Jim McIlroy

“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.

Leaked NSW Coalition government documents reveal that White Bay in Sydney's Inner West and parks on the city’s north shore are favoured construction sites for the $14 billion Western Harbour Tunnel and Northern Beaches Link tollway.

The “Cabinet in confidence” documents, obtained by Fairfax and the ABC, show the project will require the disposal of more than 500,000 cubic metres of contaminated sediment.

More than 200 residents and supporters gathered at the Moorefield Bowling Club in Rockdale on March 3 to protest the proposed F6 Extension to the controversial $18 billion Westconnex tollway, linking the south-western suburbs to Wollongong.

If the F6 motorway is built, residents from the suburbs of Arncliffe, through Rockdale to Sans Souci and all the way to the Royal National Park, will face immense environmental and social disruption.

The formation of a militant super-union has been given the go-ahead by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in a decision announced on March 6.

Founding national secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) Michael O'Connor welcomed the formation of the new union, created by the amalgamation of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), and the Textile, Clothing, and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA).

During his recent meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull proposed that Australian superannuation funds invest in Trump's plan to renew the US's ailing national infrastructure. He was repeating a view being pushed by Australian ambassador and former Treasurer Joe Hockey for the US to adopt Australia's controversial "asset recycling" scheme by state and local governments, aided by federal subsidies.

Yet again, the federal Coalition government has launched a broadside in favour of its plan to cut company tax for big corporations from 30% to 25%, while slashing spending on social welfare and the public sector.

The catalyst for the latest controversy on the issue was a February 14 article on the ABC website by chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici, entitled, “There's no case for a corporate tax cut when one in five of Australia's top companies don't pay it.”

Hawkesbury Council in Sydney's far north-west voted at its January 30 meeting to reject an offer by NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to leave a "viewing platform" made from a section of the historic Windsor Bridge when the proposed Windsor Bridge Replacement Project has been completed.

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