Thursday, April 12, 2007

Deaths in Custody – the silence and complicity must be challenged

Deaths in Custody - Justice for Karl Woods

11th April, 2007 marks the first anniversary of the terrible death of Karl Woods in police custody. Karl was arrested at the scene of a home invasion on April 11th, 2006. Police report that he struggled and had to be ‘subdued’. Once arrested he was placed in the back of a police van. According to initial reports when checked ‘a short time later’ - Karl was dead. What happened?

Mr Woods' family members – and others who have seen post-mortem photos – are horrified by the obvious physical injuries he appears to have sustained. Yet it seems the WA police admit no fault, and no officers have been stood down.

INTERVIEW APRIL 10 2007 - Deaths in Custody Watch Committee, Marc Newhouse - MP3

Nearly a year on, and the WA police have still not finalised reports into Mr Woods' death for the Coroners office. And no Coronial Inquest has been carried out. Why?

This has many parallels to the Palm Island case and the silence, inaction and injustice must be challenged, say the Deaths In Custody Watch Committee. [2004 Palm Island death in custody.]

Deaths In Custody Watch say that deaths such as these must never occur. 99 Indigenous deaths in custody around the 1980’s led to the Royal Commission Into Aboriginal Deaths In Custodywhich took nearly four years with hundreds of recommendations - yet carries no real legal weight. Most of the recommendations were never properly implemented.

In WA where Indigenous people make up around 3% of the general population, our prisoner population is over 40% Indigenous, and a new report indicates that in juvenile detention centres this figure rises to a staggering 74%.
The Woods' family and many other concerned West Australians will mount a public rally and letter of demand to the Premier this Black Friday. "Support the call for justice - for Karl, the Woods’ family, and all those who have died in custody..."

We must change the systemic racism and inequality which imprisons so many indigenous people. We must hold to account all those involved in deaths in custody. We must stop deaths in custody... JUSTICE FOR KARL WOODS

DEATH IN CUSTODY RALLY – CALL FOR JUSTICE FOR KARL WOODS - BLACK FRIDAY, 13TH APRIL, 12 NOON, CORNER OF ST GEORGES TCE AND BARRACK ST. Rally and speakers, followed by a march on the Premiers office... READ MORE/Contact/Comment...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Massive corporate climate change gig a pathetic corporate farce

April 11, 2007 - Australia hosts Live Earth gig

Washed-up ageing rock-stars, The Police, Madonna and Bon Jovi are among the litany of confused and sychophantic millionare recording-industry darlings, who will perform in the "Live Earth" concerts - allegedly aimed at raising awareness of climate change. Microsoft, Pepsi and other dubious companies have joined Live Earth as corporate partners...
Organisers say top-selling artists had rushed to be seen to be part of the deal, which has been compared by some to the hopeless and ill-affecting "Live Aid" concerts held around the world in the 1980s.

Here is their website:

Control Room, a provider of homogenised, commodified digital entertainment is the executive producer of the upcoming worldwide Live Earth concerts

Promoters say the Live Earth series will be held in seven major cities on July 7, 2007 - New York, London, Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, Johannesburg and Rio de Janeiro. Without fully realising the impact of such an event, the corporate organisers have also promised an event in Antarctica!

The tired and embarrassing Sydney line-up is expected to be announced later. The John Butler Trio and Wolfmother have already revealed they'll perform to avoid real responsibility for their part in the rapacious destruction of the Earth's fragile ecosystem. Horrible rumours that Silverchair will be on the bill, and that Midnight Oil, with its mainstream Labor politician-singer Peter Garrett, will play some role in the event abound.

Beastie Boys, Black Eyed Peas, Bloc Party, Corinne Bailey Rae, Damien Rice, David Gray, Duran Duran, Foo Fighters, Genesis, James Blunt, John Legend, Keane, Madonna, Paolo Nutini, Razorlight, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snow Patrol are just some of the artists needing publicity.

The concerts mark the start of another seemingly pointless campaign called Save Our Selves (SOS) - The Campaign for a Climate in Crisis. Microsoft says the concerts will be broadcast by more than 120 networks around the world, and streamed live online. Promoters hope the concerts will reach an audience of two billion people.

Proceeds will go to former US vice president Al Gore. Gore, who has won widespread acclaim for his climate change film An Inconvenient Truth, said he hoped the energy created by Live Earth would "jump-start a massive public education effort".

What a fucking crock of shit...


Power cut off prior to Karrinyup fire deaths

April 10, 2007 - Power cut off before fire deaths: There has been controversy surrounding the incident after it was revealed the electricity had been cut off to the property in the weeks leading up to a tragic fire in a Karrinyup Homeswest house last week. The WA Opposition is concerned that the woman and her two sons may have lived without power in the weeks before their deaths.

Cozette Pickering, her eight-year-old son Shayden and Rhys, 12, died when their Homeswest house burnt down on Friday.

Opposition spokeswoman for child protection Robyn McSweeney says she will raise the matter in Parliament. She says utilities are not turned off without a series of checks by the suppliers, and there are protocols in place to help people who cannot pay their bills.

"I will be bringing it up in Parliament. I've checked out what happens to people who can't afford to pay with Alinta Gas and Western Power," she said. "I do know that there's a process in place and I want to see that that process was followed."

The State Government and the Department for Community Development have declined to comment on Ms Pickering's situation because the deaths are to be investigated by the coroner. Electricity retailer Synergy and gas supplier Alinta will not say whether they had spoken to Ms Pickering about her accounts.

The ex-husband of a mother of four who died with her two young sons has described the blaze as a tragic accident.

Fire investigators have been unable to say what caused the fire but today Michael Pickering confirmed that forensic officers had told him there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the fire:

"They can only confirm that the fire started in the kitchen, they will never know what caused it because the fire was such an intense one. There were no accelerants, they don’t know whether it was a candle, gas, or whatever, they will never know apparently."

Speaking for the first time, Mr Pickering told the West Australian newswpaper how the fire that started at the Finnerty Street home about 9pm quickly turned into an inferno that engulfed the home. He said the kitchen became a fireball, which quickly spread through the house, collapsing the roof. Mr Pickering had separated from his ex-wife four years ago. He was working in the Pilbara when the fire happened.

The Homeswest house did not have smoke detectors or power and lacked proper water pressure. Opposition child protection spokeswoman Robyn McSweeney says the property did have gas connected. Ms McSweeney says the boys' father, Michael Pickering, is angry at Government housing provider Homeswest for not installing smoke alarms.

