Kerry Smith

Refugee supporters interrupted question time and occupied the public gallery and foyer of Victorian parliament on June 19, demanding the state government cancel its contracts with Wilson Security over its role in Australia’s offshore refugee detention centres.

The activists, members of Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance (WACA), held banners that read “Refugee abusers are guarding our parliament” and “Vic govt  — refuse to be complicit”.

The Wollar Three outside the Mudgee Court

Charges brought against the so-called “Wollar Three” under New South Wales’ controversial anti-protest laws were dismissed by a Mudgee magistrate on June 5. However, the laws remain a threat to the right to protest.

The Wollar Three — Bev Smiles, Bruce Hughes and Stephanie Luke — were arrested on April 12 last year for protesting against the expansion of the Wilpinjong coalmine, which would expand the mine to just 1.5 kilometres from the village.

The North Coast Environment Council (NCEC) has accused the NSW government of trying to keep the public in the dark about its proposals for logging on public land. The proposals include opening state forests to increased logging, zoning 140,000 hectares for clearfelling, removing the need to look for and protect most threatened species before logging, reducing stream buffers and allowing logging in old growth forest.

Hundreds of people linked hands on the shores of Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Newcastle and many other coastal towns across Australia on May 19 to call on Norwegian oil giant Statoil-Equinor to drop its plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight.

The event was organised by the Great Australian Bight Alliance, a convergence of 13 conservation groups, including The Wilderness Society, Sea Shepherd Australia, Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network, Australian Marine Conservation Society, Conservation Council South Australia and First Nations Mirning and Kokatha elders.

As the government’s criminal case against Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) officials John Setka and Shaun Reardon ended in embarrassing collapse, unions called for the repeal of draconian secondary boycott laws.

Sympathy strikes are one of the most common forms of secondary boycott. They involve a union taking industrial action to force a company to cease trading with another company until the targeted company agrees to industrial demands. The law against secondary boycotts thus interferes with the right of workers to campaign collectively.

The Victorian branch of the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) has decided to withdraw its financial support for federal Greens MP Adam Bandt and formally rejoin the Labor Party.

The branch disaffiliated from Labor in 2010 over the then-Kevin Rudd government's refusal to dismantle the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

Liddell power station.

The union representing workers at the ageing Liddell power station has welcomed AGL Energy’s plan to transition it to a clean energy hub, even as pro-coal Coalition MPs called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to amend competition laws to force AGL to keep it as a coal-fired facility.

The owner of a Queensland tour company that underpaid its workers has been jailed by the Federal Court in a contempt of court case brought by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO). It was the first time a boss had been jailed as a result of action by the FWO.

Blackmail charges brought against Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) leaders John Setka and Shaun Reardon were dropped by Victorian prosecutors on May 16 in a major embarrassment for the federal government’s trade union royal commission, police and prosecutors.

Farmers, businessmen and Traditional Owners from north-west NSW travelled to Adelaide on May 3 to tell Santos and its shareholders at the company AGM it will face a rural uprising if it proceeds with the Narrabri coal seam gasfield.

They were joined by South Australian locals who oppose Santos’s plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight, telling Santos it has “No Licence to Drill” because these projects do not have community support.

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