Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Good(ish) News and Suicide Attempts

So on the very same day that Chris Evans announced changes to the policy of imprisonment without trial of people likely to have committed no offence, a man in Western Sydney's detention center of Villawood attempted suicide, Jamal Daoud has more;

On the same day of this good announcment, we learned that Chinese asylum seeker, Hongfei Wen, 35 years old, tried to commit suicide around 12 pm, Monday 28 July by stabbing himself by knife. My understanding that he was approached in the kitchen by around 10 security guards with a notice of deportation. He managed to grab a knife and threatened to kill himself if they would try to deport him by force. The security guards did not care and tried to catch him to remove him from the detention centre. He immediately stabbed himself in the stomach. His blood was spilt everywhere. Then he fell unconscious, when he was taken away by security guards. His friend do not know anything about him at the moment. They are very worried about his survival.

Jamal Daoud
The prison has also recently come under scrutiny over allegations of drug use and trafficking between guards, visitors and detainees.
The Age claims that the picture on the right shows a detainee preparing to mainline ice, while other photo's they received apparently show bags of Marijuana next to GSL paper work.
GSL however deny the claims saying that "Keeping drugs out [of] a centre like Villawood is one of our highest priorities. We really encourage our staff to blow the whistle." Blowing the whistle obviously being some sort of underground drug slang for smoking ice.
Chris Evans has also rejected calls by the opposition to allow a full police investigation into the matter. The opposition hilariously mentioned that the government had "a duty of care". A duty of care that was never more obvious then when the kind hearted John Howard said of a group teenage suicide pact, that people "often make threats and I think it's important people in my position understand that."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Reffo's Let In

After years of suicides, self harm, hunger strikes, protests and breakouts, there is now reform that seems to perhaps be significant.
Chris Evans from the labor party suggests that "A person who poses no danger to the community will be able to remain in the community while their visa status is resolved".
The reform suggests that those who pose health or security risks will still face possible detention.
Though there is no mention of a change to who, the new ruling regime, will allow to stay. Those deemed by Rudd and company to be troublesome, liars or just not in that much danger at home, will presumably still be deported to war zones and poverty.

Advance Australia Fair!

But Chris isn't suggesting that this is the end of his great reforms saying that "A great deal more work needs to occur to develop a modern and robust system for management of people in immigration detention,"
However something about the words "modern and robust" and "management of people" don't seem to imply humane or compassionate.
Although Chris Evans is obviously a fucking saint, check out some of the cases which this suited bastard sitting in the halls of power on a healthy income in a Developed Nation thought weren't so bad;

* A single young woman from Ethiopia who was trafficked, enslaved by her employer and subjected to horrific abuse;
* An elderly couple from East Timor. Eight of their nine children are in Australia, and 6 of them are permanent residents. The couple fled violence and would be destitute upon return to Timor. The Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) flagged humanitarian considerations in this case as being appropriate for the Minister to consider;
* A family from a persecuted ethnic minority in the Ukraine whose 6 year old daughter was born in Australia. A suicide risk was flagged for the father. On Wednesday, after being told of his recent Ministerial refusal, he attempted suicide at the Asylum Seekers’ Resource Centre in front of his son.
* A young Kurdish man from Turkey who was detained and tortured in his home country. There is a real risk that he will be tortured upon return;
* A young man from China who was a member of an underground Christian church. There is a warrant for his arrest for his religious beliefs and he faces detention and torture upon return;
* A man from Sri Lanka who has been married to an Australian citizen for two years. He cannot return home to apply for a spouse visa because there is a warrant for his arrest as a result of his political membership;
* A woman from Sri Lanka whose nine siblings are all Australian citizens. Her daughter is a permanent resident of Australia. There are no members of her or her husband’s family remaining in her country country;
* A man of Tamil ethnicity from Sri Lanka who has been in Australia for 12 years and is the sole carer for his 91 year old mother. The mother is in the queue for an Aged Parent visa in Australia;
* A Sri Lankan father who has been in Australia for 10 years and whose immediate family, including his mother and three out of four siblings, are Australian citizens or residents. His wife’s two brothers and parents were killed during the tsunami;
* A 63 year – old East Timorese woman with a large extended family in Australia including her sister, two children and grandchildren. Due to the violence in her country she has not been able to locate her remaining family in East Timor
In not so surprising news, "AUSTRALIANS want to work less, saying they are overworked and their jobs interfere with their life."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Your Boss May be in Your Head

A proposed "new co-operative and constructive relationship" between Telstra management and workers seems even more a fairytale now than when it was dreamt up. The ACTU claims that Telstra Bosses used psychological profiles of workers in an attempt to exploit personal weaknesses and subtly push 15,000 staff onto AWA's.
The dodgy move by the scummy bosses at the shoddy telco came just a few days before AWA's were to be banned.
Telstra neither confirms nor Deny's the underhanded tactic instead suggesting that the Workplace ombudsman's report is Gospel and that the decision of the workers to sign should be respected - presumably under any circumstance. More here though.

