Workers BushTelegraph discusses current and past events, books and film with the aim of sharing worker political education and consciousness.
WBT poses 3 questions: who owns the land, workers control of production and democratic rights.
Paradigm Shift (4ZZZ fm 102.1 Fridays at Noon)Broadcast 19 July 2019
Ian interviews filmmakers Robyn Hughan and Steve Warne who have spent 7 years documenting a journey of an Afghani refugee family fleeing war in Afghanistan to arrive in Australia via Iran and Malaysia. Features Q & A at the Brisbane Premiere of the film at New Farm Cinema.
Playlist Alyce Platt – Funny Little World Jumping Fences – Distant Love No Telephone Phil Monsour – Who Killed Reza Berati Cisco Houston – Deportees
Which is the greatest threat – climate change or nuclear war? Vox Pop from Stop Adani rally in Brisbane on 5 July 2019.
Union Aid abroad in Palestine Ian interviews Ken Davis from APHEDA (Union Aid Abroad) about agricultural projects in Palestine.
APHEDA agricultural projects in Palestine – Ken Davis – Part 1
Ken talks about APHEDA and what it does, how it was set up in Lebanon originally. Its relationship with the Australian Government and the United Nations agencies UNWRA and UNHCR.
Food Security in Palestine – Ken Davis – Part 2
Ken talks about the importance of the UN Relief Agency UNWRA to 2 million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank and to the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon who have no rights, to work etc and who live in camps. UNWRA distributes dried products like chick peas, flour, salt etc APHEDA works in assisting production of fresh fruit and vegetables like cucumbers, eggplants and capsicums. APHEDA is running a campaign on the West Bank to increase the rights of women. Israeli law prevents women from inheriting land which is part of the Islamic culture. APHEDA is funding that campaign to increase the ability of women to own land and therefor to be able to grow crops in Palestine.
Food Security In Palestine – Ken Davis – Part 3
Gaza Destruction of the aquifer in Gaza. Inundation of salt from the sea because of extraction of fresh water exceeds storage in the aquifer.
West Bank Israel’s wall and roads adversely affect Palestinian agriculture. There are pests such as wild pigs. Australia and APHEDA has provided practical assistance to Palestinian farmers and the Australian government should reflect that in the face of the Trump administration’s backing of Israel and Saudi Arabia and to take away human rights of Palestinian people.
How can people help? Support APHEDA and the union members who contribute. Australian government should fund UNWRA and fund the NGOs that provide support in Palestine. Majority opinion is in support of Palestinian human rights.
Paradigm Shift 4ZZZ fm 102.1 Fridays at Noon 4 July 2019.
Interviews with Moira Williams (Stop Adani) and Carl Jackson (Students for Climate Justice and Socialist Alternative).
This week reports were claiming the Stop Adani movement is a campaign of civil disobedience of greater size than the anti-uranium movement. This is incorrect, there is some civil disobedience in the Stop Adani movement and numbers attending marches are smaller even though population has nearly doubled since 1977.
On 22 Sept 1977 about 500 people marched from UQ campus and proceeded
to King George Square to attend a rally of 2,000 people where 32 people
were arrested. This march and others helped build the democratic rights
campaign to defend the right to march and assembly until 5,000 attended
a rally in KGSq on 22 Oct 1977 where 418 people were arrested. Thus
began the longest period of mass defiance (3,000 arrests) against any
government (not including the aboriginal resistance).
Strangely this defiance is not generally recognised.
The democratic rights campaign in Qld engaged a wider selection of the community, including workers and their unions than any movement since. It brought in a large section of the environment movement because one of its demands was to stop the mining and export of uranium. Friends of the Earth engaged directly with Railway and Waterside Workers Federation (WWF) to obtain information about Uranium trains and the WWF went out on strike when Uranium trains came to Brisbane. These interviews seek to make comparisons and to better understand where the campaign for Climate Justice is going.
Playlist If you see her say hello – Jeff Buckley Coyote – Joni Mitchell I shall be released – Jeff Buckley
Photo Rally against Adani Mine at Raddacliff Place Brisbane 5 July 2019
He came prancing across the water With his galleons and guns Looking for the old world In that palace in the sun … Trump, what a killer
Paradigm Shift 4ZZZ fm 102.1 Friday at Noon 28th of June 2019
Iran Crisis in the Gulf of Hormuz
In 2018 Paradigm Shift hosted a local spokesperson for the resistance in Iran. During that interview he showed the sympathy for the United States foreign policy in the region. I wonder how he feels now with the Pres Trump threatening to authorise military attacks on Iran. Two weeks ago trumpet did give the okay for missile strikes as he had done in Syria but at the last moment had a cold feet. Perhaps there was not enough real estate in the deal if he were to start a war with Iran. The interviewee Michael was detained on Manus by the Australian government after he had fled Iran. [Interview with Michael].
