1087

Hail, Caesar Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes Written & directed by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen In cinemas There must be something in the zeitgeist. Within weeks, two Hollywood movies have come out referencing the left-wing victims of the McCarthyite period of US anti-communist witch-hunting — the Hollywood 10. But while Jay Roach's Trumbo takes a realistic view of the case and is sympathetic towards the victims, the Coen brothers Hail, Caesar is wild, wacky and hilariously disrespectful of everyone.
“Thank you for these protests. We love you and our hearts are with you in this moment.” This message was sent from a refugee inside Northam Detention Centre in West Australia to activists who were protesting outside in 2014. Messages like this inspire many of us to get active and persist with campaigns to make the world more humane. A whole generation, to which I belong, has only known mandatory detention: it was introduced by “left” Labor immigration minister Gerry Hand in 1992.
This interview with Amnesty International's Australian refugee coordinator Graham Thom, was broadcast on Radio 3CR in Melbourne on March 4. * * * Amnesty International has put out a media release criticising the Australian government's draconian laws against refugees. Why did you do that?
The Turnbull Coalition government must call a full royal commission into CommInsure, the Commonwealth Bank and the general financial malpractices of the insurance and banking industry immediately. This Coalition government wasted more than $50 million in taxpayers' funds on the royal commission into the union movement, but adamantly refuses to hold a proper inquiry into its big business mates in the major banks.
The ABC reported on March 3 that the Moort Boodjari Mia Aboriginal maternity centre in Midland, Perth, part of the North Metropolitan Health Service, is expected to close in June due to lack of funding. The centre provides antenatal and postnatal clinical care, guidance, support and education to pregnant Aboriginal women and their families. A team of health professionals works with each woman during her pregnancy and for four weeks after the birth. Since opening in 2011, it has cared for hundreds of families.
A controversy broke out at Sydney's Mardi Gras on March 6 when organisers the No Pride In Detention refugee rights float if they criticised Opposition leader Bill Shorten's refugee policies. And fair enough. The Mardi Gras was begun by people demanding basic human rights and an end to dehumanisation and unjust repression, so there's obviously no connection with the current bipartisan treatment of refugees.

An extraordinary, radical experiment in welfare policy will begin on March 15 in the small town of Ceduna and several remote Aboriginal communities in south-western South Australia. The — or “Healthy Welfare Card” as it was dubbed by its leading advocate, billionaire miner Andrew Forrest — will be trialled for 12 months.

The is an umbrella group of leading Sudanese independent and democratic civil society sectors. It aims to promote the voices and interests of marginalised groups, as well as peace and human rights. Below is its International Women's Day statement released on March 8. * * *
Bernie Sanders' campaign has just received a massive boost. The socialist Vermont senator secured a surprise victory in Michigan on March 8, sending a clear message out to Hillary Clinton's campaign, which nonetheless managed to win big in Mississippi after attracting nine out of every 10 Black voters, according to exit polls. Polls indicated that Clinton would win big in Michigan, giving her a lead of 20- 22 points. However, Sanders secured victory by 50% of the vote compared to Hillary's 48%.
You might expect that this year's Mardi Gras parade, which came just days after the institutional apologies to the original queer rights activists — the 78ers — would be free of the political heavy handedness that launched Mardi Gras as an annual protest march in 1978.
Rob Pyne (MP) is now the independent Member for Cairns in the Queensland Parliament, following his shock resignation from the Australian Labor Party on March 7. Pyne was a student leader at James Cook University, then served on the Cairns Regional Council between 2008 and 2015 before becoming Australia's first quadriplegic member of parliament in last year's Queensland state election.

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