Tens of thousands marched against Abbott government in six cities around Australia on May 18. The march in Sydney was bigger than the March In March demonstration. Peter Boyle, who took the photos below, estimates it was about 15,000-strong. He said: "It stretched more than two and half times the distance between Central Station and Victoria Park (where it ended). The recent horror budget angered many and the crowd overwhelmingly demanded that the opposition parties block the budget in the Senate -- where they have the numbers until July."
Tens of thousands marched against Abbott government in six cities around Australia on May 18. Despite having been called only four days before, thousands took to the streets in Melbourne to take part in the 'Bust the budget' march. The photos below are by Ali Bakhtiarvandi and Tony Iltis.
Photos by Ali Bakhtiarvandi:
Public housing tenants and nearby residents gathered at Debney's Park in Melbourne's inner-west to protest the impact of the East West Link on public housing flats, Debney's Park and the Flemington Community Centre.
The protest was organised by local Greens MP Adam Bandt.
Yasseen Musa, a leader of the local African community living in the flats, told the protesters: “It took 15 years to get a sports ground, then another 10 years to get two soccer pitches and a pavilion. Now we have a soccer team for the African community.
The Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, which began on May 12, opened with allegations against former Labor prime minister Julia Gillard.
The commission's first day receiving evidence confirmed it is a political show trial.
The first person in the witness box was former Australian Workers Union (AWU) official Ralph Blewitt. The “explosive allegation” he made was that Gillard was at home when he paid a builder $7000 for renovations at her Melbourne home from a slush fund.
Protest the Tony Abbott government's killer budget at marches on Sunday May 18:
Brisbane: 1pm, Queens Park, City
Sydney: 1pm, Belmore Park, City (next to Central Station)
Melbourne: 2pm, State Library of Victoria, City
Hobart: 1pm, Parliament Lawns, City
Adelaide: 11.30am, Victoria Square, City
Perth: 12 noon, Russell Square Park, Northbridge
Read Green Left's coveragge of the federal budget
The NSW government has suspended Metgasco’s licence to drill for gas at Bentley, near Lismore.
Energy minister Anthony Roberts said on May 15: “The Office of Coal Seam Gas made the suspension on the grounds that Metgasco did not fulfil a condition of its exploration licence, namely to undertake genuine and effective consultation with the community as required.”
Radical changes to university and TAFE education were announced in the federal budget on May 13.
These changes include removing the cap on university fees and changes to welfare payments. People under 25 are no longer eligible for the Newstart allowance.
Treasurer Joe Hockey said the theme of the budget was "contribution and building" and "sharing the pain", but it will make it even tougher for struggling families.
Protesters were more imaginative than usual with slogans for the Children's March for the Animals to Melbourne Zoo on May 4.
They were protesting against the $8 billion road project known as the East West Link because of the impact it would have on animals that live at the zoo.
Placards read: “Tollway noise — I can't BEAR it”, “East-West Tunnel? Don't be GALAH!” and “The toll road is enough to make a ZEBRA cross!”. Children dressed in animal costumes or carried a stuffed toy of their favourite animal.
The Wilderness Society released the statement below on May 5.
An Environmental Protection Authority report says gas company Santos can’t fully clean up the uranium contamination of an aquifer in the Pilliga Forest in north-west NSW, saying that attempts to recover the polluted water were “impractical”.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has launched a petition as part of a campaign to save library services at the University of Sydney.
The university library management has announced a major restructure that will have serious implications for library users and staff, including the potential loss of up to 130 staff.
"The Abbott government's proposed $7 co-payment for visits to the doctor, and for other medical services, will effectively destroy Medicare as a universal, bulk-billed health service for the community," Erima Dall, spokesperson for the Sydney Save Medicare Committee said on May 14.
"The government is also opening the way for the states to charge an up-front fee for previously free treatment at public hospitals, in the expectation that people will be forced to turn to the emergency departments because of the GP co-payment.
Unions have slammed many aspects of the Coalition budget, released on May 13. Below, leaders of the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Community and Public Sector Union respond.
GED KEARNEY, PRESIDENT OF THE AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF TRADE UNIONS
"The Abbott government's assault on welfare, Medicare, education and the public sector represents the end of the fair go and the biggest attack on the social wage this country has ever seen.
A military coup is developing on May 20 in Thailand. The military has stepped in to declare martial law to “restore peace and order while denying it is a coup.
The country’s Constitutional Court had already dismissed the elected government of prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra on May 7. It came after months of violent right-wing protests including sabotage of elections aimed to resolve the country’s political crisis.
