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The Abbott government has coped a lot of flak for breaking promises, but this budget bucks the trend. Abbott always promised a “no surprises” approach to government, and with this self-proclaimed “dull” budget, his government has finally delivered. Few may have predicted some of the weirder moments of Abbott's reign, like knighting Prince Philip, threatening to shirtfront Vladimir Putin or making Bronwyn Bishop speaker of the House, but who could honestly say they were surprised by more proposals to hurt the poor and help the rich.
Photo: NSW Education Action Network/Facebook. Students took to the streets on May 12, budget day, to call for free education and an end to the fee deregulation bill.
One of my guilty, I won't say pleasures so let's go with habits, is skimming through the Daily Telegraph while waiting for my coffee at the local cafe. It kills time and I can check out the content without giving any money to Murdoch’s media empire.
New mothers will be pushed to return to work sooner and non-working families will be punished by having childcare subsidies reduced in the government’s latest budget. Treasurer Joe Hockey chose Mother's Day on May 10 to announce that almost 80,000 women will have their existing paid parental leave slashed, saving $1 billion. At the moment the government provides 18 weeks of paid parental leave at the minimum wage of $600 a week.
The Refugee Council of Australia released this statement on May 8. * * * The Refugee Council of Australia has met delegates of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to raise serious ongoing concerns regarding the lack of oversight, safety and protection for asylum seekers detained at Australia’s behest on Nauru.
An open letter to the Australian government calling for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to be removed from the list of proscribed terrorist organisations is gathering support. Initiated by the Melbourne-based Australians for Kurdistan campaign committee, the open letter has attracted some notable endorsements. The letter and endorsements can be viewed here.
In an atypical move in cases of police killings of unarmed African Americans,‭ ‬six police officers in Baltimore have been charged with serious crimes over the‭ ‬death of‭ ‬25-year-old African American man Freddie Gray last month. Baltimore state attorney Marilyn Mosby announced the charges on May‭ ‬1,‭ ‬which include second-degree murder against one officer.
Already struggling to cope with the devastation caused by the April 25 earthquake that measured 7.8 on the Moment Magnitude Scale, Nepal was hit on May 12 by a major aftershock with a magnitude of 7.3 MMS. By May 14, there had been 158 aftershocks. The May 12 aftershock appears to have killed far fewer people than the initial quake, but the combined death toll is more than 9000 and rising. Most casualties have been in Nepal but there have also been deaths in India, Bangladesh and Tibet.
Wendy Brabham

Melbourne Resistance Centre was packed on May 9 as people gathered to hear First Nations activists and other anti-racism activists talk about fighting racism in Australia today. The seminar began with Wendy Brabham, nationally-respected Aboriginal academic and traditional owner from the Wamba Wamba, Wergaia, Nyeri Nyeri and Dhudhuroa first nations.

Large numbers of heavily armed federal and Victorian police raided a house in the northern Melbourne suburb of Greenvale on May 8. A 17-year-old male was arrested and charged with “terrorism related offences” after appearing in court on May 11. “Balaclava-clad officers with assault rifles stood guard around a two-storey home while heavily-armoured vehicles blocked off the street,” the ABC reported on May 9. A 14-year-old boy was questioned after raids in Sydney on the same day. The police have not said whether the raids in Melbourne and Sydney were connected.
Paddy Gibson spoke at a Stop the Intervention Collective public meeting in April on the Northern Territory Intervention and Western Australian community closures. Gibson has lived in Alice Springs, researching the impact of the Intervention. He is a senior researcher with the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, University of Technology Sydney and co-editor of Solidarity magazine. This is an edited version of his speech. * * *
"After international pressure, today the Indonesian President has claimed that all foreign journalists are now free to report in West Papua without travel restrictions,” the BBC reported on May 11. “This is historic news as for 50 years the Indonesian government has banned foreign journalists from entering West Papua." A global day of action on April 29 featured protests in several cities that called on the Indonesian government to allow free and open access into occupied West Papua for international journalists, humanitarian agencies and human rights groups.