David Risstrom - Greens Melbourne City Councillor 1999-2004
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Rosa the Policy Watchdog drives policy!

David Risstrom News + Views Oct:-Dec 07:Jul-Sep 07: Apr-Jun 07: Jan-Mar 07

David Risstrom News + Views: Oct-Dec 06: Jul-Sep 06: Apr-Jun 06: Jan-Mar 06

Rosa and Dave's News + Views: Oct-Dec 05: Jul-Sep 05; Apr-Jun 05; Jan-Mar 05

Rosa and Dave's News + Views Oct-Dec 2004: Jul-Sep 2004; Apr-Jun 2004; Jan-Mar 2004

Rosa and Dave's News + Views Oct-Dec 2003; Jul-Sep 2003; Apr-Jun 2003; Jan-Mar 2003

Rosa and Dave's News + Views 2002

Through Green Coloured Glasses 2003; 2002

David Risstrom's Community Involvement 2004-2001; 2001-1999; Pre-1999

Did Cr. Risstrom Deliver on His Promises for 2001-2004?; 1999-2001?

Victorian Local Government Elections 2008: 2005: 2004

 

 

NEWS AND VIEWS APRIL TO JUNE 2003 OF ROSA RISSTROM - THE POLICY WATCHDOG

Rosa The Policy Watchdog

[WITH GUEST COMMENTARY BY CR. DAVID RISSTROM]

Rosa, the Greens' Melbourne City Council policy watchdog keeps a watching brief on ideas, issues and policies. If there are issues you think need to be discussed, please contact either Rosa at rosa@davidrisstrom.org or me at: david@davidrisstrom.org. I will e-mail you, and if appropriate, post a response on this website. Rosa last updated this site on 1 August 2003.


 

1 JULY 2003

WE DID BUT SEE HERR ROSA PASSING BY

My propensity to open my muzzle more often than banks close their branches has meant Rosa's Rave has had to move to new pages each three months. This page provides my news and views from April 1 to June 30 2003. Current news and views are available by clicking here: NEWS AND VIEWS 2003 IN THE GUISE OF ROSA'S RAVE 2003: Rosa.

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29 JUNE 2003

SONGLINES MUSIC FESTIVAL WORTH WOOFING ABOUT

David and I had the great pleasure of soaking up the music and ambience at the Songlines Indigenous Music Festival last night at Trades Hall. Songlines is a good community event supported by the ratepayers of the City of Melbourne, bringing together many of the great things about being in Melbourne. Thank you to all that had the good grace to pat me and complement me,and special thanks to the young gent who gave up the rest of his Twisties packet for me to gobble, and to Steve, the security guard who shared some time with me. I'll see you there next year with my dancing paws on! Woof: Rosa.

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25 JUNE 2003

PETER GARRETT'S PRESS CLUB ADDRESS

Peter Garrett AM, President of the Australian Conservation Foundation, addressed the National Press Club on 19 June 2003. Below is the reformatted text of his speech.

NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT TEST - HOW DO OUR POLITICIANS SCORE? CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

I'd like to begin by acknowledging we are meeting on Ngunnawal land and offer respects to the elders and traditional owners.

Late last year millions of Australians sat the National IQ test; last night on TV and at home millions sat the National Drivers test. These tests have captured the imagination of many so we want to extend the testing to our leaders on the subject of the environment-a subject whose time is now.

I can clearly state that as a nation we’re failing ourselves and our kids on care for the environment. Know that we can and must do better, I want to look at what needs to be done and how our political leaders rate on the national environment test. It's not only a test of whether their policies will turn around the damage to our fragile land. It's also a test of how well they are listening to Australians who are speaking up for a cleaner, smarter and greener future. On this last score ACF judges that both major parties might be slowly waking up to how deep the environmental concern is within mainstream Australia. At the same time we believe they remain well short of the action required. This slow awakening is showing up in our research, which I'll share with you later, and in other polling too. Judging by the recent statements of both parties, we think its starting to show up in their research as well.

Primarily ACF believes Australia needs a bold package of sustainability reforms to not only protect and repair this battered ancient land, but also generate jobs and a healthy economy. We reckon there are five key tests for a sustainable Australia. And we need to pass them all if we are to protect our natural heritage and develop an Australian economy & a society free from environmental damage for the generations that follow. The five tests are:
1. Show national leadership – by a commitment to sustainability reforms which matches the commitment to competition reforms of the last decade. Prime amongst these is a Council of Australian Governments backed Sustainability Council with funding and powers akin to the National Competition Council. And additionally showing national leadership, means being held accountable to real and substantial environmental outcomes.
2. Cut greenhouse pollution – not only by ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, but through a package of measures including higher renewable energy targets, revenue neutral emissions trading and a bold attack on our grossly inefficient use of energy.
3. Repair our land and rivers – repair rivers like the Murray with more water flowing down it and turn around the loss of our bushland by ending land clearing. Only then will we stop the curse of salinity poisoning our environment, farms and towns.
4. Protect great natural areas – the Great Barrier Reef, Cape York and the great old growth forests of Tasmania are national treasures future generations won’t enjoy unless strong protections are put in place now
5. Support sustainable living – give greater support for Australians wanting to take action to help the environment by, for example, going solar or adding rainwater tanks.

And there can be no sustainable living if Australia is still caught in the toxic nuclear cycle - building new nuclear reactors and creating very long lived radioactive waste.

Today I'm launching a "National Agenda for a Sustainable Australia", which details the damage being done to our ecological infrastructure, Australia’s international performance and the policies needed if we are to turn around environmental damage. We're drawing a line in the sand as to what Australians should expect of their governments when it comes to taking adequate care of this country.

The Greens and Democrats have supported substantial elements of this agenda. This role is acknowledged and welcomed and we invite them to embrace this more comprehensive reform package over the coming term. Their scrutinising and advocacy role will be important.

Why are these five tests so critical? Because the way in which we look after our air, water, plants and animals has never been so downright bad. Per capita we are the highest greenhouse polluters in the world. The CSIRO tells us that climate chaos from greenhouse pollution will hurt Australia as much as anywhere, with even more intense droughts, floods and storms, more fire prone days, even the Great Barrier Reef is in jeopardy. Our rivers are in dire health. Without more water, up to half the native fish species in the Murray are at risk and just about all the mighty river redgums downstream of Mildura will be lost. Per capita we use more water than on any continent. This on the driest continent bar Antarctica – a hard place to get a drink. And just last month we saw the damning release of the Government’s most comprehensive stocktake of our Aussie mammals, birds and plants.

This Australian Terrestrial Biodiversity Audit delivered a stark warning of the 'environmental debt' (their term) soon to be paid out of our natural treasure chest unless there is urgent action on land clearing and poor land management practices. One third of the planets recent mammals extinctions are Australian animals we'll never see again, and that’s the worst in the world.

It makes this national environmental crisis a social and economic crisis too. Greenhouse pollution and the climate chaos it causes will worsen asthma, increase mosquito borne diseases, lead to higher insurance premiums and put further stress on our farmers.

In Australia we are like a dirty nineteenth century economy wasting energy and water and producing lots of greenhouse pollution, not a clean and efficient twenty first century one. Salinity from our outdated land and water practices is poisoning drinking water, knocking out farms and ruining buildings, roads and pipe networks. $1.2 billion of agricultural production is lost annually due to land degradation. The Prime Ministers own advisers estimate the annual fix up bill is $2 to $6 billion dollars. That’s an annual cost all Australians have to bear. We risk denying our kids, and their kids, natural assets like the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu that bring billions of tourism dollars. And yet a crisis like this is an opportunity to find solutions and benefit from innovative action.

For instance there’s a big slab of Australian business that sees opportunity in the international market to be set up under Kyoto and, which like us, can’t see the sense in the Government’s goal of achieving the Kyoto target but excluding Australia from that market by refusing to ratify Kyoto. It's plain stupid! Renewable energy is one of the fastest growing job generators around and the global clean and energy efficiency market is estimated to be worth billions of dollars in the next few years. Yet the government is slashing renewables research and is seriously considering the recommendation of coal baron and ex-senator Warwick Parer to knock out renewable targets.

In water, moving from wastefulness to sustainable use won’t only save our rivers, it can drive the development of new and globally marketable, water efficiency technologies.

With national leadership in sustainability reforms, looking after the environment is not an obstacle, instead it can be a driver of our economy.

The Environment is a top tier issue

Now here's a key question. Is something curious happening in the minds of our national political leaders? Are they starting to realise that the Australian people want them to stop stuffing up the country? That you can't marginalise a majority?

There are reasons to believe we may be seeing the early signs of a new recognition. In the last two months, the Government has come out with good proposals – not firm decisions yet - on land clearing and the Great Barrier Reef. The Opposition has built on solid policies on those two issues and Kyoto ratification by adding a clear commitment to save the Murray Darling. The major parties are starting to talk the talk because ordinary Australians in the suburbs and towns are no longer just saying we need to stop damaging the environment. Critically they are now saying we need to undo the damage already done, adding their voice to the minor parties already firm position. And increasingly people talk about the economic cost of not protecting the environment. They see good environmental policies as common sense and they understand the issues as never before.

I particularly want to look at the performance of the Government and Opposition, how in tune they are with mainstream Australia.

The first test: Show National Leadership

Last month John Howard said one of his third term priorities was to make people believe the Coalition is sensitive to the environment. 'The Australian' reported the Prime Minister declaring the environment a "mainstream issue" nominating salinity, water rights and tree clearing as three needing policy and money. So why has the Howard Government started tentatively to consider some tough environment decisions?

And why has Simon Crean elevated environment to one of his top three issues? Here's an insight.

Newspoll has for the last two years found the environment in the top three or four when they asked people what issues were very important for how they would vote in a federal election. In February of this year the environment rates at 62% just behind leadership at 64% with health at 77% and education 79%. This month, Morgan polling also has environment rating fourth, with an almost doubling of concern since October 2001. ACF’s research is also picking up this trend. We asked whether people thought the major parties were concerned enough about the environment. 46% of respondents said the ALP was not concerned enough about the environment. The Liberals were slightly behind, with 54% saying they were not concerned enough.

