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International Women’s Day (IWD) in Australia has lost its radical edge. In recent years, it has become more about holding cosy breakfasts and receptions where female bureaucrats and businesswomen can rub shoulders with political leaders and congratulate themselves on their “success”.

These events can make us forget that IWD has a radical socialist history of women determinedly marching for their rights. And once it even helped spark a revolution.

The recent Fair Work Commission (FWC) decision to cut penalty rates for weekends and public holidays will deliver a windfall to big retail and hospitality bosses, while slashing the wages of about 700,000 low-paid workers.

Figures released by the ACTU put the average worker in accommodation and food services on only $524 a week and those in retail on just $687. Contrast this with the average pay of $1163 for all Australian workers and you can see just how draconian FWC’s decision is.

A new scandal has erupted over the controversial $17 billion WestConnex tollway project.

The Sydney Motorway Corporation (SMC) announced it is considering two sites in inner-west Leichhardt for a “dive site” to be used for tunnelling between Haberfield and Rozelle, as part of the 33 kilometre motorway’s third stage. Residents opposed to the environmentally and socially destructive tollway are campaigning to reject both sites.

The misnamed Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) decision on February 23 to cut penalty rates will hit hundreds of thousands of casual and part-time workers. But women will fare worse because the gender pay gap continues.

The employer’s argument, that penalty rates prevent them from hiring and remaining open on Sundays, is disproved by the facts. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures show that despite the mining boom slow down, the retail and hospitality sectors are booming.

“Now we’re judging people by their religion — trying to keep Muslims out,” said Stan Van Gundy, head coach of the US National Basketball Association (NBA) team Detroit Piston in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigration and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim nations.

“We’re getting back to the days of putting the Japanese in relocation camps, of Hitler registering the Jews. That’s where we’re heading.”

Of course, die-hard misogynist and self-confessed Donald Trump fan Sam Newman was hostile to the AFL Women’s (AFLW) league infamously calling it “unbelievably stupid and ridiculous” on Channel Nine’s The Footy Show.

It turns out plenty think otherwise.

Do Donald Trump's racist ramblings make you want to saw your ears off with a rusty, blunt penknife? Then listen to this month's political albums round-up - it may stop you wanting to do that. Then again, it might not. What albums would you suggest? Comment on TwitterFacebook, or email. Videos not playing? Try a bigger screen.

Thousands of unionists march against cuts to penalty rates and reintroduction of the ABCC

Features:
* Ros McLennan (General Secretary of QCU)
* Peter Ong (ETU state secretary)

170 people rallied outside Queensland parliament on March 1 - the day two abortion law reform bills were due to be debated. Instead, the bills were withdrawn by the mover, Rob Pyne, who secured a promise by the government that the issue of abortion rights would be referred to the Queensland Law Reform Commission.

Introducing the rally, Anna McCormack of the Womens Abortion Rights Campaign said "we're very, very disappointed about what has happened and we're more than a little angry by recent events".