She says Mr Pickering was also concerned by a lack of water pressure in the street. "The water was restricted and it came to mind that somebody had of picked up the hose to put out some flames then they probably wouldn't be able to use that hose because of the water restrictions going through it," she said.

Neighbour Steven Clements said residents had unsuccessfully tried to smash their way into the burning house before firefighters arrived.

The West
ABC News
Home destroyed in fatal fire lacked smoke alarms - ABC
Family visit the site of fatal fire

Refugee rights: Villawood detainees on hunger strike - Kiribilli convergence

Sunday, April 8, 2007 - 100 Villawood detainees on hunger strike

The Refugee Action Coalition says more than 100 people at Sydney's Villawood Detention Centre are now on a hunger strike. Some of the hunger-strikers have entered their 10th straight day without food as authorities reinforced fences and put on extra officers in anticipation of a torrid Easter weekend at Sydney's Villawood detention centre...
Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition says the inmates are staging the protest over the recent deportation of a Chinese woman. He says they are very worried about what will happen to the Chinese detainees when they are sent back to their country.

"Most of the people who have been deported are among the group of Chinese that were interviewed by Chinese Government officials in 2005, so they are particularly vulnerable," he said.

"The Chinese Government has got all the details they have, and they have got them courtesy of the Australian Government inviting them into the detention centre."

Mr Rintoul says the inmates are desperate to be heard. "I think it's a measure of the desperation - what the people say to us is that they face a much worse fate if they are returned to China," he said.

"They even say they would rather die here, fighting against being deported, than to be sent back to face what will happen to them at the hands of the Chinese authorities."

Meanwhile, protesters rallied outside the Prime Minister's Sydney residence to speak against the Howard Government's policies on war, climate change, immigration and industrial relations. The speakers included Greens senator Kerry Nettle and refugee activists highlighting an on-going hunger strike at Sydney's Villawood Immigration Detention Centre.

The group say they will converge outside the Villawood Detention Centre to show solidarity for the hunger strikers. The hunger strikers have asked for an end to forced deportations, an end to mandatory detention, and for the immigration department to provide information about the fate of those deported.

Devotees of the Falun Gong sect and supporters are protesting against the harsh tactics of the Department of Immigration and detention centre guards during three deportations of Chinese citizens in the past fortnight.

Yuan Huimil, the sole woman among them, was taken to hospital on Wednesday night for rehydration and is now under medical supervision.

The protesters are demanding an end to forced deportations and long-term detention- demanding that the department contact lawyers and refugee groups before any deportations.

"The minister cannot pretend he doesn't know either about the mistreatment of the Chinese detainees in Villawood or the human rights abuses of the Chinese Government," said Ian Rintoul.

"We are urging him to urgently intervene before the hunger strikers suffer long-term damage to their health or worse."

An Immigration Department spokeswoman said eight people are refusing food but are still taking fluids. Extra guards, NSW police officers and an ambulance have been stationed at Villawood.

ABC News
News Ltd

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Easter 2007 protest at Kirribilli

From the newswire: REFUGEE RIGHTS ACTION - The Refugee Action Coalition has called a protest for Easter Sunday at Kirribilli House. Easter has become synonymous with protests for refugees’ rights. Woomera, Baxter and Villawood detention centres have each been the target of Easter convergences that have shone the national and international spotlight on the Howard government’s blatant disregard of human rights.

End mandatory detention | Close the detention centres | Abolish temporary protection visas | Stop all deportations | Let the boats land | Fight racist scapegoating

PM John Howard’s attempt to excise the Australian mainland from the migration zone has been defeated. The numbers in mainland detention centres have fallen, as some people previously demonised as "failed asylum seekers" finally got visas.

Yet the construction of the $300 million, 800-bed detention centre on Christmas Island is nearing completion, with the backing of the Labor opposition. The recent attempt to turn back 83 Sri Lankan asylum seekers shows that the government’s “fortress Australia” mind-set persists.

The Refugee Action Coalition has called a protest for Easter Sunday at Kirribilli House. The Howard government is in trouble on a number of fronts: the worsening debacle in Iraq; the five-year incarceration of David Hicks; the unpopularity of Work Choices; the push for uranium mining and nuclear power; and the incessant attacks on public education.

Uniting around these issues, we can push Howard back and send a message to any alternative government that we need a fundamental break with the priorities of the Howard years. The protest has been endorsed by the Stop the War Coalition and the NSW Social Justice Network. The protest will take place from noon on April 8 in Bradfield Park, under the Harbour Bridge.

READ MORE/Comment...

Howard's IR Laws: "culture of fear" force workers from unions and slash casual pay

April 04, 200 - Unions say casual employees stand to lose pay over the Easter weekend because of the Federal Government's WorkChoices laws. The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) says 2,000 young workers a month are being switched to individual contracts which reduce or abolish penalty rates on public holidays.

Meanwhile, WA leads the way in workers abandoning unions, with over 10 per cent bailing in the last 12 months...
ACTU president Sharan Burrow says young workers will be the worst hit over Easter. "There's no way that young people can continue to make ends meet if their take-home pay is slashed by up to $100 a week," she said.

"This is a generation of young people, those who do casual work, who will grow up never knowing that there's a difference between a Monday and a Sunday and now an Easter Sunday, that of course would attract a double entitlement to wages because of the unsocial hours."

However, Federal Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey says young workers are better off under WorkChoices.

Meanwhile, Australian union membership is at record low. Latest figures reveal that 125,000 workers have left the union movement in 12 months. The biggest drop in the 12 months to August last year - 10.5 per cent - came in Western Australia. Nationally, trade union membership now represents only 15.5 per cent of private-sector workers, down from 16.7 per cent in mid-2005. The number of male union members has dropped below one million for the first time, with total membership now 1.8 million.

Ms Burrow said she was not surprised by the figures and believed Work Choices had made people scared to be in unions.

"The figures are not surprising considering that the IR laws are designed to take away people's rights at work and make it harder to bargain collectively," she said. "There's a culture of fear when employers have the power to say 'sign the contract or you don't get the job'."

ACTU secretary Greg Combet said people were opposed to the Government's IR laws and that Labor should articulate an alternative policy. "It's a matter for the Labor Party, of course, what they set out at their national conference, but myself and my union colleagues are hopeful of seeing a bit more detail at the national conference about what Labor's alternative plans would be," Mr Combet said. "It's very difficult for people to make the choice to be a member of the union under Work Choices."

