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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.

In just over 24 hours on May 14 and 15, the single greatest number of deaths and injuries of Gazans at the hands of the Israeli military since the start of the Great March of Return protests on March 30 occurred. Lisa Gleeson writes Israel’s latest crimes must be a catalyst to strengthen the struggle for Palestinian freedom.

It is bad enough that Australia is not on track to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 26–28% on 2005 levels by 2030, as it is notionally committed to doing, but according to the government's own figures, it is only set to reduce them by 5%. What makes it worse is that even the 26–28% target is very conservative and unlikely to be sufficient.

In truth, wealthy industrialised countries like ours should be seeking to become net zero emission economies and societies, both because we can and because it is simply not worth gambling with the continued existence of life as we know it.

Multinational gas corporations are expected to sell $50 billion worth of Australia’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) overseas every year, but it will be at least 10 years before the national treasury receives any rise in tax revenue. Even then, many projects will never pay any tax to the government for the resources they export.

A report prepared for the federal government into the operations of the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (PRRT) shows that revenue from the offshore gasfields will remain static until at least 2027.

The owner of a Queensland tour company that underpaid its workers has been jailed by the Federal Court in a contempt of court case brought by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO). It was the first time a boss had been jailed as a result of action by the FWO.

The world saw two starkly opposed moral cultures on May 14, writes Barry Sheppard.

Two–and–a–half years after the suicide of Chinchilla farmer and Lock the Gate activist George Bender, who had led a decade long campaign against fracking, on May 11 Linc Energy was fined a record $4.5 million for causing serious environmental harm at its underground coal gasification plant on Queensland's western Darling Downs.

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