If the US fulfils its promise of military intervention the people of Iran Will pay a terrible price. A Price seminar to that paid by the people of Iraq who went from having one of the highest standards of living in the region to that of a failed state. We go now to an analysis of the current crisis in the Gulf of Hormuz. These comments were first broadcast on a sister station 3CR by Bevan and Andrew who are members of the campaign for international cooperation and disarmament. [Interview]
Update on the Public Trustee Public Trustee suspended – why? Audit on Public trustee’s office by the Dept of Justice.
Hospital Work Guests Corey and Liz discuss hospital work and how globalised it has become. Different jobs of Nurses, Administrators and Doctors are discussed.
This is a story of how a retired electrical trades worker a retired meat worker and a homeless person helped bring down one of the most powerful people in the Queensland Government. That person is Peter Carne, the Public Trustee of Queensland, who controlled billions of dollars in assets of ordinary workers and some private trusts. Carne was the boss of 600 public servants across the state and was characterized in the public press as representing the old guard of the Labour Party. However, he is actually a reformer embracing government engagement with big capital (Adani) and privatisation (Queensland Rail).
In the wake of his suspension his long term deputy Mark Crofton will resign effective from next month. Another long term PTO officer Rob Moran has also resigned.
During the show a person from the Department of Justice doing an audit on the fees charged by the Public Trustee requested that people who have been ripped off by the Public Trustee come forward. Please let us know if you have been a victim of mismanagement by the Qld Public trustee by adding comments below
Word from Andy who is sailing from Queensland to Manus Island with Sail 4 Justice.
Paradigm Shift wishes the crew a safe journey.
Free the Refugees!
“This is us pulling in to Yeppoon a couple of days ago after five days at sea. A lack of wind meant we had a break there, which i took advantage of by popping up to the adani protest camp and singing a few songs at a rad gig there. Getting back on the ocean now to keep heading north towards Manus Island, where we keep getting more horrible reports about the situation for people stuck there. Follow Sail 4 Justice for more updates.”
To see where all the Australian government refugee detention centres are inside and outside Australia go to map below. A
You cannot trust the Public Trustee After six years of people exposing the office of the public trustee in Queensland for failure to look after its clients’ finances, the Attorney General Yvette D’Arth has finally suspended the Public Trustee, Peter Carne. However such extensive failure does not lie with one man, Peter Carne, it lies within the institution of the Public Trustee’s office itself; in the way it was set up; and how it operates to squander worker’s hard earned wages and their family homes.
This week we talk with Diego Sequera from Mision Verdad in Venezuela about the attempt by the United States government to orchestrate a coup in his country. Firstly some background, Hugo Chavez nationalised Venezuelan oil in the late 1990s and drove big oil companies like Exxon out of Venezuela. Since that time the US has attempted intervention, so far unsuccessfully.
This time a US economic blockade has brought on a shortage of some goods and medicines. At the same time there has been high inflation so poorer wage earners are unable to buy essential goods and services. Some people have died as a result of lack of medicine.
We heard an account on this show in February 2019 where Eulalia (Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network) said that her sister had died as a result of lack of medicine. At the same time the United Nations Agency for Refugees says that there is a humanitarian crisis on the border with Columbia. UNHCR representative Angelina Jolie announced this week that over 4 million people have fled Venezuela since 2015 and that on Wednesday over 30,000 left the country through the Colombian border.
Discussion with Diego Sequera, Mision Verdad, and Eulalia Reyes de Whitney, Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network Eulalia from the Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network tells her own personal loss as a result of the economic blockade of Venezuela since 2015.
Diego Sequera a writer and journalist in Caracas from Mision Verdad analyses the refugee situation. He talks about the dynamic nature of the border. Diego looks at the origins of the emergency from 2013 onwards. There was a planned uprising in 2013 and 2017.
The UNHCR claims that 4 million Venezuelans have fled through the border with Colombia since 2015. Firstly is this true? And secondly, if it is true, what is the reason?
