1089

Ian Angus is a Canadian ecosocialist activist and author. The editor of Climateandcapitalism.com, Angus is also the co-author of Too Many People? Population, Immigration, and the Environmental Crisis with former Green Left Weekly editor Simon Butler (Haymarket, 2011).
A series of suicide bombings in Brussels on March 22 killed 35 people, including 3 suicide bombers. Less than a week later, on March 27, a similar attack in Lahore, Pakistan, killed more than twice as many people — at least 75. The response from media and politicians amply illustrated the truism that Western lives matter more to them than those of people in Third World countries. The amount of reporting and expressions of condolences was, as is the norm, in inverse proportion to the numbers killed.
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.
Victorian paramedics are to receive a pay rise of up to $18,000 as part of a $54 million wage upgrade, after the state government accepted the role has become more difficult and complex in the past decade. This month the Fair Work Commission heard evidence about the increase in skills and responsibilities paramedics have required over the past decade and found that "these changes constitute a significant net addition to work requirements".
British Fidelity, the last Australian-crewed oil tanker serving the Australian coast, has been removed from service by petroleum giant BP. British Fidelity had transported petroleum from Kwinana in South Australia to Devenport and Hobart in Tasmania. The crew received a letter from the ship manager, ASP, stating that BP had terminated the contract for the British Fidelity. This came after the crew had raised objections to sailing to Singapore.
Charges of assault against Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) organiser Justin Steele have been dropped by Queensland police after the complaint against him was withdrawn. This is the fifth time a construction union official has had criminal charges made by the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption taskforce dropped. Federal police alleged Steele struck a female builder-developer’s arm and pushed her shoulder during a standoff at a South Brisbane site in May last year. The charges against him were dropped on March 23.
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.
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.
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.

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