As part of their Art In Motion programme, Jay Katz and Miss Death of FBI fame will be screening some films that once struck fear into the heart of those with little else to fear.
These are the sort of high school "educational" films that were created using the most hippest and hoppest lingo and the most "radikool" directors, so that kids actually related very closely to them and really understood why the man was shovelling so much trash down their throats...
No just slamming, these films were and are hilarious and only get more and more so as time goes on - which is good because one of the films Why Vandalism is from 1955 (which must be almost a hundred years ago), and the other McGruff's Gang Alert is from 1990 (also a long time ago).
These two films look at the controversy that has surrounded urban youth artistic expressions and the different (or similar) ways the subject has been approached. The night sounds like it will be great.
Things start to get going at 7pm on the 2nd of August, which is a Saturday, and it's all going down at Penrith Regional Gallery. There are also some other film nights to follow which should be equally as good.
Now i leave you with some McGruff;

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Odds and Ends

Well firstly watch this old codger lose it;

Also! American artist Chris Jordan thinks "Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with", which i reckon sounds about right. Chris has created a number of works by visually representing some alarming statistics about the U.S, which i'd imagine we Australians wouldn't be able to mount a high horse about, physically.
The works are in a similar vein as this one Constitution, 2008. Which is a collage of 83,000 Abu Ghraib photographs.
The State, Beaurocrats and Corporate Hacks...
Have been busy destroying parts of a heritage listed canal turned cycle path that was won at the end of a 10year community battle in Western Sydney. The closure of an important part of this track means that cyclists still wanting a ride are forced to either risk traffic on a major road or illegally use the T-Way bus route.
The group calling itself CRAG (Canal Reserve Action Group) have kept tabs on the various parties involved in this comedic blunder of a construction project, and have published the
information on their website.
Cycling the path just yesterday was wonderful - untill of course i came to the (new) end of the track (pictured above). Rather dissapointing considering i should have ended at the prospect resevoir. (below)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Delusional" Protesters successful.

More than 40 protesters have been arrested at a climate action rally in Newcastle when they blocked a railway line delivering coal.

The Camp for Climate Action protest has shut down the main train line for most of the day.

Around 1,200 people have been protesting at the Carrington Coal Terminal, stopping three trains carrying 20,000 tonnes of coal from entering the terminal.
- ABC Full story here

Unlike other certain other Climate Camps around the world, this weekends camp in Newcastle seems to have included coal miners themselves, or at least one. Peter Kennedy a coal miner and unionist says we need to "move toward green energy" and "speak out against the forever growing cancer called coal mining."

And today activists have thrown a sabot again, this time at Kooragang Coal Terminal, also in Newcastle.
The 5 protesters seem to have chained themselves to a coal conveyor belt and halted the terminal completely for two hours according to a spokesman from the plant.
The protesters reckon that we need a "transition to a renewable energy economy." and that "International examples prove that renewable energy will create tens of thousands of jobs for those most affected by climate change and those long-dependant on the destructive coal economy." More here.

Meanwhile Barry O'Farrel calls protesters delusional and shoots at straw men in claiming "Everyone understands the need to adjust to climate change, it isn't going to happen overnight, it's unreasonable to expect it to happen overnight and we need to get real about this." Everyone apparently understands the need to adjust, but those bringing attention to this need are delusional, makes sense.

Anyway check out these pictures from here:

Friday, July 11, 2008

Everytime we fuck, we win.

I do not know who the artist is. Originally published on WoosterCollective.

Smoke Stack Lightning

"Queensland Energy Minister Geoff Wilson says he is shocked by the behaviour of Greenpeace activists at the Swanbank power station, west of Brisbane this morning." - ABC News

Minister Geoff, the humanitarian, is also very worried about the protesters safety, saying of the smoke stack they have climbed that "The structure itself is over 37 years old, there may be some issues with the integrity of it" - which raises the obvious question; apart from the damage to the environment, is this a structure that has been threatening the safety of workers without a peep, yet merits concern when someone makes a point using it?
Geoff also thinks that 4 people making a potentially dangerous point is "unnecessary and irresponsible and extreme", possibly more "unnecessary and irresponsible" than continuing with coal technology in the face of climate disaster

In other environment news some clever scientists have tinkered with and found a very promising (and from what i can tell, quite surprisingly basic) alteration of conventional solar technology, which may see solar become comparable in price to fossil fuel energy. For more, click here.

It seems that Greenpeace aren't the only members of the cast worried about impending climate disaster. From yesterday (10th) till the 15th at Newcastle there is a Camp For Climate Action going on, and i wish i had heard about it's awesomeness earlier.
Hopefully it is not too late for some of you to make it along (look at me talking like i actually have readers). The way it is being structured is very refreshing, and i recommend checking out their website, if for nothing other than interests sake.
There is planned a mass disobedience/train blockade on Sunday, to quote; "If we leave solving climate change to business and government, they will fail. Writing letters, lobbying, and changing our light bulbs is not working. We need to take action ourselves, engage in civil disobedience and non-violent direct action to prevent the expansion of the fossil fuel industries that are endangering life on earth. When laws are unjust or are destroying our future, people of conscience have a responsibility to act. It’s just as true now as it was in the 1700’s when Irish politician Edmund Burke said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”

Oh! By the way, in case this isn't obvious - this is the first post on here. Hope you've enjoyed it, and hope there will be more to follow.