1054

With what appears a landslide win amid a high turnout, all indications are Ireland has voted "yes" to marriage equality in a referendum on legalising same-sex marriages. This is the first time marriage equality has been put to a popular vote anywhere in the world, and makes Ireland the 21st nation to legalise same-sex marriages.
You would not have thought it possible, but Tony Abbott appears to be degenerating — in literacy skills as well as morality. Having campaigned on a simplistic three word slogan, in office, he's decided that's two too many, and has cut “Stop the boats” to “Nope, nope, nope.”
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 its latest federal budget, the Tony Abbott Liberal-National government announced the setting up of a $5 billion “concessional loan facility” called the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility. The proposal has been condemned by environmental and Aboriginal rights groups.
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.
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.
The open letter that is abridged below was first published at literary magazine Overland, where the full letter and its hundreds of signatories can be read. Artists and arts organisations can add their names to this list of signatories by emailing: overland@vu.edu.au. If you would to like to sign the general petition, you can do so at the Australians for Artistic Freedom page. ***
Protesters hold a banner opposing BP oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight, in St Kilda beach on May 16. Photo: Chris Peterson About 100 people rallied at Glenelg in Adelaide to protest against plans by oil company British Petroleum to explore for oil in the Great Australian Bight.
More than 8000 Rohingyan asylum seekers are stranded in the Malacca Straits. About 200 people have already died and more are at risk from dehydration and starvation. The stateless Rohingyans are victims of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. Australia must immediately lift its ban on accepting UNHCR refugees from Indonesia and offer Rohingyan refugees safe passage to Australia. The lives of the Rohingyan asylum seekers rest in the hands of regional governments of Australia, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Every hour that passes without assistance puts more lives in danger.
Refugee Council of Australia president Phil Glendenning spoke at a public forum in Melbourne on May 13 about the fate of refugees deported from Australia. Glendenning is also the director of the Edmund Rice Centre, which has investigated the fate of asylum seekers deported to their homeland, or pressured to return "voluntarily".

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