Jim McIlroy

About 200 supporters of the iconic Sirius building gathered in its courtyard on January 27 to farewell the last remaining resident of the public housing block, 91-year-old Myra Demetriou who had lived in the building since 2008.

The Coalition state government decided in 2014 to sell Sirius as part of its program to sell off all the public housing properties in the Millers Point and Rocks inner-city areas.

Shaun Carter, chairperson of the Save Our Sirius Foundation, introduced Demetriou as “the face of our campaign, the voice of our campaign”.

"This is a very sweet victory for hundreds of nurses and midwives who work and live in Maitland and the surrounding areas," acting general secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) Judith Kiedja said on January 26.

She was commenting on the confirmation that the new Maitland Hospital at Metford will be a publicly built and run facility.

In response to the decision by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to order Sydney train drivers to suspend their planned 24-hour strike on January 29, ACTU secretary Sally McManus declared: "The right to strike in Australia is close to being dead."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has seized on International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts predicting a rise in global economic growth following the US administration’s corporate tax cuts, to call for similar cuts here.

Describing the proposed cut as an “enterprise tax program”, Turnbull said on January 22 that the measure would “result in more investment and more jobs” — despite significant evidence that “trickle down” economics does not work.

Treasurer Scott Morrison has demanded that Labor supports its proposal to cut the tax rate for big business from 30% to 25%.

About 50 representatives of Australian unions rallied outside the Consulate of Fiji in North Sydney on January 18 to protest the lock-out of 200 airport workers at Nadi International Airport in Fiji. The workers, including baggage handlers, check-in staff and caterers, had been locked out by the management of Air Terminal Services (ATS) since December 16.

Denis Walker, an Aboriginal rights activist and freedom fighter who died on December 4 at the age of 71, has been described as a trailblazer, revolutionary and a giant in the Aboriginal movement.

A Noonuccal man from Minjerribah, Stradbroke Island, in southern Queensland, Walker was the son of poet Oodgeroo Noonucal (Kath Walker) and Bruce Walker.

He was a major figure in the civil rights and land rights movements of the 1970s, and continued to fight for a treaty between the Australian government and Aboriginal nations until his death.

Sam Watson, a leading Murri activist from Brisbane, has been involved in Aboriginal rights struggles since the 1960s.

He is a prominent author, playwright and filmmaker, and is the Aboriginal affairs spokesperson for Socialist Alliance. A Birri Gubba man, he was previously an academic at the University of Queensland, and received honours for his 1990 novel The Kadaitchi Sung and acclaim for his 1995 film Black Man Down.

Watson spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Jim McIlroy about the issues confronting Aboriginal people.

Rail workers will stop work for 24 hours on January 29 to push management to negotiate a fair enterprise agreement. The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) said on January 16 that the government and management had left them no choice but to take this kind of action.

A coalition of anti-tollway groups has called for a mass rally early next year to bring together communities fighting against the controversial $18 billion WestConnex tollway and other disastrous road projects being pushed by the NSW Coalition government. The rally is planned for February 17 at 2pm.

The humiliating about-face forced on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull when he announced a royal commission into the banking and financial sectors on November 30 could be the beginning of the end for the Coalition government.

Pages

Subscribe to Jim McIlroy