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.
Joe Hockey may have been hoping that his spin about a "dull" budget would lull the public into a stupor, but the budget is anything but dull if you're a woman, a parent, pregnant, a student, a pensioner, on welfare, need legal aid or are unemployed. The government faced significant, organised, public opposition to its 2014 budget measures, many of which failed to pass in the Senate. It was forced to back down on a number of policies, however it is under increasing economic pressure to get its neoliberal agenda through.
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.
NSW Greens MP John Kaye has slammed the upper house inquiry, chaired by Christian Democrats leader Fred Nile, into the government's planned privatisation of the state's "poles and wires" electricity network. The public was given just seven days to make written submissions into the future of the NSW electricity grid, and will not be able to appear in person before the inquiry. "By delivering a quick-and-nasty timetable to suit the political convenience of the [Mike] Baird government, Fred Nile has denied his inquiry any credibility," Kaye said on May 11.
"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.
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.
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.
A commentator for the mainstream Barcelona daily La Vanguardia reported on May 9 on a conversation he overheard in a lift between two “executives of a certain age”. They were talking about an opinion poll giving the radical, movement-based ticket Barcelona Together the lead in the March 24 election for Barcelona City Council. Executive A: “Have you seen that [incumbent Barcelona mayor Xavier] Trias is losing?” Executive B: “Yes, [lead candidate for Barcelona Together Ada] Colau is winning.”
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Particularly when it comes to responsible reporting of Aboriginal poverty. Last week, Four Corners pointed its lens into a few Aboriginal communities in Western Australia and produced a beautiful piece of promotion for the WA government and its plans for a catastrophic assault on Aboriginal homelands.
People who regularly visit refugees and asylum seekers detained in the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation in Broadmeadows have reported that the rules for visiting have recently become much more restrictive. Visitors must now give 24 hours notice. They must give the names of the specific detainees they wish to talk to, and are not allowed to talk to any others. This makes it hard for them to make contact with new arrivals in the detention centre. Requests to visit are often refused on the pretext that the visiting room will be full, whereas in fact the room is often half empty.