When the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) found that former union official, John Maitland, and former NSW ALP minister for primary industries, Ian Macdonald, had engaged in corrupt conduct over the granting of a coal exploration licence at Doyles Creek, they said the licence was tainted by corruption and should be declared void.
The Socialist Alliance is running two candidates in the Tasmanian state election on March 15. Whether Labor or the Liberals form government after March 15, Tasmanians can expect to see “prioritising of big business over the interests of the general public and the continuing privatising of essential public services,” Jenny Forward, the Socialist Alliance's candidate for the electorate of Franklin, told Green Left Weekly.
Australian Services Union leader Sally McManus has compiled a list of 85 broken promises or other attacks on Australians by the Abbott government since the federal election. Prominent on the list are attacks on refugee rights, workers' rights, public services and the environment. They include: abolition of the Climate Commission, abolition of the High Speed Rail Advisory Group and formal attempts to wind back the world heritage listing of Tasmania's forests.
The one thing that we can expect with some confidence this year is an increase in unemployment. An analysis of Australian employment statistics for 2013 shows that jobs growth was at its lowest level for more than 20 years. Last year, unemployment increased by more than 5000 people a month. In the month of December, the economy lost 23,000 jobs, making last year the weakest calendar year of jobs growth since 1992. The number of officially unemployed increased by more than 9% to 722,000.
Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings sacked Greens ministers Nick McKim and Cassie O’Connor from cabinet on January 15 — the same day that she announced a state election would be held in March. The Greens have shared power with Labor since a minority government was elected in 2010. But the deal has proven unpopular with Labor voters and Giddings has ruled out a power-sharing deal with the Greens in future.
A private member’s bill was successfully passed on November 21 last year to remove abortion from Tasmania’s criminal code. Tasmania has joined the ACT and Victoria in decriminalising abortion. Until then, the criminal code set out the limitations of when an abortion is not lawful and when and how it can be lawfully obtained. Mandatory counselling was also imposed on women. These limitations were so restrictive that abortion access was minimal and women and doctors faced the real or perceived threat of criminal charges being laid against them.
In recent weeks, federal education minister Christopher Pyne announced a review of the national curriculum. The key purpose of Pyne’s review is to divert attention from the much-needed Gonski funding. Pyne believes that the widening gap in the educational performance of students from low socio-economic backgrounds is due to a low-grade politically correct national curriculum foisted upon them by the “cultural left”.
More than 200 people attended a rally on January 18 in Goddard Park, Concord, in Sydney's inner west, to protest against the WestConnex motorway project. The rally was organised by the WestCon Action Group, which is campaigning against the NSW and federal governments' $11.5 billion tollway-tunnel plan — Australia's single most expensive road project.
To an almost audible sigh of relief from its tens of thousands of activists, the two main forces in France’s nine-party Left Front ― the French Communist Party and the Left Party of Jean-Luc Melenchon ― have called a halt to hostilities. The infighting was undermining the front's chances in France’s March municipal elections and those of the aligned Party of the European Left in the May 25 European poll.
After almost four years in jail without charge, Irish prisoner of conscience Martin Corey was released from custody on January 15. But he was only freed on condition he stay away from the media and his home town or face a return to jail. Corey was hidden from members of the press who had gathered outside the Maghaberry jail, in the six counties in Ireland's north still claimed by Britain, on the night of January 15. The 63-year-old was taken out in a blacked-out prison van directly to a train station, where he was released to his lawyer.
Wong Tack, the chairperson of the Himpunan Hijau (Green Assembly) environmental group which has been campaigning against the Australian company Lynas' toxic rare earth refinery in Malaysia, was manhandled and pushed up against a wall by security personnel when his group peacefully protested at the "Australia Day" celebration held in Kuala Lumpur on January 22. READ MORE: 'A million Malaysians say shut polluter Lynas' The invitation-only event was hosted by the Australian High Commission and was attended by Lynas executives.
Tamil people and their supporters rallied on January 20 against the detention of 46 refugees who have been held for years even though they have been recognised by the Australian government as genuine refugees. Most of these refugees are Tamils from Sri Lanka. They are being held because they have negative security assessments by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). Negative ASIO decisions have, in effect, condemned these refugees to a life sentence.
SOMETIMES in life, you can feel pretty helpless. That said, I’m a privileged white guy in a privileged white society. So for me at least, it doesn’t happen very often. It happened last year. John Pilger is a journalist I grew up reading, and a large part of the reason why I entered journalism. Pilger was back in Australia making Utopia, his fourth film about the plight of Aboriginal Australians. He asked me to work on it with him.
Cheang Thida (pictured below) is a young woman local union leader of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU) at Kin Tai Factory in Phnom Penh. Last December she led 10,000 workers on a legal and peaceful strike demanding a minimum wage that satisfies the workers' basic needs. As a consequence, she was sacked from her job making Armani Jeans.
On February 14, 2004, as a consequence of a police pursuit, a Redfern police car driven by Constable Michael Hollingsworth rammed TJ Hickey’s bicycle. As a result, he was impaled on a spiked metal fence. The police did not follow proper medical practice and he died in hospital the next day. This year will be the 10-year anniversary of his death. The Hickey family, with the support of the Indigenous Social Justice Association, will be rallying at the fence line on the corner of George and Phillip streets in Waterloo to mark the occasion.