1121

The Victorian government has backed down on its plan to transfer Aboriginal teenagers from a youth detention centre to a maximum-security prison.

The government had planned to transfer 40 children in youth custody to a segregated wing of Barwon prison while the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre at Parkville was being repaired.

Fast food workers, many of whom are young, have been left without a union fighting for decent wages and conditions.

On November 21, a new union — the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU) — announced its formation. It is a rival in more ways than one to the conservative Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees Association (SDA).

The SDA, long led by Labor Party officials, has been at the centre of a national wages scandal in which 250,000 people are being paid less than the award by major employers including Coles, Woolworths, Hungry Jack’s, KFC and McDonalds

At a packed meeting on November 25, National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members at Murdoch University in Perth expressed no confidence in the university bargaining team and called on the Vice Chancellor to intervene in the negotiations.

They voted unanimously to begin industrial action with a stop work between 8.30am and 12.30pm on December 7. 

They will be the first university workers in this round of collective bargaining to take industrial action.

The Zika virus, borne by the mosquito Aedes aegypti, was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) on November 18 to no longer be a global emergency, to the dismay of many health workers around the world. This decision will minimise the amount of research and public vigilance against Zika infection.

Earlier this year Fremantle City Council decided to cancel its Australia Day fireworks next month, describing them as “culturally insensitive”. Instead, the council announced plans to hold a free concert in Fremantle’s Esplanade Park on January 28.

The event, titled “One Day in Fremantle”, features a concert headlined by John Butler, Dan Sultan and Mama Kin and will celebrate diversity and multiculturalism in Australia today.

Irene Bolger was branch secretary of the Victorian branch of the Royal Australian Nursing Federation (RANF) when 20,000 nurses went on strike for 50 days in 1986. It was one of the longest strikes in Australian history and it was led by women.

Now, flipping through a stack of trade union and history books, Bolger says: “Lengthy on an international scale, it was 50 days of rage. But still I can't seem to find any reference to one of the most significant strikes in Australian history. The sexism continues."

Supporters of the NSW Hunter Valley community of Wollar held simultaneous rallies in Sydney and Mudgee on November 29 against a coalmine expansion that threatens to wipe out the village. 

The NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) is reviewing the proposal to extend the Wilpinjong coalmine. It held a public hearing about the project in Mudgee but Wollar residents and supporters boycotted it and protested instead. They said the process is stacked against them and the community’s legal rights have been taken away. 

The Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation and the University of Tasmania have joined forces for a refreshing new study on Black–white relations in Darwin.

Telling it like it is: Aboriginal perspectives on race and race relations is the “first study to undertake comprehensive research on how Aboriginal people view settler Australians and settler Australian culture”, according to UTas’s announcement of the study’s early findings.

Nearly 10,000 people attended two sold out Frack Off! concerts at Margaret River over the weekend of November 26–27, highlighting the growing opposition to unconventional gas across Western Australia.

The concerts included performances by John Butler Trio, Mama Kin, Pigram Brothers and Ten Cent Shooters.

There were speakers from the three regions threatened by unconventional gas — the South West, Mid West and Kimberley.

The existence of drug markets — and the struggles around them — raise a number of important sociopolitical and structural issues for analysis.

The expansion of markets for psychoactive substances was a strategic initiative by European companies in the development of capitalism, slavery and imperialism. Initially there were no illicit markets but the licit industries included the critical sugar (and rum) industry in Haiti, Jamaica, Colombia and other countries and the tobacco industry in the US South.

Tamils throughout the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka have defied police harassment and threats from government ministers to remember those who died fighting for an independent Tamil homeland.

November 27 is Tamil Eelam Heroes Day. In past years, people have been arrested for taking part in commemorative events.

Queensland passed laws on November 10 that require miners to get a water licence to extract groundwater.

However environment minister Steven Miles moved a last minute amendment to remove objection rights to groundwater licences for the Adani Carmichael mine.

New Hope’s proposed Acland Stage 3 coal expansion and the Alpha and Kevin Corner coalmines will now need licences.

Farmers and communities will retain the right to object to the grant of those water licences.

“Despite the fact that Australia’s on the verge of becoming the world’s largest exporter of LNG [Liquified Natural Gas], there’ll be no new revenues from the primary tax on oil and gas for the next two decades and perhaps even longer,” Tax Justice Network (TJN) researcher Jason Ward said on October 10.

The TJN is a coalition of churches, welfare groups, unions and other civil society organisations.

This primary tax is the Petroleum Resources Rent Tax (PRRT), initiated by Bob Hawke’s Labor government in the 1980s.

The Zika virus, borne by the mosquito Aedes aegypti, was declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on November 18 to no longer be a global emergency, to the dismay of many health workers around the world. This decision will minimise the amount of research and public vigilance against Zika infection.

Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale has pledged to introduce a private senator’s bill by the end of the year for a “sugar tax” which he estimates would claw $500 million from the country’s shopping list each year.

The legislation which Di Natale has hailed as an “obesity prevention strategy”, has raised ire among his own ranks who have labelled the policy a “captain’s call”.

The Age on November 26 contained a two-page spread on “Melbourne’s Trump-land”, which is apparently located in Narre Warren North.

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