1132

All around Australia, racially oppressed minority communities are celebrating the late night defeat of the federal government’s attempt to weaken section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

The bill, which sought to remove the words “offend”, “insult” and “humiliate” from the section against racial vilification and replace it with “harass and intimidate” was defeated 31-28 with the support of Labor, the Greens and other small party and independent Senators.

In her first address to the National Press Club as ACTU secretary on March 29, Sally McManus repeated her earlier statement that it was right to break unjust laws.

She said Australia’s workplace laws were broken and that “wage theft” had become the new business model for too many employers. McManus also set out the ACTU’s case for a $45 a week increase in the minimum wage.

In the Andean Parliament as a member of PAIS Alliance, President Rafael Correa’s left-wing party, Rosa Mireya Cardenas, a member of Alfaro Vive Carajo, a former Marxist guerrilla group, will be working to promote gender equality, fair trade and the work of social organisations, among other initiatives.

But with Ecuador’s second round of presidential elections slated to take place on April 2, the country stands at a critical crossroads.

The #StopAdani Roadshow attracted thousands of supporters across the country, who oppose the federal and Queensland government’s support for Adani’s $22 billion Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland.

About 1200 people in Brisbane on March 28 and 1000 in Sydney the next day heard from Indian environment campaigner Dr Vaishali Patil, Californian Clean Energy Fund director Danny Kennedy, SEED co-director Millie Telford and 350.org CEO Blair Palese.

El Salvador's Congress approved a law on March 29 that prohibits all metal mining projects, in a bid to protect the Central American nation's environment and natural resources.

The new law, which enjoyed cross-party support, blocks all exploration, extraction and processing of metals, whether in open pits or underground. It also prohibits the use of toxic chemicals like cyanide and mercury.

Hundreds of Brazilian artists demonstrated on March 27 outside the Municipal Theatre in Sao Paulo on World Theatre Day to protest against the freezing of funds allocated for culture.

The cultural protest is one of the biggest of its kind in the country in decades, as artists, students, workers and other social movements rail against the austerity agenda under the neoliberal government of unelected President Michel Temer.

Supporters of abortion rights gathered outside St Mary’s Cathedral on March 26 to declare their support for choice.

The action was organised to counter the annual anti-choice “Day of the Unborn Child” event, described as “a peaceful march to protect preborn babies”. In reality, it is designed to perpetrate myths and shame anyone thinking of, or who has had, an abortion.

First night parrot sighting in WA for 100 years

In the first verified sighting since 1912, a night parrot has been photographed in Western Australia.

It follows a history of disbelieved reports, futile ecological surveys and unverified sightings of the species that was presumed extinct until it was rediscovered in Queensland four years ago.

About 50 Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) members and supporters occupied the foyer of the Brisbane offices of Rio Tinto on March 28.

Rio Tinto has reneged on its agreement with the MUA to have 70–80% Australian crew on its coastal fleet. Instead it is using exploited foreign workers who are paid $3–4 per hour. This is despite posting a $6 billion profit last year.

One year after European Union leaders signed a deal with the Turkish government to cut off the wave of desperate refugees seeking to reach Europe’s shores, the policy has caused even more death and suffering.

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