Importantly people no longer accept that we can or should trade off the environment for economic development. For when asked which is more important, the health of our environment for future generations or the health of our economy for future generations, the environment won almost 3 to 1 - 64% environment, 19% economy and 17% undecided. This seachange in thinking clears the way for resolute action. But we urgently need a powerful driver for sustainability in Australia.

The Prime Minister is to be commended for chairing a sustainability Cabinet subcommittee, but it is not sufficient in itself. A serious COAG sustainability policy and a strong and independent Sustainability Council with powers akin to the National Competition Policy is urgently required in a Federal system where environmental problems cross state borders. With national problems on this scale we need nothing less. This drive to COAG embracing sustainability deserves the support of both major parties and the business community.

Late last week I met with the NSW and Victorian Premiers Bob Carr and Steve Bracks. Both are seriously interested in advancing sustainability reforms. Both recognise the reforms needed are on par with last decade’s competition reforms. And so there is real opportunity for change.

Second test-Cut Greenhouse Pollution

When people were asked whether Australian greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced or left at existing levels, 78% wanted them reduced. This when our deal under the Kyoto protocol allows us to increase greenhouse pollution by 8%. Despite these clear views, the Howard Government is still refusing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Apparently they'll deliver on the Kyoto targets but won't ratify the agreement. This nonsensical position is difficult to explain particularly as many Australian businesses are screaming about being locked out of the potentially lucrative Kyoto market.

Mr Howard is often lauded for being in step with the views and wishes of ordinary Australians so the question arises; Why is he so out of step on the issue of Kyoto? Perhaps its because he’s still defining national interest on the narrow terms that the fossil fuel industry is serving up – ignoring the costs to tourism, insurance and public health. Perhaps its because he’s keen to stick with his colleague George W Bush as the only other developed leader holding out on Kyoto. Whatever the reason, it will not be good enough to hope that greenhouse pollution won’t get on the centre stage because the issue pervades everyday life, and people's concerns about greenhouse pollution are too deep.

People are also genuinely supportive of renewable and clean energy, not just on patching up our dirty coal-reliant energy system. Yet despite this, the Howard Government is still considering proposals to scrap the mandatory renewables energy target. The ALP has committed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and we certainly welcome that. We think Labor's commitment to a 5% target for renewables by 2010 is useful but the figure should be doubled. This issue will be an important identifier of policy difference in the run up to any election.

Third test: Repair our land and rivers

Despite being the second driest continent on earth, we have built a prosperous nation, which now supports 20 million people. The way we have done it has come at a cost. The Prime Minister has acknowledged this fact and has put water, salinity and land clearing on the agenda. These issues are inseparable. And nothing illustrates our water problems better than the plight of the Murray.

The Murray Darling River system is an icon. It is a life force for significant ecosystems and agriculture. Unfortunately it is a life force dying for a drink. Last year Commonwealth and state governments made a historic decision. They built on previous commitments to stop taking more water from the river and committed to investigate how much to put back in. An additional 1500 gigalitres of annual environmental flows, (a gigalitre equals five hundred Olympic swimming pools by the way) phased in over a 10-year period, gives the Murray a moderate chance of being restored to health. The leader of the Opposition in his budget reply committed the ALP to this figure and committed some early dollars to this goal. ACF welcomes the ALP commitment to saving the Murray. But for the mighty Murray the Government’s budget was as dry as a dead river. But this doesn't mean the Government is not interested - it is - and August has been foreshadowed as the time the Government will respond. But it must start talking about river health at least as much as it talks about water rights, and it must be prepared to invest the money to get the river flowing. The poll shows that Australians are becoming impatient and forthright in their views about this issue. When our researchers asked people to choose between retaining existing levels of irrigation for agriculture and increasing the environmental flows in the Murray Darling, 53% said the environmental flows were more important compared to 31% who said agriculture was and 16% who were undecided.

And for those sceptical about the research methodology, half of this sample was from regional Australia in electorates with proximity to the Murray Darling catchment. I repeat the call ACF made with the National Farmers Federation three years ago. We need a bipartisan ten-year commitment with the support of all Australians if we are to repair the rivers like the Murray Darling and assist farmers into a sustainable future.

Our research tells us that water and land repair are among the highest priorities for the use of taxpayers dollars. It's about time governments started recognising that desire.

The $2.2 billion dollars dribbled back to taxpayers out of this years Budget surplus would have given the Murray the drink it needs and still allowed $700 million for other crucial environmental investment. Alternatively, you could raise this sort of investment through a national land and water repair levy. The phrase national land and water brings me to another national priority which our leaders have recognised. In this case the connection between land clearing and the poor state of our rivers.

Clearing native vegetation has cost our nation dearly. Yet only last month, through a co-operative approach between the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments, a moratorium was put on fresh applications to clear native bush in Queensland. A proposal to protect previously uncleared bushland by 2006 was then tabled by both governments. I note in passing the ALP have been clear on this issue since their pre-2001 election commitment to end broadscale land clearing across Australia. Although not perfect, the proposal is a significant and welcome one. It will prevent much of the loss of an estimated 100 million mammals, birds and reptiles killed annually by current landclearing in Queensland. It will help to radically wind back the greenhouse pollution from the burning and rotting of cleared bushland that makes up 12% of Australia’s greenhouse pollution.

This proposal is coming under intense fire from the Nationals and will be a real test of the Prime Minister's nerve. But it will do far more, far quicker for the environment than the Telstra funded Natural Heritage Trust. For every tree planted under the NHT by hard working volunteers, a hundred were being bulldozed. Years of state and federal government inaction on landclearing, made for this deplorable situation which now can be remedied.

Test four: Protect Great Natural Areas

Australians have great affection for their great natural treasures. On the Great Barrier Reef, we welcomed the Government’s release of a proposal to fully protect some 30% of the Marine Park. However we agree with the marine scientists calling for at least 50% protection. The Government’s failure to ratify Kyoto or to rule out oil exploration off the park - measures the ALP backs - means the Reef remains in clear and present danger. As yet, we haven’t made most of the mistakes in Northern Australia that we have made in southern Australia. Areas like Cape York Peninsula have, till now, provided some sanctuary. These too are now under threat and require a plan to prevent inappropriate developments, to support real indigenous partnerships and to improve natural protection. In the Tasmanian forests both parties currently share the shame of supporting ongoing destruction of old growth and rain forests. Of the old growth forests being clear felled more than 90% are being exported as woodchips.

Both John Howard and Simon Crean have the opportunity to protect these forests under the five-year review of the regional forest agreement just completed. Who will take the advantage first will tell us much about their commitment.

Fifth test: Support sustainable living

Australians enthusiastically embrace opportunities to change their lifestyles to protect the environment when they can.

We are the best recyclers on the planet but in other areas Australians are being frustrated. Frustrated because national and state building codes force them to live in energy and water inefficient homes. Frustrated by the slashing of the funding to help Australians put solar panels on their roof. Frustrated by urban design and taxation arrangements which benefit private transport over public transport. We need to end these frustrations with modern, adventurous policies for green cities

A 'National Agenda for a Sustainable Australia' is essential because our environmental record is a shocker. We can’t move the country forward when the environment is going backwards. And we need this agenda to prepare our economy for the 21st Century. If the major parties sat the test today the ALP would be ahead with the Coalition starting to take some important steps but the results would show they both have a long way to go.

As the parties revisit their policies over the coming months they will be judged by their willingness to:
1. Show national leadership;
2. Cut greenhouse pollution
3. Repair land and rivers
4. Protect great natural areas and
5. Support sustainable living

And Australians from all walks of life: farmers and conservationists, Greens and Democrats and Independents, from the Cape to the Bight, will judge them closely as they tackle this task, as they aim to pass the environmental test. The health of our country and the quality of life of future generations depends on nothing less.

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21 JUNE 2003

PUBLIC MEETING TUESDAY 21 JUNE: DR. DOUG ROKKE SPEAKING IN MELBOURNE ON THE EFFECTS OF DEPLETED URANIUM WEAPONS

Hear Dr DOUG ROKKE - the US Army Major and Gulf War veteran, sacked by the Pentagon for blowing the whistle on depleted uranium. He had been sent in to Northern Saudi Arabia after the first Gulf War to clean up after damage from friendly fire, and became sick within 72 hours from rashes, bleeding and open sores- revealed to be from du poisoning. He appeared on John Pilger`s film "The killing of the children of Iraq", where he told of being prevented by US of cleaning up depleted uranium after the Gulf War- see www.johnpilger.com

PUBLIC MEETING organised by Vic Peace Network: 7 pm TUESDAY 24 JUNE 2003 at KNOX CENTRE (Catholic Diocese office, St Patrick's Cathedral compound, Corner Albert and Lansdowne St, East Melbourne).

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18 JUNE 2003

MELBOURNE CITY COUNCIL LEADS ON WATER CAMPAIGN TARGETS

Following extensive community consultation and expert advice, Melbourne City Council last night took a responsible and considered approach in adopting water conservation reduction targets that will result in an absolute water consumption reduction of 12% between 1999 and 2020. With population and activity increases, the 12% absolute target will be achieved by reductions of 40% across the residential, commercial and industrial sectors and by the City of Melbourne itself. The targets are being pursued as part of Melbourne City Council's membership of the ICLEI water campaign, achieved through a partnership between ICLEI, the City of Melbourne and Melbourne Water.

