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Australian Greens

The Greens: mainstream party or minor irritant?

Greens MP Sylvia Hale addresses a rally in solidarity with Venezuela. Photo by Aporrea.

[The following speech was delivered as the 10th Annual Juanita Nielsen Lecture, on March 23, 2010. Sylvia Hale is a Greens member of the NSW state parliament, elected to the Legislative Council (upper house) in 2003. Juanita Nielsen was a campaigner against the big business development of Kings Cross, Sydney, who disappeared in 1975, and widely suspected of having been kidnapped and murdered by crime figures associated with property developers. The address has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.]

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By Sylvia Hale

Public ownership of coal industry needed to move to 100% renewable energy and retain jobs

An open-cut coalmine in the Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia.

Graham Brown is a retired coalminer and a climate change activist. He’s also a member of the Upper Hunter branch of the NSW Greens party. The Hunter Valley, near the city of Newcastle, is a major source of Australia's coal exports. Brown is helping build a union and community alliance to create a “just transition” to a carbon-neutral economy. Such a transition would ensure workers in the coal industry move into alternative employment. Socialist Alliance's Zane Alcorn spoke to Brown.

How important is public ownership of electricity generation in a transition to a carbon-neutral economy?

It is definitely of the first importance. A private company is out to make a profit. When that profit starts to drop, it’ll move away. There’s no commitment to the community.

Public ownership is the reverse of that. It will enable the transition to carry through from start to finish. But it’s not going to finish, it’s going to be ongoing. Retrofitting power stations is a first step, but down the track, the best thing about renewable energy is that it is decentralised, and it will be owned by the public. Each community will have its own power generators.

NATO's Balkan war and the Kosova liberation struggle

By Doug Lorimer

[The general line of this report was adopted by the June 12-14, 1999 DSP National Committee plenum. Text is taken from The Activist, volume 9, number 5, 1999]

On Wednesday March 24, 1999, the secretary-general of NATO, former Spanish social-democratic minister of culture Javier Solana, told a press conference: "I have just given the order to the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, United States General Wesley Clark, to begin air operations against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia."

The following day 371 NATO warplanes undertook bombing raids and six NATO warships in the Adriatic launched cruise missiles against targets in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Between March 25 and the cessation of NATO bombing raids on June 9, more than 30,000 combat missions had been flown by NATO warplanes against Yugoslavia. Thousands of civilians in Serbia have been killed or wounded. Millions of Serbian workers are now living without electricity, or water, or jobs. Factories, power stations, houses, hospitals, bridges and roads have been destroyed or damaged. The destruction of oil refineries and petrochemical plants have poisoned the air, rivers and soil of Serbia with toxic products. It has been estimated that the reconstruction of damaged or destroyed infrastructure will cost between $US15-50 billion.

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