Are the sanctions being imposed on the government of Venezuela or on the people? Diego discusses the US justification for blockades and looks at the geopolitical situation that led to this.
He discusses the parallel with Libya saying that there are some similarities but real differences.
What countries are providing real economic support for the Maduro government? Russia, China, Bolivia, Cuba and other Bolivarian states. Will the Russians give up on Maduro? Diego points to political and economic issues. The problems have to be solved. There is a problem with distance from Russia which does not exist with Syria. Will international solidarity shore up the Bolivarian revolution?
Individuals, theatre groups, community organisations, trade unions, everyone can have a say. Please make a submission to the Heritage Council firstname.lastname@example.org and quote Heritage Register Number 650238. See image on how to make a submission.
Statement by Paradigm Shift on Operation SLIPPER
Jamie Larcombe was just nineteen When he signed up for the Operation The Generals called ‘SLIPPER’ Code for global war In Afghanistan, Middle East and the Gulf of Aden No medals will bring Jamie home, That boy from Kangaroo Island – Last Train to Mirabad by Ian Curr
Recently the Australian Federal Police (AFP)
have been raiding both the ABC and News Corp looking for information
about an Afghan vet who has revealed war crimes by Australian Generals.
There have been many stories in the press about the AFP’s wide-ranging “new” powers of search but we are more concerned about the victims of these war crimes.
The whistleblower/source now faces life imprisonment after these
raids by the AFP of the ABC and News Corp … just look how readily both
organisations complied with search warrants giving up private files to
And read how pissed off the whistleblower was with the ABC:
“I gave Dan Oakes (ABC) the
information in 2016 … He ran a different story. My story was about bad
leadership and bad generals. He ran a story about bad soldiers [not
generals as I wanted]. ”
And, he said “the ABC was “reckless” in publishing documents online that … led to his arrest:
“At the time I was pretty angry
because (the ABC) published the document on the internet and it was
pretty obvious where it had all come from. People in Defence could work
out that the common link with the documents was me”
What happened to the maxim: ‘Never reveal your source’ when it is not safe to do so.
Notes by Ian Curr
Image – Gough Whitlam opens UQU complex extensions circa 1989.
Plate sin with gold, and the strong lance of justice hurtless brakes. Arm it with rags, a pygmy’s straw doth pierce it. – Shakespeare.
Paradigm Shift (4ZZZ fm 102.1 Fridays at Noon) broadcast on 31 May 2019. The radio show ‘Saving Wee Waa’ could have been about any country town in NSW or Vic or Qld. It is really about regional Australia … places like Condoblin, Trundle, Moree, Echuca, Ballarat, Tailem Bend, Kalgoorlie, Clermont, Esk, Lowood, Katherine … it is about country, about water, about land. ‘Saving Wee Waa‘ was several years in the making.
On a recent cycling trip with my brother through the Brisbane Valley we visited a number of regional towns .
On our journey I noted that a number of these towns were in serious economic decline. There was an attempt to bolster these towns using tourism. However this boost was only patchy. Tourism could not replace the dying industries of dairy, railway and agriculture.
Since colonisation there has been a question mark over the sustainability of clearing scrub for cattle, of coal mining and of logging – all industries favoured by government in S-E Queensland over the past 150 years.
Erosion, bushfires and flooding have been the result in the Brisbane valley, often with deadly effect. I saw Queen Elizabeth present medals to townspeople whose family and friends died during the 2011 flood through the Lockyer Valley nearby.
The Brisbane Valley, while beautiful, is scarred with what has happened in the last 230 years. Nowhere on the journey did I see any real record or acknowledgement of what happened prior to those 230 years, how the people lived and what was their relation to the land. The towns we passed through were Yarraman, Blackbutt, Benarkin, Linville, Moore, Harlin, Toogoolawah, Esk, Coominya, Lowood, and Fernvale.
Over the past ten years 4zzz’s Paradigm Shift has concerned itself with questions such as sustainability, colonisation and solidarity. On today’s show ‘Saving Wee Waa‘ we visit a town on the Namoi River in New South Wales and look at the conflict that came with colonisation. We wish to place that conflict in the context of the socio-economic conditions faced by both settler and Aboriginal people in rural NSW.