The stronger targets were adopted unanimously by the Council's Environment Committee after being moved by Melbourne City Councillor David Risstrom, who is also an ICLEI Executive member involved in the formation of the ICLEI Water Campaign. These developments now place Melbourne as a world leader in water conservation and well as greenhouse gas reduction targets. [That's my boy!: Rosa]

 

VANDALISM

I have taken this e-mail from Greenleap: Sometimes I listen to the Senate on ABC Radio when I'm driving. Yesterday afternoon, 18 June, I heard Bob Brown addressing the issue of El Grande - you may recall that this recently discovered tree, which turned out to be the largest hardwood tree in the world, was 'inadvertently' severely damaged - if not killed - by a 'regeneration burn' by Forestry Tasmania. I was so moved by Bob's passion that I downloaded the full speech from Hansard http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/dailys/ds180603.pdf. Extracts below, compelling reading.

On 12 April this year a regeneration burn by Forestry Tasmania took place which burnt to death the biggest known flowering plant on the face of the planet. Forestry Tasmania calls the tree El Grande- that is, 'the big one'. It is an absolutely massive structure. In the middle of last year the tree was brought to the notice of the Wilderness Society and Forestry Tasmania It was rapidly recognised to be the biggest tree in Australia by a long way. In fact, it is the largest hardwood tree on the face of the planet. So far as a search of records can discover, it is the largest tree anywhere in the world outside North America.

Along comes Forestry Tasmania-and I am not sure what it did on this day; it lights fires by hand but it also has a habit of dropping it from planes-with hundreds of incendiaries. These are like napalm. They are dropped from the plane onto that logged coupe of 100 hectares or more and when they hit the ground they explode into flame. The idea here is to create a firestorm. The idea of that firestorm is to kill everything on the block, to not leave any seed, any root, any cotyledon-that is a little sprig that might come up from the rainforest species which are mixed there with the eucalyptus-and to create total death of the natural ecosystem in that region of forest. Atop the ridge stood 'El Grande', our nation's grandest tree.

What happened then was that the whole hillside exploded into flame and this firestorm swept up the hill and burnt the nation's greatest tree as if it were sitting on top of a bonfire. I went out there some days later and was astonished by the sight. There were still burning remnants of the coupe on the floor, but at El Grande itself great branches half a metre thick had been ripped from this tree. These branches begin about 50 metres up in the tree. Can you imagine that? That is half a football field in height up the tree before you get to the first branches. These large branches had been ripped from the side of the tree by the power of this Dresden-like firestorm and were left as debris scattered around the tree on the ground. The trunk of the tree-and remember that trees live through their living inner skin-was seared right around, up to 40 or 60 metres high, by the ferocity of the storm. When you got to the branches high up in the trees, not one green leaf was left. Every leaf was dead.

Vandalism like this unforgivable failure of duty by the authorities involved. Here we have what speakers have said is a national tragedy, but the ducking and weaving, insincerity and cynicism of the contributions makes me sick. What other national icon could be vandalised like this at the hands of officials and not immediately have this chamber in uproar with a demand for an inquiry? Would the daubing of Uluru not lead to that? Would the looting of the Opera House not lead to that? On the logic I have just heard from the three or four previous speakers, if you are holding an inquiry into the arts and the Opera House happened to be in some way or another vandalised in the meantime, you would not go to an inquiry into the Opera House, because you are doing something in that realm in general!

It defies belief. I have to be careful what I say here, because I feel so strongly about this. This place sometimes is devoid of spirit and heart. There is much more attention given by parliamentarians to assassinating each other's characters, trying to catch people out over foibles and sensationalising the minutiae. But when it comes to matters as important and nationally significant as this, Labor brings in an insincere, concocted set of words which actually go some way towards endorsing Forestry Tasmania's behaviour at this tree site, and the rest of the Senate that is supposed to be in opposition falls into line with that and the government says yes. I am thoroughly disgusted. This behaviour is totally intolerable. Senators should hang their heads in shame. The Greens alone are doing the right thing here.

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17 JUNE 2003

AUSTRALIAN GREENS ALONE IN OPPOSING TAX CUT

According to a Greens media release forwarded to David, last night The Greens were alone in voting to oppose the $4 per week personal income tax cut, instead offering an alternative vision of investment in free public university education.

"You can't buy a quality higher education for $4,"Greens Education Spokesperson Senator Kerry Nettle said today. "But this government expects the public to thank them for charging 30% more for uni degrees in exchange for $4 in pocket money.

"The government has failed us twice - by giving us something practically worthless in exchange for something priceless, a vibrant fully funded public higher education system.

"The Treasurer claims to be delivering good services with a low tax base, when in fact he's paying for a cash surplus with a social deficit.

"The public are sick and tired of the lack of courage shown by the majority of politicians in regard to public spending. They recognise in overwhelming numbers that essential services like health and education need government investment and are insulted by the $4 tax cut they get instead.

"By OECD standards Australia is a low taxing country. The Greens recognise the greater collective benefits of increased public spending and are not afraid oppose personal tax cuts in pursuit of this."

Despite other senators acknowledging the public's support of public spending none was prepared to support The Greens amendments or oppose the bill.

Greens questioning in Senate estimates revealed that for just $1.7 billion pa the government could return to free tertiary education, abolishing HECS and forgiving the HECS debt. The remain $0.7 billion from the four dollar a week tax cut could pay an additional 50,000 fully funded student places, going some way to equitably servicing the massive unmet demand for tertiary education.

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16 JUNE 2003

ALL QUIET ON THE AUSTRALIAN FRONT

Australia's response to Burma's political difficulties is distinguishable from the Deputy Sheriff role our government crafted for us in the recent Gulf War. Tim Syrota, a dedicated campaigner for Burma makes some observations.

The American Government has issued repeated statements of condemnation as have the British, French, Belgian, Norwegian and almost every other European Government. The Canadian Government has issued a statement of condemnation as has the United Nations. The Thai foreign minister has issued a statement of condemnation - and that is an absolute rarity in such cases – Al Jazeera has broadcast messages of condemnation and so too has the Government of Nepal and Japan. Perhaps, in this instance, there is truly a coalition of at least those willing to verbally condemn a military regime which continues to flagrantly abuse human rights.

And so they should. If a Nobel Peace Laureate tours part of her home country, is ambushed and injured in a premeditated attack, and up to 80 of her supporters are killed with hundreds of witnesses detained, if there are still bloody clothes and weapons left lying on the streets despite hasty efforts of the military to remove traces of what has transpired…

An aside, is this a throw back to the massacre at the White Bridge in 1988 when the military were sent in with attendant fire trucks so that streets could be hosed down as soon as the demonstrators had been killed? … but continuing. And then the military denies what has taken place, denies injuring the Nobel Laureate, releases blatant lies in its press statements, blames the National League for Democracy for disrupting national stability, detains its leaders including the Nobel Peace Laureate, and then proceeds to shut down tertiary education nationwide (again!) just in case students are angered by what has transpired.
It is little wonder that the world, almost in unison has condemned the Burmese military regime.

But amongst all of this, where is Australia’s statement? Of late our government has been such vocal advocates of strong measures to uphold human rights and democracy? But here and now? Is it cynical to suggest that current reticence might have something to do with the fact that this is a military regime to whom our government has pledged aid and human rights training. Shhhh, quiet, maybe it will just to away.

Pretty bloody piss-weak and that is an understatement.

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15 JUNE 2003

GOOD LEADERSHIP - COULD IT BE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY?

I found and ethics and leadership course I completed last year to be very useful and have encouraged others to become involved. This information is from an Avant Card promoting applications for next year's program:

Do you believe that good leadership is required across all aspects our society? Are you experiencing complexity on your own area of responsibility - whether in business, government, community services, rural, law, education …? Are you prepared to accept responsibility for the qualities of your own leadership? And put in some time and effort? Then the Vincent Fairfax Fellowship, a program of the St. James Ethics Centre, starting January 2004, may be for you.

This unique program is designed to assist Australians to develop an ethical approach to their leadership. Why ethical? Many of the decisions faced by leaders in a complex environment have ethical questions at their core - a pivotal task is to operate effectively in a world in which the choice is not just between 'right' and 'wrong' but more significantly between 'right' and 'right' or where the only options are bad ones. The Vincent Fairfax Fellowship has been designed to help those in positions of responsibility to learn to meet the challenge.

As a Vincent Fairfax Fellow you will be challenged intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually: exploring aspects of your own integrity. You will commit to full participating in a program covering 10 weeks over an 18 month period and be prepared to travel to remote parts of Australia and countries in South East Asia.

The Vincent Fairfax Fellowship is available by written application. Packages are available at www.ethics.org.au or phone (02) 9299 9566 or e-mail: Leadership@ethics.org.au. Applications close 15 August 2003.

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13 JUNE 2003

AUSTRALIANS WILLING TO PAY MORE FOR GREEN POWER

According to a Newspoll commissioned by Greenpeace, Australians willing to  pay more for clean  energy. This information is sourced from an e-mail forwarded to me:

A Newspoll commissioned by Greenpeace shows that an overwhelming 83% of  Australians would be willing to pay  $3.50 more on their monthly energy bills if it  meant that 10% of Australia‚s  electricity would come from new renewable sources by  2010.
       
The Federal Government is currently  reviewing Australia‚s energy future, a process which will have an impact on all  Australians for decades to come.   The Panel  reviewing our renewable energy target,  chaired by the Hon. Grant Tambling, is  touring Australia hearing input from a wide  range of   stakeholders and includes whether  to increase the current target.    
        
Greenpeace climate specialist Catherine  Fitzpatrick said "This clear response is the  strongest indication yet that Australians are  willing to pay more for clean, renewable  energy. Coming so soon after the decidedly underwhelming response to Peter Costello‚s  tax cuts, the poll gives the Prime Minister a mandate for strong action on climate change and renewable energy."

Greenpeace‚s submission shows that a 10%  renewable energy target is achievable with  current technology and would put Australia  on a clear path   to build a locally based  renewable energy industry, allowing us to  reduce   our greenhouse gas emissions to safe  levels. Analysis by consultancy group   MMA has also found that a 10% target would not  damage Australia's international competitiveness. "Climate change is already hurting  Australians", Fitzpatrick said. "The recent drought, which scientists tell us was made  worse by climate change, cost us a quarter  of our projected growth in 2002."
     
