If you were asked to pick a TV network in Spain least likely to be occupied and managed by its workers, you would probably choose Radio and Television Valencia’s (RTVV) Channel Nine. Worker control over this mouthpiece for the corrupt People’s Party (PP) government of Valencia would seem about as likely as worker control of Australia's Nine Network. Yet, at the time of writing, in response to a bid to close down the station, RTVV Channel Nine is being run by its employees.
“It’s a far cry from a revolution, but socialists had a surprisingly strong showing in two city council races on Election Day, November 5,” MSNBC.com said the next day. “In Seattle, Kshama Sawant picked up 46% of the vote while challenging 15-year Democratic incumbent Richard Conlin. And in Minneapolis, Ty Moore is only 131 votes behind Democratic candidate Alondra Cano.”
About 100 Aboriginal people and their supporters gathered at Hyde Park fountain in Sydney on November 1 to protest against the continued desecration of Aboriginal sites across NSW by coal and coal seam gas mining companies Boggabri Coal, Whitehaven Coal and Santos. The rally was organised by Gomeroi people from Gunnedah in north-west New South Wales. People of all ages were present, from young children to elders. Steve Talbott spoke to the crowd informing them of the cooperation between the state government and mining companies.
Members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and supporters picketed the Bankstown campus of the University of Western Sydney (UWS) on October 30 during a half-day strike, as part of their campaign for a new enterprise bargaining agreement at UWS. This followed a similar strike and picket of the university's Parramatta campus on October 23.
The same-sex marriage bill passed in the Australian Capital Territory on October 22 was the most important victory of the equal marriage rights campaign so far. It is the first time queer people have had the right to marry in Australia and follows a seven-year campaign in the ACT, and a nine-year struggle nationwide. Prime Minister Tony Abbott is likely to do everything in his power to overturn the legislation. The federal government will be taking it to the High Court next month.
In mid-October, principals in Victorian public schools told their staff they had been instructed to identify underperforming teachers and education support staff (ES staff) by the end of that month. These staff members would not immediately be told they were underperforming, but would only receive a letter in March next year informing them they would not receive a pay rise. Some staff might even be fast tracked out of the profession. The government told principals that between 20% and 40% of staff were to be identified as underperforming.
Top officials from the John Howard government's Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) have been appointed to head its successor, the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate (FWBII). The ABCC was never completely abolished under the recent Labor government, but instead had most of its functions transferred to the Inspectorate. Employment minister Eric Abetz appointed former ABCC deputy commissioner Nigel Hadgkiss as director of the inspectorate, and former ABCC commissioner, John Lloyd, as chair on October 17.
Under the guise of “law and order” and protecting the community from “criminal bikie gangs” Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has passed new laws that have implications for the civil rights of the wider community. The Liberal-National Party used their majority to rush the laws through parliament on October 17. The Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Bill, Tattoo Parlours Bill and the Criminal Law Amendment Bill specifically target bikies.
The Australian mainstream media publishes a “substantial amount” of articles critical of the scientific consensus on climate change, says a report from the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism. The report has found that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp publications have a high rate of climate change scepticism, which leaves a large section of Australia without information on climate change science.
About 50 people attended a Latin American forum and cultural night at the Spanish Centre in Brisbane on November 2 to hear a panel of speakers discuss various aspects of Latin American politics and history. The forum was co-sponsored by Australian Solidarity with Latin America in Brisbane and the Sydney-based Latin American Social Forum. Talks focused on issues in five countries of the continent: El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay. Links to Australia were also highlighted in some presentations.