Jim McIlroy

“We’re mad as hell and we’re not taking it anymore!” Mary Court, secretary of the Penrith Valley Combined Unions (PVCU) and No M4 Toll, told the Don’t Mess With the West rally on February 16.

“Western Sydney will rise up; we’re not a dumping ground for Sydney’s problems”, Court said. “The ‘toll tax’ on the M4 Motorway is an assault … We are being forced to pay this M4 toll until 2060, increasing at a rate much higher than inflation, to pay for the Coalition state government’s cost blow-outs elsewhere.

Former secret police agent under dictator General Augusto Pinochet Adriana Rivas will face court again on March 1 to see if she is extradited back to Chile, where she is facing charges relating to alleged torture and kidnapping offences.

About 500 protesters rallied outside federal parliament on February 12 under the slogan "Stop Adani - Climate action now!" 

In the banking royal commission’s final report, Commissioner Kenneth Hayne made 76 recommendations for reforms to the sector, but stopped short of calling for charges to be laid against bank executives and board members, or any radical shake-up of the industry.

This has led some, such as financial commentator Michael Pascoe writing in the February 5 New Daily, to proclaim: “And the winner is ... the big banks!” His words were promptly reinforced by the fact that bank shares skyrocketed the day after the report was released.

Australia’s super-rich keep getting richer.

A new report from Oxfam has found that the top 1% of the country’s plutocrats now own more wealth than the bottom 70%.

There has also been a record rise in the number of billionaires — from 33 to 43 — with their combined wealth now at almost $160 billion last year.

Supporters of Venezuela’s pro-poor Bolivarian Revolution rallied outside the United States Consulate in Martin Place, in Sydney’s CBD, on January 23 to demand no US intervention in Venezuela.

"The issues raised in this film are vitally important: it is a history of the involvement of journalism and the mainstream media in not merely reporting on, but collaborating with, the making of wars," John Pilger, radical filmmaker, journalist and author, told the audience at a showing of his 2010 film The War You Don't See.

The film was part of the Power of the Documentary: Breaking the Silence film festival, curated by Pilger and showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney between November 28 and December 9.

Disaster Capitalism
Written by Antony Loewenstein 
Directed by Thor Neureiter
www.disastercapitalismfilm.com

Disaster Capitalism is a groundbreaking documentary film about Bougainville, Haiti and Afghanistan, revealing the dark underbelly of the global aid and investment industry. The film offers important insights into a secret multi-billion dollar world by investigating how aid money is actually spent — or misspent.

"CBA: We put profit ahead of people", was the headline emblazoned on the front page of the November 20 Sydney Morning Herald. The paper was reporting on the first day of the final round of hearings of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, in which the CEOs of the Big Four banks were being grilled about the banking scandals that have outraged the Australian community over the past year.

The NSW Coalition government's privatisation of the Northern Beaches Hospital on the city's upper North Shore has created a crisis situation with the cancellation of elective surgery and doctors threatening to strike over staff shortages and lack of vital medical supplies.

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