Mr Combet says the results are very disappointing for unions but not surprising. He says one of the aims of the Federal Government's industrial laws is to make it very difficult for people to be a part of the union movement.

"It's very difficult for people to make the choice to be a member of the union under WorkChoices," he said. "We're already aware of people being victimised for choosing to be a union member and putting their hand up to oppose some of things that happen in workplaces. It's also very hard for people to have effective union representation."

A recent Newspoll published in The Australian shows that most voters do not believe Work Choices will be good for them, the economy or job creation.

The poll shows voters overwhelmingly reject the Howard Government’s push to put workers on to AWA individual contracts and want unfair dismissal and collective bargaining rights for workers restored. With the Prime Minister John Howard ruling out any possibility of the Federal Liberal Party making changes to its year old IR laws, the national poll shows:

* 69% believe AWA individual contracts that are being pushed by the IR laws give too much power to employers.
* 71% believe that collective bargaining gives power back to workers and that this is a good thing.
* 59% reject the Government’s argument that unfair dismissal laws cost jobs and believe that all workers, including those in small businesses, should be protected from unfair dismissal.

Research also shows that work conditions are being cut by the AWA individual contracts - 1,000 Australian workers a day are being pushed onto AWAs which the Federal Government's own survey shows that every new AWA is cutting at least one so called ‘protected award condition' and that 51% cut Overtime Loadings; 63% cut Penalty Rates; 46% cut Public Holidays pay; 52% cut Shift Work Loadings; and 40% cut Rest Breaks.

Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)
Union memberships hit hard - News Ltd
WorkChoices biting over Easter: ACTU - ABC
WorkChoices choking union participation: ACTU - ABC
New poll shows voters reject AWAs and want collective bargaining - ACTU
Federal Govt's new IR laws are hurting working families - ACTU

Government alerts Esperance residents - tests reveal higher than recommended Lead levels

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 - The WA Health Department say they are alerting Esperance residents after 12 in 900 blood tests were shown to have "higher than recommended levels of lead." Ten adults and two children under five have recorded lead levels above the World Health Organisation guideline of 10 micrograms per decilitre in the town in southern WA...
The Department will contact 12 Esperance residents after their blood showed up higher than recommended levels of lead. Over 900 Esperance residents have now been tested.

The department's director of environmental health, Jim Dodds, says another 1,000 tests are expected to be conducted over the next 10 days. Mr Dodds says the department will contact all residents who have been affected.

"We're contacting adults that are above 10 [micrograms per decilitre] and we are actually trying to follow up with children that have greater than five," he said. "We are trying to work with the Esperance community to locate people who have greater than five and interview them to see if it can help us understand this pattern."

Planning Minister Alannah MacTiernan says she takes the lead contamination scare seriously. She says she supports calls for a parliamentary inquiry into the lead contamination, which has killed thousands of birds and created health problems for some residents.


Terry Hicks 'gagged' by Government

April 3, 2007 - Terry Hicks, the father of David Hicks, says he has been gagged from revealing facts about his son's five-year incarceration in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay...

Terry Hicks, the father of David Hicks, says the Australian government is trying to gag him from talking about his son's five years at Guantanamo Bay.

Terry Hicks says the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has written to him outlining a 12-month gag order issued to his son as part of his plea bargain, during which David Hicks cannot be interviewed, write a book or make a film about his time as an enemy combatant.

But the letter also detailed the restrictions on what the Hicks family could reveal about their conversations with David, Terry Hicks told News Limited newspapers.

"This is Big Brother, and because the Americans and the Australian government coalesce on David's charges, at this point in time we're ruled by them," Mr Hicks told News Limited. "If David tells us something, we can't pass it on. But I could still talk about the signing of his charges, things like he hasn't been abused."

Mr Hicks said the letter detailed the restrictions on what the Hicks family could reveal about their conversations with David.

A DFAT spokesman denied Mr Hicks' claims. "We have not written to Terry Hicks since the verdict," the spokesman said. "We communicated via email to his sister and provided two publicly available documents."

It is understood DFAT emailed Mr Hicks's daughter Stephanie, providing a statement of facts and a copy of Hicks's pre-trial agreement. Mr Hicks said his son's legal team was examining the contents of the letter.

Mr Hicks said he would continue to speak to the media but did not want to jeopardise the Australian jail term imposed on his son. He rejected suggestions that his son could pose a threat to national security when released in late December.

"David wouldn't hurt a bloody fly at the moment," he said. "David never did any harm to anyone when he was over there anyway. He wasn't armed, he hadn't fired a shot at any coalition forces. The only danger David is to anyone is to come back to Australia and probably have to go on the dole because he might find it hard to get a job."

The 31-year-old Australian pleaded guilty in a plea bargain with US authorities last week to providing material support to terrorists. Hicks has applied to be transferred to Adelaide.

Meanwhile, Hicks's Australian legal adviser David McLeod, repeated claims that the confessed terrorist was tortured in US custody. But Hicks's military lawyer Major Michael Mori stepped up behind Mr McLeod within minutes of his press conference, tapped him on the shoulder and told him he could not talk about Hicks's movement and activities within the detention camps.

Hicks's agreement, under which he will serve just nine more months in jail, flies in the face of an affidavit sitting with a British court in which he does allege abuse. The affidavit, reported in The New York Times last month, says the abuse occurred during interrogations in Afghanistan.

The Australian
The Australian

Costello: Old people are the biggest threat to Australians

April 2, 2007 - Federal Treasurer Peter Costello has released the second Intergenerational Report, which shows the ageing of the population remains the greatest threat to Australia's economy. He says the Government needs to cut spending and force people into menial jobs. He suggested more women should have babies...
Mr Costello says while the birth rate has increased slightly in the five years since the last Intergenerational Report, Australia's fertility rate needs to increase further.

"It also means developing policies, making it easier for families to have children and to have more children," he said. The government has targeted the ageing population by offering $4,000 to the parents of every new-born child.

The Intergenerational Report, written by a range of government agencies, said the number of Australians aged 65 or older is set to double by 2047 to 25 percent of the population, while the number of people aged 85 or more will triple to 5.6 percent of the population.

