Australia

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan delivered the Labor government’s second budget on May 12. Swan’s bleak message was clear: for those with a job, it’s a matter of work until you drop.

As students across Australia sat the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests last week, the media reported NSW government plans to introduce league tables, comparing student performance across schools.

Vision Australia announced on May 6 that it will slash more than 130 jobs. This includes cutting 90 jobs in Victoria and the closing of three regional offices.

On May 19, more than 37,000 state school teachers will stage a one-day strike against the Queensland government’s pay offer. The offer would keep Queensland’s teachers among the lowest paid in Australia.

On May 16, 300 people gathered at Sydney Town Hall to demand urgent action on climate change. The rally was addressed by Cate Faehrmann from the Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCC), Greens Senator Bob Brown and Simon Sheikh from GetUp!

In a new lease deal proposed by Aboriginal affairs minister Jenny Macklin in early May, Aboriginal people in Alice Springs town camps could lose control over their housing.

While federal and state governments focus on the need for state-based reconciliation groups to bring better understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, Reconciliation Victoria Incorporated (Rec Vic) will have to close in July due to a lack of funding.

Since police raided the Florentine Valley protest camp on May 4, at least 32 people have been arrested for participating in protests against logging in the southern Tasmanian valley.

A week after the Rudd government announced Australian troops would join the US and NATO-led troop surge in Afghanistan, a May 4 US air strike on two villages in the country’s south-west killed up to 150 civilians, including many women and children.

Palestinian supporters in Melbourne and Sydney rallied on March 15 to commemorate 61 years since the Palestinian Nakba — the day of the catastrophe.

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