"Renewable energy is clearly not just about  environmental concerns. A 10% target  would create thousands of jobs and draw  billions of dollars in investment to regional  Australia. We know it‚s possible. We know  it‚s   reliable. And we now know Australians  are willing to pay for it. The Panel has no excuses not to recommend a 10% target."

Notes: 1 The current MRET legislation will lead to an increase in the market  share of renewable energy  of less than 1% in 2010. The published  estimates for the costs of an increase in the share of    renewable energy to  10% in 2010 range from $0.50 to approximately $5.00 per month for the  average residential consumer. Greenpeace sought independent advice  from the University of NSW which    conservatively estimates a $3.30  monthly increase.    
    
The Newspoll conducted between 30 May and 1 June 2003 asked  "Currently, most of Australia's electricity comes from coal with less  than 1% coming from wind and solar energy. A recent    analysis claims  that to increase the amount of electricity from these and other new  renewable    energy sources to 10% by 2010, would cost the average  household approximately $3.50 extra per    month. Would you be willing,  or not willing to pay an extra $3.50 per month for this purpose?"     Willing: 83%; Not willing: 15%; Don't know: 2%.   
    
In addition, Greenpeace also tested a $5.50 monthly figure with the  following results: Would you  be willing, or not willing to pay $5.50  extra per month for this purpose? Willing: 64%; Not willing:  34%; Don't know: 2%.

 

3CR RADIOTHON CONCERT AND PARTY: AN INSURANCE POLICY FOR FUN AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

3CR is Melbourne's most progressive community radio station. It is a working class radio station that has been broadcasting for 27 years. It is run and operated by the community. It retains its independence by not accepting advertising, sponsorship or government money.

From 3 June to 15 June is 3CR Radiothon. The target this year is $130,000. Come and celebrate 3CR Radio by attending the end of Radiothon Concert this Saturday 14 June at the North Melbourne Town Hall: 7 pm concert, 10:30 pm party $10 / $8 - food and drinks on sale on the night. If you are unable to attend the concert, you can also support 3CR Radio by making a donation during the week, allocating it to your favourite program.
You can either reply to this e-mail with a pledge, ring 3CR Radio on 03 9419 8377, call in at 21 Smith Street Fitzroy or send a cheque to 3CR Radio, PO Box 1277, Collingwood Vic 3066 Australia.

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12 JUNE 2003

SEND YOUR GOOD WISHES TO THE WORLD AT FEDERATION SQUARE ON JULY 6

You can send your best wishes to the world by coming to Federation Square on July 6 and write a personal message of support to all the people suffering in the world. .Name of event: "Send your good wishes to the world" -
Come and write your personal message of support to all the people suffering in the world by sharing your feelings in writing or drawing on a letter measuring 100 metres in length. The letter will then be sent to Kofi Anan, Secretary General, United Nations.

You will be entertained by a variety of musicians on the day as they express their feelings through music: Michael Johnston on harp, David Jones on Tibetan bowls, Michael Westlake on keyboards, “Soliloque” ensemble, plus others.
When:Sunday 6th July 2003, 10 am - 5 pm. Where: Federation Square. Cost: Free entry.

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11 JUNE 2003

A FAUSTIAN DEAL FOR DEVILBEND RESERVOIR?: HAVE FUN AND SAVE THE WORLD AT THE SAVE DEVILBENDERS FIRST ANNUAL SOLSTICE CELEBRATION

According to the Clean Ocean Foundation, Melbourne Water is proposing to sell off DevilBend Reservoir. The Savedevilbenders have organised a First Annual Solstice Celebration to be held from 11 am to 3 pm on 21st June at Devilbend Picnic Area on Graydens Road Melways Map 152 J3. BYO Chicken & Champagne, BBQ and beers, pumpkin soup and wheatgrass juice or wine - whatever you believe in - but be there and tell your friends and tell them to tell them to tell them and their pets and footies and frizbees. Please be aware that I don't eat chicken bones, but will accept most other off the plate offerings: Rosa.

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10 JUNE 2003

SMALL TOWNS, BIG PICTURE

The 'Small Towns, Big Picture' Project is a collaborative venture between the Cultural Development Network and La Trobe University that builds communities though the creation of local indicators of sustainability, enhancement of the triple bottom line framework and by engaging participation through the arts. A PDF on materials related to the project are available by clicking on the underlined title above.

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15 MAY 2003

INDIGENOUS RECONCILIATION AND YOU

In response to the moves I initiated to commence a 12 month discussion on Indigenous Reconciliation in the City of Melbourne, a series of Melbourne Conversations will be held as a way of getting people together. Details of the proposals I initiated can be found on my website at: Achieve Indigenous Reconciliation. Following is publicity for the Melbourne Conversations provided by Melbourne City Council.

The City of Melbourne and the History Council of Victoria invite you to An Indigenous History for Contemporary Melbourne: a series of three forums

Debates about 'black armband' and 'white blindfold' history rage in our universities and in the publishing world. Meet with historians, both black and white, elders, artists, activists and other members of the indigenous community to discuss the contested meanings of invasion, occupation and repatriation in Melbourne today.

Forum 1 - Invasion: Contesting Colonialism

Do Melbourne's nineteenth-century foundation stories still influence our contemporary relationships? How can Indigenous encounters with Batman and Buckley lead to an ethics for interaction today? Learn about the Koori inhabitants of the land now occupied by Fed Square? Join us for a frank and fearless discussion of the law, language and legacy of dispossession.

Speakers: Michael Cathcart (Chair - Historian, Broadcaster), Joy Murphy Wandin (Aboriginal Elder of the Wurundjeri People), Tony Birch (Historian, Poet and Writer) and Paul Fox (Historian and Writer)

When: Wednesday 21 May 2003, 6.00 to 7.30 pm (entry from 5.45 pm)
Where: BMW Edge Federation Square (corner Swanston and Flinders Sts.)
Entry is FREE and seating is unreserved

Forum 2 - Occupation: Surviving Dispersal - Wednesday 4 June 2003 - 6.00 to 7:30 pm - BMW Edge Federation Square

Twentieth-century Melburnians have experienced a depression, world wars, suburban expansion and major cultural movements for change. Indigenous inhabitants have survived all of this and much else too. How did the politicisation of Koori communities affect Melbourne's social life? What did black women think of white feminism? Did the Mabo decision take away your backyard swimming pool?

Speakers: Robert Manne (Chair - Writer and Academic), Gary Foley (Curator and Historian), Aileen Moreton-Robinson (Author), Wayne Atkinson (Historian)

Forum 3 - Repatriation: Retrieving Heritage

Wednesday 18 June 2003 - 6.00 to 7:30 pm - BMW Edge Federation Square

Melbourne's cultural institutions are world leaders in formulating strategies and policies for preserving indigenous heritage. What is the role of indigenous historians in the controversial project of repatriating human remains? Do indigenous artists and writers simply record or actively create culture?

Speakers: Tony Birch (Chair - Historian, Poet and Writer) Gary Murray (Chairman, North West Clans), John Harding (Playwright), Jane Lydon (Historical Archaeologist, Monash University)

These forums are presented by City of Melbourne in conjunction with Federation Square Management and History Council of Victoria

For further information call City of Melbourne hotline (03) 9658 9658 www.thatsmelbourne.com.au or e-mail: melbourne.conversations@melbourne.vic.gov.au.

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10 MAY 2003

CAM WALKER GUEST SPEAKER AT DAREBIN AGM

Cam Walker, long standing environmental and social justice activist is the guest speaker at the Darebin Greens Annual General Meeting. Cam will briefly cover three areas:
1. the relationship between the Greens and the broader environment movement, especially environmental NGOs;
2. the current situation in Nigeria, in particular the growing impacts of the oil industry on ecosystems and human communities; and
3. climate refugees. Climate refugees are a phenomena that has received almost no public discussion, yet research suggests there may be up to 70 million displaced people by 2050 in the Asian region alone, unless we tackle
global warming immediately. Who are the climate refugees, and how should progressive parties like the Greens respond to this potential human rights crisis?
Cam Walker is campaigns co-ordinator for FoE Melbourne, represents FoE Australia at the national level and is currently on the executive committee of FoE International.

Time: 4 pm Saturday 10 May
Venue: Merrilands Community Centre, Asquith Street, Reservoir (Melways 8, H12), 5 minutes walk from Keon Park station (Epping line, zone 2).
Entry by donation, delicious dinner available.
Child Care is available on site for one and a half hours during meeting business.

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6 MAY 2003

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT REQUIRES PEACE

The Executive Committee of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), at its meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil on 28 March 2003, adopted the following resolution. [David is one of three Asia-Pacific representatives on the ICLEI Executive: Rosa]

Sustainable development requires peace.

War is the most significant threat to sustainable development. War destroys the social, economic and ecological resources that are desperately needed to improve the welfare of people and the viability of communities and the planet.

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4 MAY 2003

MAY DAY MARCH IN MELBOURNE AND GREENS MAY DAY MESSAGE FROM SENATOR KERRY NETTLE

David and I enjoyed the sights of Melbourne from the much unwalked middle of the road in another good May Day March in Melbourne. It was also great to hear the Union choir in Treasury Gardens. A great tonic following just a tad too much CNN, liberation bombology and our friend Dubwya: Rosa

Following is a media release from NSW Greens Senator Kerry Nettle:

Australian Greens Senator Kerry Nettle joined unions and community groups today in a May Day march and called for ongoing struggle against the threats of war and corporate globalisation.

"The May Day celebration of people power has never been more relevant than today, where mass movements around the world continue to struggle to represent the public good against private power and greed," Senator Nettle said.

"The Prime Minister has ignored the people's wishes over the illegal, immoral and expensive war, and now is poised to sell out the people of Australia through a US/Australia. Free Trade Agreement.

"The US President has promised to reward Howard for his obedience by getting the trade deal done by the end of the year, a trade deal that looks set to undermine public services and threaten Australian jobs and culture.