The Treasurer says an ageing population means Australia will face a budget deficit of $35 billion in 2047. Costello said the ageing of the population will force the cost of health care to double to 7.3 percent of GDP by 2047

"Demography is working against us," Mr Costello said in his speech to the National Press Club. He said Australian women are having fewer babies than the replacement rate of 2.1 babies per woman, but the government would not be encouraging greater fertility through a full tax deduction for child care.

Mr Costello said the current baby bonus - a cash money incentive - was a better way to help struggling families.

Corporate News
Wikipedia: Peter_Costello

Leave that fucking shit in the ground

March 30, 2007 - International nuclear expert is visiting Canberra this week to warn Australians about the dangerous impact of the waste produced by uranium mining. Kevin Kamps, from the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, says the waste produced by uranium mines in the US has had a great impact on the community.

Mr Kamps says the search for storage sites for nuclear waste often targets the living areas of traditional inhabitants.

"It's having some of the greatest public health and environmental impacts because of the carelessness with which it's disposed of," he said...
"So it's just dumped on the surface and it blows with the wind and it flows with the water and that is unfortunately the state of practice with uranium mining."

Washington-based Kevin Kamps, who is on a national tour with the Wilderness Society, said the public's primary concern should be where the governments planned to store nuclear waste.

He said US experience showed reactors, generally located near cities, had been forced to store toxic waste while the argument of where to build a national dump continued.

Mr Kamps also says the search for storage sites for nuclear waste often targets the living areas of traditional inhabitants.

Last year the Australian federal Government passed legislation that could mean a nuclear waste facility will go ahead at Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory, even though only some of the traditional owners agreed.

Mr Kamps says a similar situation occurred in the US state of Nevada.

"One of the parallels that is very apparent is that often times it's politically vulnerable locations and even Indigenous people's lands that are targeted for these waste dumps," he said. "So that same environmental injustice seems to be at play here in Australia with the proposed Commonwealth dump in the Northern Territory, again on the land of traditional owners."

NIRS reports that nuclear power stations are a sunset industry. Despite so-far hollow nuclear industry claims of a "resurgence," the reality is that the world’s nuclear reactors continue to decline in number.

In the largest single-day shutdown in history, seven commercial atomic reactors closed permanently on December 31, 2006. These included Kozloduy in Bulgaria; Bohunice in Slovakia; and Dungeness, Sizewell in the United Kingdom.

American nuclear reactors produced up to 30 metric tonnes of waste each year, which posed serious health and environmental risks, he said.

"Nuclear power is still a very contentious issue in the US with most people asking where do we put the waste," he said. "If reactors are built, they will serve as waste storage sites for many years in the future and there is a massive risk for accidents."

Mr Kamps pointed to the Yucca Mountain proposed dump in Nevada that had now been delayed as a groundswell of opposition grew. He said nearby residents and environmentalists did not want the dump because of the site's location on a fault line, near drinking water supplies and on volcanic land. He argued that the same problem would happen in Australia if nuclear energy was developed.

Last month the South Australian city of Port Augusta, north of Adelaide, was named the most likely location for Australia's first nuclear power plant by The Australia Institute thinktank.

Mr Kamps dismissed the argument put by Prime Minister John Howard that nuclear energy was needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions produced by coal. "The creation of a nuclear power industry to decrease emissions trades one ecological disaster for another," he said.

Despite the misinformation campaign by the nuclear industry, nuclear power is not a carbon-free technology.

Only the reactors themselves are carbon-neutral. But the rest of the nuclear fuel chain (including mining of uranium, milling, processing and enrichment of uranium, construction of reactors and other necessary major nuclear facilities, and radioactive waste storage) results in significant release of carbon.

To the extent that nuclear reactors would directly replace existing coal plants, modest carbon reductions would occur; to the extent that new reactors would represent new capacity—the result would be an increase in greenhouse gases, not a decrease. Nuclear power is far more costly than most other alternatives, especially when the full cost of the entire nuclear fuel chain is considered.

NRIS reports that spending the levels of resources necessary to build dozens of new reactors, not to mention thousands, would result in insufficient resources to deploy essentially carbon-free technologies and thus would prevent the world from achieving the level of greenhouse gas emissions cuts now widely regarded as necessary (about 80% cut by mid-century).

Mr Kamps says in the the US the nuclear energy industry is propped up by billion-dollar government subsidies and renewable energy industries such as wind power are growing quickly.

"Wind is the fastest growing new source of electricity in the United States," he said. "You can put up wind turbines in a matter of months, where it takes years and years [for a nuclear reactor], the last built reactor in the United States cost $7 billion and took 23 years to build and we need to act in the near term to address the climate crisis - we can't wait for nuclear power."

At best, construction of 2-3,000 new reactors would result in emissions reductions of around 20%, but would require capital costs of $4-8 trillion or more. Far greater emissions reductions could be obtained by using our resources to fully develop and deploy more advanced and sustainable technologies.

However, the world is unlikely to be able to provide enough resources to implement large-scale nuclear and the more sustainable technologies.

Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Campaigner warns against uranium mining - ABC
Alternatives to Nuclear
Wikipedia: Nuclear_Information_and_Resource_Service
Reactors to become 'nuclear storage sites' - News Ltd
US waste specialist warns against nuclear energy - ABC News

Largest-producing solar power plant inaugurated

March 29, 2007 - LISBON: The world's largest-producing solar power plant was inaugurated yesterday in Portugal. The 11-megawatt 61m-euro ($78.5m) plant, a joint project of US energy companies GE Energy Financial Services, PowerLight Corporation, and Portuguese renewable energy company Catavento, spreads across a 60-hectare hillside in Serpa, 200 km southeast of Lisbon. Southern Portugal, one of the sunniest places in Europe, has as much as 3,300 hours of sunlight a year. The new plant will produce enough power to supply 8,000 homes and will also prevent the emission of 30,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year when compared to fossil fuels.
The photovoltaic system it uses employs silicon solar cell technology to convert sunlight directly into electricity. It will produce 20 gigawatt hours of power per year. Construction of the plant began in June 2006. It started working partially in January 2007. The facility is owned by GE Energy Financial Services, and will be operated and maintained by PowerLight, which also designed it. Management services will be undertaken by Catavento, which developed the project.

"This project is successful because Portugal's sunshine is plentiful, the solar power technology is proven, government policies are supportive, and we are investing ... to help our customers meet their environmental challenges," said Kevin Walsh, managing director and leader of renewable energy at GE Energy Financial Services. "This is the most productive solar plant in the world, it will produce 40 percent more energy than the second largest one, Gut Erlasse in Germany," said Howard Wenger principal of Powerlight.

