Staff and students from across all six University of Western Sydney (UWS) campuses protested on November 21, in opposition to university management plans to axe several courses. Among the courses to go are Arabic, Spanish, Italian, the Bachelor of Communication sub-majors in writing, performance and animation, and the entire Economics degree. Along with these, the jobs of 29 academics in the School of Business and a further 25 in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts will be cut.
A global survey of 27 of the most important cities in the world has ranked Sydney as fourth-worst for public transport. Sydneysiders also pay more for public transport than anywhere else. The study was carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers. If this was not bad enough, the situation is set to worsen. The November 16 Sydney Morning Herald said a high-level RailCorp document outlined another 690 jobs to be cut in the train sector.
“You know how they say Lee Rhiannon is a watermelon,” newly elected Greens councillor Michelle Tormey tells Green Left Weekly, “I could probably relate to being a bit of a watermelon myself.” “I don’t think capitalism is good and I probably lean more towards socialism. I believe that, at the very least, key public services like water, electricity, health care, dental care, are things that everyone should have access to. “That’s what I think and I don’t care if anyone judges me on that.”
Sixteen Aboriginal adults in the remote New South Wales town of Wilcannia are the first graduates of a groundbreaking trial literacy program that would not have been possible without the help of a tiny Caribbean nation — Cuba. At the beginning of this year, Cuban educator Jose Chala Leblanch arrived in Wilcannia to help establish the literacy program based on the world-famous “Yes, I Can” teaching method developed by Cuba.
With little fanfare or media attention, the small island nation of Cuba has been running an Aboriginal literacy program in the town of Wilcanni, in central new South Wales. Already, 16 local Aboriginal residents aged between 25 and 53 have learned to read and write through the program.
As we walk into a cafe in the Sydney suburb of Newington, a young Afghan barista greets Communist Party of Australia (CPA) activist Tony Oldfield by name and asks how the recent local Auburn council elections went. After talking for a few minutes about which councillors were re-elected and which were not, the young man asks: “And how about you Tony?” Only then does Tony point out that he too was elected. In doing so, Oldfield became one of only four socialist local councillors in Australia.
Pointing to swings of 10-20% in parts of western Sydney to Liberal candidates standing in the September 8 local council elections, media commentators are claiming traditional working class areas have deserted Labor and rejected the Greens, instead choosing to shift rightwards. The Sydney Morning Herald headlined its September 10 edition: “Change in the air as Libs take over Labor strongholds.”
The decision by WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange to seek asylum in Ecuador’s London Embassy triggered an international media campaign that highlighted the “hypocrisy” of his decision to choose a country condemned for supposed attacks on press freedom. The campaign reached a fever pitch following Ecuador’s decision to grant the dissident journalist asylum on August 16. Commentators used the opportunity to stick the boot into both Ecuador and Assange. See also: Why journalists could use a Correa change
Cuba solidarity activists, members of Australia’s Latin American community and leftists from around the country will take part in a two-day conference in Sydney to pay homage to Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro. Video messages of support for Fidel from renowned leftist personalities will be screened alongside a full agenda of talks focused on Castro’s ideas, thoughts and legacy for the 21st century.
A large public forum was held in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley on May 16 to officially launch a community cooperative that local people hope will become an example for the rest of the country. The launch came almost a year since Heinz announced it would shut down its tomato processing plant in the nearby town of Girgarre. The closure left 146 workers without a job and affected about 600 people whose livelihoods depended on the factory.
Like all wars, the “price war” between the two big supermarket chains — Woolworths and Coles — has its casualties. It is in the countryside and ordinary households that the toll is being counted, not in the profits of the two giant corporations. A key factor is the grip that the two giants hold over food sales. Australia has one of the most concentrated grocery markets in the world. Coles and Woolworths represent 80% of all supermarket sales. They have used this powerful position to ensure their profit margins continue to grow.
Far from taking the closure of the Heinz tomato factory sitting down, workers and community members from the 150-strong rural Victorian town of Girgarre are getting organised. After the announcement by Heinz last year that it would shut down its operations in Girgarre, 200 kilometres north of Melbourne, more than 300 people met there in August and formed the Goulburn Valley Food Cooperative (GVFC). See also How 'productivity' is destroying rural Australia