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Seventy refugee supporters held a birthday party for a young girl outside the State Library on May 12. They ate birthday cake and sang "happy birthday".

But three-year-old Kopika was unable to attend. She was kept behind razor wire in the Broadmeadows detention centre, along with her parents and sister.

Refugee activists outside the Sydney Insitute.

The dishonorable Minister for Home Affairs, Immigration and Border Protection was invited to speak to the right wing “think tank” Gerard Henderson’s Sydney Institute on May 16. A group of determined refugee activists turned up to greet Dutton when he arrived.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions' new Change the Rules campaign is well underway.

In conjunction with a professional advertising and social media strategy, the campaign was launched on April 7, building up to the 12 Days of Action in early May around the May Day rallies. Thousands of people attended these rallies across the country, culminating in 120,000 workers marching in Melbourne on May 9.

Captain Cook has loomed large in the federal government’s 2018 budget. The government has allocated $48.7 million over four years to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Cook’s voyage to the South Pacific in 1770. The funding has been widely debated on social media as another fray in Australia’s culture wars, particularly in the context of $84 million in cuts to the ABC.

In delivering his third federal budget speech on May 8, federal Treasurer Scott Morrison claimed his government would guarantee the essential services Australians rely on. Presumably this included the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

However, Morrison only mentioned the NDIS once in his half-hour budget speech, and that was 25 minutes in. He said, “every dollar and every cent committed to delivering the National Disability Insurance Scheme remains in place and always will,” before quickly moving on to "stopping the boats", "terrorism" and border security.

The likelihood of Australia meeting its obligations under the 2015 Paris Climate agreement to cut emissions by 26–28% by 2030 (compared with 2005 levels) is becoming a vain hope if budget provisions are any indication.

While federal Treasurer Scott Morrison was spruiking low and middle income families as the “winners” in the federal budget, unnoticed among the biggest “losers” was the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

Information provided by the NSW Water Office indicates that if the Bylong coalmine in the Upper Hunter region proceeds, there is a real danger of the Bylong River and local creeks drying up.

The Bylong coalmine, a project of South Korean government-owned company Kepco which supplies coal to the electricity industry, involves open cut and underground extraction of up to 6.5 million tonnes of coal for a period of 25 years. The Planning and Assessment Commission’s hearing of Kepco’s application was completed in May last year and its review report was completed in July.

The Victorian Labor government’s final budget before the November state election is strong on spending — for health, education and public transport, but unfortunately also for toll roads and law and order.

More than 600 people rallied in Sydney on May 14 to protest against Black deaths in custody after footage showing a Western Australian senior sergeant deliberately driving over 18-year-old Aboriginal man William Farmer was released. The police officer who assaulted Farmer has been stood down, but the young man sustained serious injuries as a result of the assault.

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