Piero Dal Maso, co-CEO of Catavento, said the project "serves as a beacon to the world to show how to overcome challenges of scale and complexity." Co-CEO Rui Pimenta said he hoped the government would clear remaining roadblocks "so solar power can truly radiate across Portugal."

Portugal is almost entirely dependent on imported energy, but is developing large wave and solar power projects and building wind farms to supply some 750,000 homes. It also is exploring new hydropower projects and plans to invest 8bn euros ($10.8bn) in renewable energy projects over the next five years.

Prime Minister Jose Socrates said in January that his Socialist government wanted 45 per cent of Portugal's total power consumption to come from renewable sources by 2010. Though it is a 12-megawatt plant, Gut Erlasse solar park in Bavaria produces less electricity because it is located at a higher latitude with less sun.

The scheme fits into Portugal's plans of reducing its reliance on imported energy and cutting output of greenhouse gasses that feed global warming. Portugal's emissions have surged about 37 per cent since 1990, one of the highest increases in the world. By bringing modern technology to one of western Europe's poorest regions, the $US75-million plant is expected to bring alternative development to the Alentejo.

There are also plans to build a solar power plant in the neighbouring town of Moura.

Press Release from PowerLight Corporation

Hundreds converge against Yarragadee aquifer plans

March 27, 2007 - Hundreds of Western Australian residents campaigning against plans to tap the Yarragadee Aquifer converged on Parliament House in Perth today for a protest rally. Many arrived by buses from the South West. The Water Corporation wants to take 45 million litres of water from the aquifer every year and pump it into Perth's water supply...
The proposal is widely opposed in the city and south-west and has sparked a swelling grassroots campaign to stop it.

Friends of the Yarragadee organised the rally to voice to the State Government what they think of the proposal. "Really there are alternatives, very viable alternatives and this $700 million is absolute folly to be spending that then looking down the track and saying this environmental damage is too much we need to turn the taps off," said spokesman Trevor Larke.

The colourful group of families, workers, environmentalists, members of local SW governments and experts met on the Esplanade and headed to Parliament House for a rally. Police estimated a crowd of between 700 and 1000 attended the rally

"Water Corp sucks", "Hands off our Yarragdee" and "Restrict yourselves Perth" read some signs.

Greens Paul Llewellyn, told about 800 people that the proposal, which has drawn must be stopped. "WA is in the grip of a historic water crisis that requires a long-term commitment to water efficiency and conservation," Mr Llewellyn said.

"Tapping into the Yarragadee is a short-term solution, equivalent to sweeping the problem under the carpet. Our children will hold us to account for this decision and we must not let that happen."

"Local governments are very concerned about the impact of piping the Yarragadee water to Perth while local and regional water needs are already under pressure," Mr Llewellyn later said. He said 40 per cent of potable water in the city was poured on gardens.

"I don't think that we should be tapping into the Yarragadee beyond our current allocation and certainly should not be exporting drinking water into Perth so we can maintain rose gardens for people in the city."

On Monday the West Australian newspaper reported that a group of eminent WA scientists has launched a scathing attack on the plan to tap the South-West Yarragadee aquifer to boost Perth's drinking water supplies.

Desptite approval by an EPAA panel, a government decision on whether the project goes ahead has yet to be made.

The corporate Media
Action: Yarragadee Rally - Perth Indymedia
Protesters call for a halt to Yarragadee plans - The West

Refugee Rights - Villawood asylum-seeker taken to hospital

March 28, 2007 - Villawood detainee taken to hospital
A detainee at Sydney's Villawood Detention Centre has been taken to hospital because of concerns for his wellbeing.

The Department of Immigration says An Xiang Tao was taken to Bankstown Hospital as a precautionary measure and is under medical supervision.

The man had recently been placed in isolation. Bankstown Hospital say he is in a stable condition.

It is believed this is the same man - a Chjinese Falun Gong practitioner - who was at the centre of a failed forced deportation in February.

The detainee, Falun Gong practitioner Xiang Tao An, feared he would be forced to become part of a live organ trade.

Mr An, 35, believes that his religion means he will be incarcerated on arrival in China. He says he has been detained twice by Chinese authorities in the past and claims he was beaten.

The suppression of Falun Gong practitioners has been regarded by most western governments as a major international human rights issue.

As of December 2005, sixty-one lawsuits have been filed in about thirty countries charging senior Chinese officials with genocide, torture, and crimes against humanity for their roles in the treatment of Falun Gong in mainland China.

Source - ABC news

Villawood detainees form human barricade to stop Falun Gong deportation - Perth Indymedia

Greens achieve best election result ever - without massive donations

24 March 2007 - Greens achieve best result ever in NSW - Greens MP and lead Upper House candidate Lee Rhiannon said the recent NSW state has election achieved the best ever result for the Greens in NSW, with increases in both houses.

Half of the 42 seats in the upper house were up for election at Saturday's election and the Greens were the biggest winners - increasing their numbers from three to four. But whilst the Greens are confident of gained an extra seat, the Australian Democrats concede their future hangs in the balance...
"With two Upper House Greens MPs elected we have brought our numbers to four
and are set to play a pivotal role in the balance of power," Ms Rhiannon said.

The Greens vote is expected to be around 9 percent in both houses, taking into account our traditionally strong absentee and upper house below the line vote.
Lee Rhiannon said she had been returned to the legislative council and the party's number two candidate, Dr John Kaye, had also gained a seat - giving the Greens four members in the upper house.

Ms Rhiannon said voters had become aware the Greens had policies across the board and were not a single issue party, as Labor and Liberal had tried to represent them.

"In Marrickville we recorded the highest primary Greens vote in any general
election in Australia ever, at 33 percent and in Balmain we gained 30% of the vote." In the inner city heartland seats the Greens are continuing to erode Labor's traditionally strong hold. "Our preferences were crucial in determining the outcome in Lake Macquarie, helping an independent beat Labor. With Labor outspending the Greens by twenty to one, we have achieved an outstanding result. We polled over 30% in two seats (Marrickville and Balmain), in three we polled over 20% (Coogee, Ballina and Peter Debnam's seat of Vaucluse) and in 10 or so we recorded over 15 percent," she says in a media release.

