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Sections 18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act — the law against racial vilification — are under renewed attack from the right. These attacks have the backing of Rupert Murdoch's media empire and the support of the federal government, which has announced a parliamentary inquiry to determine whether this law imposes unreasonable limits on free speech and recommend whether the law should be changed.

You'll all be familiar with the stories about lazy dole bludgers that the commercial media roll out a few days before the federal government announces another cut to welfare payments.

In fact, there is a massive reservoir of people unemployed or underemployed who are desperate for work. This includes people with a disability.

Australia has some of the highest rates of poverty and lowest rates of workforce participation for people with a disability in the developed world.

Victoria Police has evicted homeless people from empty properties in Bendigo Street, Collingwood, that had been acquired by the previous government for the now-cancelled East West Link.

The government said the homeless people had to be evicted so it could give the houses to homeless people.

West Australian Senator and co-deputy leader of the Greens Scott Ludlam announced on November 4 he will be taking leave from his parliamentary duties to deal with long-term depression and anxiety.

In a statement on Facebook, Ludlam said he had been dealing with mental health issues for some time.

"I will return to work as soon as I'm able to give the commitment the work demands,” he wrote.

"I am fortunate to be getting the very best of care from my friends and family and my health professionals.”

Ludlam has been granted a pair until the end of the year.

In defiance of both the Obama administration and ongoing indigenous protests on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, the company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline announced on November 8 it would soon begin drilling under the Missouri River.

The pipeline operator, Energy Transfer Partners, made the announcement late in the afternoon on Election Day, when most media outlets were preoccupied with the presidential election.

Protesters on the streets after Trump's win.

The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States is a shocking and dangerous turn of events — not only for the US, but for the entire world. The election does not, however, represent an overwhelming turn to the right in US society — and not only because Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton. Instead, we see a political polarisation in which both the right and the left are growing.

A rally was held outside the US Consulate in Sydney on November 10 in solidarity with the Standing Rock protest camp against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The Dakota Access oil pipeline is threatening to pollute water and land of the Sioux and other Native American groups. If completed it will move almost half a million barrels of oil a day, worsening climate change and threatening the entire planet's survival.

Monash University plans to remove one-third of its counsellors and replace them with contractor or private practice psychologists.

It says this will improve access to counselling services.

But Monash Student Association spokesperson Kim Stern said: “Students are extremely angry. It’s a known thing at Monash that the services are minimal, to put it nicely.

"It’s very hard at the moment to get a counsellor and it’s a slap in the face that there’s now moves to cut counsellors and limit their role on campus.”

As more than 3000 people rallied in Melbourne’s CBD on November 5 to protest against the federal government’s refugee policies, about 200 people gathered in the far northern suburb of Eltham in support of a group of Syrian refugees who will be resettled in the area in the coming weeks.

People who work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education have become concerned by recent, unexplained and unadvertised changes to Abstudy eligibility.

The purpose of the Abstudy scheme is to reduce the educational disadvantages faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and to encourage Indigenous students and apprentices to take full advantage of available educational opportunities and improve their employment opportunities.

The WestCONnex Action Group (WAG), one of the main residents' groups opposing the NSW Coalition government's $17 billion WestConnex tollway, has slammed the government's latest changes to the controversial project.

Under new plans announced on November 10, the tollway's Camperdown interchange will be scrapped, and the M4–M5 Link tunnel widened and moved further west.

“These latest changes show yet again that the Baird government’s so-called ‘planning’ for WestConnex is a complete farce,” said WAG spokesperson Pauline Lockie.

In the wake of the horrific burning to death of Brisbane bus driver Manmeet Sharma on October 28, the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) held a national day of respect on November 9 to highlight the issue of driver safety across Australia.

In a statement RTBU national president Phil Altieri said: “It was an honour to join sisters and brothers from across the union movement today in honouring Manmeet Sharma (Alisher).

Three Australian unionists, visiting Indonesia as part of a delegation to a South-East Asian asbestos conference, had their passports seized and were deported from Indonesia after visiting a picket line organised by transport workers in Jakarta.

The unionists, including Jackie Kriz, a member of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation and President of Geelong Trades and Labour Council, have been barred from re-entering Indonesia for six months. They were told by the Indonesian department of immigration they could apply to have the ban lifted after that time.

rally for workers comp

About 200 unionists rallied on November 3 to highlight the plight of injured workers in the state. The day marked the beginning of the NSW parliamentary Law and Justice Committee’s review of the 2012 changes to workers' compensation legislation by the Coalition state government.

Speakers included representatives of UnionsNSW and individual unions, state MPs, and workers who had presented testimony to the committee that morning.

An orange baboon obsessed with the size of his hands.

If you want a bright side to the US elections, consider Paddy Power, the Irish bookmaker who lost a huge chunk of cash after paying out early to those who put money on a Clinton win. 

Enjoying the misfortune of a representative of the bloodsucking gambling industry may be grasping at straws, but as we await the race between a nuclear holocaust and climate change-induced eco-holocaust, we might as well take what we can get. As for Paddy Power, they can at least make their money back offering decent odds on the nuclear option.

The following statement was released on November 11 by Farooq Tariq, spokesperson for the Awami Workers Party in Pakistan.

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On the night of November 3, the Turkish police detained Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ – the co-chairs of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) – alongside several other Members of Parliament who were democratically voted in with over 5 million votes in the last parliamentary election.

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