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Public housing tenants and nearby residents gathered at Debney's Park in Melbourne's inner-west to protest the impact of the East West Link on public housing flats, Debney's Park and the Flemington Community Centre. The protest was organised by local Greens MP Adam Bandt. Yasseen Musa, a leader of the local African community living in the flats, told the protesters: “It took 15 years to get a sports ground, then another 10 years to get two soccer pitches and a pavilion. Now we have a soccer team for the African community.
For people just tuning in, the idea that people in Brazil would be protesting the 2014 World Cup makes about as much sense as New Yorkers' rebelling against pizza. And yet here we are, less than one month before the start of the Cup, and demonstrations bear the slogan #NãoVaiTerCopa, or "There will be no Cup".
Radical changes to university and TAFE education were announced in the federal budget on May 13. These changes include removing the cap on university fees and changes to welfare payments. People under 25 are no longer eligible for the Newstart allowance. Treasurer Joe Hockey said the theme of the budget was "contribution and building" and "sharing the pain", but it will make it even tougher for struggling families.
The Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, which began on May 12, opened with allegations against former Labor prime minister Julia Gillard. The commission's first day receiving evidence confirmed it is a political show trial. The first person in the witness box was former Australian Workers Union (AWU) official Ralph Blewitt. The “explosive allegation” he made was that Gillard was at home when he paid a builder $7000 for renovations at her Melbourne home from a slush fund.
There is a lot of hype about so-called pain in this budget, and sure, not everyone comes out a winner. But, basically, as long as you are not a young person or an old person, you should be fine. Or a middle-aged person who plans on getting old. Or a public servant. Or a farmer. Or someone who wants to study at university, or who owes money from past study.
Protesters were more imaginative than usual with slogans for the Children's March for the Animals to Melbourne Zoo on May 4. They were protesting against the $8 billion road project known as the East West Link because of the impact it would have on animals that live at the zoo. Placards read: “Tollway noise — I can't BEAR it”, “East-West Tunnel? Don't be GALAH!” and “The toll road is enough to make a ZEBRA cross!”. Children dressed in animal costumes or carried a stuffed toy of their favourite animal.
For years the federal budget has been brutal on refugees and asylum seekers. Each year for the past two decades, visa places have been cut or made more difficult to gain, and services and rights to appeal are cut. The rights of people seeking protection in Australia are slowly eroded while detention centres get bigger and bigger budgets. Now, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey have revealed a budget that takes the war on refugees to new heights — with a newly merged border control agency, more patrol boats and the axing of independent oversight of refugee processing.
In recent weeks, the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has managed to add a number of prominent Liberal Party politicians and apparatchiks to those of the Labor Party who are accused of complicity in corrupt practices. The commission is set to suspend its current inquiry on May 16 and resume again in August. This will allow ICAC officers to conduct further investigations into the affairs of the former Liberal police minister Mike Gallacher, who resigned in early May in the wake of ICAC allegations against him.
Protest the Tony Abbott government's killer budget at marches on Sunday May 18: Brisbane: 1pm, Queens Park, City
Sydney: 1pm, Belmore Park, City (next to Central Station)
Melbourne: 2pm, State Library of Victoria, City
Hobart: 1pm, Parliament Lawns, City
Adelaide: 11.30am, Victoria Square, City
Perth: 12 noon, Russell Square Park, Northbridge
Read Green Left's coveragge of the federal budget
Many people are looking for effective ways to fight and get rid of the conservative governments in power in Australia. Some have chosen the tactic of a marginal seats campaign. This involves intensive campaigning in the individual electorates where a politician holds the seat by a very small majority and is therefore insecure.
I had a heart attack when I was just 55. It was a surprise and a shock. I'd never smoked, was not a big drinker and wasn't carrying too much weight. It was probably a genetic predisposition to heart disease. That was six years ago. Last week I went through the annual tests and consultation with the cardiologist and was told I'm “doing very well” thanks to exercise, a supportive family and the public, universal healthcare system we have in Australia.
College football star Michael Sam has made history as the United States' National Football League’s first openly gay player, Democracy Now! said on May 12. The St Louis Rams picked Sam in the final round of the NFL draft, months after he publicly came out. Sam was a first-team, All-American and the Southeastern Conference’s defensive player for the year as a lineman for the University of Missouri. Sam broke into tears as he took the call informing him of his draft selection. The sports network ESPN showed footage of him kissing his boyfriend in celebration.
After a few years in the making, Partizan Travel has finally been launched. It is a social enterprise that provides progressive-minded people across the world the chance to visit various countries in a different, authentic way. Visitors will learn about those nations by meeting grassroots activists and hearing about the history and reality of their struggles. They will take part in political events, enjoy local culture and traditional food.
The Wilderness Society released the statement below on May 5. *** An Environmental Protection Authority report says gas company Santos can’t fully clean up the uranium contamination of an aquifer in the Pilliga Forest in north-west NSW, saying that attempts to recover the polluted water were “impractical”.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has launched a petition as part of a campaign to save library services at the University of Sydney. *** The university library management has announced a major restructure that will have serious implications for library users and staff, including the potential loss of up to 130 staff.  
The NSW government's suspension of Metgasco's licence at Bentley in the Northern Rivers of NSW has lifted spirits across Australia. For years, communities have been battling the bipartisan support for the unconventional gas industry's advance into prime agricultural land in NSW. The licence has been only suspended, not cancelled. Yet the decision is a vindication that people power — sustained mass community campaigning — can be a powerful force. Curiously, NSW energy minister Anthony Roberts said the licence suspension was because Metgasgo had failed to consult the community.

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