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University of Sydney professor Rick Shine has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science for his work in teaching Australia’s native animals to give cane toads a wide berth.

In a backdown by the federal government on one of the most contentious elements of the Australian Border Force Act, health professionals have been removed from the definition of “immigration and border protection workers”. This leaves them free to speak out about conditions and medical treatment in Australia’s immigration detention system.

Workers at the Geelong oil refinery, with the support of community members, maintained a 24-hour picket from October 5 to 11 at four refinery access gates over serious safety concerns at the site. The refinery, previously owned by Shell, has been managed by Viva Energy for the past two years.

A card left by  the family of Ashley Morris, one of two workers killed at the Eagle Farm Racecourse when a concrete slab fell on them on October 7.

Do you feel safe while you are at work? Do you think your bosses care about your physical and mental wellbeing?

The growing reality seems to be that more and more bosses do not care about the wellbeing of workers, and the larger the business the worse it seems to get.

Up to 500 people joined a protest on October 19 near NSW Parliament against the Coalition government’s plans to weaken land clearing laws.

The Coalition came to power promising famers more rights to undertake mass land clearing. Opposition has been wide-ranging.

The NSW government is preparing to sell off the NSW land titles registry, the Land and Property Information (LPI) office, in a move dubbed by one economics commentator as “another dumb privatisation”.

Local and overseas banks, insurance companies and superannuation funds are said to be among potential buyers of the registry, which is expected to fetch more than $700 million.

On October 18, students delivered an open letter to Vice-Chancellor Martin Bean signed by 401 RMIT academics and staff calling on the university to dump its fossil fuel investments.

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) approved the right-wing Australia First Party’s use of the Eureka flag as its logo on October 13, despite 11 written submissions opposing its use.

The AEC said the objectors provided “insufficient evidence” the application should be refused. It said it had no discretion to consider “historical and cultural claims” surrounding the Eureka flag. 

Ballarat Trades Hall Council secretary Brett Edgington said the decision by the AEC marked a “sad day for Australia”. 

Clinton Pryor left Matagarup (Heirisson Island) on September 1. It was the start of his long walk to Kalgoorlie, then on to Uluru, south to Adelaide, then Melbourne and Sydney. He plans to finally arrive in Canberra in the second week of January, 2017.

Clinton is a young committed Aboriginal warrior for justice and is a supporter of Green Left Weekly.

“The thing I cherish most in my life was living in community out on country with my mother and my people. My mum was a very happy and lovely lady. She was a person who believed in happiness," he told GLW.

The Productivity Commission’s main remit seems to be giving advice on cost savings, which is at odds with its annual budget. The upkeep and functioning of the commission costs taxpayers about $33 million a year.

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