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March 11 was the first anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in north-east Japan and the meltdowns, explosions and fires at the Fukushima nuclear plant. The impacts of the nuclear disaster have been horrendous. More than 100,000 people are still homeless and some will never be able to return. Homeless, jobless, separated from friends and family, the toll on people's health and mental well-being has been significant — one indication being a sharp rise in suicide rates. One farmer’s suicide note simply read: “I wish there wasn’t a nuclear plant.”
Dhalulu Ganambarr-Stubbs.

New legislation introduced by the federal Labor government will entrench many aspects of the Northern Territory Emergency Response, the NT intervention, for 10 years. The Senate Community Affairs References Committee released the findings of its inquiry into the Stronger Futures in the NT Bill and related legislation on March 13. It suggests some minor amendments, but leaves the substantive content of the bill unchallenged.

Victorian nurses crowded into Festival Hall in Melbourne on March 16 to hear their nine months of struggle had reached a successful outcome. After what the ABC said was Victoria’s longest running industrial dispute, nurses have won 14-21% pay increases and kept their nurse-to-patient ratios in return for minor productivity offsets. Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said: “This is a bittersweet victory for nurses and midwives after an unprecedented industrial marathon with the Baillieu government to protect patient care and secure a fair pay rise."
All suggestions of an insipid and apathetic Sydney University political culture have been shot dead over recent weeks by an inspired campaign by staff and students to defeat Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence's plans to cut 340 university staff, and cut courses and the budget by a further $28 million. Starting with a stunt at Orientation week, which disturbed Spence's opening address at the Great Hall, and a rally and march through the centre of the university, students have ensured that they've kept the pressure on Spence and his management cronies.
The banking blockade on WikiLeaks

Beattheblockade.org released the statement below on March 16. * * * Today marks the launch of “Beat the Blockade” — a day of action on April 5 to protest the extrajudicial financial blockade of WikiLeaks and raise vital funds for its work to continue.

Over 200 people attended a coal seam gas community forum in Oakdale on March 11, packing out the Workers’ Club. Local residents organised the meeting to tell the community about CSG development in their suburb.

Stop CSG Illawarra released the statement below on March 16. * * * Thursday March 15 2012 was a big day for the coal seam gas (CSG) issue in our state parliament. In the morning a motion was put to the NSW Upper House by Jeremy Buckingham of the Greens — to place a moratorium on all CSG projects in the state, other than the Camden production field.
Photos by Ali Bakhtiavandi
Bob Katter’s homophobia is abhorrent, says socialist candidate The Socialist Alliance Queensland released the statement below on March 15. * * * Liam Flenady, Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of South Brisbane in the March 24 Queensland elections, has slammed the TV ad by Bob Katter's Australian Party (KAP) that attacked Liberal National Party (LNP) leader Campbell Newman over the equal marriage issue. "The advert is homophobic and abhorrent to all decent human values," Flenady said.
The Refugee Action Collective Victoria released the statement below on March 15. * * * Independent MP Rob Oakeshott is attempting to get legislation through parliament that will allow asylum seekers to be sent to third countries for processing. Oakeshott has called on both major parties to support his bill. The Refugee Action Collective (RAC) has condemned Oakeshott’s bill as being anti-humanitarian and an attempt to circumvent the High Court ruling last year that said the Malaysian refugee swap deal was illegal.
The Socialist Alliance released the statement below on March 13. * * * The 1968 My Lai massacre of at least 500 unarmed civilians in South Vietnam was a turning point in the US war on Vietnam. Most of the victims of the US platoon outrage were women, children (including babies) and elderly people. It was not until the following year when investigative journalist Seymour Hersh broke the news of this atrocity that it became one of the tipping points in finally ending the US-led war on the Vietnamese people.