"This trade deal comes at a time when the Treasurer is about to deliver a budget that further degrades the public health and public education systems of this country, whilst hitting up taxpayers for a war they never supported.

"The Budget, to be announced next week, looks set to be yet another kick in the guts for ordinary Australians who will be forced to pay for John Howard's warmongering.

"The Greens are here to tell John Howard and his Ministers that Australia is not for sale. Workers rights and conditions aren't for sale, Medicare isn't for sale and our universities aren't for sale," said Senator Nettle.

 

PALESTINE AND PEACE PUBLIC MEETING: TUESDAY 6 MAY

A public meeting on 'Palestine and Peace' will be held at the New Council Chambers, Victorian Trades Hall, corner Lygon and Victoria Street Carlton this Tuesday 6 May. Speakers include Kathryn Kelly, a recent volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement in Palestine and Philip[ Sacca, Co-ordinator of the Palestine Co-ordinating committee of Victoria.

The meeting will consider: what is happening in Palestine today?; Why is the International Solidarity Movement under attack; and, Why is Palestine important in relation to global peace? The meeting is organised by Friends of Palestine. More information is available by calling 9318 3107.

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3 MAY 2003

LISA JANE SOLOMON: A LIFETIME OF WORK AND ACTIVISM

Lisa Jane Solomon is an Australian woman whose assistance in the legal battle of for women to make choices about IVF treatment attracted some powerful opponents. I was asked to act on a pro bono basis in this case some time ago, but did not because I had very little time and limited experience to deal with what was clearly a very significant case. Lisa Jane Solomon is very ill and the principles she fights for continue to need support.

This message below is taken from LeftLink and authored by Kay Setches, former Victorian Labor Minister for Conservation and Environment. I have edited some personal information from the message about Kay's contact details that are available on the LeftLink message: Rosa

Lisa Jane Solomon: feminist and activist.

Lisa Jane Solomon needs our support NOW! In recognition for her outstanding work on the High Court Case re: Catholic Bishops and IVF access case. Lisa is very ill with a rare inoperable and incurable and rapid liver cancer and has not long to live. This is an "Urgent Call to Action" for the following:
1. Taking 5 minutes to read the following information on Lisa's life time of work and activism.
2. Make a tangible commitment of thanks to Lisa by making an immediate financial donation payable to the Lisa Jane Solomon Trust which has been established to provide Lisa's daughter Katrina and son Scott, both students, with some funds to meet immediate living expenses on Lisa's death.
3. To send Lisa cards and messages of thanks and support now while she is able to read and enjoy them.
4. Making a further valuable commitment to Lisa by sending this E mail on to those people who you know would like to know of Lisa's situation, and who would like to participate in this project. Or by sending this information by hard copy through the mail to those people not on E mail.
5. Doing the above will ensure you have supported a feminist woman who has supported us. Lisa Solomon is a committed and life long feminist. She passionately believes it is a woman's right to equal treatment as enshrined in international agreements. Lisa put her significant energies into the practical belief that a woman should not have to be attached to a man in the eyes of the law to be seen as "fit to be a mother."

Lisa is facing her hardest battle, with calmness of mind and enormous courage although experiencing long periods of discomfit and pain. Lisa has had a number of surgical procedures, and may have to face more. Typically, her thoughts are principally for her children. Lisa is and has been for many years, a sole parent who has a son Scott, 20 an apprentice chef and daughter Katrina 15, who attends high school in Melbourne. Like so many sole working mothers, who have experienced interrupted work and careers to have children, Lisa has not had the opportunity to accrue a large estate to support her children in the near future. She wishes it were more. Current financial support is from CentreLink and is woefully inadequate to meet Lisa and her family's situation. The Australian Community has many reasons to thank Lisa Solomon, aged 43, originally from WA and whose energy and strength has impacted across Australia.

In 2000 Lisa, as the then Victorian Convenor of Women's Electoral Lobby (WELVIC) on behalf of all Australian women, acted on the issue of women's rights to fertility services. She took a courageous step into the unknown by applying as the plaintiff to take on the huge, protracted and unpaid task of co-ordinating the legal case to challenge the Catholic Bishops Conference to undermine a landmark Federal Court decision supporting access to IVF treatment, irrespective of marital status. Lisa, aghast at the appeal lodged by the Catholic Church Bishops against the Federal Court decision, believed the principle of separation of the powers of the church and the state were at stake.

WELVIC with Lisa as co-ordinator, together with dedicated women in the legal profession and civil rights activists from around Australia, built a successful case that went all the way to the High Court and culminated with the High Court throwing out the Catholic Bishops argument. The case took nearly 2 years and Lisa was tireless and committed to ensuring that all Australian women could have the right to be treated equally by the law and have access to reproductive services. In 2001, in recognition of and thanks for her amazing work on behalf of women, in co-ordinating the IVF/WEL High Court Case, Emily's List Australia gave a special award to Lisa Solomon, a member of Emily's List.

Currently Lisa is an active member of the ALP and is President of the ALP Federal Electoral Assembly of Melbourne Ports and Secretary of the Albert Park Branch. Lisa has actively been involved in encouraging women to stand for local government election through her membership of the Women‚s Participation Local Government Coalition. She put her words into action by standing for election in the City of Port Phillip in 2001.

As the CEO of a Tasmanian community organisation, Lisa was the first employer to reach agreement with a union for a certified enterprise agreement which had the standard ACTU clauses inserted, eg. parental leave and stress leave etc. which was reported worldwide. Lisa was Convenor of WEL in Tasmania and represented Tasmania on the WEL National Committee. As a Tasmanian State Government appointed advocate, Lisa as psychologist acted on behalf of intellectually disabled citizens and psychiatric patients during the redevelopment of services and closure of institutions. Lisa worked pro bono for the Tasmanian Working Women's Centre and was Ministerial Adviser to the WA Labor Minister for Community Services. She also served on the NT Trades and Labor Council. For all the above reasons as well as many more not mentioned here, it is NOW time for us to do something positive and memorable for Lisa, to demonstrate our thanks by assisting her family, by sending her our best wishes and expressing our thanks for all she has done for our community, especially for women. We must do this quickly, while she can be aware of and receive some enjoyment from all our various and combined efforts.

A trust account has been established with Jude Wallace, lawyer and former Deputy Chair of the Victorian Law Reform Commission, and President of Liberty Victoria and myself as Trustees. We are asking women who are feminists and men who are civil and human rights activists who worked with or observed and valued the work, courage, commitment and tenacity of Lisa Jane Solomon and would like to make a truly valuable and practical contribution which will assist Lisa‚s children in the difficult times ahead, to send cheques or money orders payable to: Lisa Jane Solomon Trust c/- PO Box 135 West Brunswick Victoria 3055. All amounts will be gratefully received by the Trustees, deposited in a trust account and will be forwarded to Lisa‚s children by the Trustees.

Those who would like to send messages to Lisa may do so by E-mailing her at strategic.options@bigpond.com. Or to her c/- 249 Moray Street South Melbourne 3275. Take a few minutes to pass this information on to your friends, work colleagues and anyone who you know will want to assist Lisa because of her work on behalf of women and for the community. Only after much persuasion has Lisa consented to allow her friends to let people know of her situation and for us to undertake this request. You will appreciate that Lisa may not be able to respond to those sending their good wishes or the contributions to assist her family, and she wants to say here "thank you for your support."

Kay Setches, on behalf of Kay Setches and Jude Wallace Trustees , Lisa Jane Solomon Trust PO Box 135 West Brunswick 3055
Kay Setches: Personal contact :54 Harold Street, Thornbury 3071, 041 935 8125, 03 9443 7720 ksetches@vtown.com.au
Note for more information on the WEL/IVF visit www.wel.org.au

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BACKGROUND

High Court throws out Catholic Bishops‚ argument in landmark IVF access case.

In 2000, Leesa Meldrum, won the right to receive IVF treatment in Victoria, following a test case before the Federal Court between the Victorian Government and Melbourne gynaecologist John McBain. The Federal Court found that it was discriminatory to bar single women from IVF treatment and directed that the doctor was obliged to offer IVF treatment to his single and infertile patient, because to withhold treatment would be in breach of the Federal Sex Discrimination Act (SDA), which outlaws discrimination on the basis of marital status.

Women across Australia were delighted at the wisdom of Federal Court's decision and the primacy of the SDA. As a consequence State and Territory Governments then had to examine this decision in relation to IVF services offered. On the Federal Court decision, the Federal Government through the Attorney General, issued authority to the Catholic Church to appear under his name to assist the challenge of the Federal Court‚s decision in the High Court.

A national, community outcry ensued when Attorney General Daryl Williams offered the Catholic Church Bishops "a fiat", an archaic mechanism giving the church the right to challenge the Federal court decision in the High Court, even though parties to the original case had not moved to appeal the Federal Court decision. WEL Victoria opposed the decision to allow the Catholic Church status before the High Court, and became the first feminist organisation in Australia to be granted status to be heard in that Court.

The Federal Government also appeared as a party in the High Court. Simultaneously, the Federal Attorney General, on the Prime Ministers instruction, introduced an amendment to the SDA into the Federal House of Representatives, that if passed by both the House of Reps and the Senate, would allow States and Territories to individually and separately legislate to over rule the Sex Discrimination Act, and in effect, deny reproductive health services to single women.

The Federal Government gave the discredited and ridiculous reason for its actions "that each child should have the expectation of both a father and mother"
* The amendment to the SDA was passed in the House of Representatives
* The amendment was never passed by the Senate.

The work of WEL Vic, with Lisa Jane Solomon as co-ordinator and plaintiff, proved pivotal in the court‚s decision. The High Court ruled in April 2002, that this was a matter that the Catholic Church had no right or standing with which to approach the High Court, castigated the church, threw out its case and charged the Church for costs.

Therefore the Federal Court decision was upheld that denying IVF services to Leesa Meldrum was discriminatory and against the provisions of the federal Sex Discrimination Act.
Note: This account has been compiled by Kay Setches, to the best of her knowledge. Apologies for omissions or mistakes.

