Australia

SYDNEY— "This is the worst NSW government since [1965-1975 premier Robert] Askin", veteran militant unionist and conservationist Jack Mundey told about 1200 people attending the Rally Against Inappropriate Development in Hyde Park on October 19.
In the October 18 ACT Legislative Assembly elections the ALP suffered a massive 9.4% swing against it. The Greens picked up more than 6% of that swing and have increased their seats in the 17-member assembly from one to at least three.
More than 100 people gathered at the Woodville Town Hall on October 14 to hear speakers opposed to the proposed Cheltenham Park Racecourse redevelopment.
CAIRNS — Members of the Socialist Alliance in Cairns and Townsville launched a Northern Queensland branch of SA on October 15.
New legislation granting parenting rights to same-sex couples was passed in the Senate in October 16. The legislation grants legal recognition to children of same-sex parents born through IVF or surrogacy.
Long-term Resistance activist Leigh Hughes has been recognised by the Australian Capital Territory Conservation Council for his leading role in the Canberra environment movement. The "Leading Light Award" was one of three "Local Hero" awards announced at the Conservation Council's annual fundraising dinner on October 17, and recognises the "most outstanding environmental effort of an individual under the age of 30". Hughes, who is also a member of the Democratic Socialist Perspective, joined Resistance as a high-school student in 1998.
Federal indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin announced on October 23 that the Labor government will not implement the key proposals of the independent review into the Northern Territory intervention. Aboriginal critics have described the decision as the government turning its back on Aboriginal people.
Three hundred and fifty staff at Victoria University held a mass meeting on October 21 to consider industrial action in response to the announcement of a plan to sack more than 250 staff in VU’s Higher Education and TAFE divisions.
The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) — the secretive body formed by the Howard government in 2005 to police the construction industry — has ratcheted up the use of its compliance powers in the last six months, workplaceexpress.com.au reported on October 20.
Former federal court chief justice Murray Wilcox has been commissioned by deputy PM Julia Gillard to prepare a review of the powers of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) and its integration as a specialist division into Labor’s proposed industrial relations umbrella, Fair Work Australia (FWA), in 2010.

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