We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land around the Namoi Valley, the Kamilaroi people. We have sought their testimonies as to the effect of the birth of a large cotton industry in Wee Waa in the 1960s. Particularly we wish to acknowledge the Murray and Flick families who have fought long and hard against prejudice and injustice by the townspeople of Wee Waa. We do not presume to tell their story nor do we claim any great insight into their pain. However, thanks to the efforts and organisation of Aboriginal filmmakers, storytellers and agricultural workers, we have been able to bring this story to air.
Thanks In the preparation of this program we have found many sources. We would like to acknowledge some of them here. Firstly Simon Luckhurst’s Eddie’s Country (second edition published in 2006). Too Much Wrong by Cavanagh and Pitty (second edition 1999). Welcome to Wee Waa, a film by Madeline McGrady and Stephen Robinson. ‘The responsibility of people : a study in race and racism, Wee Waa, NSW‘ by Christine Clare McIlvanie. Finally, we thank The Radical Times Archive by Peter Gray.
In regional Australia there has been a steady decline in the National Party vote. The National/Country party has been the traditional representative of country and regional Australia for a 100 years. The economic decline in 2019 was no different to the many years before it.
In recent New South Wales state elections country New South Wales voted the National Party out with swings of up to 20% to the right-wing Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party. This was partly because of water supply problems and mass fish kills in the Murray-Darling river system. Roy Butler from the Shooters Party (now there’s an unfortunate name) took the seat of Barwon which takes in much of Kamilaroi country including small towns like Wee Waa and Collarenebri. The seat extends further south as far away as Condobolin.
The cotton industry was established in Wee Waa in New South Wales in the early 1960s. Several families from California bought up land from graziers, sheep and wheat farmers around the Namoi River. These American families said they left California because cotton was too regulated there; they preferred the deregulated system of New South Wales.
Water Californian cotton farmers, Paul Kahl, Frank Hadley, Jean Kahl and Norma Hadley came to town in the early 1960s claiming there was too much regulation in the cotton industry in the US. Big Cotton took over and the Namoi River suffered as a result. Frank Hadley, reflecting on its origins in the early 1960s, had this to say about the use of water:
“At that time you got a water licence per property, and if you had a man and a wife own a property in a joint name you could get a 400-acre [161-hectare] licence, but if you had it in two names you could get two 400-acre licences.
“So knowing that when we bought our land, we bought it in as many different names as you could, so we expanded that way.”
Eddie’s dad, Arthur, had death threats from townspeople prior to his son’s murder. Arthur and a mate, Keith Morris, had campaigned hard to get justice for their people, but to no avail.
The Wee Waa Echo called aboriginal activists “radicals and professional troublemakers”, adding that “it is not fanciful to see the Aboriginal problem as the powder keg for Communist aggression in Australia”. Abused as “boongs” and “niggers”, the Murrays’ riverside camp was attacked and the cotton workers’ tents smashed or burned down.
Wee Waa is the town where Eddie Murray was murdered in 1981 by local police because his family were struggling for decent conditions for aboriginal cotton chippers from the cotton farmers.
The town is well known for its racism. Townspeople placed a boomerang with the sarcastic inscription ‘OAM King Koon‘ on the bar of a local pub. The OAM is the abbreviation of Order of Australia Medal.
Keith Morris said that ‘he had mixed emotions about receiving the medal‘ because of the racist attitudes of many of the townspeople.
The Echo article reads: “Mr. Keith Raymond Morris of Delta Pine Place, Wee Waa, had been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for ‘welfare work’. “
Keith Morris and Arthur Murray had been organising itinerant cotton chippers in the the town to fight for better wages and conditions.
Cotton farmers’ custodianship of the land is a crime against the original owners of the land near the Namoi river, the Kamillaroi people. It is a crime against nature. Over the past 60 years crop dusters have sprayed cotton with toxic chemicals. When Aboriginal people worked in the industry as cotton chippers they were sprayed as well. Conditions were bad and the white townspeople of Wee Waa demonstrated their prejudice against aboriginal workers.
Will regional Australia learn its lesson, give up on racism and embrace a more sustainable custodianship of the land?
We hope so.
Playlist Ripple Effect Band – Wárrwarra – Ngúddja Ripple Effect Band – Wárrwarra – Madjandemed Ripple Effect Band – Wárrwarra – Diyama Aretha Franklin – Respect Janey Conway-Heron – Eddie’s Song Jumping Fences – Distancia y Latido (‘Distance and heartbeat/ yearning’), by Cuban composer, Frank Gonzalez.