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"Former NSW Premier Mike Baird has enthusiastically accepted a job at the National Australia Bank as chief customer officer, in order to spend less time with his family," The Chaser revealed on February 28.

"Baird has reported an exhausting five weeks spending quality time with his children. According to Lucy Baird, his eldest daughter, Baird's return has polled badly among the family, following his controversial policy of putting his children to bed two hours earlier than they were previously used to.

President Donald Trump has signed a new executive order temporarily banning all refugees, as well as people from six majority-Muslim countries, from entering the United States, Democracy Now! said on March 7.

In contrast to the fanfare that accompanied Trump’s rollout of January’s ill-fated travel ban, the March 6 signing was a decidedly low-key event. Trump signed the executive order out of public view.

An Essential poll released on March 7 found 56% of voters disapprove of the Fair Work Commission’s decision to cut penalty rates in the retail, hospitality, fast food and pharmacy industries, while 32% approve.

Asked what would be the result of the cuts, 57% said businesses would make bigger profits; only 24% thought more people would be employed.

On whether the government should legislate to protect penalty rates, 51% said yes while 31% said it should accept the decision.

The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) said on March 7 it feared the system’s treatment of welfare recipients was scaring individuals away from exercising their right to claim income support.

Speaking as the Senate inquiry into the Centrelink debt recovery system began, ACT ACOSS Director Susan Helyar described the system as an abuse of government power that was undermining confidence in public administration.

“Some of our members have wondered whether individuals are being encouraged to stay out of the welfare system,” she said.

Morocco’s return to the African Union is an affront not only to the people of Western Sahara but to African people

Ecuador will return to the polls on April 2 after a first round presidential vote failed to deliver a decisive victory for Lenin Moreno, the candidate seeking to continue outgoing President Rafael Correa’s pro-poor “Citizens’ Revolution”.  

Moreno now faces the challenge of ensuring Ecuador does not join the list of countries in the region where the left has recently lost at the ballot box.  

A large commercial beekeeper in Darlington Point in the Riverina, southern NSW, has been forced to pack up and move after hundreds of beehives were devastated by pesticide-drift from nearby cotton farms. It is thought the bees died due to the spraying of neonicotinoid insecticides.

Monsanto, one of the world’s biggest pesticide and seed corporations and leading developer of genetically modified crop varieties, had a stock market value of US$66 billion in 2014. It has gained this position by a combination of deceit, threat, litigation, destruction of evidence, falsified data, bribery, takeovers and cultivation of regulatory bodies.

Thousands of unionists attended protests around the country on March 9 in opposition to the federal government's new building code, the reintroduction of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) and its planned penalty rate cuts.

The rallies were called by the CFMEU Construction Division and supported by the ACTU and individual unions. Community anger against the cuts to wages and conditions was palpable.

There have been destructive attacks on the homeless in the past year in Melbourne, but the vitriolic hate campaign and physical attacks on the street, and on squatters, has reached a deadly level: murder. 

Just before midnight on March 1, a cowardly arson attack set off a blazing fire at Kinnear’s rope factory in Footscray, which took 40 minutes for the fire brigade to control. Three squatters were tragically killed: Tanya Burmeister and her 15- year-old daughter Zoe were among the dead.

The campaign against the NSW Coalition government's controversial WestConnex tollway is mounting. In addition to various locality groups maintaining their protests, a combined rally — “Grand Theft WestConnex — has been called outside NSW State Parliament on March 30 from 4.30pm.

The rally has been endorsed by a number of anti-WestConnex groups, and is seeking further endorsements. The rally is demanding that the $1.6 billion federal loan for WestConnex, which is yet to be paid, be stopped.

Jesse Lee* is organising the Sydney leg of the March in March protest on March 25. She lives in Sydney’s west and is the primary carer for one of her children. She has first-hand experience of the welfare cuts and the vagaries of the disability support scheme. 

Lee put her hand up to organise the Sydney march because she strongly believes that protests are important and they work. She also believes that now is not the time to be quiet.

Ian Hodson, national president of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union, explains why his union continues to support socialist Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, as the veteran left-winger faces fresh calls to resign over his alleged “unelectability”.

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has signed new work arrangements with Japanese energy giant Inpex covering the $34 billion Ichthys LNG project, off the north-west coast of Western Australia.

They include the implementation of a diversity program, the promotion of Australian crews on certain support vessels and an enhanced dispute settlement process with a dedicated conciliator to help resolve potential disputes.

For the first time since Ireland was partitioned in 1921 as part of a treaty to end Ireland’s War of Independence, supporters of Northern Ireland’s “union” with the British state no longer hold a majority in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Workers locked out of Parmalat's Echuca dairy processing plant since January 18 resoundingly rejected the factory's latest EBA offer.

The workers voted 67 to 1 against the unfair offer on March 3.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union food secretary Tom Hale said the deal failed to address a large number of concerns relating to wages, leave, redundancy and contractor agreements.

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