"The Greens identified this as Australia's first climate change election. In the next parliament our four MPs will place the coal industry centre stage in the climate change debate and put pressure on Labor to end its culture of secrecy."

"The Greens vote has been boosted by the hard work of thousands of members
and supporters working across all 93 seats in NSW. Our vote is particularly outstanding considering it was achieved without the massive donations flowing into the campaign chests of the major parties," Ms Rhiannon said.

Voters in New South Wales returned Labor for its fourth successive term but there has been a swing against Labor of around 3 per cent. The Coalition needed 12 per cent to win. Morris Iemma has been elected as a Premier in his own right for the first time, after Bob Carr led the Government for 10 years. But the Greens are the biggest winners, after increasing their numbers from three to four.

Lee Rhiannon said the extra representative would give the party greater clout to demand reform on climate change. "The big difference now is that Labor will have clear-cut numbers with the Greens," she said. "They cannot say they will not support legislation, because they need support from others on the crossbenches. We are very pleased with the result. Climate change and water were big issues at the election."

Christian Democrats Fred Nile, who has been in parliament for 25 years, was also re-elected. The Shooters Party has also retained its seat. But other minor parties such as Unity and Outdoor Recreation have lost their seats.

The Australian Democrats only MP, Arthur Chesterfield-Evans, conceded he was likely to lose his seat. "The brand name was a bit damaged after the fall of Natasha [Stott Despoja] and the GST and Andrew [Bartlett] and the drinking," he said. Mr Chesterfield-Evans said he will have an anxious wait for at least a week to see if he retains his spot.

The New South Wales Government says Prime Minister John Howard is in denial about public disapproval of WorkChoices. Re-elected NSW Premier Morris Iemma says his election victory was driven by a protest vote against the Commonwealth's industrial relations laws.

Mr Howard has dismissed the claim. But NSW Industrial Relations Minister, John Della Bosca, says the legislation is a state issue. "Even after the WorkChoices decision in the High Court, one million families in New South Wales rely on the New South Wales Industrial Relations system for protection from his WorkChoices laws," Mr Della Bosca said.

Mr Howard says he will not change the laws. Mr Della Bosca says Mr Howard is in denial about the impact of WorkChoices. "He introduced it without a mandate," Mr Della Bosca said. "He is suffering from the disease of extreme arrogance - as are his Ministers Mr Hockey, his predecessor Mr Andrews, and his other ministers that refuse to recognise that for 18 months they have been a lead weight around [NSW Opposition Leader] Mr Debnam's neck."


Labor reclaims power across NSW - ABC

The West

Compulsory cannabis education

March 26, 2007 - WA Attorney-General, Jim McGinty, says he wants people caught with small amounts of cannabis to be forced to attend an education session about the drug.

In 2003, the WA Government introduced new laws allowing people caught with up to 30 grams of marijuana or two cannabis plants to avoid criminal penalties and instead pay a fine or attend an education session. The State Opposition says the laws have failed to deter people from using the drug and has called on the Government to scrap them.

Mr McGinty says he will not consider introducing criminal penalties for the offences and wants more focus on education. "At the moment, it's an option - you can either accept a fine or a suspension of your licence, or an education session," he said. "I think we should be putting far more emphasis on educating young people as to the dangers of the drugs."

He says reinstating criminal penalties would be counterproductive. "I don't see any public benefit of giving a young person, who is experimenting with cannabis and gets caught, a criminal record for the rest of their life to compromise their ability to get a job, their ability to travel," he said. "What we must do is to make young people aware of the dangers of cannabis."

The state's cannabis laws will be reviewed this year.

But Opposition Leader Paul Omodei says the Government is reviewing the legislation but without public involvement. Under the laws, people caught in possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana or two cannabis plants are fined.

But the Opposition says that since the laws came into effect three years ago, only half the nearly 10,000 infringements issued have been paid. Mr Omodei says there is strong community opposition to Labor's "soft" stance and if the current review included community input, the public would urge the Government to scrap the laws.


CANNABIS CONTROL ACT 2003: There are New Laws on Cannabis: in Western Australia.

It is against the law to cultivate, possess, use, sell or supply cannabis. It is also against the law to possess pipes and other implements on which there are detectable traces of cannabis.

While the possession of small amounts of cannabis is still an offence it can now be dealt with by issuing a Cannabis Infringement Notice (CIN). If a person receives a CIN and pays the financial penalty or attends a Cannabis Education Session (CES), the person will not be required to appear in court and will not incur a criminal record.

The Cannabis Infringement Notice (CIN) Scheme enables police, at their discretion, to issue an infringement notice for possession of small amounts of cannabis. People who receive a CIN will be required to pay a financial penalty within 28 days, complete a Cannabis Education Session within 28 days or can choose to have the matter heard in court. There is a limit to the number of times within a three-year period that a person who is issued with a CIN may choose to pay a financial penalty rather than complete a CES or go to court. A person who is issued with one or more CINs on each of three separate days within a three-year period will be required on the third and any subsequent occasion to attend a Cannabis Education Session or go to court, and will not be eligible to pay a financial penalty.

If police have relevant evidence, a person found in possession of a small amount
of cannabis could still be charged with the more serious offence of possession of cannabis with intent to sell or supply.

The CIN Scheme does not apply to possession by an adult of any quantities of cannabis resin (hash), hash oil, or other cannabis derivatives. The possession of any quantity of these substances will continue to be prosecuted through the courts.

No. Under the Young Offenders Act 1994, young people (aged 10 to 17 years
inclusively) who are found growing, in possession of, or using cannabis within the limits set by the CIN scheme may be cautioned or referred to a Juvenile Justice Team.

A CIN can be issued in the following instances:
• possession by an adult of no more than 15 grams of cannabis - (penalty $100);
• possession by an adult of more than 15 grams and no more than 30 grams of cannabis - (penalty $150);
• possession by an adult of no more than two cannabis plants under cultivation at that person’s principal place of residence provided that the plants are not
hydroponically grown and that no other person is growing other cannabis plants
on the same premises - (penalty $200); and
• possession by an adult of pipes and other implements for use in smoking
cannabis on which there are detectable traces of cannabis - (penalty $100). Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981 police have the power to seize and destroy
cannabis, cannabis plants and/or pipes or other implements (with detectable traces of cannabis) when a CIN is issued.

Then options are:
• pay the Cannabis Infringement Notice financial penalty within 28 days of the
CIN being issued; or
• complete a Cannabis Education Session (CES) within 28 days of the CIN being issued; or
• apply in writing to have the matter heard and determined in court.

