Australia

The recent tragic explosion and loss of life on board an asylum seeker boat off Ashmore Reef has put refugee issues back near the top of the Australian political agenda.

An April 28 mass protest called by six national building industry unions against the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) in Melbourne has received full support from the Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC).

On April 15, receivers for collapsed childcare company ABC Learning announced they had found new operators for 210 of its 241 childcare centres deemed unprofitable. As well as the 55 centres already shut down at the end of last year, 19 are set to close next month.

At an April 7 combined delegates and shop stewards meeting, 500 members from the Building Industry Group (BIG) unions decided in a unanimous vote to hold a mass protest on April 28.

The following open letter was sent to Greens Senator Bob Brown on April 16, the day before Brown met with Tamil hunger strikers.

In an era of climate change, global warming, high carbon emissions and with renewable energy coming to the fore, it is astounding that a proposal for another “open cut” coal mine is set to reach the NSW planning department.

Attendees at the World at a Crossroads conference, held in Sydney on April 10-12, remarked that the conference could not have been better named.

On March 26, the NSW Legislative Council passed the motion by Greens NSW MP John Kaye that called on the government to drop its demands that TAFE teacher conditions be slashed to pay for salary increases.

A medical professional from the Sunrise Health Service has attacked the Rudd government for continuing with the NT intervention policy. Instead of “closing the gap” between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal health outcomes, the intervention has made Aboriginal people less healthy, she says.

In recent years, Australia has seen some of the biggest protests in its history, namely those against the Iraq war and Work Choices. Over the past decade increasing numbers have taken to the streets, in support of various movements such as anti-war, workers’ rights, anti-neoliberalism, climate change action and many more.

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