HOBART — To mark the end of NAIDOC week, Aboriginal people and their supporters marched through the streets and rallied at Tasmania’s parliament house lawns on July 6 to show that they always have been and always will be a sovereign people. Speakers at the rally included the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre’s (TAC) Nala Mansell-McKenna, TAC's Legal Secretary Michael Mansell and Aboriginal activist Jim Everett.
About 500 Toll warehouse workers at Somerton in Melbourne’s northern suburbs have voted for an indefinite strike in their campaign for a new enterprise bargaining agreement. The warehouse is a Coles distribution centre, but Coles outsources the workers to Toll Logistics. This has resulted in workers getting up to 20% less pay than other Coles warehouse workers.
The Lock the Gate Alliance released the statement below on July 6. * * * Coal seam gas companies are 'getting away with blue murder' despite mounting evidence from around the country of the environmental damage they are causing, according to Lock the Gate Alliance. Lock The Gate has responded with dismay to news today that Santos and Eastern Star Gas have been fined only $3,000 for breaking environment laws in the Pilliga forest by polluting a local creek system with coal seam gas waste water.
With impeccable smiling customer service staff motioning to myki readers and swarms of grinning, armed, uniformed officers pursuing passengers for a chat, the Victorian Liberal government hopes to win support for its public transport agenda. Public Transport Victoria stopped selling weekly, monthly and yearly Metcards on July 2. More than 80% of Metcard machines have been removed from train stations. The expensive and unpopular myki system will soon take over.
A Senate committee recommended on June 25 that Australian parliament make marriage equality law after almost 60% of 46,000 submissions were in favour. A report tabled for the lower house on June 18 also had overwhelming support, but did not support or reject the two marriage equality bills before parliament. The lower house committee received a record 276,000 responses during its inquiry, with more than two-thirds in support of gay marriage.
Latest NSW gov't sackings could pass 10,000 A leaked document on the 10,000 public sector jobs flagged for cuts in last month's NSW budget may have been understating the sackings to come. The June 12 email from a NSW Treasury official said “there is no floor or cap on redundancies”. The government on July 3 conceded the numbers were not capped, and there were no guarantees that more jobs would not be lost. The 10,000-plus job cuts add to 5000 jobs axed in September.
Labor and Coalition MPs have shed thousands of crocodile tears claiming that Australia needed to “stop the boats” to “save lives” by making offshore processing of asylum seekers government policy. Labor backed a private members bill put by independent MP Rob Oakeshott that would allow Australia to expel refugees to any country that was part of the Bali Process, including Malaysia.
Australian historian Humphrey McQueen gave the speech below at a forum held by Canberra Friends of Wikileaks on June 27. * * * Once more, I have the honour of sharing a platform with Christine Assange. Since we were at the Sydney meeting in February, she has come through five tortuous months. Her calm yet loving commitment to keeping us up to date with the legal and extra-judicial proceedings inspires us all.
The Brumby’s Bakery chain has apologised after its managing director was caught out telling franchisees to jack up prices and “let the carbon tax take the blame”. Brumby’s parent company distanced itself from the scandal, telling the stock exchange it was just an “isolated incident”.
In the early hours of June 29, the Australian Senate passed legislation that is expected to entrench assimilation, disadvantage and racism for another decade in the Northern Territory. Aboriginal leaders across the NT declared a period of mourning after the new laws – called Stronger Futures – were passed as they reel from the decision, take stock and plan to up the ante in their fight against the latest neoliberal assault on their communities.