1003

"We'll win this, because we'll stick together", Barney Gardner, a long-time resident of the Millers Point public housing area in inner-city Sydney, told a rally of several hundred at Argyle Place on March 25. The rally heard a variety of speakers condemn the Barry O'Farrell NSW government for its decision to sell-off 293 public properties in the historic heartland of Sydney, following a march organised by the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) from the Kent Street Fire Station.
A new documentary film Radical Wollongong, produced by Green Left TV, will premiere in Wollongong in early May, followed by screenings in other cities and regional centres. The film features activist participants from Wollongong's radical history of strikes and community rallies, from miners’ struggles to Aboriginal justice and environmental protection. Co-producer John Rainford gives some background to the first coalminers associations, setting up Wollongong with its reputation as a city of militants. ***
After 1370 votes went missing during the Western Australian senate election last year, the vote was declared void. Another election has been called for April 5. The difference between this election and the last one is that the agenda of prime minister Tony Abbott is clearer. Anti-Abbott sentiment was particularly dramatic at the March in March rally, which drew 3000 people in Perth.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has defended Papua New Guinea's efforts to shut down at least two legal inquiries into the treatment of asylum seekers in the Manus Island detention centre, after the violence that left one man dead and scores injured. A PNG National Court judge, Justice David Cannings, announced early last month he would hold an independent inquiry into the conditions in the centre, and determine whether asylum seekers' human rights were being upheld under the country's constitution.
The parade of ALP politicians before the latest NSW corruption inquiry has given way to a cross-party merry-go-round. As the Independent Commission Against Corruption calls the tune, Liberal Party luminaries are now on the carousel. Liberal Senator and Assistant Treasurer, Arthur Sinodinos, has stood down from his ministerial position after being called to give evidence before the NSW corruption watchdog.
“We hope Christians will reflect on what it means to follow and worship a refugee God, and to stand in the tradition of a people who were sojourners and strangers in a foreign land,” said Matt Anslow, a Uniting Church member who participated in a prayer vigil protesting the detention of asylum seekers, in the electorate office of Scott Morrison. On March 21, this group of believers from Uniting, Anglican, Catholic, Hillsong and Anabaptist traditions walked into the office and invited the staff to join them praying for an end to mandatory detention.
Staff at Villawood detention centre denied Iranian and Afghan asylum seekers the right to celebrate Persian New Year’s, a festival that has been celebrated for more than 3000 years, over the weekend beginning on March 21. A group of 10 volunteers, including former inmates, were denied the right to take in food during the visit, which occurred during regular visiting hours.
These are dark times, so we should celebrate what victories come the way of working people facing the brunt of the Abbott gang's “kick everyone and their dog” strategy. And so we should celebrate the big win for workers' rights with media star, would-be politician and part-time Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes' announcing his resignation from the union movement.
Community Services Minister Pru Goward announced that 293 public housing in Millers Point and The Rocks on Sydney's harbourside would be sold. The billions gained would be used to invest in public housing in the rest of the state, Goward said. But the sell-off would come at a human cost — the destruction of the close-knit working-class community that has existed there for hundreds of years.
Over the past year, Geelong has been hit hard by job cuts at Ford, Alcoa, Target, Holden, Toyota and Avalon Airport, as well as state and federal government departments. Geelong Trades Hall has organised a rally on April 7, calling for more manufacturing jobs in the region.

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