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Complaints by conservative commentators that Treasurer Scott Morrison and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have delivered a “Labor budget” show how low expectations are that any federal government in Australia will deliver a budget aiming to advance genuine social justice in this country.

Throughout the battle against the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL), the  US$3.78 billion pipeline that will carry about 500,000 barrels of oil a day, indigenous campaigners and supporters repeatedly warned it was not a question of if, but when a breach would occur.

Now, before the pipeline is even fully operational, those warnings have come to fruition.

It is just as well we are so alert these days to “fake news”, otherwise some might actually believe media claims the federal government has delivered a “left-leaning” budget.

The predominantly Tamil north and east of the island of Sri Lanka were brought to a “complete standstill” on April 27, Tamilnet reported, as a result of a strike called by unions, civil groups and Tamil political parties.

It was supported by the Northern Provincial Council, which suspended its sitting. In some towns Muslims joined Tamils in the strike.

When the Nationals visited Narrabri on May 12 for dinner and talks, many in the community lined the entrance to voice their opposition to coal seam gas (CSG). NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro did not receive the welcome he expected.

"Hopefully he takes the message into the event that the electorate does not want this industry to take hold," said Narrabri farmer Stuart Murray.

A report obtained by the ABC says coal prices will fall significantly and exports from Australia's biggest coal port will decline if Adani's Carmichael coalmine goes ahead.

If the coalmine went ahead, it would add 40 million tonnes a year to the market and global coal prices would fall by $3.80 to $65 a tonne.

Competition from the mine would reduce exports from the port of Newcastle by 11 to 12 million tonnes a year, which would lower the coal royalties NSW receives.

Unionists and their supporters defied a police ban on this year’s traditional May Day march with a militant march and rally of some 500 unionists and their supporters through the city’s streets on May 6.

An obstructive Wollongong City Council had blocked police approval and demanded a hefty fee for private security services.

South Coast working class icon and veteran class fighter, 95-year-old Fred Moore, proudly marched at the front. He has never missed a May Day march since his first in 1932.

The latest Essential poll released on May 9 shows voters disapprove of cuts to universities and higher student fees and fear the impact on young people.

It also showed Labor comfortably ahead of the Coalition on the two-party preferred vote by 54% to 46%.

The poll showed 56% disapprove of the government’s reduction in funding for higher education by $2.8bn and 60% disapprove of increasing student fees.

Student groups nation-wide registered their opposition to the government’s proposals to raise student fees and lower the HECS threshold at an action in Canberra on budget day on May 9.

The $2.8 billion in cuts would see fees increase by a maximum of $3600 for a four-year course with students paying for 46% of the cost of their degree on average — up from 42%. The cuts propose a lowering of the HECS threshold — down from $55,874 to $42,000.

More than 600 local residents and traders rallied at the Preston Market in Melbourne’s north east on May 6 to tell Minister for Planning Richard Wynne to “call in” a development application for multi-storey apartments and a generic shopping centre that risks destroying their much-loved community hub.

The unexpectedly large turnout spilled out onto the road, prompting police to tell organiser Lori-anne Sharp, of the Save Preston Market group, to “pick a bigger site next time you call a protest”.

Residents and supporters held a protest in Sydney Park on May 6, when contractors for the controversial $17 billion WestConnex tollway moved in to destroy more trees for the St Peters interchange.

The works are part of the project's push to remove more than 800 trees in Sydney Park, St Peters and Alexandria to allow widening of roads around the planned interchange.

"Disability — not for sale!" was one of the slogans shouted by Health and Community Services Union (HACSU) members as they marched on Parliament House on May 10 to protest against the Victorian Labor government's plan to privatise state-run disability services.

HACSU state secretary Lloyd Williams told the rally that Premier Daniel Andrews had broken a promise not to privatise public disability services in Victoria.

Hit and Run: The New Zealand SAS in Afghanistan & the Meaning of Honour
By Nicky Hager & Jon Stephenson
Potton & Burton, 2017 
159 pages

In this well-written and powerful book, Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson present a barrage of evidence that “New Zealanders and their United States allies were involved in war crimes” in Afghanistan in 2010.

State vice president of the CFMEU’s Victorian Construction and General Division Robert Graauwmans gave this speech at Socialist Alliance’s May Day Dinner in Geelong on May 6. Below is an edited version of his speech.

* * *

I’ve been asked to speak on the topic of “Why we should break bad laws” and while I welcome the invitation and the topic, tonight I will not talk about the whether we need to break bad laws, but rather, why we must defy injustice.

Argentine hockey player Jessica Millaman, who had been prevented from playing field hockey by her provincial federation governing the sport, told EFE in an interview that she was happy about the recent decision by the Argentine Field Hockey Confederation (CAH) to allow transgender women to participate in women’s tourneys.

Fifty years ago most people, including politicians, championed the idea of equal educational opportunities for all. The politicians may have only done so for their own political advantage, but even this indicates the strength of the notion.

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