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Play On! The Hidden History of Women’s Australian Rules Football
Brunette Lenkić and Rob Hess
Echo Publishing 2016,
324 pages

In a landmark development, the first national women’s Australian Football competition — AFL Women’s — will be launched next February. But a century ago, attitudes to women playing the game were very different.

The Department of Education said more than 150 private schools across Australia received funding above their Schooling Resource Standard (SRS), which measures a school’s entitlement to public funding, while needy public schools remain significantly underfunded.

Federal and state governments would have more than $215 million extra a year to distribute to needy schools if they stopped funding others above their entitlement.

Over-funded schools received more than $1 billion in federal government funding.

It is amazing how radical believing in the simple notion of welcoming refugees in Australia has become. ABC’s Q&A program on alternatives to detention on October 10 gave some insight into how convoluted the debate on refugees has become.

A number of “compromise solutions” are being put forward but none of them address the worldwide refugee crisis or end Australia’s cruel detention system.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced his proposal for the country’s federal budget for 2017 on October 14 — indicating that a staggering 73.6% would be dedicated toward social investment. It comes in a context of an economic crisis, including shortages of some goods.

In the days leading up to the announcement, the governing Untied Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) held street assemblies with thousands of Venezuelans to discuss and debate the proposed budget.

“In a democracy like ours, the budget is debated by the people,” Maduro said on October 12.

There is a very sinister, hellish thing behind the tepid concern that rears its head when a country like Haiti suffers a tragedy.

As 800 people died and 90% of parts of southern Haiti were destroyed by Hurricane Matthew earlier this month, leaving whole towns flattened, and people homeless and without basic infrastructure, the trending hashtag was #PrayForFlorida.

Sixty million people are on the run worldwide, most from countries in the global South. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says one third of the refugees originate from Africa.

Wars, human rights violations, political instability, discrimination, poverty and the consequences of climate change and natural disasters are often named as causes for flight. But there is also ecocide — the destruction of livelihoods through the ruthless exploitation of raw materials and the subsidy politics of industrialised countries in the West.

It is now less than one week until the Moreland City Council election.

Campaigning for Sue Bolton at the early polling centre in the suburb of Fawkner, you can sense the level of community recognition for the socialist councillor. When a group of school kids and their teacher were looking for a public toilet at the playground adjacent to the polling centre, one of them suggested I “get Sue Bolton onto it”.

Low-income people, activists, community workers and others will gather in Adelaide on October 21 and 22 for “Power to the Poor — Silent No More”, a two-day Anti-Poverty Week conference.

The event — organised by Anti-Poverty Network SA, a grassroots group composed of welfare recipients struggling with poverty and joblessness — promises to be one of the largest Anti-Poverty Week events in the country.

A little-known but controversial World Bank tribunal has bucked tradition and ruled against corporate power on October 14.

The tribunal rejected Canadian-Australian gold mining giant OceanaGold’s claim that El Salvador interfered with its profits when the government pulled the plug on a proposed gold mine.

The seven-year, multi-million dollar, largely secretive court battle had pitted mining-affected Salvadoran communities — supported by international human rights groups — against the deep pockets of OceanaGold.

A flotilla bound for Gaza carrying food, medicine and other humanitarian aid was intercepted and seized by the Israeli Navy on October 5. The Women’s Boat to Gaza had set sail from the Spanish port city of Barcelona in mid-September in an effort to break the ongoing Israeli blockade of Gaza, Democracy Now! said on October 12.

Thousands marched in Venezuela’s capital of Caracas on October 12 to commemorate the Day of Indigenous Resistance — previously known as “Colombus Day”. The march also sought to counter opposition mobilisations in favour of the recall referendum against socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

The campaign to save Sydney University’s Sydney College of the Arts is celebrating another victory in its long battle with management.

Seven weeks after students occupied SCA administration offices in protest at the university’s determination to close the school, deputy vice-chancellor Stephen Garton has declared a six-month reprieve.

In an email to students late last month, Garton said SCA would remain at its Callan Park campus next year: “I can advise it is very unlikely teaching of any SCA subjects will take place on Camperdown campus in the first semester 2017.”

US naval forces fired cruise missiles at targets in Yemen on October 12. This was the first direct Western involvement in the war in Yemen. However, Western powers — in particular the US and Britain — have been arming and bankrolling Saudi Arabia throughout the war. Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia, along with its Gulf State allies, has pursued a relentless bombing campaign and siege of the nation of Yemen. It aims to influence its neighbour’s political order.

It was standing room only on October 8 for the launch of the Walyalup (Fremantle) activist centre.

The centre, which serves as the local Socialist Alliance branch office and bookshop, will also be available as a meeting and outreach space for local grassroots community groups.

Already the Fremantle Refugee Rights Action Network meets there fortnightly. Soon the office will feature a Nyoongar advocacy service run by local custodian Corina Abraham.

The Senate voted on October 10 to pass legislation aimed at blocking the Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) enterprise agreement.

Those voting for the law were the Coalition, Pauline Hanson's One Nation, the Nick Xenophon Team and right-wing independents David Leyonhjelm and Derryn Hinch. Labor, the Greens and independent Jacqui Lambie opposed the bill.

It has been 125 days since the Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) plant in Abbotsford sacked 55 electricians and fitters, who have a combined history of 906 years of service at CUB, and a protest was begun at the brewery gates.

Since then, the ownership and labour contractor of CUB have changed and thousands of Australians have joined a boycott of CUB products.

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