1086

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has filed a lawsuit against Distinctive Assets, the company distributing a luxury gift bag to Oscar nominees that includes an all-expenses paid trip to Israel sponsored by the Israeli government. “Distinctive Assets has been falsely representing that its extravagant 'gift bags' [are] redistributed by the Academy, at its direction, or with its endorsement or approval,” an Academy spokesperson told the Hollywood trade publication Variety.
Right-wing Western Australian senator Joe Bullock has announced his resignation from the Senate over Labor's decision to remove the conscience vote for equal marriage rights in 2019. The former head of the WA branch of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association entered the Senate in 2014 after a back-room deal to dump the Left's Louise Pratt.
The Labor and Liberal National parties hope to slip in four-year fixed parliamentary terms in Queensland through a referendum being held at the same time as state-wide polls for local councils. A four-year term proposal was defeated in 1991.
Comedian and filmmaker Dan Ilic unveiled a portrait of environment minister Greg Hunt on February 29 outside Parliament House in Canberra. The portrait, entitled “Greg Hunt, best minister in the world for clearing trees” was in response to Hunt being named the “Best Minister in the World”. The irony of the award is that Hunt has overseen a huge rise in tree clearing and carbon emissions, while his government is spending billions from the Emissions Reduction Fund to keep trees in the ground and plant new trees.
Cizre, March 2. Photo: Hatice Kamer/BBC. The following report for BBC Turkish by Hatice Kamer in Cizre was translated for Green Left Weekly by I Zekeriya Ayman.

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Hundreds of pro-refugee protesters rallied in Melbourne on February 27, calling on political leaders to let refugees stay and close the prison camps. The action was called in response to a visit by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition leader Bill Shorten to the Lonsdale St Greek Festival. People chanted “Turnbull, Shorten. Blood on your hands” and “Let them stay" as they arrived on the stage. The action was called by Refugee Action Collective and First Nations Liberation.
Dozens of people protested in Bendigo on February 26 for the right to breast feed in public. A Bendigo mother had earlier been forced to leave a shopping centre food court after someone complained to a plaza employee. While Luci White initially held her ground, when a worker asked her to relocate to the centre's “specialised feeding facility”, she said she felt she had no choice but to comply with the demand.
What do politicians do after leaving parliament to earn a few more dollars? They go and work for gas and coal companies. • Former Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson became chair of Eastern Star Gas — the company behind the Narrabri Gas Project now owned by Santos — about 2 years after leaving politics. • Former National's leader and Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile became a director and then chair of Whitehaven coal.
Why is the government so keen to reform Senate voting with the threat of a double dissolution election hanging in the air? The government and the Greens are supporting legislation to enact some recommendations of a parliamentary committee into the 2013 election while Labor and most small parties and independents are opposing them.
A meeting of 500 First Nations representatives voted on February 3 to reject Constitutional recognition and to begin talks on self-determination and a treaty with the Victorian government. The proposed treaty would be a legal document covering Aboriginal affairs and services and addressing past injustices. It would be the first such agreement in Australia and follows similar arrangements with First Peoples in Canada, the US and New Zealand. Dja Dja Warrung elder Gary Murray said the national debate around Constitutional recognition was just "a distraction".

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