Australia

Socialist Alternative has denied allegations by the Jewish Students’ Society at the Australian National University (ANU) that members of the socialist group abused them with anti-Semitic slurs.
Members of the National Union of Workers (NUW) employed at the Super A-Mart warehouse in Somerton have maintained a presence outside their workplace since being locked out on March 7. The workers held a one-day strike on February 28 in support of their campaign for an enterprise bargaining agreement, which would be the first ever signed at the warehouse. They called another strike on March 7, but were then locked out indefinitely by the company.
Jock Palfreeman is serving a 20-year sentence for murder in Sofia Central Prison, Bulgaria. His conviction followed a trumped-up trial in a dysfunctional state where the local gangsters known as mutri hold sway, and hatred of Roma is a national pastime for many. Palfreeman was alleged to have killed Andrei Monov in Sofia in December 2007 while trying to defend two Roma men. Monov was the son of a Bulgarian MP who wants Jock to spend the rest of his life in jail.
The March in March protests across Australia over March 15-17 were a resounding success – not just because of their size, focus and breadth. Just as significant is the fact that March in March tore apart the idea – seeded by the cynical rhetoric of John Howard's spin doctors in the wake of the invasion of Iraq – that protests don't work. This protest worked precisely because it brought between 80,000 and 110,000 people out of their homes and into the streets in a disparate yet united way against the Tony Abbott government's attacks.
The Tenants' Union of New South Wales, the state's peak organisation for tenants, has condemned the proposed sell-off of 293 public housing properties at Millers Point and The Rocks, announced by the Barry O'Farrell government on March 19. The area is the historic heartland of the city of Sydney, and was previously saved from the developers' bulldozers by residents' action and Green Bans imposed by the NSW Builders Labourers Federation in the 1970s.
A former welfare worker at the Nauru refugee detention camp says the July 19 riot that razed most of the Topside compound was an “inevitable outcome” of a “cruel and degrading policy”, in a new book released last week. The Undesirables by Mark Isaacs follows several big whistleblower revelations that have come from Nauru since the camp was re-established by then-PM Julia Gillard in August 2012.
In the strange furore surrounding right-wing columnist Andrew Bolt demanding an apology from the ABC over a guest on Q&A suggesting he was racist, it is Bolt's long-time readers and fans for whom I feel the most. It must be something of a shock to see the strident opponent of “illegal boat people” and “fair-skinned” Aboriginal people, a man who refuses to even acknowledge the existence of the Stolen Generations, insist that he is not actually racist after all.
"The solution to Qantas's problems is being framed as a choice between lifting the level of permissible foreign ownership or a public debt guarantee,” Chad Satterlee wrote in article in the Guardian on March 3. “There is another option: renationalisation".
Community gardeners were stunned when AusVeg, the peak body for the vegetable industry, publicly welcomed the federal government’s cut in funding the Food Grants Program. Mentioning “biosecurity risks” and “food safety concerns”, AusVeg spokesperson William Churchill said the program “has been identified as a potential risk to the national horticulture industry”.
Between 65,000 and 100,000 people rallied over March 15 to 17 in 31 events across Australia. It was the biggest nationwide protest in years and has been a big boost in confidence to everyone who has been outraged and angered by the many attacks being implemented or threatened by the Tony Abbott government. The protests were diverse, grassroots and vibrant. Significantly, events were held in many regional towns, including Toowoomba, Caboolture, Lismore, Gosford, Armidale, Coffs Harbour and Alice Springs.
About 120 people attended the Green Left Weekly 1000th issue celebration at the Annandale Neighbourhood Centre on March 15. Greetings to the milestone event were given by NSW Fire Brigade Employees Union vice president Jim Casey, Greens Sydney City councillor Irene Doutney, and Latin American Social Forum member Paula Sanchez. The speakers congratulated GLW on its achievement of 1000 issues, and noted the paper's special role in providing vital information on union, environmental and international campaigns.
"We're back for justice. Demand justice for TJ." was the theme of a rally outside the New South Wales parliament on March 19. Protesters demanded police accountability over the death of Aboriginal teenager TJ Hickey, which occurred more than 10 years ago. Hickey died after being impaled on an iron fence in inner-city Waterloo, while being chased on his bike by a police van.