The rise in popularity of anti-austerity parties, responses to the global climate crisis and challenges in building alternatives to neoliberal capitalism will be explored at the Socialism for the 21st Century Conference, to be held in Sydney on May 13 to 15 next year. Green Left Weekly is proud to co-host this conference — which will be held in our 25th year of publication.
More than 600 people gathered on a farm near the small town of Breeza on November 7 and 8 to celebrate the Liverpool Plains "Harvest Festival against Shenhua” in opposition to the proposed Watermark open cut coalmine. They declared they will return to continue peaceful protest at the site if the mine goes ahead.
As of December last year, anyone who is not an Australian citizen who has spent 12 months or more in jail can be deported at the discretion of the immigration department. By September, 75 New Zealanders and Pacific Islanders were being detained on Christmas Island awaiting deportation. In this nine-month period, 406 New Zealand citizens had their visas cancelled, 95 had been deported and up to 184 were being held in detention centres.
In a surprise move, the far-right group Reclaim Australia has moved its rally on November 22 from Melbourne’s CBD to Melton, which lies west of Melbourne. Reclaim Australia is modelled on far-right groups in Europe that target mosques and the Islamic community in order to promote racism and far-right policies. Reclaim Australia is focusing on opposing the construction of a mosque in Melton. Reclaim Australia has been outnumbered by anti-racists at the two previous rallies it held in the Melbourne CBD. The timing and move is designed to make it harder for anti-racist
Waterfront workers at Hutchison Ports in Sydney and Brisbane are set for a crucial vote on a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) on November 16. The vote takes place after 100 days of community assemblies at Port Botany and Port of Brisbane, following the controversial sacking by text and email of 97 workers at the two ports on August 6.
Protesters occupy Australian Consulate, Auckland, November 11. I was glad to be part of the November 11 protests, organised by the trade union Unite and by Global Peace and Justice Auckland, at the Australian Consulate in Auckland over their government's policies that have led to the indefinite detention of asylum seekers and Australian residents born in New Zealand in what are in effect concentration camps.
Yet another refugee has been found dead while in the care of the Immigration Department thanks to Australia's harsh and punitive refugee policy. Thirty-year-old Iranian Kurd, Fazel Chegeni, who first arrived in Australia in 2011, died after escaping from the detention centre, although how he came to be found dead remains unclear.
Union-organised demonstration outside Portugal's parliament on November 10. A coalition of the parties of the Portuguese left — the Socialist Party (PS), the Left Bloc, the Communist Party (PCP) and the Greens (PEV) — won a motion of no-confidence in the parliament on November 10. The motion brought down the short-lived Portugal Ahead alliance government of the conservative Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the neoliberal Democratic and Social Centre-People's Party (CDS-PP).
More than 100 people attended a heated community meeting in Ceduna, South Australia, on November 7, to hear Assistant Minister for Social Services Alan Tudge discuss the Healthy Welfare Card.
The Turkish government has declared all-out war against the residents of the Kurdish-majority town of Silvan (Farqin) in Diyarbakir (Amed) province. The town has been under curfew and siege since November 2. Artillery and military aircraft have been deployed by Turkish military and paramilitary forces. Residents have reported Arabic-speaking bearded terrorists — presumed to be ISIS — taking part in the attacks. Hopes that such government violence would end after the November 1 Turkish elections have been shattered.
On the strength of a claimed turnover of $1 billion, the Australian Financial Review reported in early February 1978: “At this sort of growth rate Nugan Hand will soon be bigger than BHP.” But two years later, on January 27, 1980, one of the bank's two founders, Frank Nugan, was found dead near Lithgow in NSW from a gunshot wound to the head. An inquest found it was suicide. Meanwhile, the other founder of the bank, Michael Hand, was busy shredding documents, including “files identifying clients regarded as sensitive”.
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos recognised and thanked Cuba on November 12 for its important support in achieving national independence 40 years ago. Commemorating four decades of independence from colonial powers, dos Santos invited a Cuban delegation to honour the historical events that led Fidel Castro to deploy 36,000 troops to defend Angola from a US-back military invasion by forces of apartheid South Africa.
"Overwhelmingly, our communities don't want us to merge," Greens Leichhardt councillor Rochelle Porteous said on November 12. She was commenting on the decision by Labor and Liberal councillors in the Leichhardt, Marrickville and Ashfield councils to endorse a "voluntary" merger of the three inner-west councils, under pressure from the state government. At meetings on November 10, the Labor and Liberal councillors voted to support a merger, should the state government proceed with its draconian plan for compulsory council amalgamations across the city.
Health services are under serious attack in WA, with the Health Department asking hospitals to finalise “budget management strategies” by the end of January. Amid claims of massive cuts to funding, hospitals in Perth are bracing for staff cuts. The Health Services Union (HSU) expects about 500 jobs to be shed at Royal Perth Hospital and similar numbers at Fiona Stanley Hospital. The union says its previous predictions of about 1000 job cuts “across the board” now appeared “conservative” and job uncertainty is causing widespread stress.
Two hundred Public Service Association (PSA) members were joined by people with disabilities, their relatives, friends and other trade unionists in a protest in Newcastle on November 4, as part of a four-hour strike against the privatisation of disability services. The Baird government is using the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme as a cover to sack 13,000 workers in public disability services and gift state assets to private providers.
Early childhood educators and supporters have been gathering in cities across Australia during November, calling for pay increases that reflect the professional nature of the early childhood education and care sector. United Voice, the union that represents these mostly female workers, is running the “Big Steps: Value Our Future” campaign for professional wages.