In all the media hype about Malcolm Turnbull's recalling of parliament in April and talk of a double dissolution election, it is easy to lose sight of the “trigger” — the Australian Building and Construction Commission bill (ABCC bill). I recently heard an ABC Radio National commentator talking about the use of the ABCC bill as the trigger. She said words to the effect that most people would be in favour of cleaning up construction unions as only 11% of workers are in unions now. So it was considered to be a winner for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Opponents of Shenhua-Watermark's mega coalmine in the Liverpool Plains in north-western NSW have been given a boost by the Chinese government-owned company's annual report released on March 24, which hinted it may not proceed.
Asylum seekers on Nauru have been protesting their long-term detention every day since March 20. Good Friday marked 1000 days in detention with no refugee determination for some asylum seekers.
Refugee Action Coalition released this statement on March 29. * * * Meetings in the Manus Island detention centre compounds on March 29 have revealed a series of moves by Australian and PNG Immigration to resolve the detention and resettlement issue before the Supreme Court challenge to the Manus Island detention centre, scheduled for the end of April.
That the Australian government can find $6 million to fund a film aimed at convincing asylum seekers to not come to Australia and yet cut more than $50 million from Screen Australia speaks volumes about its priorities.
The government of Argentina is seeking to take pan-American TV station TeleSUR off the air, in a move the broadcaster said on March 28 amounts to censorship. Latin American social movements have already condemned the move by the South American nation's new right-wing President Mauricio Macri.
The NSW BLF, the most radical and innovative union the world has ever seen Fifty years ago, a group of dedicated left-wing activists wrested control of the NSW Builders Labourers' Federation (BLF) from the corrupt gangster types who had used it to feather their own nests. The militants, who included Jack Mundey, Joe Owens and Bob Pringle, rebuilt the union into a radically democratic, socially progressive and environmentally-aware organisation the likes of which Australia and the world had never seen.
Hundreds attended the Kurdish New Year celebrations — Newroz — in Sydney and Melbourne on March 26 and 27 respectively. In Sydney, several hundred gathered in Blacktown to hear from community representatives and musicians.
In the lead-up to the federal election, talk of balancing the budget, jobs and growth are centre. Amid rising unemployment and job insecurity, single parents continue to face both a job market unforgiving of parenting responsibilities and parenting payments that have been consistently attacked and eroded — framed by the false narrative of providing incentives to return to work and finding necessary budget savings.
On the 28th anniversary of the Halabja genocide, about 120 people held a candlelight vigil in Sydney's Parramatta Mall. The vigil was organised by the Sydney Kurdish Youth Society. The massacre was carried out against the Kurdish people on March 16, 1988, in the closing days of the Iran–Iraq War in the Kurdish-dominated city of Halabja in Southern Kurdistan (Iraq). The attack took place as thousands of Kurds were fleeing attacks by the Saddam Hussein regime.
Across the US young people are pouring into the polling booths. The contest is not the Presidential election — that is still some months away. Instead they are lining up to vote in the primaries for the Democratic Party. In particular they are turning up to vote for an old Jewish radical from New York.
Greek Islanders who have been on the frontline of the refugee crisis have been nominated for the Nobel peace prize. Some 230 academics from the universities of Oxford, Princeton, Harvard, Cornell and Copenhagen nominated the people of Lesbos, Kos, Chíos, Samos, Rhodes and Leros for the prize. Only individuals or organisations are eligible to win the prize so 16 volunteer networks on the islands who organised to help the refugees are the official nominees.
Tony Shepherd is the former chair of Abbott's National Audit Commission, former president of the Business Council of Australia, a right-wing lobby group that represents some of the biggest corporations in Australia and a former member of the board of directors of Transfield, the company that profits from the misery of asylum seeks locked up in Australia's offshore refugee detention camps. Apart from that he has been an over-paid fat cat for conservative governments. Shepherd is the embodiment of the greed and evil of corporate rich.
About 800 people gathered at the Irish Memorial at the Waverley Cemetery in Sydney's eastern suburbs on March 27 over two events to commemorate the centenary of Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising against British rule. The first commemoration was organised by the James Connolly Association (JCA) and the second by the Irish National Association (INA), which maintains the cemetery’s famous memorial to martyrs of Ireland’s freedom struggle.
The Socialist Alliance released this statement on March 31. * * * The Senate reform pushed through by the Turnbull Liberal-National government with the support of the Greens does not make federal Parliament more democratic. While it will end the “gaming” of the Group Voting Ticket for people voting above the line on the Senate ballot paper, it also weakens the preferential system and could give the Coalition an advantage in the next federal election.
The Illawarra Knitting Nannas Against Gas (I KNAG), held a "knit-in", in Edgecliff in Sydney, at the office of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on March 21. He was not there and had not answered the two simple questions the Nannas had left him earlier. “Do you support a ban on coal seam gas (CSG) mining in drinking water catchments?" and “Would you move federal legislation to enact a ban on CSG mining in drinking water catchments?”