Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Visa and the rest of the corporate sponsors of the August 5–21 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro won't be paying any taxes on the money they earn due to a tax exemption law that is set to cost Brazil hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) commissioned a study into transport affordability and found that an average family spends up to $420 a week just to get around. Hobart was the cheapest city, at $14,000 a year, and Sydney the most expensive, at $22,000. The national average of about $330 a week is a significant figure in anyone's budget. It means an average household spends 13% of their income (17% in Sydney) on transport, compared with 1–3% on power, water and telecommunications.
Residents of the favela of Horto protest against the imminent demolition of their community. “I am absolutely convinced that history will talk of the Rio de Janeiro before the Games and the much better Rio de Janeiro after the Olympic Games,” said Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee.
Chanting “I love Celtics”, Palestinians have released a video praising the fans of Scottish football team Celtic FC for “one of the biggest solidarity actions in European football history”. It came as Celtic fans raised more than £100,000 by August 23 for Medical Aid Palestine — who deliver health and medical care to those “worse affected by conflict, occupation and displacement” — as well as to the Lajee Center for equipment to start a youth league, TeleSUR English said that day.
The Victorian government announced new legislation on August 18 aimed at simplifying the process for trans and gender diverse (TGD) people’s to change the sex marker on their birth certificates and records. This has rightfully been welcomed as an important step forward for TGD people rights. The new legislation, which follows similar legislation in the ACT and 2013 changes to policies regarding sex markers on Commonwealth documents, is a start towards eliminating medical gatekeeping on the lives of TGD people.
French philosopher Guy Debord's The society of the spectacle plays out on newer, modern terms at a Moreland Says No To Racism rally in May. Protesters march from trains with banners, flags and masks straight into a containment web of fences, barriers, police lines and the steam of horses breathing out wet air. The tactical police wave us into lines.
Basque independence activist Arnaldo Otegi has been banned from running as a candidate in an upcoming regional election in the Spanish-controlled Basque Country. An electoral authority ruled on August 24 that Otegi, who was released from jail in March, could not run as a candidate for left-wing Basque party EH Bildu due to a conviction of alleged links to terrorism.
Asking the peak oil and gas industry body to prepare a report on Australia's future energy needs for federal and state energy ministers was always going to have a predictable outcome. The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) was tasked to report to the Council of Australian Government (COAG) energy ministers meeting on August 18 and 19. Unsurprisingly, it recommended urgently producing and supplying more gas — and fast — before Australia runs out.
Workers at InTech Credit Union, who for the first time will be covered by an enterprise agreement, have won a 10.5% guaranteed pay rise across the board over three years, according to a statement published by the Finance Sector Union on August 19. Under the new agreement, InTech Credit Union will also join a growing number of employers in the industry to include Domestic Violence Leave provisions in their agreement with workers.
One of the less prominent aspects of Malcolm Turnbull's federal budget is the plan to shift another 30,000 Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipients onto Newstart umemployment benefits. This move has been defended as a cost-saving measure to help fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). It follows the tightened of the eligibility criteria for DSP that occurred in 2011 under a federal Labor government. Since then, the number of DSP recipients has flatlined at around 800,000.
Treasurer Scott Morrison's speech to a Bloomberg business breakfast in Sydney on August 25 echoed previous warnings by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that Australians were heading for economic trouble if the new parliament fails to pass the government's "omnibus" budget package.
With calls for a royal commission into the banking sector growing, the argument for a new "people's bank" to challenge the domination of the big banks is gaining strength. A number of recent events have propelled community anger at the "Big Four" — Commonwealth Bank (CBA), NAB, Westpac and ANZ — to the point that a royal commission seems increasingly likely.
“I look at the body I have, which is a male body, and I want a female body”, Alexis Greenwood, a young woman transitioning from male to female, told Green Left Weekly. Greenwood is speaking up about the barriers she faces because she wants more people to ask questions. She wants more people to be less ignorant about being transgender. Greenwood said she “always knew something was wrong”. At 16 years old, while performing a monologue in her drama class about a transitioned person, she thought: “This feels right, this is me”.
Sydney's Oxford Street was shut down on August 24 by hundreds of people protesting moves to absorb the National Art School into the University of New South Wales. The push to merge the nation's oldest art school is being promoted by the state government and is part of a broader plan involving three different Sydney art schools, including Sydney College of the Arts. For many, the plan to shift these art schools off prime real estate is motivated by the NSW government's desire to sell the sites to developers.
"We can't afford your units and we can't afford the bus; if you keep ignoring us, we're gonna make a fuss!" rang through the streets of West End as 150 people marched against the proposed development of the old Absoe site on August 21. Greens councillor on the Brisbane City Council and one of the organisers of the rally, Jonathan Sri, told the crowd that the original proposal for the site involved seven tall buildings with no connection to the street or the surrounding community.
If we needed any more proof that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's plebiscite on equal marriage is a spurious delaying tactic we got it on August 21 when the media reported that the vote will now be pushed back to February 2017, some 18 months after it was first proposed.