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30 APRIL 2003

ACTS OF ABSURDITY SEASON FINALE

This message is taken from LeftLink and is well worth supporting: Rosa

ACTS OF ABSURDITY Season Finale Extravaganza

For the last 20 weeks, some of Melbourne's most talented comedy, music circus and variety acts, as well as performers who defy any kind of category, have come together at The Old Bar in Johnson St, Fitzroy, to create a wild night of cabaret called, 'Acts of Absurdity'. Despite having no budget whatsoever, the night has become a consistent sell-out success through careful nurture by it's creators, Daniel Oldaker, David Cassel and Abigail Collins. With weekly audience numbers at well over a hundred, and a recent visit from the Green Room Awards, the team are now preparing for their end of season finale. The "Acts of Absurdity End of Season Extravaganza" line up is a selection of Melbourne's finest talent, along with special international guest stars. With over 20 acts, the night promises to be an intoxicating blend of art forms with one goal in mind; complete and utter, absolute, 100%, no waiting, extreme

ABSURDITY. The line up includes: Mr Pee Pee, Just Pete (Hoopal, UK), Shep Huntley & Space Cowboy (Happy Side Show), with Pat Bath (Dead Salesmen), The Barber Tones, The Ukulele Ladies, Cath Jamison (Australia's premier female magician), Daniel Oldaker, Emile Egg, Kyra Tractor, Kalki Hula Girl, Leapin' Larry, Lawrence Leung, Bob Burton, Oliver Clark, Dado (Canada), Pierre & Tiffany's World Famous Magic Show, Wild Duck, Kim Kaos, Jacqui Boo Boo & Co., Conan The Bubbleman - with hosts, Sid & Lena (UK/ Canada).

Don't miss this very special one-off May Day Cabaret at The Trades Hall - seating is limited so book now! A unique night of fine entertainment, a performance revolution, Acts of Absurdity is EXTREME CABARET!8 pm - The New Ballroom Thursday, May 1st

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26 APRIL 2003

GROWTH FETISH

David is part way into Clive Hamilton's new book, Growth Fetish. The release of the book achieved some publicity for its analysis that materially well off Australians do not necessarily feel more satisfied with their position, and often identify as not being able to afford the things they think they need. When I finish the book, and have more time to help David, I will post more ideas on the book's ideas and what they may mean for Australia.

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21 APRIL 2003

THOUGHTS ON BAXTER

Julie Bain was one of many people who took part in the Baxter Detention Centre protest. Julie was featured in an Adelaide Sunday Mail photograph in a headlock by police for having the temerity to hold a placard in her hand as she peacefully protested. Julie has given permission to reproduce this letter forwarded to daily papers for publishing.

I have seen it for myself. It is truly shocking. Hidden away in the desert of South Australia, Baxter Detention Centre is a brutal electronic zoo, which holds not criminals, not animals, but human beings. Men, women and children have become pawns in a vicious political game.

Despite the dishonest efforts of our government to dehumanise these people, there is little denying that they are mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, just as we are.

I joined the protesters at Baxter. What I saw were passionate, compassionate people who have made it their business to find out the truth about the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees in detention, and to provide a voice for the voiceless.

We know about the physical abuse. The emotional and psychological abuse, the unrelenting undermining of human dignity. We know about the lack of accountability of ACM management, the insidious cruelty of our government’s policies and how they are implemented. We know about the deaths in detention.

I didn't go to Baxter to protest for the sake of it or to have a holiday. I was compelled to go by what I know. The history of our indigenous brothers and sisters reminds us of the folly of ignorance and silence. I refuse to be silent.

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18 APRIL 2003

BAXTER 2003 BORDER CAMP

This Easter will see the Baxter 2003 border camp come into being. Three thousand people are expected to converge on the detention centre located near the small South Australian town of Port Augusta. As a part of this years camp there will be a radio project called Radio Free Baxter. This project will be broadcasting a program in the immediate area of the detention centre. It will also be taking incoming calls from the centre - the aim is to establish two-way communication with the people imprisoned in the detention centre. Indymedia will be out at the border camp this year as well, providing self-publishing facilities for the camp. The Radio Free Baxter website will be maintained with audio transcripts from the broadcasts, and Indymedia will be providing coverage of the news and action from the camp as well as posting stories from detainees, Port Augusta locals and protesters.

You can find the projects at the URL's below [or click on the underlined title], as well as more information about the camp and the Baxter detention centre.
Radio Free Baxter: http://antimedia.net/radiobaxter
Indymedia: http://melbourne.indymedia.org
Camp site: http://baxter2003.baxterwatch.net
No One Is Illegal: http://antimedia.net/nooneisillegal.

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17 APRIL 2003

INDEPENDENT LEGAL OBSERVERS MUST MONITOR BAXTER THIS EASTER

This message was forwarded by Pamela Curr, Victorian Greens Refugee Spokesperson.

Refugee groups across Australia ask Minister Ruddock to allow independent monitors/legal observers into Baxter this weekend. Grave fear are held for the detainees inside Baxter. We believe that the level of paranoia being generated about the Easter protest could see ACM and DIMIA engineer mass repression of human rights.

Already it has been reported that the medical staff at Baxter believe that there will be a mass suicide. I believe this is nonsense but that the staff consider this possible is a concern and indicative of the level of hysteria present at the camp.

Baxter Camp will be locked down from Thursday night. No phone calls in or out. No visitors. All guards are being locked in for the Easter duration. Forcing guards and detainees into a lockdown for 4 days is a recipe for disaster. Already people are fearful having been threatened with deportation, separated from friends and moved in and out of compounds.

We call on the Minister to allow independent observers into the 6 compounds for Saturday and Sunday. This will have a calming influence on terrified detainees and put brakes on the behaviour of those guards with a propensity for escalating conflict

DIMIA have ordered the incarceration in the solitary cells of the Management Unit (MU)of 8 men determined by Greg Wallace to be troublemakers. This is the sort of summary pre-emptive punishment which leads to unrest. "It is no coincidence that riots occur in a system that lacks accountability. We do not have riots in our detention centres because we have a riotous group of refugees; we have them because we run appalling systems". ... Professor Harding said that an autonomous inspectorate was needed for all Immigration Detention Centres. Account of a visit to Curtin (the detention Camp run by Greg Wallace before he took over Baxter) by Western Australia's Inspector of Custodial Services, Professor Richard Harding. It is taken from a speech he gave to the International Corrections and Prisons Association on 30 October 2001

Minister Ruddock has been quoted in papers throughout Australian toady as saying that "destructive detainees had been separated". What he failed to make clear that these men were seized suddenly by guards, placed in hand cuffs and taken to solitary cells in Management Unit without explanation. By the 4[th] day in isolation they broke walls when staff refused to tell them why they were locked up and when they would be released.

The 8 men placed in MU on April 5th were hand and foot cuffed for some hours. Their cells have one mattress on the floor, one camera watching their every move, one toilet under the glare of the camera. They are allowed out of their cells 3 times a day for ten minute periods for a cigarette. Last night for the first time a DIMIA staff member visited them to answer their constant inquiry as to why they have been isolated. She gave them forms telling them if they did not like solitary, they could sign for deportation.

There are allegations of assault documented by several refugee advocates who have been in phone contact with these men since the 5th April which include a beating, hand and foot cuffing and mouth taping. Requests to both State and Federal police to investigate the allegations were met with refusal after 5 hours of calls.

We fear that what is happening to these men will happen to others. The Minister has made it clear that he wants all the detainees to leave Australia. This includes 1600 Timorese, living in Australia for over 10 years and despite please from Xanana Gusmao. Afghani people are being threatened with deportation despite the perilous state of their country. Iranians are being threatened with forced deportation as they are the most fearful of the consequences of return. This week while Iraq is still being bombed, Minister Ruddock signalled that they are next on his list. We have grave fears that the Easter protest will be used as a pretext to intensify the deterrent measures already in place to force detainees to sign to return.

Please write, ring and email the Minister asking him to allow monitors in Baxter over Easter. Please add your name to the list of those urging the Minister to ensure that the detainees are not punished for peaceful protest: Pamela Curr.

 

WORLD WILDLIFE FUND REPORT: AUSTRALIA’S POLLUTING POWER: COAL-FIRED ELECTRICITY AND ITS IMPACT ON GLOBAL WARMING

Dr Mark Diesendorf has authored a new report on coal-fired electricity and its impact on global warming. The report is well researched and clearly presented. The article is reviewed by Dr Hugh Saddler. I have provided a short extract from the report below. It is available as a large PDF download [1.6 MB] by clicking on this underlined title [Now only on WWF web due to size restrictions on my site: 16 Jan 04]: Australia's Polluting Power: Coal Fired Electricity and its Impact on Global Warming.

AUSTRALIA’S POLLUTING POWER: COAL-FIRED ELECTRICITY AND ITS IMPACT ON GLOBAL WARMING

Twenty-four coal power stations are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia, pumping out 170 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) every year.

The pollution from these power stations is our main contribution to the problem of global warming. Coal is the main fuel for generating electricity in Australia – in 2000 84% of our electricity came from burning coal, making us one of the top coal-burning countries in the world. If we are to slow global warming and the impact it has on our climate, we first need to tackle the biggest source of the pollution that is creating a blanket around the earth. The electricity sector is by far the biggest source of the pollution problem both here and globally.

In Australia there are no legal requirements on coal fired power stations to prevent their greenhouse gas pollution going into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming. There are also no disincentives against building new coal-fired power stations, yet decisions today can affect Australia’s greenhouse pollution levels for many years to come. A 1,000 megawatt black coal power station built today would over its 40-year lifetime emit a total of approximately 260 million tonnes of CO2 – equivalent to about half of Australia’s total annual emissions. Australia is one of the biggest polluters of greenhouse gas emissions per person in the world. If Australia is to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and help to slow global warming we need to institute a major change to our dependence on coal-fired power.

