1094

The Victorian budget, presented by Treasurer Tim Pallas on April 27, is in surplus, due largely to a big increase in stamp duty revenue, to a record $6 billion a year. This revenue is a result of Melbourne's real estate boom. House prices have been rising rapidly. But the number of homeless people has also been rising rapidly. There has been a marked increase in the number of homeless people begging on the streets.
Supporters of British Labour Party's socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn. Despite his insurgent campaign scoring a string of impressive against-all-expectations wins, Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination was declared all but dead-and-buried after Hillary Clinton won a clear victory in a controversial New York primary marred by irregularities on April 19.
"The plan for James Packer's Crown Casino at Barangaroo to take over even more public space shows that Packer and his fellow billionaires control the NSW Coalition government and are taking over all our precious state-owned land and assets at a rate of knots," Peter Boyle, Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Sydney in the upcoming federal election, said on May 4.
A vigil was held in Sydney on May 4 in solidarity with Hodan Yasin, a 19-year-old Somali asylum seeker. She is in a critical condition after setting herself on fire in Australia's notorious offshore refugee detention centre on the Pacific island state of Nauru. Just a few days before people had assembled in the same spot in Sydney Town Hall square for a vigil for Omid, a young Iranian asylum seeker who died after also setting himself on fire in Nauru.
The Jackson family and Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA) Sydney held a gathering on the first anniversary of the passing of Ray Jackson to Remember Ray FKJ (For Koori Justice). Friends, comrades and supporters came together on April 23 at The Settlement, Darlington, to share a barbecue, music and Jackson's activist legacy in the fight for sovereignty, treaty and social justice. He would have loved the name of the band that played: Dispossessed.
The continued forced removal of children from their families is one of the biggest crises facing Aboriginal communities today. More children are being removed now than at any time in Australia's history, with almost 16,000 Aboriginal children in “out of home care” on any given night. This was the subject of a public forum organised by Grandmothers against Removals (GMAR) Sydney on April 30. GMAR is a national network that was formed by families who have been directly affected by forced removal.
The ACT Labor government has boosted its commitment to renewable energy still further, announcing Canberra will be fully powered by renewables by 2020. The switch to renewable energy began with the decision in 2013 to fund three solar farms. Since then, it has held two wind auctions and signed 20-year contracts with four companies to buy energy for a guaranteed payment from wind farms in South Australia, Victoria and NSW. Environment Minister Simon Corbell said Canberra was leading the nation on renewables, and reaping the benefits.
Pro Choice QLD released this statement on May 5. * * * Pro Choice QLD is today launching the campaign against laws from 1899 criminalising abortion in this state.
Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party defied expectations and Labour's Sadiq Khan has ended Conservative Party rule in London in May 5 local elections across Britain. In what some labeled the most racist British election campaign in years, Khan won the London mayoralty to become the city's first Muslim mayor. The victory capped off a series of results where Labour's socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn, under fire from the mediaand right-wing of his own party, defied expectations that his party would suffer serious losses due to his left-wing views.
It is amazing the conversations one overhears sometimes. I was attending a vigil for Omid Masoumali, the young asylum seeker who died a few days after he set himself on fire in Australia's notorious refugee detention camp in Nauru. The atmosphere at the vigil was sad and tense. Among those at vigil were two young women quietly holding flickering candles. Another woman holding a Teachers for Refugees banner asked the young women: “What school are you from?” “I am not at school,” replied one of the young women.
Since a “cessation in hostilities” in Syria's multi-sided civil war was declared on February 27, about 6000 people have been killed in the conflict. This “cessation in hostilities” was brokered by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), made up of the United Nations, the European Union and the Arab League and the governments of Britain, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and the United States. The ISSG is co-chaired by the US and Russia.
About 100 protesters, adorned in yellow and black berets, skirts, scarves, blouses, dresses and umbrellas gathered outside the Santos HQ near Circular Quay on May 4 to tell Santos to frack off from the Pilliga, near Narrabri. With them, sitting in a nearby tree, was a huge koala — symbolising one the endangered species whose habitat is being destroyed. Protests were also held in Brisbane, Newcastle and at the company’s headquarters in Adelaide where the new CEO was fronting his first AGM. Santos has lost more than $1 billion on its coal seam gas (CSG) project at Narrabri.
A National Day of Action to Defend Democracy was held on March 31, to oppose the coup plot against Dilma and mark the anniversary of the 1964 military coup. Right-wing forces in Brazil are seeking to impeach Workers' Party (PT) President Dilma Rousseff in what has been widely condemned as an “institutional coup”.
Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull have delivered a budget for the billionaires. They claim that opposition to their tax cuts for the rich is “class warfare”. But the truth is that they are the ones waging naked war against the ordinary people of Australia. People earning less than $80,000 — the large majority — get absolutely nothing from this budget. The top 10% of taxpayers get three quarters of the benefits while .
Spanish conglomerate Ferrovial, which recently succeeded in a takeover bid for Broadspectrum, formerly known as Transfield, the company that runs the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres, has implied that it will not seek a further contract to run the centres. In a statement Ferrovial noted that providing services at regional processing centres was not a "core part of the acquisition rationale and valuation and it is not a strategic activity in Ferrovial's portfolio. Ferrovial's view is that this will not form part of its services offering in the future."
Oppressed people around the world have long used self-immolation to protest grossly unjust regimes. Thich Quang Duc protested the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government in June 1963 by burning himself to death at a busy Saigon intersection. The Arab Spring famously began when Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself alight in December 2010 in response to repeated harassment and humiliation by local officials.

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