Ninety-five year old Bill Ryan was one of about 15 protesters from the Galilee Blockade group who tried to meet mining contractor Downer’s chief executive Grant Fenn on May 16. Their aim was to encourage Downer to pull out of the Adani coal mine.
A report on the impact of youth programs in remote central Australia found that, with enough effort, they provided significant support to children, their families and communities, as well as the broader health, education and justice systems.
They also actively reduced rates of crime and drug and alcohol abuse among young people.
The report, released on May 16, examined three youth programs in Utopia, Hermannsburg, and Yuendumu.
In his first hours of freedom after 36 years behind bars in US prison, Puerto Rican independence leader Oscar Lopez Rivera vowed on May 17 to continue to fight for freedom and independence while expressing solidarity with progressive movements across the Americas.
“During the years I was jailed I always thought I would return home,” Lopez said during a press conference, thanking all the progressive organisations and world leaders who supported him and worked for his release over the years.
As violent anti-government protests continue in Venezuela, supporters of the right-wing opposition have begun targeting Venezuelan government officials and their families in Australia. The actions are part of a string of recent attacks abroad on government representatives by Venezuelan opponents of President Nicolas Maduro.
Students at RMIT marched through Melbourne on May 12 as part of a global push for fossil fuel divestment.
After making noise throughout the university they ended their march with a game of hopscotch outside the university management offices to show university management how they can make the leap to divestment.
Thanks to three years of pressure from students and staff, RMIT has introduced new investment principles which put it in the right position to divest.
While this is an important step for the university it still has to make the leap and actually divest.
Newcastle Uni cuts ties with Broadspectrum
The University of Newcastle will cut its controversial $88 million contract with Broadspectrum, the company responsible for running Australia’s detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island.
A university spokesperson confirmed it had “reached agreement” with Broadspectrum to “progressively transition out of the current maintenance and facilities services contract before the end of the year”.
NSW Coalition MPs voted down a bill, 35 to 45, on May 11, that mandated registered nurses in residential aged care facilities. Labor, the Greens, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, as well as Independents Alex Greenwich and Greg Piper supported the bill.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association’s Brett Holmes said the government’s decision was “shameful” because not having skilled nurses in nursing homes would mean that the quality of care provided to some of the state’s most vulnerable would deteriorate.
As expected, the major banks are preparing to launch a media war against the Turnbull government’s proposed $6.2 billion bank levy, as outlined in Treasurer Scott Morrison’s May 9 federal budget speech.
Australian Bankers’ Association head Anna Bligh was furious. She said a campaign was being considered, claiming the government was playing “fast and loose” with the nation’s financial system.
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) dropped its landmark case against the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and seven crew members of the Tandara Spirit on May 15.
The case related to alleged breaches of the Fair Work Act when the MUA and the seafarers failed to comply with orders from the Fair Work Commission in late 2014.
MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin said the FWO pulled its investigation after wasting the time and resources of the union and putting the workers through unacceptable stress and anxiety.
A maternity hospital in Venezuela's Miranda state was attacked on May 17 as the death count in ongoing violent anti-government protests rose to 53.
The attack comes as violent opposition protests demanding early presidential elections enter their seventh week, with new deaths being reported as opposition supporters clash with authorities, attack public institutions and state security personnel, and blockade roads nationwide.
The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) has called for jail terms for employers who deliberately underpay their staff.
TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon said this was “wage theft” and it was time to treat bosses with the same rules as employees.
The call follows a string of scandals at franchise operators 7-Eleven, Caltex, Domino’s Pizza and Pizza Hut, where employees have been underpaid by tens of millions of dollars. 7-Eleven has so far paid out $90 million for non-payment of wages while Caltex has set up a $20 million fund to repay their workers.
Artist and activist Benny Zable has been wearing a mask at protests throughout Australia for more than 30 years.
His distinctive skull-like gas mask and painted death-bringer costume, atop large black radioactive drums has become an icon of peace, anti-nuclear and environmental movements throughout the country. He is a performance artist who uses his art form to depict a chilling prophesy of nuclear and environmental catastrophe.
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