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Forty people gathered on the steps of South Australia’s Parliament House on November 27 to protest against a new law that would make it an offence to cause serious harm to a pregnant woman. It was defeated by a single vote.   Introduced by Family First MLC Robert Brokenshire, the bill seeks to introduce "foetal personhood”, with penalties as severe as life in prison for causing what is termed in the bill “the death of the unborn child”.
A Queensland Civil Liberties Network was formed on November 27 at a packed meeting at the Electrical Trades Union office in Brisbane. More than 60 people, including officials and activists from a number of trade unions, environmental activists, people involved in organising protests at the G20 meeting next year, members of the Greens, Pirate Party, and the Socialist Alliance, as well as individuals new and experienced in campaigning for civil liberties attended.
The Grattan Institute and the Productivity Commission both released reports on November 22 into the affect an ageing population will have on Australia’s economy. The Grattan Institute proposed that the pension age should be raised to 70, owner-occupiers should not be exempted from the Age Pension asset tests — meaning people could be forced to sell their home when they retire — and GST should be applied to fresh food. The Productivity Commission suggests access to the Age Pension and retirement should be linked to life expectancy — to continue rising as people live longer.

As a mother and her baby fight to avoid the “rat-infested” Nauru refugee camp, a Fairfax-Nielsen poll showed half of Australian voters disapprove of the Coalition government's refugee policy. The poll also showed Prime Minister Tony Abbott has come to the end of what has been described as the shortest “honeymoon period” of a PM in history. Abbott's popularity took an unprecedented dive — with a personal approval rating of 1%, believed to be fuelled by his attitude to the “diplomatic stand-off” with Indonesia over substantial spying allegations.

Peter Boyle interviewed Florencia Melgar, a former SBS journalist about her research into Australia's involvement in the 1973 military coup against the progressive government of Salvador Allende in Chile. Watch the full interview here. ***
Equal marriage rallies were held on November 23 in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.   About 500 people braved wet weather to march for  marriage equality in Melbourne. Speakers included  United Firefighters national secretary Peter Marshall. He said:  "How does a government have the right to say that your love is  not equal? This leads to less workplace rights than heterosexuals.  Unions do not like discrimination. You are supported, you will win this."
Australian oil and gas company AWE has signalled its intention to mine for unconventional gas on farmland bordering Western Australia’s Lesueur National Park. The proposal, released in October, includes plans to use the damaging process known as “fracking” to extract gas, starting in March next year. The national park is a environmentally significant area. It holds more than 900 different plant species and more than 10% of the total known flora of WA. It also holds seven species of declared rare fauna, and nine taxa found nowhere else in the world.
An important new work of labour history was launched on November 23 at the Melbourne Trades Hall. About 70 people heard author Douglas Jordan and Victoria University historian Phillip Deery mark the publication of Conflict in the Unions: The Communist Party of Australia, Politics and the Trade Union Movement, 1945-60.
Lock the Gate released this statement on November 26. *** The first Santos rig drilling for coal seam gas in the Pilliga is today the site of direct action protest, as grandmother and author Sharyn Munro joins 20 locals in halting Santos’ drilling operations in the area, calling for the Sydney catchment coal seam gas moratorium to be extended to protect Pilliga groundwater.

Australian-New Zealand mining company OceanaGold has destroyed the isolated rural village of Didipio in the mountains of Kasibu in Nueva Vizcaya, a province of the Philippines. OceanaGold has operated one of six mining projects in the Philippines covered by the Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) since 1994. Fierce resistance from villagers, legal struggles and the financial problems of the company meant it was only this year that OceanaGold was able to ship out its first 5000 tons of copper-gold concentrate.

Over the past few months, plazas, airports and roads in Mexico City and several other cities across the country have been paralysed by teachers and their supporters. They have been protesting against neoliberal reforms to the public education system proposed by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and recently approved by Congress. These so-called structural reforms to education coincide with other neoliberal attacks pushing the privatisation of education, oil and electricity industries.
Large-scale electoral fraud affected every aspect of the November 24 general elections in the Central American country of Honduras. This has sparked a huge political crisis, which matches and possibly surpasses the crisis produced by the coup d’etat that overthrew president Manuel Zelaya in 2009. The fraud has denied victory to Liberty and Refoundation (LIBRE) party presidential candidate Xiomara Castro, the wife of Zelaya. LIBRE was formed by the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP), which united many sectors that took part in the resistance to the coup.
Tap Tap New Dub City Raspect Records November 18, 2013 www.newdubcity.com Melbourne dub-rap-reggae collective New Dub City have just released their politically punchy and sonically spotless second album, Tap Tap. Frontman, producer and author Ali MC spoke to Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward. ***

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