Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton spoke to Dave Holmes about her work as a local councillor in Moreland, a municipality in Melbourne. This is the third of a series of interviews with Sue Bolton. You can find the whole interview at Links: Online Journal of Socialist Renewal. * * * Is there a tension between getting involved in the here-and-now and local issues, and balancing that off with our engagement with national and global issues and vision for a new society?
A 23 year-old Iranian asylum seeker has been savagely attacked on Nauru. The young woman had been on day-release from the detention centre on May 16, visiting refugees in the community. She was expected back at 5pm so at 4.30pm she left the house she was visiting to catch the bus back to the detention centre. She never arrived. At about 8pm Nauruan police were seen wrapping the woman in a blanket and trying to place her in a police car. She had been found naked, distressed and disoriented.
This is how Tony Abbott explained the new work-for-the-dole measures in the latest federal budget to the Queensland Chamber of Commerce: “That person can do up to four weeks of work experience with your business, with a private sector business, without losing unemployment benefits so it gives you a chance to have a kind of try-before-you-buy look at unemployed people.”
In January this year, the Prime Minister Tony Abbott drew attention to the “unfolding tragedy” of violence against women and vowed to put the issue of what he misleadingly calls “domestic violence” on the national agenda.
More than 250 farmers and their city cousins rallied at Queensland Parliament House on May 21 calling for an end to unconventional gas production and coal mining. The rally was organised by Lock the Gate (Queensland). Farmers from the Bentley Blockade and Northern Rivers in NSW travelled to Brisbane for the rally.
The toll of Australia's bipartisan anti-refugee policies in death and suffering is rising. In the past fortnight more than 3000 Rohingya refugees from Arakan state in Burma (Myanmar) have turned up on the shores of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, having either swum ashore or been rescued by local fishing boat crews. An estimated 7000 more are trapped on boats that have been described as “floating coffins”.
I guess there were some people who thought that the leopard Tony Abbott may have changed his spots after his look-we've-changed 2015 federal budget. The polls certainly suggest this. As William Bowie wrote in his Poll Bludger column in Crikey.com: “A flurry of post-budget opinion polls adds up to a solid increase in the Coalition’s standing, with Tony Abbott’s personal standing now rivalling his least-bad results since his short-lived post-election honeymoon.”
Perth rally for Rohingyan refugees. Photo: Alex Bainbridge Rallies were held around the country on May 22 to demand that Australian government end its inhumane policy of turning back refugees and rescue the thousands of Rohingyan refugees abandoned at sea before they starve to death.
BRISBANE Watch a film: Roque Dalton — Let’s Shoot the Night on Saturday May 30 at 12.30pm. Hosted by Latin American Community Association. Marooka Community Centre, 40 Gainsborough St, Brisbane. GEELONG Come to a film: Ivory Tower on Thursday Jun 4 at 5.30pm. The film examines the recent student debt crisis through a broad spectrum of institutions and startling statistics that directly address concerns for the future of higher education. Geelong Trades Hall, 127 Myers Street. Bookings visit eventbrite.com.au. Presented by the NTEU.
United States: Thousands of low-paid McDonald's workers protest Thousands of McDonald's workers seeking a minimum wage of US$15 per hour have protested outside the fast-food giant's headquarters for two days of protests on May 21 and 22. Reuters said: “Protests by low-wage fast-food and retail workers have helped fuel a national debate about pay levels ... “Tyree Johnson, 47, of Chicago joined thousands of others for noisy but peaceful protests outside McDonald's headquarters in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook on Wednesday.