Australian Taxation Office staff will vote on management's proposed enterprise agreement between June 27 and June 30. The Community and Public Sector Union and the Australian Services Union have balloted their tax office members. In each case, the vast majority has voted to reject management's offer. The two unions have agreed on a joint campaign to reject management's draft agreement. They have produced joint posters and leaflets pointing out that management's pay offer of 9% over three years is likely to be less than the rise in the cost of living over that period.
In a show of anger against the attacks on workers rights by NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell, 12,000 public sector workers stopped work and rallied outside NSW parliament on June 15. The protest was organised in just over a week, and several unions, including the Nurses Federation and the fire fighters took stopwork action on the day. In spite of constant rain, the rally spread out for more than a block along Macquarie Street and into Martin Place.
The Department of Defence said on June 22 that more than 22,000 Australian and US troops would take part in the annual Talisman Sabre military exercises near Rockhampton, Queensland. In response, activists have called a Peace Convergence. The following call to action was released on June 22 by Peace Convergence convener and Peacebus.com activist Graeme Dunstan. * * * Every two years in July, US-Australia war games take place at Shoalwater Bay, near Rockhampton in Central Queensland.
Unions Tasmania President Roz Madsen gave the speech below at a large June 16 rally outside the Tasmanian parliament — the day Tasmanian premier Lara Giddings announced a harsh new budget. * * * Not so long ago, politicians and political parties were fairly predictable. People entered politics on one side or the other, based on a set of values they held personally and then they pursued outcomes designed to fulfill those values.
Huge demonstrations of the anti-austerity M-15 movement in 97 Spanish cities and towns brought at least 250,000 people onto the streets on June 19. This vast and peaceful turnout marked a new phase in the rising struggle against the austerity policies of the country’s “parties of government” ― the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), the People’s Party (PP) and the Catalan nationalist Convergence and Union (CiU) ― as well as against the recently adopted Euro stability pact.
The federal Labor government put a new law before the Senate on June 14 to set up a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory. The same day, opponents of the radioactive waste dump plan gathered outside Parliament House in Canberra to protest. Federal resources minister Martin Ferguson has said the government’s preferred site is Muckaty station, 100 kilometres north of Tennant Creek. The proposed bill also gives the government the go-ahead to set up dumps elsewhere in the NT.
For something as simple as stubbing your toe and saying “Oh, fuck” in public, the Victorian police will now be able to fine you $238.90 for swearing or using offensive language. Does this mean that an entertainer or musician can also be fined for swearing or using offensive behaviour in their act or song? The anti-swearing legislation doesn’t define what a “swear word” actually is. This gives the police extraordinary power to use these laws in discriminatory ways.
Britain’s public sector unions are set to unleash a wave of strikes starting on June 30 in response to the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government’s attack on workers’ pensions. Unions have called a national day of action for June 30. Nearly 1 million public sector workers will strike for 24 hours.
How is the government getting away with this idea that a public-sector pension is a “luxury”? Is it something that suave bachelors show off, saying: “Once I’ve taken you for a spin in my Aston Martin, how about I show you the mid-range forecast for my teacher’s pension over a bottle of Veuve Cliquot.” A pension is a necessity, so you might as well say we simply can’t go on enjoying the luxury of a sewerage system, given that the amount of waste we’re flushing is 35% higher than in 1996, so from 2015 we’ve got to throw it out the window otherwise we’ll end up like Greece.
Contrary to the popular belief that Australian citizens hold absolute rights to freedom and privacy, Australia continues to evolve toward a “big brother”-like society as the government strengthens the powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). With the support of the opposition, the government expanded ASIO’s powers to share information from wiretaps and computer access with other agencies. The expansion came with the Telecommunications Interception and Intelligence Services Legislation Amendment Act, passed in March.
About 150 protesters rallied at a mining expo in Toowoomba on June 22 to protest the expansion of coal and coal seam gas mining in the Darling Downs region. They confronted state mining minister Stirling Hinchliffe to demand that other areas in Queensland should be exempted from coal seam gas mining — similar to the recent rejection of a mining permit in Toowoomba, the June 23 Brisbane Courier Mail said.
UPDATE — June 24: The author of this letter carried out a five-day hunger strike at the Northern Immigration Detention Centre in Darwin that began on June 20. During his hunger strike, he protested on the rooftop of the detention centre and refused to come down. He says that although he has been found to be a refugee, he does not know when his 18 month long detention will end as ASIO has not given him a security clearance. He now says that he wants to leave Australia. See also
The message below was sent on June 20 — World Refugee Day — from an asylum seeker named Jaffer. Jaffer is held in Curtin detention centre in Western Australia. See also Letter from a refugee on hunger strike: 'This system broke my heart' End the live export of asylum seekers Nauru detention plan extreme, dehumanising Malaysian MP slams refugee outsourcing deal