Pat Donohoe

Johnny Ray’s Downtown Perry Keyes Laughing Outlaw Records Sydney singer songwriter Perry Keyes’ latest album, Johnny Ray’s Downtown, tells tales of life in the city’s inner-city suburbs. It has earned Keyes his first ARIA nomination, for best adult contemporary album.
The Mountain City Murders By John Tognolini Ginninderra Press, Port Adelaide, 2010 The Mountain City Murders is a tale of crime, corruption and politics. Set in 2008 in the fictional New South Wales town of Mountain City (about 120km west of Sydney), the novel tells a story critical of criminal and capitalist greed.
Teachers around the country have criticised the introduction of a new national curriculum. The states have agreed to implement the new curriculum by 2013. However, the Gillard and Rudd governments have consistently pushed for this to take place by 2011. Considering that draft versions of the first curriculum documents were only released for consultation in March 2010, this was bound to end up being impossible to meet.
On May 6, the federal executive of the Australian Education Union (AEU) caved in to the Labor government over the campaign against league tables and the National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) ban. As the May 11-13 dates for the NAPLAN tests approached, the dispute over the AEU ban on them heated up. Teachers said the tests could be used to produce school league tables. Australian Council of Trade Unions president Sharon Burrow facilitated discussions between the AEU executive and education minister Julia Gillard.
On May 1, international workers’ day, 500 people marched in Wollongong. Trish Corcoran from the Socialist Alliance spoke about the racist Northern Territory intervention on Aboriginal communities, and the solidarity the union movement is showing with the people fighting it. Chris Cumming, from the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union, reported on the nasty dispute between the Tahmoor mineworkers and their employer, coal multinational Xstrata. Nearly $450 was raised at the rally for the miners.
On February 25, federal education minister Julia Gillard announced the release of the new national curriculum. She sounded like a consultant for a private education firm, yet at the same time revealed her utter ignorance of education in this country.
The struggle for wage justice by workers at the Star City Casino in Sydney continued with strikes on February 11 and Chinese New Year (February 14).
On February 13, NSW Teachers Federation (NSWTF) councillors elected two new left candidates to the executive of the union at the first NSWTF Council of the year.
SYDNEY — Workers at the Star City Casino continued their campaign for wage justice by striking over January 30–31. The workers have now voted against accepting the casino’s paltry 2% pay rise offer three times.
There can be no National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy tests in 2010. The Australian Education Union’s national conference in January reaffirmed that, if NAPLAN data was used by the media to publish league tables, teachers would not co-operate in implementing the tests this year.
An Australian Education Union (AEU) commissioned report by Dr Jim McMorrow has revealed that the federal Labor government continues to fund private schools at the expense of public schools, just as the previous Coalition government did.
In a disgraceful dismissal of the findings of a six-month parliamentary inquiry, the New South Wales Labor government will continue the legal ban on same-sex couples being able to adopt children.
Teacher unions have reaffirmed their opposition to the publication of school league tables, which rank schools by the results of their students in the same way that league tables rank football teams after each round of competition.
The national ALP Conference was held in Sydney from July 30 to August 1. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s speech on the opening day of the conference was full of congratulatory remarks about the greatness of his party and the way the ALP federal government had handled the economic crisis.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) hosted a forum on the jobs crisis in Sydney on July 20. The Jobs Summit: Pathways to Recovery brought academics, economists and trade unions together to discuss the effects of the global financial downturn on working people, and solutions to the resulting jobs crisis.
On July 13, the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union placed a green ban on the NSW government’s proposed site for the Pyrmont-CBD Metro station. The union has refused to demolish four 130-year-old Victorian terraces in Union Square.

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