The powerful conservative Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA) — the biggest right-wing union affiliated to the Labor Party — has passed a resolution declaring it will adopt a neutral stand on equal marriage. The union’s resolution declared: “The Association shall have no position on the matter of Same Sex Marriage and will support the right of members of the ALP to act according to their conscience on the matter of SSM”.
In the wake of the national scandal about the abuse and torture of mainly Aboriginal juveniles in detention in the Northern Territory, the Grandmothers Against Removals (GMAR) organised a march and rally to protest the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families and communities.
New South Wales Labor MP Noreen Hay, who has held the seat of Wollongong since 2003, is resigning from state parliament effective from September 1. Hay was the Labor Party's whip until May when Opposition Leader Luke Foley threatened to resign unless she stood down, after a senior staff member in her Wollongong electorate office was charged with electoral fraud.
Veteran gay rights campaigner Rodney Croome has quit as national director of Australian Marriage Equality (AME), which he founded in 2004, to lobby MPs to block the equal marriage plebiscite. Croome said those who believe a plebiscite is inevitable are “lacking political imagination” and declared blocking it could force a free vote in parliament on the issue. He said there was “no split in the movement” but rather “a spectrum of different approaches to a very difficult situation”.
Vital nesting trees for Australia's critically endangered Swift parrot in a forest at Buckland in southern Tasmania, have been illegally logged. They were caught in the act by researcher Dejan Stojanovic from the Australian National University, who said: “There was two cars worth of blokes standing around the base of one of my nest trees ... This site is one of the most important locations for Swift parrots on mainland Tasmania. “Since 2010, of the 18 nest trees that I've been monitoring with motion-activated cameras, 10 have been cut down.
Footage aired last week of children being abused in a Northern Territory prison sent shockwaves around the nation. These images forced us to grapple with the problem as if it were breaking news, despite the fact that so many people knew so much about it for so long. Nevertheless, a royal commission is being established, and although many would like to see a wider scope, accountability for abuses of this nature must be the ultimate result.
When the Olympic Games begin, the news headlines will be swamped with stories of new world records in this or that sporting field. We will be whipped into a frenzy about it. There will be discussions all around the world about how the record was broken, about the ferocious competition to produce record-breaking athletes, about performance-inducing drugs. Meanwhile, much more significant world records will barely rate a mention in the media.
Miranda Devine has written an opinion piece portraying Cardinal George Pell as the victim in an investigation about child abuse.
As industrial action by Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) maintenance workers in Abbotsford enters its ninth week support continues to grow. The company is refusing to back down from its decision to sack workers and then offer to rehire them with a 65% pay cut. The dispute started on June 10 when 55 fitters, electricians and maintenance workers were told they would be sacked, only to then be “invited” to re-apply for their jobs through a third-party contractor, Catalyst Recruitment.
About 250 people attended a rally on August 4 in solidarity with 55 sacked maintenance workers who had been employed at the Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) plant in Abbotsford. The workers, members of the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, were sacked on June 10. They were told they could re-apply for their jobs with a new contracting company, but that their pay would be cut by 65%. The rally, held outside the CUB brewery, was attended by members and officials from a wide range of unions.
About 400 people attended a public open-day at the iconic Tarwyn Park property in the beautiful Bylong Valley in the Upper Hunter on July 31. It was the day that Peter Andrews, the 76- year-old founder and expert in Natural Sequence Farming (NSF), relinquished ownership of the property. Korean state-owned mining company KEPCO assumed ownership of the property at midnight on August 1. But Andrews has vowed to stay on to fight for the land's protection.
Apex Energy, in a joint venture with Ormil Energy (later Magnum Gas and Power), obtained a licence in 2011 to explore for coal seam gas (CSG) in the Illawarra, south of Sydney. Almost immediately a group of concerned locals came together to stop the project — and Stop CSG Illawarra was formed. Five years later, as Apex Energy exits the scene, rather anti-climactically, it is apparent the community has won and the environment and greater Sydney's drinking water are safe from this threat.
To the surprise of many, former Greens leader Bob Brown used the ABC's 7.30 on July 29 to launch a blistering attack on recently re-elected NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon. Brown told the ABC that Rhiannon had given “great service” but that “the old guard that runs the office in New South Wales” needs changing.
Grandmothers Against Removals NSW released this statement for Aboriginal Children's Day on August 4. In Sydney, GAMAR has organised a protest at 12pm at the Family Law Courts, 99 Goulburn Street which will then march to NSW Parliament House. Grandmothers Against Removals is a network of families and supporters directly affected by forced child removal.
The union at the SABMiller Sonepat brewery in the state of Haryana, India has been organising mass protest actions in response to the harassment and intimidation of trade union leaders and members. It comes amid management's refusal to respect collective bargaining rights. The attack on rights at SABMiller India follows the company's union-busting at SABMiller-owned Carlton United Breweries in Australia ahead of the impending merger between AB InBev and SABMiller, which would create the world's largest transnational brewing company.
High-profile African-American academic, activist and socialist Cornel West, who strongly backed Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary race, talks to Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman on why he is backing the Green Party's Jill Stein for president. West, who was appointed by Sanders to serve on the Democratic platform committee, is the author of a number of books, most recently Black Prophetic Fire.