Jim McIlroy

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) says that contracting another 1000 private call centre operators to answer calls to Centrelink will not fix the problems caused by the federal government’s damaging cuts to the agency.

Minister for Human Services Michael Keenan announced on April 23 the introduction of another 1000 low-paid and insecure jobs, on top of the 250 positions currently generating a profit for multinational company Serco.

About 500 members of the Health Services Union (HSU), United Voice, NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) and other unions gathered in Hyde Park on April 19 to "Rally for Respect: Time to Care for Aged Care."

Speakers represented the various health sector unions, as well as UnionsNSW, and Labor federal and state politicians.

Malcolm Turnbull’s Coalition government has cut billions of dollars from the aged care sector. This has had an enormous impact on the lives of older Australians in care, their families and those who care for them.

The mounting scandals being revealed by the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry highlight the need for a comprehensive and radical solution to the crisis in the banking system.

The Big Four banks must be nationalised so people can take back their stolen wealth and a new public banking system must be created under democratic community control.

A "Justice for Josh" rally organised by the Australian Unemployed Workers' Union (AUWU) was held in Sydney on April 19, as part of a national day of protest demanding action on the federal government's Work for the Dole scheme.

Speakers condemned the federal government's refusal to release a report into the death of Josh Park-Fing in 2016, and called for an end to Work for the Dole.

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.

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