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About 800 refugees were drowned in the Mediterranean on April 18 when a boat carrying them from Libya, and trying to reach the south of Italy, capsized. Just three days earlier, more than 400 people drowned when another boat on the same route sank. Refugee deaths in the Mediterranean are rising sharply. “According to the UN and the International Organisation for Migration, 1,776 people are dead or missing so far this year, compared with 56 for the same period last year,” the April 24 Guardian reported.

Australia has again declared war on its Indigenous people, reminiscent of the brutality that brought universal condemnation on apartheid South Africa. Aboriginal people are to be driven from homelands where their communities have lived for thousands of years. In Western Australia, where mining companies make billion dollar profits exploiting Aboriginal land, the state government says it can no longer afford to "support" the homelands.

Maria Voukelatos, a passionate socialist and animal liberation activist, died suddenly and unexpectedly on March 26. Nothing suggests she took her own life. While the cause is still unknown, her death at home in Sydney was likely quick and painless. She was 37.
Wiradjuri man Ray Jackson, socialist, and indefatigable fighter for a better world has fallen. At 73, he died peacefully in the evening on April 23. He had been in hospital for pneumonia a week before his death. Uncle Ray was stolen from his mother at the age of two, and placed with a white family when aged about three.
Dear Indigenous Social Justice Association Sydney, It is with great sad news that ISJA Sydney writes to inform you all of the passing of our Comrade Ray Jackson president and founder of the Indigenous Social Justice Association Sydney and long time socialist activist organiser for Aboriginal rights, justice for all deaths in custody and other social justice issues. Last night, on April 23, Ray was found in bed by his granddaughter and it seems he died peacefully in his sleep after the regular ISJA meeting last night.
Politicians, both Labor and Liberal, have spent years defending this county’s pitiful efforts on tackling climate change with the excuse that Australia “can’t go it alone” — it has to wait for other countries to commit to action on climate change. The same excuse was often echoed in the media. In particular, the lack of action by the US and China were cited as the reasons why Australia should commit to doing little or nothing.
The State Bank of India had reneged on a $1 billion financing agreement for Adani’s Galilee Basin coalmine. The loan was agreed to five months ago to help finance mining giant Adani’s plan to develop the Carmichael mega coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. This is the 12th global investment bank to publicly walk away from the proposal in recent months.
Gas company Metgasco has won its case against the state government to reinstate its drilling licence at Bentley after it was suspended last year. However, Justice Richard Button said that while the suspension process undertaken by the government was not lawful, the judgement did not reflect the merits or otherwise of the suspension itself. Metgasco’s licence was suspended in May last year after a large community campaign against its plans to drill for unconventional gas at Rosella, about 15 kilometres from Lismore.
The University of Sydney has ramped up its bullying of students and staff who interrupted a lecture by a visiting Israeli colonel last month. Several students who took part in the protest were sent “show cause” letters on April 15. Others had been summonsed to interviews about the protest. Mia Sanders, one of the students who took part in the protest action, told Green Left Weekly: “Vice chancellor Michael Spence is, once again, showing contempt for the university’s own charter by trying to silence dissent”.
This open letter to the Minister of Social Services, Scott Morrison was released on April 20. * * * On behalf of the many Australians who believe in the importance of a fair and equitable welfare system, we the undersigned write to voice our strong objections to the harmful and damaging legislation currently before the Senate, which would introduce a six-month waiting period for unemployment benefits for people under 30. We also wish to highlight our concerns over the government’s decision to introduce harsh requirements from 1 July 2015, which will:

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