Conveney Bites
Roll up, roll up and welcome to our fabulous and newly endorsed ASEN Convenors for 2009. Lian from Perth and Kristy from Brisvegas will step into their roles from February, and Dany from Newcastle will take on the role of Environment Officer for the National Union of Students. Hooray, we love you and good luck!

The ASEN website is back – beautiful, bewitching, bovine, bedazzling, bigger and better than ever. Check it out – www.localhost/

Coalture Jam
ASEN Climate Pirates have been stepping up attacks on the mighty (and rising) seas this last few months. A series of coordinated cannon-like bangs went off in the first week of November, when there were direct actions on nasty, polluting coal-fired power stations. Brave and wonderful climateers around the continent locked onto four power stations in one week. WA crew even got to share their day of glory with Obamarama Mania (ie, the death of G.W.B.).

But the fearsome attacks didn’t stop there – Queenslanders braved solid ground and hit the road for a Coal Communities Listening Tour. They spent two weeks listening and engaging with locals who, quite literally, live at Queensland’s coal-face. The listening tour was initiated to bridge the gap between communities, government, business and climate campaigners by listening to and documenting the concerns of community stakeholders, without judgment or debate.

The icing on the action cake was served in December. ASEN crew coal-laborated with outstanding community climate action groups to ‘step it up’ on climate change when the Krudd Government delivered a suicidal 5% emissions reduction target as part of a reprehensible Carbon Pollution Reduction Or Orwellian Sounding 95% Emission Capping Scheme. We sailed into police barricades at MPs offices across the country, sandbagging ahoy and dancing sorrowfully to the last tunes of the Great Barrier Reef. R.I.P.

Now we’re full [green] steam ahead into 2009. In 2009 the world will see the biggest, most powerful movement of millions of people standing up for climate justice. And we will start with a bang in February at Australia’s Climate Action Summit. Be there or sandbag your house.

In September, nukes activists in Sydney told Peter Garrett to keep the toxic trash in the 90s. Dressed as characters from appalling TV series ‘Beverley Hills 90210’ (which is threatening to make a ghastly comeback), activists converged at his electoral office to say 9021[NO!] to his approval to expand Beverley Uranium Mine from 8km2 to 100km2! A far cry from headlining a gig at the famous Jabiluka blockade, Peter has clearly changed his tune. Approval papers for more mines and mine expansions, for projects that will still be radioactive in 90210 years, are oozing like oil onto his desk.

Further on in November, twelve people attended the senate inquiry into whether the Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management (CRWM) Bill should be repealed, as was promised by the Rudd Governmentt pre-election. After an inspiring session in Alice Springs, Mparntwe, where opposition to the dump and the draconian legislation was clear, this session in Canberra was mainly attended by pro-nuclear groups such as ANSTO (Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation) and FAST (Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological societies). While representatives from FAST were presenting, activists in the audience covered their mouths with black bands proclaiming ‘repeal CRWM’. This was to represent the exclusion of many Traditional Owners from the process of deciding to build a nuclear waste dump on their lands.

The organising crew for the Students of Sustainability Conference made great links with local sovereign owners in Newcastle this year, starting conversations at the same time as organising was started and continuing communication throughout and beyond SoS. Organising together with local Indigenous people meant learning about protocol and collaboration and led to a great conference with lots of meaningful and inspiring content.

The strengthening of local links with Indigenous people around Australia was identified as one of the priorities of the Indigenous Solidarity working group, and different states are engaging in local campaigns as well as national initiatives such as the convergence in Alice Springs, Mparntwe, in October. Activists from across Australia converged on Mount Nancy town camp to hear from people suffering under the continuing draconian racist intervention. We visited town camps and communities, listened, talked, made friends, and learnt – and went back to our states with new inspiration in the continuing struggle against the NT intervention.

In Darwin people have been working with local Ylongu people, learning the language and getting to know people from communities, finding people who wanted their voices heard and helping that to happen. Students organised a community review of the Intervention in Darwin with people coming from Arnhem Land and Darwin town camps.

Land Ahoy!
And that’s all for ASEN news in this stinking hot summer’s day, which is a whole lot stinkier in a room full of activists. Except stinky like roses in the springtime of grassroots revolution. Happy 08/09. Checkout the busy bee ASEN calendar and get involved in your mind-blowingly amazing campus collective!