Australia

“The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) plans to shed thousands of full-time jobs and drastically increase outsourcing in areas including debt collection, tax refund management and business activity statements as part of a new efficiency drive”, according to the February 13 Australian Financial Review.

On February 13, more than 100 people rallied outside the Moorabool Street 7-Eleven in the heart of Geelong, Victoria.

ADELAIDE— South Australian public school and TAFE teachers have been awarded a 3.75% interim pay rise by the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) — the first pay rise for SA teachers in 16 months.

“One quarter of a million people are trapped between a concentration camp and a war zone”, said Nish Vivekananthan, a young Tamil speaking on the current situation in Sri Lanka, at a public meeting on February 19 in Footscray.

In minutes released of its February 17 board meeting, the Reserve Bank of Australia flags that its cuts to official interest rates may slow. It seems that the financial gurus at the RBA are unhappy that their cuts to interest rates (passed on only in part by the banks to home-buyers, and even less to credit-card debtors), have failed to stimulate enough spending.

Resistance members set up an ‘Israeli military checkpoint’ outside Flinders Street train station to call on the state government to not renew Connex’s contract to run Melbourne’s train system.

Warrick Jordan is a member of the Huon Valley Environment Centre in Tasmania and is one of the Triabunna 13 (13 forest activists being sued by logging giant Gunns' Ltd). Jordan spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Susan Austin about his activities and the relationship between forests and climate change.

Federal Labor’s proposed internet filtering policy is an attack on freedom of speech and needs to be stopped.

The National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission (NHHRC) was set up a year ago to review the Australian health system. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s pre-election promise — “to end the blame game between Canberra and the states when it comes to health and hospitals” — merely registered the obvious fact that the hospital system is in crisis.

The following statement is by Yingiya Guyula, a Yolngu man from North East Arnhem Land. His family is based in Millinginbi and Gapuwiyak.

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