Note: A person has 28-days to complete a CES or pay the financial penalty unless
an extension is provided by an authorised person.

If the 28-day period has expired and you have not paid the financial penalty or
completed a CES or elected to have the matter heard and determined in court, then a final demand for payment may be served on you. Once a final demand has been issued you will no longer be eligible to attend a CES for the CIN and you will be required to pay the financial penalty as well as additional administration costs.

Drug Aware Youth Website


Trouble at the Mill - Gunns and Government force the issue

March 23, 2007 - The controversial Tasmanian Pulp Mill Assessment Bill has passed the Lower House of Parliament. Gunns withdrew its massive pulp mill from the independent planning body last week - forcing the Government to introduce legislation for a "special" assessment process. The Greens tried to move a number of amendments to the legislation, including changing its name to the Pulp Mill Approval Bill, without success.

The bill to fast-track a proposed $2 billion pulp mill in Tasmania reeks of accusations Premier Paul Lennon interfered in assessing the project...
FRIDAY March 23, 2007 -

The Tasmanian Parliament have voted down a Greens motion to kill the Pulp Mill Assessment Bill, which the Government introduced to allow for a special assessment of a $1.4 billion pulp mill in northern Tasmania.

Gunns withdrew the project from the independent assessment body claiming they were losing money on the proposal. Greens leader Peg Putt said. "I've been in the Parliament for quite a few years now and I've never seen anything as rank as this," she said. Tasmania's Labor Premier Paul Lennon accused the Greens of playing politics. The Opposition Liberals have flagged their support for the legislation, although they say it proves the State Government has mishandled the project.

Meanwhile, a document has been released that suggests Premier Paul Lennon misled the public about the pulp mill assessment. Retired Supreme Court judge Christopher Wright, the chair of the Resource Planning and Development Commission panel that had been assessing the pulp mill until proponents Gunns withdrew it last week, released a statutory declaration and draft resignation letter to support his version of events. In an unprecedented move, Mr Wright called a press conference and released a statutory declaration to counter "incorrect" statements made by Mr Lennon.

Mr Wright said: "That Mr Lennon had tried to "heavy" him at their February 27 meeting into agreeing to conduct a shorter and "severely curtailed" mill assessment; the "inappropriate" actions of Gunns boss John Gay and Mr Lennon had delayed the assessment of the mill; Mr Lennon's suggested July 31 timeline had been "ludicrous and impossible"..."

Tasmanian Greens deputy leader Nick McKim said the timeline proved Mr Wright's belief that Mr Lennon had given him an ultimatum. "He has clearly misled the House," he said.

Mr Wright said at that meeting that Mr Lennon made a "completely inappropriate" attempt to "pressure" him to fast-track assessment of Gunns Ltd's $2billion pulp mill project. The eminent jurist says Mr Lennon gave him an "ultimatum" to scrap public hearings and agree to a new timeline concluding the assessment by July 31 or face legislation and ministerial directions to that end.

Mr Wright says he discussed the Premier's ultimatum with his fellow panel members and they came to a unanimous decision that such a process would be unfair and "fundamentally flawed". Mr Wright wrote. "I am unable to participate in an assessment process which is severely curtailed both in content and duration in the way you have proposed. To do so would compromise the independence and effectiveness of the assessment process and would adversely affect the quality of the panel's report."

After Gunns withdrew its project from the Resource Planning and Development Commission panel, Premier Lennon recommended "fast-tracking" the project by legislation - to create an abridged version of the assessment.

Mr Wright was appointed last month after his predecessor, Julian Green, resigned alleging government undermining of the independence of the assessment process. The same charge was made by another panel member who also resigned.

Labor and the Liberals voted in support of the Tasmanian Pulp Mill Assessment legislation. The Bill will now be tabled in the Upper House.

Federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull says logging company Gunns Ltd must react swiftly to requests for information on environmental aspects of its planned Tasmanian pulp mill or the project might face delays.

Mr Turnbull said that the process could start as soon as the Gunns referral was lodged. "At this stage it is very likely we will proceed ... with our own process and deal with our own issues so that we're not caught up in whatever the Tasmanian process is," he said. "As I said to Mr Gay, the pace of our consideration of these matters will be determined by his ability to respond to our requests."

The Tasmanian Greens and Liberal opposition have asked the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Tim Ellis to investigate whether Mr Lennon broke the law by attempting to influence Justice Wright. Mr Lennon brushed the controversy aside, saying he was not giving up on the pulp mill.

"The benefits for Tasmania of having this project assessed are enormous. We cannot give up on the potential for 2,000 long-term, permanent jobs and an extra $6.7 billion being added to the economy," he said. The State Government is preparing to hire a consultant who will determine whether the mill should go ahead but the project may not have to meet Tasmania's environmental requirements.

Lennon faces new mill heat - Mercury
Greens' pulp mill motion voted down - ABC
Former judge says Lennon lied - The Australian
Pulp mill Bill passes Lower House - ABC
Answers needed from Gunns: Turnbull - SMH
Premier undeterred by pulp mill claims - The West
Fresh concerns about Tas pulp mill approval process - ABC

Stop the political repression in the Philippines - 800 killed

PROTEST: Stop the political repression in the Philippines.

Friday the 23rd march - 12:00 PM

Over 800 people including human rights activists, trade unionists, lawyers, bishops, workers etc have been assassinated by the Arroyo Regime in the Philippines. Opposition leaders have been abducted...

"Share our via dolorosa. Stand with us… hear us out. There is only one struggle for justice and peace and your liberation is tied to ours. The commonalities of the situation unite us."
This is WORSE than the Marcos dictatorship and is being FUNDED by YOUR government. SAS troops are also in the Philippines offering support to the Arroyo regime.

More than 800 churchmen, activists, peasant leaders and journalists have reportedly been killed in the six years that President Arroyo has been in office, the group pointed out – over 200 of them in 2006 alone.


12 - 1.30PM


"The number of attacks on leftist activists and community workers rose sharply during the last couple of years. Most of the attacks were carried out by unidentified assailants on motorcycles, at times wearing face masks, who were often described as "vigilantes" or hired killers allegedly linked to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). In some cases, those attacked had reportedly been under surveillance by people linked to the security forces or had received death threats."

