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When he announced his bid to unseat Tony Abbott as Liberal Party leader Malcolm Turnbull promised a “new style of leadership”. The problem is that is about all we can hope for from the new prime minister: a change in style but not in substance.
More than 30 people attended the Brisbane launch of Women of Steel: Gender, Jobs and Justice at BHP on September 17 The book documents the 14-year landmark struggle for jobs, which began in the 1980s when a group of mainly migrant women took on The Big Australian and won.
Newly-elected Nationals Party president Larry Anthony has been revealed to be the executive director and co-owner of a lobby firm that counted coal company Shenhua Watermark as a client. Anthony’s firm, SAS Group, lobbied for Shenhua until July this year. The company wants to build an open-cut coalmine near Gunnedah, on the Liverpool Plains. The mine is expected to produce 10 million tonnes of coal a year.
It is hard to imagine two election campaigns more different than that leading up to SYRIZA's triumph in Greece's January 25 elections and country's September 20 vote. In January, SYRIZA's winning slogan was “Hope is on the Way” — hope for a government that would end the six years of suffering inflicted on Greece by austerity measures in the first two memoranda of the “Troika” (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund).
Protesters rallied outside Queensland’s parliament on September 16 to demand the Palaszczuk government honour its election promises and protect the Great Barrier Reef. This comes after several victories for the environment movement, with major banks pulling out of the Carmichael Coal mining project that, if approved, would greatly increase Australia’s coal production and damage to the Great Barrier Reef.
As we head towards the November 29 People’s Climate Marches, reflecting on the successes of the struggle against the unconventional gas industry in NSW can provide useful tips on strategies to rebuild a serious campaign for climate action in this country. Militant ordinary people have, since 2011, forced the unconventional gas industry in NSW into a holding pattern in some instances and a retreat in others. The community-led campaigns have changed the political landscape in a way that even hardened cynics would once have thought impossible.
More than 300 people, and 22 horses, marched on the Northern Territory parliament on September 15 to demand a moratorium on unconventional gas production in the NT as part of the Our Land is Our Life rally. The rally was organised by Frack-free NT and included contingents from Aboriginal communities, unions, farmers and environment groups. Larrikeyah elder June Mills opened with a fiery welcome to country and a smoking ceremony, condemning what she called “white man’s law” that threatened water supplies and livelihoods.
The federal government will allow the factory freezer supertrawler the Geelong Star to resume night fishing in the Small Pelagic Fishery, despite no evidence that the vessel will avoid killing more dolphins and seals. The Geelong Star was banned from night fishing by environment minister Greg Hunt in May in response to community outrage at dolphin and seal deaths caused by the supertrawler. It will use a new, untested barrier net, but it is not required to use video cameras.
Carol Hucker worked on Manus Island as a counsellor for International Health and Medical Services (IHMS) and as a case worker for the Salvation Army from June 2013 to July last year. She has allowed Green Left Weekly to publish her account so that people can become more aware of what is happening on Manus Island. She said: “It is my hope that through this brief account the men on Manus will not be forgotten.” This is the fourth part of a multi-part series and covers November 2013 to January 2014. * * *
An Afghan refugee who set himself on fire in a Western Australian detention centre has died. The man, Ali Jafarri who was believed to be in his late 30s, had burns to 90% of his body after the incident at the Yongah Hill detention centre. According to the ABC, detainees and Serco guards found Jafarri barely alive in his room. He is believed to have wrapped himself in a sheet before dousing himself with accelerant and setting himself on fire. Two guards who helped him were also injured.
In the latest blow to the anti-worker industrial policies of the federal Coalition government, staff in the Department of Human Services (DHS) have voted by 83% to reject an enterprise bargaining agreement offer from management. More than 78% participated in the ballot. The overwhelming result in DHS follows strong votes in a number of other agencies recently, including Veterans Affairs, IP Australia and Health, to oppose agreements that would have attacked their rights, conditions and take-home pay.
Westpac workers have managed to break the link between targets and annual salary in the recent Enterprise Agreement (EA) negotiations between Westpac and the Finance Sector Union (FSU). After two months of negotiations, including a petition signed by workers across the Westpac Group, FSU negotiators reached an “in principle” agreement effective from 2016. The link between targets and annual salary increases has been broken, with staff only required to meet minimum behaviour standards and complete compulsory compliance training — which 98% of staff achieved in the last two years.
Left-wing Greens have been sidelined in a re-allocation of the party’s portfolios announced on September 15. Critics say the moves are part of new leader Richard di Natale’s expressed desire to make the party more “mainstream”. It appears that the portfolio reshuffle took place without consultation, and became public on the party's website on September 15 when an updated contact list was sent to the corporate media.

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