A political crisis over the future of Ukraine has exploded in the past three months. Its catalyst has been the longstanding efforts of big imperialist countries to assert economic and military domination over the republics of the former Soviet Union, and to weaken and marginalise rival Russia.
This takes the form of collaboration with a compliant local elite to impose capitalist austerity and bring the country under the military umbrella of the NATO military alliance.
No sooner had the final results of South Africa's May 7 national elections been announced than President Jacob Zuma gave a predictably self-congratulatory speech lauding the result as “the will of all the people”.
The reality however is that the incumbent African National Congress’ (ANC) victory came from a distinct minority of “the people”. The real “winner”, as has been the case since the 2004 poll, was the stay-away “vote”.
A recent spate of high-profile campaigns against industrial projects based on extracting raw materials has opened up an important new dynamic within the broad processes of change sweeping South America.
Understanding their nature and significance is crucial to grasping the complexities involved in bringing about social change and how best to build solidarity with peoples’ struggles.
Many of the campaigns target that specific mining, oil, agribusiness or logging ventures share common elements.
The call for “$15 and a union” went up again across the United States on May 15, with a new — and bigger — group of allies.
As striking fast food workers hit picket lines across the US to demand a US$15 minimum wage and the right to organise, fast food workers and supporters rallied in 30 other counties. Italian fast food workers also went on strike on May 16.
Fast food workers went on strike in 130 US cities — some for the first time. Some stores were unable to open until managers could be called in to work the abandoned tills and fryers.
This year's May Day rally in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur was the biggest in the country since independence in 1957.
Green Left Weekly's Peter Boyle spoke to S. Arutchelvan (Arul), the secretary general of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) and a spokesperson for the May 1 Committee.
Climate change driving extreme weather: report
Last year again demonstrated the dramatic impact of droughts, heat waves, floods and tropical cyclones on people and property in all parts of the planet, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s Annual Statement on the Status of the Climate.
The day after the horrific May 14 mine tragedy in Soma in Turkey, people gathered in Union Square in New York to show support to the miners and condemn the conditions the workers faced.
An international March Against Monsanto is scheduled for May 24. Hundreds of events around the world have already been scheduled to protest against the world's biggest agricultural biotechnology company.
Like all capitalist monopolies, Monsanto got to where it is today by being ruthless. There are other big biotech companies with shocking records of disregarding people and planet in pursuit of profit — such as DuPont, Bayer and Dow Chemical — but Monsanto's record is so notorious, it warrants its own special international protest day.
The private media and important actors both at home and abroad, including Washington, have downplayed, and in some cases completely ignored, the terrorist actions perpetrated against the Venezuelan government over the past three months.
Among the latest examples that have gone underreported abroad is the assassination in late April of Eliezer Otaiza, a historic leader of the Chavista movement and president of the Caracas city council.
After a few years in the making, Partizan Travel has finally been launched. It is a social enterprise that provides progressive-minded people across the world the chance to visit various countries in a different, authentic way.
Visitors will learn about those nations by meeting grassroots activists and hearing about the history and reality of their struggles. They will take part in political events, enjoy local culture and traditional food.
On May 13, at 3pm, Turkey witnessed one of the biggest workplace murders in its history. After a huge explosion, more than 700 mine workers were trapped in Soma Coal, a private lignite mine in Soma, in the western province of Manisa.
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has tried to minimise the death toll, while deploying hundreds of soldiers and police officers to the town and the miners’ village of Eynes to head off possible unrest.
Violence broke out in the mining town of Soma on May 14 when embattled Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan made an emergency visit after a huge explosion at nearby mines.
Erdogan’s attempted speech was met with shouts of “murderer” and rock throwing as police plucked people out of the crowd in an effort to maintain order.
In the capital, Ankara, police fired tear gas at up to 800 protesters, who hurled stones and petrol bombs back and shouted anti-government slogans as they tried to march to the energy ministry.
Tens of thousands of students protested in Chile on May 8. It was the first march demanding education reform since President Michelle Bachelet took power on promises of deep changes.
Marchers passed through the streets of central Santiago towards the La Moneda presidential palace. The mostly peaceful protest that turned violent at the end as hooded rioters clashed with police, throwing rocks and petrol bombs.
About 1800 police officers flanked the march that student leaders estimated at 100,000-strong, but police said was closer to 40,000.
A high stakes game in the north of Ireland’s unfinished peace process played out before the world’s media last week, writes Irish Republican News.
But almost 20 years after the Provisional IRA’s ceasefire in its armed struggle against British occupation of the six counties in Ireland's north, the shock detention of Gerry Adams on allegations of past IRA activity on April 30 ended in a dramatic triumph for the Sinn Fein leader.
