an ‘Insight’ topic:
Vote for our Getup Campaign Suggestion
Go to Getup.org.au
... and click on the ‘Blog’ Tab, then Campaign Suggestions. Stop the Fracking Coal Seam Industry is listed in the Environment Group
Support 100% renewable energy for Australia:
Talk to your friends and neighbours and encourage action.
Let your Minister of Parliament (MP) and local Council know that you oppose coal seam gas mining in your neighbourhood.
Volunteer as a suburb based letterbox co-ordinator, or to help letterbox drop in your neighbourhood. Contact info [ AT ] nogasmininginsydney.com
Check out ABC 4 Corners Documentary 'The GAS RUSH'
If you belong to a community or social group ...
You can contact info [ AT ] nogasmininginsydney.com and ask for a SRACSG member to come and talk with your group.
Write about coal seam gas mining on other web-sites and blogs
One's first impression of Earth Hour is that it is a noble but token gesture to try to get the community to jointly recognise the need for global sustainability. The actual impact of turning power off for one hour on a weekend will do squat to reduce the world's greenhouse gas emissions. The physical effect is akin to turning off one light globe while China and the US burn millions of tonnes of CO2 - not even a speck in the universe.
But when one reads about Earth Hour further and realises it is inspired by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to raise global awareness about the impact of green house emissions on the natural environment, one starts to appreciate the significance of Earth Hour. The benefit of Earth Hour is communicating awareness of the problem across ordinary citizens around the world, which is a logical and sensible first step in making change. It also helps raise awareness and respect for what WWF itself is trying to achieve.
The WWF is "one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations". Its mission is "to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and build a future where people live in harmony with nature." Earth Hour "is a call to stand up, to take responsibility, to get involved and lead the way towards a sustainable future." SOURCE: EARTH HOUR
So what is the scale of the emissions problem that the WWF is trying to draw attention to?
"In per capita terms, emissions from the U.S. power sector are the second highest in the world. Americans’ electricity usage produces about 9.5 tons of CO2 per person per year, compared to 2.4 tons per person per year in China, 0.6 in India, and 0.1 in Brazil. Average per capita emissions from electricity and heat production in the EU is 3.3 tons per year. Only Australia, at greater than 10 tons per year, emits more power-related emissions per person than the U.S. In many developing countries, per capita power consumption is extremely low, and millions of people lack access to electricity at all." SOURCE: Centre for Global Development
"Earth Hour has almost 5 million supporters and a global network in over 100 countries, it’s one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and build a future where people live in harmony with nature.
In March 2009, hundreds of millions of people took part in the third Earth Hour. Over 4000 cities in 88 countries officially switched off to pledge their support for the planet, making Earth Hour 2009 the world’s largest global climate change initiative."
So in anyone's terms, Earth Hour, is a success in repeatedly raising global awareness about the emissions problem. The next step is those same supporters influencing political decision makers to make the changes each year to reduce human greenhouse gas emissions.
New economic modelling indicates the world has just five years to initiate a low carbon industrial revolution before runaway climate change becomes almost inevitable.
And what is the WWF trying to achieve?
"WWF-Australia believes that in order to stay below a 2 degree Celsius temperature rise, the Australian Government must implement a national plan to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.
This plan must:
* Reduce carbon pollution by at least 25% by 2020 and 90% by 2050;
* Implement an emissions trading scheme operational by mid 2011 at the latest;
* Increase to 40% by 2030 the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and modify it or implement a feed-in-tariff to better support emerging technologies like geothermal, wave and solar thermal;
* Provide a fund to encourage landholders to preserve and grow trees to absorb carbon pollution and protect habitat;
* Implement world's best practice for energy efficiency and vehicle emission standards;
* Ensure two to three carbon capture and storage commercial projects are operational by 2015 and that no new coal-fired power stations are built unless they undertake carbon capture and storage; and
* Build on Copenhagen Accord to deliver a fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement in Mexico in 2010."SOURCE: WWF on Climate Change
Meanwhile, on the Friday before Earth Hour I gaze out of the window from a 17th floor Sydney office building and see today another clear blue sky. But at the horizon blanketing Sydney’s suburbs rests a brown murky haze that is pollution from road transport and industry. It happens every day in every city around the globe. Like smoking over a lifetime, the combined effect of those thousands and thousands of repeated days of brown murky haze in every city are taking their toll on the health of the planet.