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The Coalition government’s arts funding cuts have deepened in a confused, inconsistent fashion that has only added to the sector’s turmoil. The Australia Council for the Arts has told 62 small-to-medium-sized arts companies and organisations that their applications for grants for the next four years have been rejected. Yet more than 40 new organisations have been given grants.
On May 16, students gathered outside the at Wesley College gate with their mouths taped shut, demanding the names of the editors of the 2014 Wesley Journal which included a page called the “Rackweb”.
The odious Peter Dutton, minister for torturing refugees, has plumbed new depths in responding to a Greens proposal to increase Australia's refugee intake from 13,750 to 50,000. "They won't be numerate or literate in their own language, let alone English," Dutton said. "These people would be taking Australian jobs, there's no question about that. "For many of them that would be unemployed, they would languish in unemployment queues and on Medicare and the rest of it so there would be huge cost and there's no sense in sugar-coating that, that's the scenario."
The Hidden Wealth Of Nations: The Scourge Of Tax Havens Gabriel Zucman University of Chicago Press 2015, 129 pages Criminal heists do not come any bigger than the global theft every year by the ultra-rich of about US$200 billion courtesy of the off-shore tax haven banking industry. The Panama Papers has grabbed headlines, but in The Hidden Wealth of Nations, Gabriel Zucman, economics professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, also takes a close look at the famous tax-evading practices in Switzerland.
The Illawarra Knitting Nannas Against Gas (IKNAG) held a knit-in outside the office of the federal deputy leader of the ALP, Tanya Plibersek, in Sydney on May 16. IKNAG's Annie Malow contacted Plibersek with two questions asking for "yes" or "no" answers. The first was: Do you support a ban on CSG mining in drinking water catchment? The second was: Would you move legislation for such a ban? Plibersek was not in her office, but two of her staffers came out offering the Nannas several balls of wool — all the wrong colours.
Sydney University campus came alive with political discussion, talks and workshops for three days during the Socialism for the 21st Century Conference, held over May 13–15. The conference had more than 30 sessions and 50 speakers, including international special guests Marta Harnecker, Michael Lebowitz and Ian Angus. Local and international activists shared their experiences of struggle and discussed the necessity of building alternatives to capitalism today. Up to 400 conference-goers faced the task of choosing from a range of stimulating sessions on offer.
While everyone's eyes were focused on the federal budget, the NSW government released a very controversial piece of draft legislation that will remove restrictions on land clearance and, despite their claims, threaten biodiversity.
A multi-generational delegation from the Borroloola Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory's Gulf Country were front and centre at a protest outside global mining giant Glencore's Sydney headquarters on May 19. The protesters demanded that Glencore close its McArthur River mine and rehabilitate the site as well as the river and the surrounding land, on which they have traditionally relied for food.
The Australia First Party will not be able to use the Eureka flag as its logo on ballot papers in the federal election on July 2. Their application was ineligible because it had not been advertised for 30 days as required by law. However, the application will be considered again in 100 days' time, well after voters head to the ballot box.
About 3000 people, young and old, women, men and children, kayaked from Horseshoe Beach and blocked Newcastle Harbour to stop the coal ships on May 8. Organised by 350.org and other climate change campaigners, the Break Free event was a great success and also fun. There was a large contingent of First Nations people from all around Australia and internationally, from Samoa and other Pacific islands that could disappear due to rising sea levels.
Up to 500 people packed into the Balmain Town Hall on May 19 to protest the state government's $17 billion WestConnex tollway project, which will destroy a large swathe of the city's inner western suburbs, and spew massive traffic flows and pollution into suburban streets. The forum, sponsored by No WestConnex Annandale, heard from a panel of speakers, including Labor member for Grayndler Anthony Albanese and Greens candidate for the seat Jim Casey.
The Meddler Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria Starring Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne, JK Simmons One place where the personal is very political is the sometimes fraught relationships between mothers and daughters. Some time ago Hollywood screenwriter Lorene Scafaria, while dealing with a major project, also had to grapple with difficulties with her mother. That became the raw material for her new film, The Meddler.