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Occupy Sydney marches down George Street.

About 1500 people joined an Occupy Sydney rally at Town Hall on November 5, making it the largest of the three Occupy Sydney marches so far. Members of the Maritime Union of Australia and other unions filled out the crowd. The crowd marched to Martin Place -- where Occupy Sydney had set up a permanent camp from October 15-23 until being violently evicted by police. Police took legal action to stop the march on November 5, but the day before an agreement was reached allow a different, shorter march route.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams led a dramatic walkout from the Dublin parliament (Dail) on November 2. The protest was over the coalition government’s decision to hand over more than €700 million to an unknown private investor in the failed Anglo Irish Bank. Finance minister Michael Noonan admitted in the Dail there was no legal obligation to refund the bond investment, which was not covered by the former government’s bank guarantee. With the government refusing a debate on the matter, Adams led the walkout of Sinn Fein and United Left Alliance parliamentarians.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce grounded all Qantas aircraft, locked out Qantas workers, and disrupted the travel plans of thousands of passengers, including visiting heads of state, on October 29. The lock-out sparked a successful application by workplace relations minister Chris Evans to Fair Work Australia to end the lockout and stop industrial action by Qantas unions. Fair Work Australia handed Joyce an effective weapon against the unions — the termination of legal, protected industrial action that members of the unions had voted for.
In the space of barely more than a weekend, the deal that was supposed contain the euro crisis has unravelled entirely. The call for a referendum on the so-called rescue package by Greek Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou, later retracted under huge pressure, merely capped its rapid unravelling. The prospect that the European Unions’ principal victims could be asked their opinion of the policies inflicted on them provoked near-hysteria in respectable quarters. EU leaders, Greek politicians, and the financial markets united to denounce the threat of an unseemly democratic intrusion.
Thousands of New South Wales high school and primary school teachers stopped work for two hours on November 2. They voted overwhelmingly to reject the Coalition O’Farrell state government’s salary offer. Ninety-nine percent of teachers at the stopwork meetings also voted to hold a 24-hour stopwork action on November 29 if the government refused to make a reasonable salary offer. Teachers will consider further industrial action at the start of 2012 if a reasonable offer is not made by then.
Two grassroots lesbian, gay, bisexual, sex and/or gender diverse (LGBSGD) rights conferences will take place in Sydney in early December. The conferences will coincide with a national marriage rights rally on December 3, outside the ALP National Conference. Australia's first Sex and Gender Diversity (SGD) Human Rights and Dignity Conference, is planned for December 2 at the Redfern Community Centre.
Annie Leonard

When Annie Leonard put her groundbreaking cartoon The Story of Stuff online in late 2007, she would have been really happy if 50,000 people had watched it. “To my utter amazement we got 50,000 viewers on the first day,” she told Green Left Weekly during a recent visit to Australia.

From November 9 to 15 Australian Taxation Office staff will vote on management's proposed enterprise agreement. This is the second time a staff ballot has been held. The first version of management’s proposal was rejected in June by a majority of 59% to 41%. The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) is recommending that staff vote “no”, because the pay offer of 9% over three years is less than the expected rate of inflation. A ballot of CPSU members endorsed this position following a recommendation by union’s Tax Section Council.
Alan Kohler, the editor in chief of Business Spectator and the finance presenter on the ABC News, was blunt about who was to blame for the Europe debt crisis in his November 2 opinion piece on the ABC's The Drum. He said: “The debt crisis in Europe is the fault of bankers, yet the people are the ones who pay.
In the context of Australia’s struggling climate movement, the achievements of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) have been significant. When the Murdoch press would rather report Lord Munckton’s denialist nonsense, a group that connects more than 70,000 young Australians to raise awareness and combat climate change is commendable. However, AYCC’s politics are not without problems.
If you speak out against the widening gap between wages and CEOs’ salaries, the corporate media will accuse you of stoking the “politics of envy”. Workers who dare take industrial action to get a few more crumbs from the bosses’ table are cast as class war dinosaurs. The Occupy protesters? We’re told they are naive rebels without a clue. But the Qantas lock-out proves otherwise.

Noam Chomsky, in Sydney winning the 2011 Sydney Peace Prize, spoke at the #OccupySydney meeting to inspire and continue the campaign against neo-liberalism.