Peter Boyle

It is amazing the conversations one overhears sometimes.

I was attending a vigil for Omid Masoumali, the young asylum seeker who died a few days after he set himself on fire in Australia's notorious refugee detention camp in Nauru. The atmosphere at the vigil was sad and tense. Among those at vigil were two young women quietly holding flickering candles.

Another woman holding a Teachers for Refugees banner asked the young women: “What school are you from?”

“I am not at school,” replied one of the young women.

The election is coming! Roll out the pork barrels! What a sickeningly familiar pattern we are witnessing as DD-Day approaches.

Last week, the Malcolm Turnbull government's front bench went into an ecstatic chorus about the $50 billion deal to build submarines. It was said to be an investment in jobs bigger than the epic post-World War II Snowy Mountains Scheme.

Less than 1% of rental properties are affordable for low-income families in Sydney and the Illawarra, according to a new report launched on April 21 by Anglicare Sydney.

When I met up with Mathis Dührsen, he was looking a bit sleepy. And no wonder! He'd stayed up between 1.30am and 11.30am making phone calls to prospective voters in the New York state primary for the Democratic Party presidential candidate to urge support for Bernie Sanders. He is only one of a modest but growing group of people in Australia campaigning for Sanders from afar.

The killing of six Kashmiri civilians in Indian-occupied Kashmir have moved Kashmiri communities around the world to organise a coordinated series of vigils on Friday April 22.

"These innocent civilians were murdered by the Indian armed forces during a protest march, after reports of a sexual assault on a minor girl by the Indian troops," said Anjun Rafiqi, one of the organisers of a candlelight vigil planned in Sydney.

Tony Shepherd is the former chair of Abbott's National Audit Commission, former president of the Business Council of Australia, a right-wing lobby group that represents some of the biggest corporations in Australia and a former member of the board of directors of Transfield, the company that profits from the misery of asylum seeks locked up in Australia's offshore refugee detention camps.

Apart from that he has been an over-paid fat cat for conservative governments. Shepherd is the embodiment of the greed and evil of corporate rich.

Smiling NSW Liberal Premier Mike Baird is showing himself to be yet another ruthless political gangster for the billionaire class and a wide range of people are uniting in resistance to his assaults on democracy.

On March 13, contingents from all around NSW joined in protest against the state Liberal government's attempts to remove the democratic rights of local communities by forcing amalgamation of almost half of the state’s local councils, reducing the number of councils from 152 to 112.

Sharlene Leroy-Dyer, a descendant of the Guringai, Gadigal, Wiradjuri and Dharug peoples of NSW and National Councillor in the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), has been preselected for the Socialist Alliance's NSW Senate ticket for the next federal election. The ticket is headed by militant Aboriginal activist and writer Ken Canning. Peter Boyle interviewed Leroy-Dyer for Green Left Weekly.

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What motivated you to throw your hat into the ring for Socialist Alliance's NSW Senate ticket?

It was standing room only at the Men Speak Out For Treaty forum held in the Redfern Community Centre on March 14 organised by the Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney. The meeting was facilitated by journalist and filmmaker Jeff McMullen.

Wiri Man Tony McAvoy argued that a treaty would settle past injustices and build a better future. A treaty would have to include an acknowledgement that Australia was conquered not settled, and recognition of Aboriginal rights to self-determination.

Aboriginal activist and writer Ken Canning will head the Socialist Alliance NSW Senate ticket — For a People's Movement — in the coming federal election.

“I've joined this election campaign to build a people's movement to free all our communities from the tyranny of the old big parties which have been bought out by the rich and the multinational corporations.

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