Shutting Down The Adani Port

By Nic Avery. Originally published in The Saturday Paper, February 10 2018. Tess Newport (foreground) and Nicholas Avery lock on to a coal conveyor belt at Abbot Point. CREDIT: LUCA LAMONT I pulled the emergency stop cord until it bore my full weight. The drone of the conveyor started to abate, and, with it, a long bed of coal, the end point of a process of extraction that stretches hundreds of kilometres into the heart of Queensland, ground to a halt. The next 12 hours stretched onwards, snapping into moments of clarity I have rarely experienced. The closest analogy I have is with watching my mother die of cancer in a palliative care ward: acute, intense, all consuming. Yet this time the immediacy of the events was infused with a strong sense of empowerment. By locking our arms to the coal conveyor belt at Abbot Point port, myself and four others – Tess Newport, Juliet Lamont, Luca Lamont and Jeffrey Cantor – shut down Adani’s...
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“Sorry means you don’t do it again”: Grandmothers Against Removals

A look at the grandmothers who are fighting the system and getting their grandchildren back. Originally published in Honi Soit, 30th January 2017   Most people don’t know that more Aboriginal children are being taken from their families today than in the ‘Stolen Generations’. We spoke with Aunt Deb Swan from Grandmothers Against Removals (GMAR). Aunt Deb started GMAR in 2014 with four other Gomeroi grandmothers, Aunt Jen, Aunt Suellyn, Aunty Hazel, and Aunty Patty, to fight the systematic removal of their grandchildren. “We always knew it was about racism. My sister, Jen had her grandkids removed. She made complaints, and was already looking after them.” Another woman from Gunnedah, Suellyn Tighe, applied to be the legal carer of her grandkids. “Suellyn was assessed, supposedly by ‘independent people’, but her grandchildren were placed with their white grandparents who weren’t even assessed”, Aunt Deb said. Aunt Deb believes that the kids should have been placed with Suellyn, “They had more contact with her — a stronger bond.” “We...
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AI, automation and the future of work

By Andy Mason. Originally published by Pulp, 4 Dec 2016.   Three weeks on and the world is still reeling from the news that a bright orange cartoon supervillain will be the next president of the world’s leading economic and political power. As predicted by The Simpsons 16 years ago. Pic source: The Guardian Most media coverage and left-leaning discussions on social media since have focussed on the role of sexism and racism in paving the way for Trump’s victory. The connection between anti-immigrant sentiment and job losses in the US due to outsourcing and low-cost immigrant labour, is a deeper story which has mostly been ignored or glossed over. Warning: shitloads of hyperlinks because we don’t fuck around. In order to appeal to middle (white) America, who are supposedly pissed off at the decline of US manufacturing, Trump is promising to end illegal immigration into the US and abolish trade deals that have allegedly caused job losses in the USA. In the end he...
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Doomsday preppers: paranoid nutjobs or eco-visionaries?

By Andy Mason, originally published in Sydney University student newspaper Honi Soit, 26th May 2016 Recently, in order to avoid doing any actual study about environmental issues, I’ve been binge watching National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers. It follows US families who’ve devoted themselves to preparing for any number of doomsday scenarios – everything from natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes to a nuclear attack or economic collapse. Many have invested tens of thousands of dollars or more in any number of elaborate schemes to protect their family from catastrophe – underground bunkers, home-made tanks, surveillance systems, booby-traps, you name it. Of course, most are also obsessed with stockpiling as many guns and as much ammunition as possible so they can defend themselves and their families from the hostile masses should society go belly-up. It’s easy to dismiss the “preppers” as paranoid nutjobs, and I suspect this spectacle is the primary appeal of the show. Preppers seem like the ultimate proof of the absurd...
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The dinner table

Sometimes we sit around the dinner table. Bre has cooked a vegan meal, Ruby has made a good dessert. I brought some strawberries. Kitty has just set up  a new table in the living area. It's right by the window. Marco comes home from catching them all. Ed is over for dinner, as well. This house is full of history. Poppy gets home from work. Tim has just spent an hour teaching Ruby the saxophone. There's a potluck on Sunday, when we'll all get together again. Andy and Bre will come for the meeting, before going to visit a relative on Father's day. I am thinking of inviting Maushmi to sleep over, because she lives far away, and getting home at night is hard. Amelie is happy our house will have people in it. She says it will feel warm. ASEN is a funny little group. All its members have lives outside of the group. All its members are involved in things farther...
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