Australia

The Dump Connex campaign was launched on March 30, Palestinian Land Day. It was initiated by the Coalition of Palestine Support Organisations, which organised the Melbourne protests against the Israeli assault on Gaza in January and February.

A group of community activists marked Earth Hour with an occupation of the Hazelwood Power station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley on March 28.

The Socialist Alliance has announced Sam Wainwright as its candidate for the May 16 Fremantle by-election. Wainwright, aged 38, is a wharfie, member of the Maritime Union of Australia and activist in the Fremantle Community Solidarity group.

On April 3, in its second major symbolic act in the area of Indigenous affairs, the federal Labor government officially endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In the biggest shake-up of job centres since the Howard government’s replacement of the Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) with the privatised Job Network in 1998, the federal Labor government has created a new Job Services Australia (JSA) network. It halves the number of not-for-profit agencies involved and cuts thousands of jobs.

A forum held by the University of Sydney environment collective and the Political Economy Students’ Society attracted 70 people on March 31.

As part of Palestine Solidarity Week — March 30 to April 3 — renowned Jewish author Antony Loewenstein spoke at campus meetings at La Trobe University, Monash University and the University of Melbourne on April 1. The public lectures were organised by Students for Palestine.

If Lewis Carroll’s Alice were to suddenly come to life in Australia today, there’s one place she find familiar — the Wonderland world of industrial relations minister Julia Gillard’s Fair Work Act (FWA).

Labor governments at state and federal levels are persisting with two unpopular proposals for education in remote Aboriginal schools — the scrapping of bilingual education and the linking of welfare payments to school attendance — despite opposition from communities and educators.

The struggle against the privatisation schemes of the NSW government is beginning to revive. On April 2, an angry demonstration of prison officers besieged parliament house, protesting against prison privatisation plans.

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