1107

More than 1810 academics from across Australia, including distinguished experts in refugee law, policy, health and politics, have signed an open letter to PM Malcolm Turnbull calling for a just and humane approach for refugees. The letter calls on the federal government to end offshore processing, boat turnbacks and the mandatory detention of asylum seekers.
Carlton United Breweries' (CUB) attack on its maintenance workers was clearly premeditated. The brewery forced workers to do large amounts of overtime to build up its stock before sacking 55 maintenance workers on June 10. Although the 55 workers were told they could reapply for their jobs through a new contractor, they were not told who the new employing contractor would be or what their new terms and conditions would look like. Meanwhile, CUB had secretly recruited temporary workers from interstate to replace the sacked workers.
In an unprecedented move, more than 100 workers currently or previously employed in Australia's offshore detention centres called on the federal government on August 17 to immediately resettle refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. Among those speaking out were doctors, teachers, case workers, managers and social workers from Broadspectrum (formerly Transfield), Save the Children, IHMS, Salvation Army and other contracted workers that have worked in the detention facilities on Manus Island and Nauru.
Following a four-hour stop work meeting, staff from Victoria's Thomas Embling Hospital marched on the office of state mental health minister Martin Foley on August 16, demanding better services, staffing and safety. Health and Community Services Union (HACSU) state secretary Lloyd Williams said: "There is too much pressure on our staff so it means people with mental illness miss out."
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), which covers staff at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), said PM Malcolm Turnbull should be "apologising not finger pointing” for the August 9 Census debacle. CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said: “Staff saw these problems coming a mile off. There are 700 fewer staff at the ABS now than when the last Census was conducted five years ago and as a result staff are suffering under massive workloads.
Members of the Media Workers Union of Swaziland (MWUS) protested low wages, management intimidation and poor working conditions at the Swazi Observer. Negotiations between the paper, in effect owned and controlled by absolute monarch King Mswati III, and MWUS had started in April. But no real progress has been made since they became deadlocked in June.
Protesters target the Bakken pipeline. Despite ongoing resistance by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, a North Dakota federal court has ordered the indigenous group to stop their blockade protests against a US$3.8 billion oil pipeline.
The Victorian government tabled a bill on August 18 to allow transgender, gender diverse and intersex people the right to specify their gender on new birth certificates. The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2016 also ensures couples will no longer be forced to divorce if one partner wishes to change the sex recorded on their birth registration. People will be able to nominate as male, female or specify a gender diverse or non-binary descriptor.
Anit-sexism slut-walk protest march

A week after Green Left Weekly reported on the Brighton Grammar scandal, it has been revealed that this is just the tip of the iceberg: a large-scale child pornography ring is being run by boys and young men at high schools across Australia.

When a gang of right-wing goons from the Party For Freedom (PFF), dressed as stereotypical Muslims, stormed the Sunday service at the Gosford Anglican Church on August 14, their actions were nominally disowned by Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party in a written statement. However, the statement also sought to justify and excuse the actions of the PFF.
While the New South Wales government's disastrous WestConnex tollroad project is facing new challenges, the public campaign against the $17 billion privatised road network continues to grow. The latest headache for the government came about when chief commissioner for the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) Lucy Turnbull triggered a public outcry after stating she was unaware of any large-scale destruction of houses in the heritage suburb of Haberfield, precisely as homes were being demolished in the inner-western Sydney suburbs.
Climate change is not just a scientific or technical problem, nor can it be solved in the “usual” way. Instead, people need to get organised and develop solutions that improve lives and communities as well as protect the environment. This was the central theme behind the “Creating a climate for change” public meeting held on August 11 in the Northcote Town Hall. The meeting was organised by the Melbourne Playback Theatre Company and Darebin Climate Action Now.