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Steve O’Brien is standing as a candidate for the Socialist Alliance in the Newcastle byelection on October 25. The sitting Coalition MP, Tim Owen, resigned in August after he admitted he lied to the Independent Commission Against Corruption about accepting an illegal $10,000 donation from a property developer. O’Brien said: “A strong vote for a socialist would send a powerful message to the political establishment that Newcastle is not for sale and that Newcastle people support the public sector.”
Continuous protests in the Nauru refugee detention camp peaked with up to 600 people breaking out of the family compound just after midnight on October 10. An asylum seeker told Sydney’s Refugee Action Coalition (RAC): “Day to day, night to night, the situation on Nauru is getting more serious for us.” The protests have been accompanied by self-harm and suicide attempts, including one person hanging themselves, a 15-year-old girl swallowing detergent, others ingesting washing powder, lip-stitching and a hunger strike.
Police removing the plastic sword.

So it turns out the “sword” confiscated during the September 18 terror raids in Sydney's north-west — you know Australia's largest terror raids everwas actually plastic. That would be the “sword” the cops had placed in a plastic bag that the media made such a big deal out of to terrify us all with the “threat” of a “random beheading”. Plastic. It was a fucking plastic sword.

As well as forcing people to wait until the age of 70 before reaching the retirement age, the federal Coalition government also intends to push these septuagenarians into poverty. The retirement pension for a single person is currently set at 27.7% of Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE) and is indexed every six months. The National Commission of Audit set up by Treasurer Joe Hockey in October last year has conveniently provided the government with a recommendation to reduce this rate.

The Venezuelan National Assembly swore in grassroots leader Juan Contreras to assume the vacant post of the late deputy Robert Serra on October 7. Serra, a 27-year-old socialist deputy, was stabbed to death alongside his partner Maria Herrera in their Caracas home on October 1. Legislators also voted to ban former right-wing Colombian president Alvaro Uribe from entering Venezuela. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused Uribe of being linked to the killings.

Progressive activists are contesting this year’s student campus council elections at the University of Western Sydney’s Bankstown campus. RES Out West — Resisting Education Slashes — will run two activists for positions on the council and campus paper editors for 2015. Both are first year students and members of Resistance – Young Socialist Alliance. Ian Escandor, also known as Esky, is a progressive hip-hop artist, community worker and student activist. He is studying Community Welfare and is active in the campaign to fight the education cuts on UWS Bankstown campus.
Toms River: A Story of Science & Salvation Dan Fagin Bantam Books, 2013 538 pages, $43.95 (hb) In yet another chapter of the well-thumbed book of “corporate avarice and government neglect”, writes Dan Fagin, the town of Toms River in New Jersey, two hours south of New York, paid a high price in cancer for the pollution of the chemical giant, Ciba-Geigy.
“Things are looking positive and the wind is with us,” Major General Craig Orme, commander of Australian forces in the latest war in the Middle East, told AAP on October 11. If the US-led military coalition has a strategy against its latest enemy, the terrorist gang that calls itself the “Islamic State” (IS), Orme was not revealing it. “If they want to stay in one spot, we are very happy for them to do that,” he said. “We will just bomb them. When they do mass we will smack them and smack them hard.”
A community protest has condemned the assault of a 26-year-old woman on the Upfield train in Melbourne on September 25. The woman was attacked by a female passenger as the train pulled into Batman Station in North Coburg, and then thrown from the carriage while the train was still moving. The assault was accompanied by racist and Islamophobic abuse directed at victim. Community activists gathered at the station on October 1 to condemn the racist attack.
Fossil Free Sydney University released this statement on September 25. *** In a historic referendum at the University of Sydney, voters overwhelmingly supported fossil fuel divestment. Eighty percent of the students demanded the Vice-Chancellor commit to divesting from fossil fuels. In a first step last August the University froze further investment in all fossil fuels, pending review and consultation with stakeholders. Since then, all major student representative organisations have called upon the University to divest in full.
The Who Pays for our Common Wealth report into tax contributions by the S&P ASX 200, Australia’s 200 top stockmarket listed companies, has found that 84% of them paid less than the company tax rate of 30% in the period between 2004 and 2013. This amounts to $80 billion in forgone taxation revenue.
Kobane’s epic resistance against the assault of the genocidal Islamic State (IS) gangs had entered its fourth week by October 10. The defence had held out against overwhelming odds. The defenders had been forced back, but their lines had not been broken. In some neighbourhoods, street fighting was taking place.