About 40 people gathered on the outskirts of Villawood detention centre for a nighttime vigil on October 26 to commemorate the death of a Tamil refugee detainee who had taken his own life that morning. The gathering included refugee activists, members of the Tamil community and friends of Daya Jayasakara, or “Shooty”, as he was known. Shooty had been in detention for two years after arriving in Australia by boat seeking asylum. He had been granted refugee status several months earlier and was waiting for ASIO security clearance.
Teachers say the Barry O’Farrell Coalition state government has divulged its plans to cut TAFE wages and conditions and then likely privatise it by splitting TAFE teachers away from the collective bargaining power of their primary and secondary teacher colleagues. Education minister Adrian Piccoli introduced changes to the TAFE commission act into the NSW parliament on October 11 without notice or consultation with the New South Wales Teachers Federation (NSWTF).
A groundswell of support for the campaign against a proposed open cut coalmine is taking place in Victoria’s Bacchus Marsh area and beyond. This growing support for the No New Coal in Bacchus Marsh campaign was on display at a recent public meeting in the town, where a lawyer from the Environment Defenders Office spoke to a packed hall on the legal implications of mining and what can be done to stop the present exploratory drilling and proposed mine.
Occupy Sydney activists organised a protest outside the Qantas shareholders conference on October 28 at the University of New South Wales in support of Qantas workers struggling for decent wages and job security. Peter Somerville, the general manager of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association, which is embroiled in a battle with Qantas management over job outsourcing and a new enterprise agreement, had addressed Occupy Sydney’s rally in Martin Place on October 22.