Australia

The ABC 4 Corners program “Pumped”, which screened on July 24, 2017, showed that far from saving the river system, the implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan has created a financial windfall for a select few.

On International Women’s Day, March 8, 57 countries signed on to a United Nations’ statement calling for universal sexual and reproductive healthcare, including access to safe abortions, and comprehensive sexuality education.

Australia was not one of the signatories.

In an interview with Sky News on March 8, finance minister Matthias Cormann said, “The whole reason why it is important to have flexibility in the labour market … is … to ensure that wages can adjust in the context of economic conditions, is to avoid massive spikes in unemployment … That is a deliberate design feature of our economic architecture.”

The split in the grassroots women’s liberation movement was on display when two rallies to mark International Women’s Day (IWD) were held on March 9. Each attracted around 100 people.

Refugee Action Collective organised a forum on refugees in Indonesia on March 4.

Mozhgan Moaref, a co-founder of the Refugees and Asylum Seekers Information Centre in Jakarta, spoke by video link. She said some of the refugees are living in detention, others are in “community housing” provided by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), while yet others are homeless and living on the street.

Residents gathered in leafy Buruwan Park in Annandale on March 4 to protest the park’s destruction by NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) as part of the controversial $17 billion WestConnex tollway network.

Speakers condemned the planned destruction of the park and its historic fig trees, and reveal the disastrous air pollution and community destruction effects of WestConnex.

NSW Greens MP for Balmain Jamie Parker detailed the current state of the campaign against WestConnex to the audience. He explained that Stages 1 and 2 of the WestConnex project are well under way.

Satellite imaging analysis released for the first time on March 13 shows much greater ground settlement and potential property damage from WestConnex tunnelling than predicted by the NSW Coalition government and the environmental impacts statements for the project.

The data from tech start-up Otus Intelligence Group shows tunnelling for the controversial toll road has damaged homes and land up to 300 metres away from construction sites. Previously the government claimed the zone of influence was only 50 metres.

Labor leaflets in Summer Hill and Balmain are attempting to allay the fears of residents concerned about the Western Harbour Tunnel (WHT).

A recent City Hub article outlined a scenario in which at some point after the election Labor would do a back flip on their election promise to oppose the WHT.

Well, it appears we did not have to wait that long.

Is anything really going to change in NSW on March 23?

Let’s assume Glad the Impaler [NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian] gets up and we are subjected to another four years of the Coalition’s neo-conservative brutality.

Everything that hasn’t already been sold is then put up for sale, forgoing any pretence of morality or acting in the public good. Public assets segue into private property.

The entire state becomes a private entity, run purely for profit — even the prisons.

The latest Newspoll for the NSW elections on March 23 has Labor and the Coalition neck and neck. A Coalition or Labor minority government dependent on crossbench support is considered to be likely by the pundits.

On top of that, with a plethora of right-wing micro-parties contesting in the upper house, only the tightest preferences between more progressive candidates will stop the right gaining more ground in the Legislative Council (upper house).

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