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16 APRIL 2003

THE SCORESBY FREEWAY IS A COSTLY FIASCO

Mick Kir, Victorian Greens candidate for Aston, has provided good reasons why another freeway for Melbourne is bad for Melbourne, and far from being free.

The Scoresby Freeway should not go ahead The ongoing employment that implementing the alternative initiatives below would bring about would far outstrip any employment figures the freeway could offer except, of course, while the freeway is being constructed (unemployment around the route of the Western Ring Road is around the worst in Victoria).

As the far-reaching suburbs, communities and satellite cities offer cheaper housing, it is often the less wealthy that are forced to live in these poorly serviced areas. These people are also less likely to own cars therefore public transport is critical and freeways are less important. ('Nearly two thirds of Melbourne's population are now beyond the reach of the urban rail system', David Hill, Australasian Railway Association Inc.) It is the wealthier people that are best serviced by the best of our public transport system. These people are also more likely to own cars. An interesting dichotomy indeed.

In Sydney, 'company and government cars comprise 40% of peak hour traffic and 20% of all traffic' (from a study by Sydney's University of Technology). If this reflects Melbourne's traffic patterns then the difference between gridlock, freeways and over-reliance on cars and a more egalitarian, environmentally more sound and responsibly visionary system of public transport, among other alternatives, is a matter of culture change. Removing a majority of the remaining 60% of traffic would eliminate the need for any more freeways altogether.

The Victorian EPA indicated that urban motorists cause: 97% of airborne lead (brain damage), 85% of carbon monoxide emissions (heart ailments). 63% of nitrogen oxides (asthma). Diesel emissions include up to 26 carcinogens. 85% of carbon monoxide emissions (heart ailments); (or particulates contribute to ) a mortality rate that is greater than the direct fatalities and injuries from motor accidents. Both means of dying or, sometimes worse - living, cost Australians infinitely more than necessary, and bring about unnecessary grief. Level Crossings on arterial roads in the area have caused many fatalities over the years.

Reasons Against the Freeway
1.1 added pollution through added vehicle use would be detrimental to the region;
1.2 pollution levels in the Dandenong Creek Valley are near the limit now, the freeway would take levels dangerously over;
1.3 runoff would enter the waterways, thereby polluting them, the bay and Ramsar listed* wetlands (*needs confirmation though they're critical wetlands nonetheless);
1.4 as the freeway would follow high-voltage lines, particulates are likely to gather there and ionise (?) (CSIRO, August '02, indicated more Australians die from particulate-caused deaths than by road accidents);
1.5 VicRoads are currently fighting a PTUA [Public Transport Users' Association]-brought legal action against the former for contravening the Biodiversity ACT;
1.6 as parts of the corridor are home to Powerful owls, Common heath and other endangered species (approximately 37), contravention of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, 1988, would also be certain;
1.7 as 25% of households in Greater Dandenong and 11% in Knox don't own a car, a freeway is, apart from use as a bus route, useless;
1.8 as a substantial percentage of all container and heavy cargo movements travel along the Monash Freeway and City Link (it's mainly terminal-to-factory or factory-to-terminal traffic);
1.9 as a contemporary study indicates that only 2% of north-south and south-north traffic would travel the full distance between Ringwood and Frankston;
1.10 as the cost of maintaining roads is more expensive than the maintenance of fixed rail lines;
1.11 as waste such as runoff, old cars, old tyres and other pollution is an ever-increasing cost - monetary, social and environmental;
1.12 as open land is a recognised as a luxury in short supply in Melbourne, unable to afford the land that would be required to build a freeway;
1.13 as the costs in lives and injury brought about from road carnage is far greater than any costs from accidents involving public transport travel ('thirty times the operating cost of urban rail services in our cities': David Hill, Australasian Railway Association Inc. quoting Bureau of Transport Economics, the Industry Commission and the National Road Transport Commission).

Alternative Solutions.
1.14 Grade separation for the railway line at major arterial roads between Laburnum and Ringwood stations to eliminate level crossings (Blackburn Rd, Springvale Rd, Rooks Rd, Mitcham Rd and Heatherdale Rd) for efficiency and safety.
1.15 a third rail line extending from Box Hill to Ringwood, unbroken;
1.16 implement the rail, or light rail, line, along the existing reserves, running between Huntingdale and Upper Ferntree Gully railway stations, which would service at least:
• 7 educational institutions including Monash University;
• 3 major industrial parks/estates;
• more than one dozen major companies not in these estates;
• 3 retirement villages and nursing homes;
• 5 hotels, motels and clubs; as well as Waverley Park;
• Caribbean Gardens, & other shopping centres and
• numerous sports, community and ethnic centres;
1.17 a full bicycle commuter way, and a shared bicycle/pedestrian path, should follow the route of the light rail;
1.18 grade separation for major intersections along Springvale and Stud Roads, with
• through section below surrounding level and covered to allow activity centres,
• Park&Ride facilities, especially on Stud Rd.
• two only continuous lanes for through traffic,
• full, separated service roads,
• efficient exit/entry for buses into the activity centres at intersections.
1.19 duplication of High Street Rd will alleviate traffic problems;
1.20 extension of Dorset Rd to Lysterfield Rd would also ease problems greatly;
1.21 extension of the Burwood Hwy tram to meet with the Huntingdale-Upper Ferntree Gully light rail;
1.22 a more extensive network of bus routes and improved frequency, length of service and days operating, especially along the ring roads of Springvale and Stud Roads;
1.23 Medium-density housing along the length of the light rail, to a distance of about 400-500 metres, would lessen the pressure on councils to grant planning applications for such housing in areas currently poorly serviced by public transport. Medium- to high-density housing any further from major public transport routes would be inappropriate.
1.24 VicRoads figures indicate that putting around 2% of the region's road users into public transport would give the same economic benefits that the freeway would.
1.25 The cost of implementing all of the above measures would still amount to only a fraction of the cost of the freeway, both initial and ongoing (cleanup, toll and tax). Costs should also be measured not only in financial terms but also in social and environmental terms.

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15 APRIL 2003

1% FOR HUMANITY

Having recently read Peter Singer's book 'One World: The Ethics of Globalisation' I have responded to his ethical challenge with a policy I have called 1% For Humanity. This policy is available on my site by clicking on the title 1% For Humanity, and involves calling on the citizens of Melbourne and beyond donating 1% of their taxable income to an organisation of their choice that assists developing countries. Further details of Peter's idea is in his book at pages 203-13 in the 'One Community' Chapter under the heading 'An Ethical Challenge'.

 

BICYCLE VICTORIA'S COUNT OF MELBOURNE CITY CYCLISTS

Information taken from Bicycle Victoria's website on 14 April 2003 show some interesting trends for city cycling:

Bicycle Victoria does a yearly count of the number of cyclists travelling into Melbourne CBD. Our data shows that more bike facilities encourage more cycling and that bike lanes encourage cycling and make cycling safer.

Five year increase

Cycling numbers have increased at 5 per cent a year on average for the last 5 years as more bike lanes and path go in around the Melbourne Central Business District. The benefits are a healthier population, less congestion and decreased greenhouse gas emissions than otherwise. More smiling healthy people being more productive at work while taking up less road space.

Melbourne CBD

Melbourne CBD has some of the most popular cycling streets and shared paths in Australia. There are about 12,000 cycle trips into and out of Melbourne's CBD each weekday, despite the lack of any marked bicycle facilities into and through the CBD itself. Swanston Street and St Kilda Rd carry over 2,000 cyclists each weekday. The St Kilda Rd lanes extend 9 km out of the city in a continuous lane. The Main Yarra Trail carries over 2,500 cyclists every weekday and more on sunny weekends.

Beach Rd

Meanwhile Beach Rd, Australia's premier cycling training route, carries more than 7,000 cyclists each weekend. Many ride singularly or in groups up to five or six, although there are also packs that number over 150 riders. Before 10.30 am each weekend morning there are more bicycles than motor vehicles passing Black Rock on Beach Rd.

Outer suburbs

Unfortunately the story is not so rosy in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. Here, most cycling used to be to school and shops, but it is nearly non-existent now as wide busy roads and few bicycle lanes and shared paths do not provide an encouraging environment for cycling.

The Victorian Activity Travel Survey data shows that in 1996 about 2 per cent of trips were made by bikes. This has dropped since to about 1 per cent. There is more cycling in the inner city but this is more than compensated by less cycling, mostly by children, in the outer suburbs.

Regional Victoria

We do not have good data on regional Victoria, but anecdotally it seems that there is more cycling to school in regional towns, less commuter cycling and the same level of recreational and training cycling.

Places like Shepparton, Wangaratta and Ballarat have a higher level of cycling that matches their commitment to building bike lanes and paths for people to ride on.

Two particularly interesting PDF files showing increases in bike use on Swanston Street and St. Kilda Road show how much cycling has grown in the last ten years: David

 

INDIGENOUS WOMEN WIN GREEN NOBEL

This message was forwarded by Friends of the Earth Australia: Friends of the Earth Australia has today welcomed the award of a major international environment prize to senior Aboriginal women from northern South Australia for their efforts to stop radioactive waste dumping on their traditional lands.

The Goldman Award for the Environment is considered the 'green Nobel prize' and is given annually to grassroots environmental heroes from six geographic areas: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America.

Aboriginal elders Eileen Kampakuta Brown and Eileen Wani Wingfield from the "Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta" (Senior Aboriginal Women from Coober Pedy) are at the forefront of the campaign to block construction of a nuclear waste dump in their South Australian desert homeland. The dump is being pushed by the Federal Government as part of its move to construct a new nuclear reactor in Sydney.

Since the British nuclear bomb tests of the 1950s, South Australia's traditional Aboriginal homelands have been one of the testing and dumping grounds for the world's nuclear industry, causing asthma, birth defects and cancer as well as poisoning the environment and wildlife. Now, Mrs Brown and Mrs Wingfield are leading their communities in an international campaign to say "Irati Wanti" "the poison, leave it. "

The Kungkas are joined by an Appalachian woman defending her West Virginia (USA) community against the devastating practice of mountaintop removal coal mining. Sometimes called "strip mining on steroids" this destructive technique is ravaging communities, turning river valleys into mining waste dumps, driving up asthma rates and forcing whole communities to abandon their homes.