More than 270 female secondary students were kidnapped on April 14 as they sat matriculation exams in the north-east Nigerian town of Chibok.
The kidnappers were members of a religious cult that calls itself Jama‘at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-da‘wa wal-Jihad — Arabic for Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad.
The group is more commonly known by its Hausa nickname, Boko Haram, which translate — very loosely — as “Western education is filthy”, although this is not a name that the group itself uses.
Joyce Stevens was born on January 6, 1928 and was 87 when she died on May 6.
She was the third child in a family of four children, with two older brothers and a younger sister, Lorna, who survives her. Her father was a railway fettler and her mother had been a nurse.
The family lived in country NSW and Joyce enjoyed some of the pleasures and freedoms of country children. She moved to Sydney with her mother and two of her siblings when she was 14.
Many people are looking for effective ways to fight and get rid of the conservative governments in power in Australia.
Some have chosen the tactic of a marginal seats campaign. This involves intensive campaigning in the individual electorates where a politician holds the seat by a very small majority and is therefore insecure.
The NSW government's suspension of Metgasco's licence at Bentley in the Northern Rivers of NSW has lifted spirits across Australia.
For years, communities have been battling the bipartisan support for the unconventional gas industry's advance into prime agricultural land in NSW.
The licence has been only suspended, not cancelled.
Yet the decision is a vindication that people power — sustained mass community campaigning — can be a powerful force.
Curiously, NSW energy minister Anthony Roberts said the licence suspension was because Metgasgo had failed to consult the community.
And so it begins — an offensive, on behalf of the Australian ruling class and corporate interests, to steal the future from the majority of Australians, to dismantle what remains of our social welfare system, in order to carry out, in the words of Treasurer Joe Hockey, "the government's solemn duty ... to build a stronger Australia".
The Socialist Alliance released this statement on May 16.
The federal parliament's joint committee on electoral matters is recommending changes to the federal electoral laws supposedly to address the problem of some small parties "gaming" preference direction through above-the-line voting for the Senate.
However, the joint committee has also proposed raising the number of members required for federal electoral party registration from 500 to 1500.
In recent weeks, the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has managed to add a number of prominent Liberal Party politicians and apparatchiks to those of the Labor Party who are accused of complicity in corrupt practices.
The commission is set to suspend its current inquiry on May 16 and resume again in August. This will allow ICAC officers to conduct further investigations into the affairs of the former Liberal police minister Mike Gallacher, who resigned in early May in the wake of ICAC allegations against him.
There is a lot of hype about so-called pain in this budget, and sure, not everyone comes out a winner. But, basically, as long as you are not a young person or an old person, you should be fine.
Or a middle-aged person who plans on getting old. Or a public servant. Or a farmer. Or someone who wants to study at university, or who owes money from past study.
I had a heart attack when I was just 55. It was a surprise and a shock. I'd never smoked, was not a big drinker and wasn't carrying too much weight. It was probably a genetic predisposition to heart disease. That was six years ago.
Last week I went through the annual tests and consultation with the cardiologist and was told I'm “doing very well” thanks to exercise, a supportive family and the public, universal healthcare system we have in Australia.
For years the federal budget has been brutal on refugees and asylum seekers. Each year for the past two decades, visa places have been cut or made more difficult to gain, and services and rights to appeal are cut. The rights of people seeking protection in Australia are slowly eroded while detention centres get bigger and bigger budgets.
Now, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey have revealed a budget that takes the war on refugees to new heights — with a newly merged border control agency, more patrol boats and the axing of independent oversight of refugee processing.
For people just tuning in, the idea that people in Brazil would be protesting the 2014 World Cup makes about as much sense as New Yorkers' rebelling against pizza.
And yet here we are, less than one month before the start of the Cup, and demonstrations bear the slogan #NãoVaiTerCopa, or "There will be no Cup".
College football star Michael Sam has made history as the United States' National Football League’s first openly gay player, Democracy Now! said on May 12. The St Louis Rams picked Sam in the final round of the NFL draft, months after he publicly came out.
Sam was a first-team, All-American and the Southeastern Conference’s defensive player for the year as a lineman for the University of Missouri. Sam broke into tears as he took the call informing him of his draft selection. The sports network ESPN showed footage of him kissing his boyfriend in celebration.
L-FRESH The LION
Vienna People Recordings
Released May 9, 2014
Rapper L-FRESH The LION is as well known for his activism as he is for his music. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward spoke to the Sydney-raised Sikh about his newly released debut album, One.
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