Friday, November 13, 2009
Re-enacting Howard's inhumane policy, Kevin Rudd last month turned back the Australian customs ship, the Oceanic Viking, with rescued 78 Tamil asylum seekers on board. Declaring that these asylum seekers too were 'illegal', Rudd announced that their applications for asylum should be processed in Indonesia, despite the fact that Indonesia has no obligation to do so, never having signed The United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
In the first half of this year, Australia accepted only 1% of all global asylum seeker applications. Since the turning back of the Tampa, in 2001, the numbers of refugees being accepted by Australia has declined as a proportion of Australia's overall migration intake.
We demand that the Rudd government allow entry to Australia by all those seeking asylum, regardless of how they arrive, and that the policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers be ended once and for all.
Israel's recent bloody assault on Gaza resulted in the deaths of 1400 people. It maintains a crippling economic blockade. This is just the most recent episode in the Apartheid-like campaign of occupation and dispossession against the Palestinian people.
In place of self-interested commercial and geo-political considerations, Australia's foreign policy must be governed by a commitment to human rights and global justice. Australia must condemn the wars against the Tamils and Palestinians and end ties with the repressive regimes in Sri Lanka and Israel. Further we must support full self-determination for Sri Lanka's Tamils; and the complete withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories and the dismantling of all anti-Palestinian discriminatory policies within Israel itself.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Darlington residents on October 24 helped show the world that ordinary people want the current political inaction on global warming to end.
Unfortunately, there are forces at work in Australia seeking to stampede us towards nuclear power, a radioactive response to our outmoded coal-burning stations.
Nuclear industry executives see a business opportunity to arrest their declining fortunes. Supporters of radioactive electricity concurrently run two false arguments: renewable energy can’t do the job and nuclear reactors are clean, safe and climate-friendly.
However, there is enough wave energy along WA's coastline (from Geraldton to Bremer Bay) to provide more than 5 times WA's current electrical energy demand. Carnegie Wave Energy Ltd has just moved past the feasibility testing stage into electricity production at its site near Fremantle. The Department of Defence is contracting it to provide power to Garden Island naval base and Exmouth.
Far from a greenhouse gas solution, nuclear energy is emission-intensive. Except for the power generation itself, every stage in the nuclear-power cycle — uranium mining, ore processing, refining, transport, construction and maintenance — churns out carbon dioxide.
Radioactive mine tailings and reactor waste can’t be safely disposed of. The wastage of water in uranium mining and nuclear power stations makes them unsuitable for Australia.
If wind, wave or solar power generators break down, they just need fixing. But the 1986 Chernobyl accident shows the risks of nuclear reactors.
Darlington householders are ahead of the WA government in harnessing solar energy by putting panels on our rooftops.
We have to combine that example with pressure on the government to switch to renewables as fast as possible. Solar, wind, geo-thermal and other renewables are the real solutions we need.
For an informative debate between environmentalists on the topic go to http://www.greenleft.org.au/
Contact Annolies/Barry on 9299 6453 or perthhills@socialist-alliance.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Protest for Refugee Rights:
12:30pm, Mon 9 Nov
Office of Chris Evans (Immigration Minister)
51 Ord St, West Perth
(This action has been organised by the newly reformed Refugee Rights Action Network. Next meeting: 6.30pm, Mon 9 Nov, Moon Cafe, cnr William & Newcastle Sts, Northbridge.)
Another important rally for Refugee Rights will take place:
12:30pm, Sat 5 Dec
cnr William & Hay Sts, Perth
(This action has been organised by a coalition of groups involving Perth Tamil community representatives. Next meeting: 6pm, Wed 11 Nov, Perth Activist Centre.)
See the statement on this issue by regional left groups below.
See also these related links
- Time to revive the refugee rights movement
- Trade unionists show the way against Rudd's inhumanity towards refugees
- Time to stand up for refugee rights!
- Cowardly Labor caves in to racist Coalition fear-mongering on refugees
- Download a copy of the petition to let the refugees in
Regional left groups statement on Tamil refugees
Respect human rights - free the refugees!
Reject Australia's 'Indonesian solution'!A joint statement of:
Australia should welcome the asylum seekers!