Mrs Brown and Mrs Wingfield are among three winners of the Goldman Award who were nominated by Friends of the Earth groups, the world's largest grassroots environmental network.

"Friends of the Earth are proud to be involved with this prize and with the campaign to oppose the imposition of radioactive waste dumps. The Federal Government's plan is unnecessary and unacceptable, that message is being increasingly heard around the country and around the world," said Friends of the Earth's nuclear campaigner Bruce Thompson.

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14 APRIL 2003

BOYCOTTING WAR BY SPENDING FOR PEACE

Wars conducted without reference to their citizens wishes can leave us all feeling angry, motivated to march, but unsure of how we can really influence our elected and unelected corporate leaders. SPEND FOR PEACE is one possibility. I was given a Send for Peace pamphlet at yesterday's peace rally, and have extracted information form it below. I will add the web references to my Useful Internet Sites page, available by clicking on the title.

We can help peace every time we go into a shop. We can choose where to spend our money. We can send a message to Bush and his band of bullies that is strong and clear and effective. Join the SPEND FOR PEACE boycott now! Choose for yourself and your family which brand to boycott. Then tell them! Tell the retailers, the companies' customer service line, their head office. And tell the politicians as well. Tell each other, spread the word. Let's all join together to send our message to the White House in language they will understand. We and the rest of the world will not tolerate U.S. domination and arrogance.

Below are some of the website providing more details on consumer campaigns:

Global Boycott for Peace Consumers Against War
Peace Choice For Mother Earth: Boycott the War
Spend for Peace Stop Spending, Stop the War
Peace Action Boycott the USA

 

ENLIGHTENING

Dr. Barry Clark, who has done a great deal of work for the community on the problems of waste and nuisance lighting has passed on an interesting article from the New England law Review on light pollution in the United States. The citation is: Ploetz, K. M. (2002) Notes: Light pollution in the United States: An overview of the inadequacies of the common law and state and local regulation. New England Law Review, 36(4), 985-1039. A copy of the article will be available in hard copy at most law libraries.

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13 APRIL 2003

SYDNEY'S PEACE RALLY STEAMY WHILE MELBOURNE'S MARCH IS MOIST

I had the good fortune to join Sydney's Peace Rally with long time East Timor activist Andrew McNaughton in Sydney today. With about a 20,000 strong crowd and many Greens amongst them, it was a good showing for nervous organisers who felt the Americana message that the war is over and all is honky dory may have scared the peace horses. These rallies are worth attending jut for the creative spoofs of our great leaders. An octupussyian John Howard and lifelike George Dubbwwya on stage were jewels in a republican's crown of street art and theatre. A teeny bit of rain was sent from the heavens to anoint Melbourne as the nicest Peace Rally south of Sydney. As someone was reported to have said as hearty peaceful soles scampered, 'its only rain, not bombs!'

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7 APRIL 2003

SUGGESTION FOR A HUMANITARIAN PEACE PROJECT ON 13 APRIL

A person forwarded this suggestion to me for the 13 April Palm Sunday Rally.

In response to the international voice of peace as a result of the current war in Iraq, I firmly believe there is a need for people to actively express their feelings in a variety of ways to gain maximum attention. Would Greens like to get involved or support in this project?

Concept: Post Your Peace To Iraq

The challenge to create a project which is easy to implement, engages the voice and feelings of the community and has maximum impact. The concept includes the ability for every individual to personally express their thoughts and feelings in writing to be displayed as a collective (or unified) voice.
Project
• A roll of white paper (waterproof) extending to 300 metres through Treasury Park or on the steps of Federation Square.
• Members of our community (school children) supporting peace will be invited to come and write/draw their thoughts and feelings.
• This letter will be enclosed in one of the nation’s largest envelopes and prominently addressed to “the citizens of Iraq” from “the citizens of Melbourne”.
Benefits
• A fresh, innovative and newsworthy approach for a peace rally
• This envelope will be sent to the United Nations to be formally opened by Kofi Annan

Yours In Peace. Shekhar Kamat

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6 APRIL 2003

AUSTRALIA'S APPARENT INDIFFERENCE TO THE USE OF CLUSTER BOMBS IS SICKENING

I have reproduced extracts from a 3 April 2003 press release below by Green Senator Bob Brown on Australia's indifference to the use of cluster bombs in our government's war on Iraq.

Howard, Downer Share Culpability for Cluster Bomb Horror

The Howard government has failed to pressure the Bush administration to stop the use of cluster bombs in Iraq, Greens Senator Bob Brown said today.

"These are evil weapons which mutilate and murder civilians, not least children. The yellow coloured bomblets are the same colour as food parcels but explode when picked up," Senator Brown said.

"They are illegal under Geneva Convention protocols ratified by Australia but not by America. Yesterday's slaughter of civilians at Hillah in Iraq is unpardonable savagery by the 'Coalition of the Willing'.

"John Howard's failure to demand cluster bombs not to be used implicates him in this barbarous and illegal butchery of innocent civilians. He has the leverage with the White House to stop it.

"Claims from Australian defence officials that Australia "does not assist" in the use of cluster bombs are absurd. We are involved in this war at all levels.

"Australia is providing a range of support from Pine Gap to Baghdad and it is very deceptive of Defence to suggest Australia can somehow unhinge itself from the most obscene parts of the war on Iraq," Senator Brown said.

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5 APRIL 2003

PALM SUNDAY RALLY REMINDER

Cancel all other commitments. Collingwood is going to win the football anyway. Mark your diaries: Palm Sunday Rally 2003, 2 pm Sunday April 13: This is a Rally for Peace, Human Rights & Justice. Assemble at 2 pm at the Treasury Gardens [the one with the European Trees!] or for the 2 pm Ecumenical Service at Federation Square, to then join together for a rally, speakers and music.

 

DAVE'S USEFUL INTERNET SITES IS UPDATED REGULARLY WITH IRAQ INFORMATION AND ACTION SITES

This is a reminder that during the War On Iraq, I will try to maintain an up-to-date list of information and peace sites related to the War. The site is available by clicking on David's Useful Internet Sites.

 

PETITION: WE STAND FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE

A Petition called 'We Stand for Peace and Justice' has emerged. You can read it and choose to sign it by clicking on the title. The text of the petition is shown below.

I STAND FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE

I stand for democracy and autonomy. I don't think the U.S. or any other country should ignore the popular will and violate and weaken international law, seeking to bully and bribe votes in the Security Council.

I stand for internationalism. I oppose any nation spreading an ever expanding network of military bases around the world and producing an arsenal unparalleled in the world.

I stand for equity. I don't think the U.S. or any other country should seek empire. I don‚t think the U.S. ought to control Middle Eastern oil on behalf of U.S. corporations and as a wedge to gain political control over other countries.

I stand for freedom. I oppose brutal regimes in Iraq and elsewhere but I also oppose the new doctrine of "preventive war," which guarantees permanent and very dangerous conflict, and is the reason why the U.S. is now regarded as the major threat to peace in much of the world. I stand for a democratic foreign policy that supports popular opposition to imperialism, dictatorship, and political fundamentalism in all its forms.

I stand for solidarity. I stand for and with all the poor and the excluded. Despite massive disinformation millions oppose unjust, illegal, immoral war, and I want to add my voice to theirs. I stand with moral leaders all over the world, with world labor, and with the huge majority of the populations of countries throughout the world.

I stand for diversity. I stand for an end to racism directed against immigrants and people of colour. I stand for an end to repression at home and abroad.

I stand for peace. I stand against this war and against the conditions, mentalities, and institutions that breed and nurture war and injustice.

I stand for sustainability. I stand against the destruction of forests, soil, water, environmental resources, and biodiversity on which all life depends.

I stand for justice. I stand against economic, political, and cultural institutions that promote a rat race mentality, huge economic and power inequalities, corporate domination even unto sweatshop and slave labor, racism, and gender and sexual hierarchies.

I stand for a policy that redirects the money used for war and military spending to provide healthcare, education, housing, and jobs.

I stand for a world whose political, economic, and social institutions foster solidarity, promote equity, maximize participation, celebrate diversity, and encourage full democracy.

I stand for peace and justice and, more, I pledge to work for peace and justice."

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4 APRIL 2003

KEN DAVIDSON GREENSFORUM ON THE WAR ON IRAQ

Ken Davidson of The Age provided a thought provoking presentation on the War in Iraq at today's Greensforum at CIIs in Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. I've asked Ken for the text and will post it as soon as I can. In the meantime, click on the underlined title to go to the website of Dissent for details of the current issue of Dissent. Dissent is one of the few remaining critical magazines in Australia. Dissent deserves your support and is a joy to read.

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2 APRIL 2003

SUBSIDIES THAT ENCOURAGE FOSSIL FUEL USE

An extensive working paper titled 'Subsidies 'Subsidies that Encourage Fossil Fuel Use' by Christopher Reidy, PhD Candidate at UTS dated January, 2003 is available as a 488 Kb pdf download by clicking on the underlined title.

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1 APRIL 2003

VERBOSITY HAS ITS REWARDS

My propensity to open my muzzle more often than banks close their branches has meant Rosa's Rave has had to move to new pages each three months. This page will provide my news and views from April 1 to June 30 2003. News and views from January 1 to March 31 2003 are available by clicking here: NEWS AND VIEWS JAN - MAR 2003 IN THE GUISE OF ROSA'S RAVE 2003

 
 
 

Cool Green Tip Of The Week -

23 April 2017: Only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918 -1956.

This site is written, authorised and maintained by David Risstrom , 377 Little Bourke St. Melbourne, Australiaand had more than 1,003,082 visitors and 3,052,017 hits when updated on Sun 23 April 2017.