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Seafarers in the offshore oil and gas industry, members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), are on the verge of winning historic improvements to their pay and working conditions, including a 30% pay rise and construction allowances that would give them parity with other workers involved in the construction phase of oil and gas projects.

Federal Labor’s workplace relations minister Julia Gillard and Western Australian Liberal Premier Colin Barnett joined forces last week, demanding striking Pluto project workers return to work.

The slow initial response from Australian aid agencies to the horrific Haiti earthquake prompted me to organise some on-the-job fundraising for the victims. The not-for-profit organisation I work for deals with homelessness I thought the people I work with would identify with the plight of the Haitians.

The following is a joint statement by Asian left organisations in solidarity with the people of Haiti. To add your organisation’s support, email international@prp-indonesia.org.

The Australian Greens announced an “interim carbon price proposal” on January 21, whereby carbon would be taxed essentially within the framework of the federal Labor government’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).

Immigrants to the developed world have frequently been blamed for unemployment, crime and other social ills. Attempts to reduce or block immigration have been justified as necessary measures to protect “our way of life” from alien influences.

In the lead-up to “Australia Day” on January 26, former TV host Ray Martin restarted a debate about the need to change the Australian flag.

At Sydney Town Hall on January 28, 50 people rallied against the militarisation of Haiti and highlighted that Haiti is suffering from a human-made disaster as much as a natural one. The rally was organised by the Latin American Social Forum (LASF).

On January 25, newly announced Australian of the Year and youth mental health expert Patrick McGorry said refugee detention centres were “factories for producing mental illness”.

Climate change minister Penny Wong has announced a target of a 5% cut in Australia’s carbon emissions by 2020, relative to emissions in 2000.

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