Background of the victims and location of attacks: The majority of the victims of political killings have been unarmed civilians, members of the legal political left, but including activists from a range of leftist sectoral or community organizations. Those killed have also included members of leftist groups who have split from the CPP. Both men and women have been targeted, with the victims including community organizers, church workers and priests, human rights activists, trade union and peasant leaders, journalists, indigenous peoples activists, elected local officials and political activists.

Attacks have occurred nationwide, though human rights and other organizations have noted periodic, marked increases in particular regions. According to local human rights groups, these regional fluctuations were allegedly linked to the assignment of Major General Palparan as commanding officer in these regions.

Communist "fronts": the resurgence of "red-labeling" - Human rights violations against suspected "sympathizers" of the CPP-NPA have long been a feature of anti-insurgency operations in the Philippines.

From the 1970's to the early 1990's the practice of "red-labeling", the public labeling of leftist critics of the government as "subversives" or members of communist "front organizations", was seen by Amnesty International, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines and other human rights groups as directly linked to the high levels of extrajudicial executions, "disappearances", arbitrary arrests and torture of members of legal political groups and non-governmental organizations.

Peasants, trade unionists, church, social and human rights activists were portrayed in this manner as "legitimate" targets within the broader counter-insurgency campaign.

Many were also placed, without opportunity for rebuttal, on AFP "Orders of Battle" (lists of people wanted by the security forces for alleged subversion) and, often receiving death threats from AFP and police personnel, paramilitaries or unofficial vigilante groups, were at particular risk of serious human rights violations.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL March 14, 2007 - Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines


On March 14, 2007, a ten-person team made of church leaders and human rights advocates from the Philippines briefed the US on the rash of unsolved political killings in the Philippines: "We can no longer be silent on the issue of these deaths," declared Bob Edgar, a former congressman and current Secretary General of the National Council of Churches of the USA.

More than 800 churchmen, activists, peasant leaders and journalists have reportedly been killed in the six years that President Arroyo has been in office, the group pointed out – over 200 of them in 2006 alone.

Activist groups warn of another People Power revolution: Dr. Carol Araullo warned that the Arroyo administration could face a "People Power revolution" if a cheating reoccurs in the May 14, 2007 elections.



"The Philippine Government has launched relentless military campaigns against the 'enemies of the state' and in the name of the 'rule of law' and 'political stability.' But the results of this strategy have been mounting reports of dead bodies sprawled on highways and bushes, of female students abducted by armed men in the dead of night, never to be seen again, of the cries of anguish of mothers as their sons – felled by assassins' bullets – die in their arms, of a well-loved bishop bathed in his own blood after being stabbed several times, and of children terrorized and traumatized by soldiers who have taken over their villages."

Sharon Rose Joy Ruiz-Duremdes issued a challenge: "Share our via dolorosa. Stand with us… hear us out. There is only one struggle for justice and peace and your liberation is tied to ours. The commonalities of the situation unite us."">Hearings detail government-backed killings in Philippines: Episcopal News Service

World Water Day - time to fund alternatives to Yarragadee

World Water Day - time to fund alternatives to Yarragadee
by Water Indy 2007-03-22 12:10 PM +0900
MARCH 22, 2007 - Senator Rachel Siewert has used the occasion of World Water Day to press for alternatives to the WA Government's proposal to draw 45 billion litres of water per year out of the South West Yarragadee aquifer...

"On the basis of the evidence, I do not agree with the recent 'Sustainability Assessment' Panel's findings that the Yarragadee project is sustainable - quite the opposite," said Senator Siewert.

"Why was the panel prevented from looking at alternatives?" asked Senator Siewert. "This proposal could devastate the environment of the south-west, and all it does is delay another desalination plant for a few years. Instead we need to look at why Perth's water consumption is so high."

"The report also used outdated rainfall figures which do not accurately reflect the serious decline in rainfall experienced in the South West. There is well established evidence that the Yarragadee proposal will be a repeat of the damage inflicted on Perth's northern wetlands by over abstraction from the Gnangara Mound," Senator Siewert said.

"The State Government sought $300 million in federal funding for the raid on the South West Yarragadee, which Federal Minister for Water Resources Malcolm Turnbull sensibly turned down."

"However, having been entirely overlooked in the Prime Minister's $10 billion Murray Darling plan, Western Australia should be demanding Malcolm Turnbull fund realistic water efficiency measures across the board."

"We don't need to go after the Yarragadee - we should instead be funding the kinds of measures outlined in the "Water Challenge" paper by Greens MLC Paul Llewellyn":

"The forests and wetlands of the South West Region may die so Perth's lawn may live."


The Western Australian State Government has tasked its Water Utility to ensure Perth, the capital city, will never have garden sprinkler restrictions. To do this the Water Corporation has embarked on a proposal to extract water from the distant south west of the State and pipe it to Perth.

This process has taken many years of geological, biological, social, aboriginal heritage and economic investigation, and still the people of the communities in the south west are implacably opposed to the inefficient use of water in the city as opposed to the maintenance of precious biodiversity across the south west, the preservation of threatened ecological communities and rare and endangered flora and fauna, and the creation of ecologically sustainable economies in the south west.

The South West Yarragadee proposal represents a massive change to the environment of the south west to maintain large expanses of lawns in Perth. Western Australia does not recycle water to any great extent, and we as a community should be looking towards sustainable watering schemes that value water and to begin the move towards a water ethic.

Perth is situated between desert and ocean, receives its freshwater from winter rains and must learn to subsist during the hot dry summers. Yet the design of our city and urban form is dominated by an urban aesthetic that privileges european landscape forms, or paradoxically the wet tropics. This artificiality of urban design must move towards xeriscaping, a land and water ethic that accepts water and rainfall as part of natural cycles, and values water for the life giving essence to all aspects of the ecology, not just merely a resource for human use and domination.

Perth's water crisis is not one of lack of supply but one of lack of imagination on behalf of short-sighted politicians and policy makers. The realisation that the continual search for water for unsustainable landscapes is a dead end resulting in a move towards collapse of ecosystems and economies.

Climate change has focussed government attention upon ways of living on the western edge of the 3rd planet's driest inhabited continent. To date this response has looked at increasing water supply for increasing human population. The search goes deeper underground, and further and further from population centres.

The South West Yarragadee aquifer underlies large areas of the biodiversity hotspot of the south west of Australia. This site is an attempt to provide information and education and a central point to coordinate the release of that information. Contributors are opposed to the Water Corporation proposal.