- Socialist Alliance, Australia; Socialist Party, Australia; Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM); Network of the Oppressed People (JERIT), Malaysia; CWI Malaysia; Confederation Congress of Indonesian Union Alliance (KASBI); Working Peoples Association (PRP), Indonesia; National Liberation Party of Unity (PAPERNAS); Indonesian National Front for Labor Struggle (FNPBI); Socialist Worker - New Zealand
All respect for elementary human rights and dignity has been thrown overboard as the governments of Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia refuse to accept the latest wave of Tamil asylum seekers fleeing war and oppression in Sri Lanka and instead treat them like criminals.
The Australian government is the only of these three governments to have signed the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees but it is refusing to carry out its obligations to asylum seekers under that convention.
For weeks, more than 250 Tamil-speaking people, including children, remain in dire conditions on a boat in Merak, Indonesia. Another 78 Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers, including children, remain on the Australian customs ship Oceanic Viking off Tanjung Pinang, Indonesia. Both groups are refusing to leave their boats for fear that Indonesia will lock them up in detention centres with a reputation for brutality and/or send them back to an uncertain future in Sri Lanka. On November 1, it was reported that a boat of asylum seekers had sunk near the Cocos Islands, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, and 12 are missing feared drowned.
Meanwhile, 207 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers are being held at the Immigration Detention Centre at Kuala Lumpar International Airport, and 108 Sri Lankan refugees are being detained at Pekan Nanas Immigration Detention Centre in Johor, Malaysia. Malaysia is both a transit point and a country of permanent asylum for tens of thousands of refugees from countries such as Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd claims its policy is "humane" but "tough". It is neither. The Rudd Labor government of Australia is bribing the Indonesian government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to intercept the boats of asylum seekers on their way to Australia. This "Indonesian solution" out-sources Australia's obligation to asylum seekers to Indonesia just as its predecessor did to Nauru and PNG in the name of a "Pacific solution".
Many of those seeking asylum in Australia come from Sri Lanka where the Tamils have suffered from decades of brutal oppression at the hands of various Sinhala national chauvinist governments. The government of Mahinda Rajapaksa unleashed an all-out terror campaign this year, killing some 20,000 Tamil people in the month of May. Since the end of the military offensive, more than 300,000 Tamil people have been imprisoned in concentration-style camps and denied the right to return to their homes. It is estimated that 31,000 children are among those incarcerated, without proper access to shelter, food and medicine.
The Australian government, like many governments in the West and across Asia, supported the Rajapaksa regime throughout its final onslaught, preferring to maintain trade links - including selling arms - rather than stop the Tamil minority from being massacred.
We condemn the Australian, Indonesian and Malaysian governments for their lack of commitment to the humanitarian problems faced by the refugees and we demand:
- That the governments of our countries withdraw financial and diplomatic support from the Sri Lankan government until it closes the concentration camps, and allows the Tamils trapped in camps to go back to their homes without fear of persecution.
- That no refugee fleeing war and persecution should be forced to return to the country they fled.
- That Australia, as a wealthy and developed country which has exploited its poorer neighbours, should immediately develop a program to settle tens of thousands of asylum seekers and take a leading role in helping reduce the misery of the world’s millions of refugees, most of whom are trying to survive in desperate conditions in refugee camps in some of the world's poorest countries.
- That Australia allow the asylum seekers trapped in Indonesia to come to Australia to have their claims heard and we condemn the Indonesian government for being a puppet for the Australian government in preventing refugees from going to Australia. This cooperation between these two governments is a threat not only to the Tamil refugees but to human rights in the region.
- That Australia must immediately close the Christmas Island refugee prison, and allow those asylum seekers to live in freedom in Australia while their claims are processed.
- That the Indonesian, Malaysian and Australian governments respect the human rights of the refugees, give protection, humanitarian aid and accommodation to the refugees as long as they are in Indonesian territory and place no limitation for their rights to seek asylum.
- That the Malaysian and Indonesian governments sign the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, release the asylum seekers they have in detention and allow them full access to UNHCR and human rights groups.
We appeal to all democratic and progressive people in Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia, trade unions, human rights organisations and women’s rights organisations to understand the plight of the asylum seekers and to support our demands.
[If your organisation would like to add its name to this statement, please write to Socialist Alliance at national_office@socialist-
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Revolution in Nepal
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Green Left Weekly presents:
Michael Moore's Capitalism: A love story
6.30pm, Thurs 5 November
Luna Cinema, Leederville
(155 Oxford Street)
Check out the preview trailer below.
Tickets: $15 or $20 solidarity
A fundraiser for Green Left Weekly
[Pre-purchase tickets essential. Phone Alex 9218 9608 or 0413 976 638 to secure your spot and to get tickets to your friends.]