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.
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”.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
The federal government has now spent $1.22 billion on its “Direct Action” policy that is supposed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but will actually allow them to increase. The results of the government's second round of emissions reverse auctions under the Direct Action scheme were released on November 12, revealing that the Clean Energy Regulator had paid $557 million to companies in return for emissions cuts of 45 million tonnes of CO₂. The first auction, in April this year, spent $660 million to buy 47.3 million tonnes.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) is calling on the Turnbull government to improve its bargaining policy to allow federal agencies to make acceptable enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) offers to public sector workers. Despite a small increase in the government's pay guideline from 1.5 to 2%, union members are insisting on a minimum rise of at least 2.5 to 3%.