A historic motion for Ballarat was put forth to affirm support for a “No to Homophobia” campaign at a City of Ballarat council meeting on Febraury 12. The motion was carried unanimously. Greens councillor Belinda Coates put the motion. She said after the meeting: “It was fantastic to get unanimous support for this motion to affirm support for the 'No to Homophobia' campaign and their 'Promise' campaign.
Members of the Socialist Alliance have taken part in O-week stalls, which is not only resulting in a boost for Green Left Weekly sales and subscriptions in the lead up to its 1000th issue, but also a boost for the Socialist Alliance and Resistance.
“You don't want a wimp running border protection,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on February 21. “You want someone who is strong, who is decent, and Scott Morrison is both strong and decent.” Abbott was defending immigration minister Scott Morrison for his actions and comments after a young asylum seeker was killed in the Manus Island detention centre on February 16.
Victorian Premier Denis Napthine is living up to his new nickname, “Naptime”, as the Hazelwood coalmine fire continues its terrible impact on the town of Morwell in the Latrobe Valley. The edge of the town is only a few hundred metres from where the fire has been burning since February 9. The plume of toxic smoke and ash from the fire has been blanketing the town.
Qantas is just the latest big company to announce it is about to destroy thousands of jobs. CEO Alan Joyce says jobs have to go to save the company’s profit line. We've heard the same sob story from Ford, Holden, Coca-Cola, Toyota and Alcoa all over a relative short period of time. Can we really believe these corporations, with their “creative” accounting and webs of subsidiaries and business partners? All these companies have received large amounts of public subsidies and Qantas, privatised two decades ago, was built with public funds.
At quarter to six on the morning of February 6, in a wood on the Moroccan side of the border with the Spanish north African enclave Ceuta, about 300 asylum seekers met to try to cross the six-metre high razor-wire fence seperating the two countries.
Two important things were revealed when immigration minister Scott Morrison was finally forced to admit he had been wrong about most of the facts when one man was killed and at least 70 others were injured on Manus Island on February 16. The first was that asylum seekers who rang and messaged advocates, supporters and friends in Australia in a panic over the outbreak of violence, saying that G4S security guards and angry locals were brutally attacking dozens of people, were telling the truth.
For Neville Cunningham You walk, you walk, You turn a corner and walk some more The sun might be there Some cloud also welcome But you are always invited Into the house of the beekeeper. You will know it when you arrive Usually an afternoon of daylight Will warm those neighbourhood bricks You will feel it on your right cheek! You’ll know you’ve arrived: A poster of Ned Kelly hangs in his window The front door is always open when he’s in And you can go in once you tap on the screen door. He’ll be reading a book on his thin mattress
Seoul's High Court ruled on February 7 in favour of the 153 members of the SsangYong Motor Company branch of the Korean Metal Workers Union who were unlawfully laid-off in 2009. At the trial, Chief Justice Cho Hye-hyeon ordered the car company to re-instate all the workers and pay each about $1000 in compensation. The court decision was met with tears of joy from workers and their families.
Members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) on University of Western Sydney campuses took action on February 28 to highlight management's refusal to agree to a fair enterprise agreement. They have been without an agreement for more than a year. On the Bankstown campus of UWS, a number of unionists and students gathered to hear from union activists. They said that after 12 months of meetings with management they felt that little progress had been made. In the meantime, they were having to deal with increased workloads and increases in the cost of living.
In a closely-watched election, the United Autoworkers Union (UAW) tried to break into the anti-union South to organise a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The union lost the February election among the plant’s 1550 production workers. There were 626 votes in favor and 712 against. The negative vote was something of a surprise, because Volkswagen management did not threaten workers’ jobs if they voted yes, and was officially neutral. Generally, bosses intimidate workers and pay for a barrage of anti-union advertising to stop workers voting in favour of unionising.
Institutionalised corruption in New South Wales stretches from the Rum Corps of the late 18th century to present-day politicians from the Labor and Liberal parties. The pattern has been consistent: public exposure, followed by the confected outrage of “shocked” politicians that comes with contrite promises of reforms. After a suitable time has elapsed, the cycle repeats.
Four days of talks in Singapore for the proposed TransPacific Partnership (TPP) ended inconclusively on February 25. It is clear big disagreements still exist between the negotiating countries. Combined with unease among the populations in negotiating countries, this is likely to prevent the deal being finalised this year.
The armed group Basque Country And Freedom (ETA has made a significant step towards decommissioning the weapons used in its campaign for independence and freedom, Irish Republican News said on February 21. But the Spanish government immediately rejected the move. The decommissioning by ETA of some its cache of weapons and explosives, drawing a definitive line under decades of bloody conflict, was confirmed by an International Verification Commission.
Outside the city of Port Augusta in South Australia, the firm Alinta Energy runs the ageing brown coal-fired Northern power station. Environmentalists and local campaigners want the plant replaced with state-of-the-art solar power generation. But Alinta would rather solar power were used to pre-heat water for the existing plant, which would then stay in operation for further decades.
After failing to violently crush mass protests in Kiev’s Independence Square, which have been raging since November 21, the regime of Viktor Yanukovich collapsed on February 22. The protests began in opposition to Yanukovich’s decision to back out of a Free Trade Agreement and Association Agreement with the European Union. But in the face of police brutality, the protests evolved into a general expression of anti-regime discontent. The movement was initially known as Euromaidan (“Eurosquare”) but later just Maidan, reflecting this evolution.