Jim McIlroy

The campaign to save the iconic Powerhouse Museum in inner-city Ultimo from being sold off to private developers and moved to a flood-prone site in Parramatta has received a sizeable boost by a motion passed by the NSW Legislative Council that will force the NSW Coalition government to release the "business case" for their plan within two weeks.

Greens MP Jamie Parker successfully moved the motion on April 12, with the support of Labor, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, Animal Justice and a maverick Liberal member, former fair-trading minister Matthew Mason-Cox.

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Several hundred people attended a Rage Against WestConnex rally in King George Park, Rozelle, on April 14. The rally was organised by Rozelle Against WestConnex (RAW), with co-sponsorship from a range of anti-WestConnex action organisations.

Greater Sunrise
A play by Zoe Hogan
Directed by Julia Patey
Belvoir Theatre, Sydney
Until April 21

"In 2004, Australia placed a bug in Timor-Leste's presidential cabinet room, in order to gain the advantage in negotiations over resources in the Timor Sea. The bug was placed under the cover of an aid program. The bug ended up costing Timor-Leste billions of dollars in lost resources," playwright Zoe Hogan notes about her new play, Greater Sunrise.

About 100 people, including many students from the nearby Haberfield Public School, protested at the pedestrian bridge on Parramatta Road, Haberfield, on April 10, against construction plans for the controversial WestConnex tollway.

Publicity for the protest proclaimed: "Tell WestConnex and the NSW government we oppose four more years of tunnelling, construction, dust and traffic at the Muirs sites, less than 200 metres from Haberfield Public School." The Muirs sites are a large area of former commercial land, now being used by WestConnex as a construction zone.

The growing scandals engulfing the Big Four banks, now being amplified through the financial services royal commission, have opened the way for a major discussion about alternatives to the corporate banking oligopoly in Australia.

Now, Greens leader Richard Di Natale has entered the fray with a proposal for a People’s Bank to offer low-cost mortgages for home-buyers and other facilities.

More than 300 members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), their families and supporters gathered at the M Club in Maroubra on April 7 to mark the 20th anniversary of the historic Patrick’s dispute in 1998.

The Patrick stevedoring company had conspired with the John Howard Coalition government to send in security guards in balaclavas, dogs and scabs to force waterfront workers out and attempt to eliminate the MUA from the docks.

“What is happening in Venezuela is a revolution, not a dictatorship,” Pacha Catalina Guzman, an activist with Venezuela’s largest peasant-based organisation, the Ezequiel Zamora National Campesino Front (FNCEZ) and the Bolivar and Zamora Revolutionary Current (CRBZ), told a public meeting of more than 40 people on March 29.

The meeting was the last in Guzman’s Australian tour coordinated by Latin America Solidarity Network (LASNET) that took her to Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Canberra and Sydney.

Pacha Guzman, a leading activist with Venezuela’s largest peasant-based organisation, the Ezequiel Zamora National Campesino Front (FNCEZ), told a public meeting in Sydney on March 21 that despite serious challenges, Venezuela’s pro-poor "Bolivarian Revolution will win".

Guzman also reaffirmed the continued strength of the popular movement for socialism launched by former President Hugo Chavez and said she expects his successor, President Nicolas Maduro, to win the May 20 presidential elections.

Sydney is in the grip of "tollway madness" and urgently needs a planning overhaul if it is to become a healthier city, the recent FitNSW forum for planning and health experts was told.

The first day of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry heard startling evidence that National Australia Bank (NAB) managers took envelopes full of cash as part of an alleged bribery racket in which bankers sold loans based on fake documents to “smash” sales targets.

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