Emma Clancy

The first-ever major report looking into the secretive workings of the Big Four accountancy firms that assist individuals and companies to evade taxes has been released by members of European Parliament from the European United Left-Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) who sit on the European Parliament’s Panama Papers inquiry committee.

The study analyses the size, scope and location of the activities of the Big Four accounting firms. Its findings include that these firms are heavily over-represented in tax havens when compared with the population size and GDP, where they make exceptional profits.


Arnaldo Otegi on his release from jail on March 1.

There were celebrations in the Basque Country and among solidarity activists around the world on March 1 as Basque political prisoner Arnaldo Otegi was released from a Spanish jail after more than six years.

Otegi, a leader of the Basque struggle for self-determination, was jailed by the Spanish state for politically organising in support of Basque independence.

United States politics is witnessing a new sorry spectacle — and one with real consequences for Australia, as well as other nations on the Pacific rim.

US President Barack Obama is trying to drum up support from his party to implement the agenda of the huge corporations that sought to block his election and re-election via the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “free trade” deal involving 12 Pacific rim nations.

The text of the proposed agreement and the negotiations have been kept secret, but key chapters have leaked and been published by WikiLeaks.

An international campaign for the release of jailed Basque pro-independence leader Arnaldo Otegi was launched at a conference in the European Parliament in Brussels on March 24.

A statement calling for Otegi’s release was announced at the conference, which has been endorsed by international figures including former Latin American presidents, Nobel Prize winners, political representatives and former political prisoners.

Releasing the interim report of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption on December 19, employment minister Eric Abetz said the findings showed the decision to hold a royal commission into unions had been “vindicated”.

However, the fact that almost every substantial case examined by the royal commission was already making its way through the legal system, suggests the system is working. A royal commission is a tool government can effectively employ when there is a serious failure by the existing regulatory system.

Members of the Irish community and supporters of Irish freedom gathered at the Irish Martyr's memorial Waverley Cemetery in Sydney on April 20 to commemorate the 98th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. Leaders of the rising proclaimed Irish independence from Britain. The rising was crushed, but it became a powerful symbol of Ireland's struggle for freedom.

The Spanish government’s response to the move by armed Basque pro-independence organisation Basque Homeland and Freedom (ETA) to put its weapons beyond use has clearly demonstrated it favours continuing conflict over peace.

On February 21, ETA released a video showing two of its members meeting with representatives of the International Verification Commission. The IVC were inspecting weapons that had been put beyond operational use.

Martin Ferris, Sinn Fein TD (member of the Dublin-based parliament, the Dail) for Kerry, visited Australia at the end of July.

Ferris spoke to hundreds of people at public meetings in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne on the economic crisis in Ireland. He also spoke on the struggle to reunify the six counties in Ireland's north still controlled by Britain with the 26 counties that make up the southern state.

Martin Ferris, a TD (MP) from Irish republican party Sinn Fein, will address audiences in Australia in late July on the ongoing struggle for Irish reunification and independence.

Ferris will address audiences in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney on the topic of “Uniting Ireland”.

The tour is part of an international campaign by Sinn Fein to gather support for ending British rule over the six counties in Ireland's north.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the hunger strikes by republican prisoners in the H-Blocks of the British-run Long Kesh prison in Northern Ireland. These hunger strikes, in which ten men died demanding "political" status, were preceded by hunger strikes in the last part of 1980 that ended with the British authorities promising a compromise, only to then betray the prisoners.

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