Australia

MELBOURNE — A union meeting at the University of Melbourne on June 3 voted for work-bans and a four-hour stop-work on June 15, should there be no substantial progress in collective agreement negotiations.
On May 29, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told radio 3AW that his government has “absolutely no plans to make any change” to the superannuation preservation age — the age at which workers may access the superannuation paid into a super fund by their employer.
NEWCASTLE — Fifty people marched on the Newcastle legal district on June 10 to protest changes to the Family Court system initiated by former PM John Howard.
SYDNEY — More than 160 people, mostly from Sydney’s Latin American and Arabic communities, celebrated 61 years of Palestinian resistance on June 6.
With more than 20,000 extra US soldiers being deployed to Afghanistan, a member of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) argues that eight years of foreign occupation has made life worse for ordinary Afghans.
More than 200 people packed into the Brisbane city hall on June 1 for a public forum on why individual rights in Australia needed to be enshrined in a Human Rights Act.
PERTH — Organic growers from WA’s south west mounted a silent protest on June 10 on the steps of the state parliament. They condemned the government’s attempt to keep the locations of genetically modified (GM) canola trials secret.
At first glance, the climate change policy decided at the June 2-4 Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) national congress looks serious. Global warming is “the policy challenge of our time”, it declares.
Jean Hale (nee Heathcote) was born on July 29, 1912 in Brisbane. Her grandfather, Wyndham Selfe Heathcote, was an Anglican clergyman who opposed the Boer War. His opposition to the Anglican Church’s social policies and his opinions, such as this from one of his essays – “The death of Jesus, as a social reformer using direct action, has been transmuted into the death of a God dying for the world” – found him at loggerheads with the Church and resulted in his leaving to become a Unitarian Minister.
Two Australian peace activists, Emma King and Jessie Boylan, took part in a 300-strong protest in Gaza on June 9.

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