On the tail of its damning CIA hacking bombshell, WikiLeaks published another trove of documents on March 23 outlining how the spy agency has been uploading secret software to Apple devices as far back as 2008.
New laws to legalise abortions were passed by the Northern Territory parliament on March 21. The bill passed by 20 votes to four after a lengthy and emotional debate.
The new laws mean the NT joins the ACT, Victoria and Tasmania in decriminalising abortion and stands in stark contrast to NSW and Queensland, which have Australia’s most restrictive abortion legislation.
The childcare workers’ strike on International Women’s Day caused me to reflect on the long journey towards equal pay and my personal experience over 50 years of my working life.
My first job as a student was as a conductor on Sydney buses from 1964 to 1966. Bus conductors and teachers were the only jobs that paid women the same rates as men, because there were “manpower” shortages in these industries. However, it was not until late 1966 that women conductors could be promoted to drivers.
A bill to remove the controversial "gay panic" defence from Queensland law was passed on March 21. It had been used by people accused of murder to claim they were provoked due to an unwanted homosexual advance.
Those who pleaded under section 304 of the Criminal Code (killing on provocation) reduced their criminal responsibility to manslaughter and avoided life in jail.
Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said the bill delivered on an important promise to the LGBTI community of Queensland.
The federal Labor Party decided on March 21 to tip the scales dramatically in favour of Adani’s $22 billion coalmine in Queensland when it agreed to support the Coalition’s bid to weaken native title in favour of the corporations.
"Grief turned to pride for Sinn Fein this week as tens of thousands paid their respects to a leader who came to symbolise peace in Ireland and the process through which the Provisional IRA gave birth to a political powerhouse," Irish Republican News said of the March 23 funeral of Irish republican leader Martin McGuinness, who died on March 20 aged 66, in his beloved Bigside neighbourhood in Derry in the six counties of Northern Ireland still claimed by Britain.
“Water is Life” was the slogan behind one of the most important mobilisations involving water last year where Native American tribes, calling themselves “water protectors”, fought against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline for fear of it contaminating their main water source, as well as it destroying their sacred lands.
Parmalat workers victory
More than two months after 60 workers were locked out of a Victorian yoghurt factory, AMWU and ETU members voted on March 20 to accept an agreement that includes wage rises and improved redundancy provisions.
The agreement also included provisions making all production workers direct employees of Parmalat and for mandatory consultation with the union if contractors are engaged.
ACTU secretary Sally McManus congratulated the workers on wining "an epic battle with a multi-national".
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk should hang her head in shame. She has proven once again that the word “Labor” in “Australian Labor Party” has no connection with the interests of working people in Australia — or anywhere else.
Palaszczuk headed a delegation to India on March 17 to underscore her government’s support for the Adani company’s proposed Carmichael thermal coalmine. If it is given the go ahead, it will be the largest coal mine in Australia and one of the largest in the world. It would be the first for the Galilee Basin, and it would open the door to more.
The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) was originally set up by former Prime Minister John Howard in 2005. Another former Prime Minister Tony Abbott tried but failed to reintroduce it in 2014.
It was the reason Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called a double dissolution election last year. The result was a Senate willing to pass ABCC legislation, thanks to the likes of Pauline Hanson and Derryn Hinch who voted with the Coalition.