Issue 1129

Australian News

Sex workers and their allies rallied for law reform and an end to stigma in Brisbane on March 8. It was the first public rally held by Respect Inc, a peer-led rights and support organisation for sex workers. Twenty people wearing red, holding signs and displaying red umbrellas gathered in Queens...

Commonwealth Bank to repay superannuation

The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) has agreed to repay employer superannuation to more than 7000 part-time workers that was not applied to overtime over the past eight years.

The CBA will repay the superannuation to all part-time workers since 2009,...

An Essential poll released on March 7 found 56% of voters disapprove of the Fair Work Commission’s decision to cut penalty rates in the retail, hospitality, fast food and pharmacy industries, while 32% approve.

Asked what would be the result of the cuts, 57% said businesses would make...

The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) said on March 7 it feared the system’s treatment of welfare recipients was scaring individuals away from exercising their right to claim income support.

Speaking as the Senate inquiry into the Centrelink debt recovery system began, ACT...

The V8 Supercars race through Newcastle East will leave behind a trail of destruction even before the checkered flag goes down next November.

Former Liberal leader Mike Baird and Labor Party mayor Nuatali Helms announced that the race would be held in Newcastle late last year following...

The West Papuan Friendship Mural in the Darwin CBD, which has become a poignant symbol of solidarity between the people of West Papua and Australia, was half painted over on March 4 after strong pressure from the Indonesian Consulate.

The mural was painted in June 2015 as part of a week...

United Firefighters Union (UFU) members working in the Corporate and Technical Division of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) have voted overwhelmingly for a campaign of bans in support of their enterprise agreement campaign.

The Corporate and Technical Division includes non-firefighting...

Despite the wet weather, the commemoration of the 213th Anniversary of the Battle of Vinegar Hill went ahead at the Vinegar Hill Monument in the grounds of Castlebrook Memorial Park on March 5.

A plaque in memory of Tomas O'Gliasain, also known as Thomas Gleeson, was unveiled by his widow...

There have been destructive attacks on the homeless in the past year in Melbourne, but the vitriolic hate campaign and physical attacks on the street, and on squatters, has reached a deadly level: murder. 

Just before midnight on March 1, a cowardly arson attack set off a blazing fire at...

On March 7, Victoria became the first state in Australia to permanently ban hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), the dangerous process used to mine unconventional gas. This important victory sets the stage for other states to follow.

The Victorian government has also decided to extend the...

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has signed new work arrangements with Japanese energy giant Inpex covering the $34 billion Ichthys LNG project, off the north-west coast of Western Australia.

They include the implementation of a diversity program, the promotion of Australian crews...

Workers locked out of Parmalat's Echuca dairy processing plant since January 18 resoundingly rejected the factory's latest EBA offer.

The workers voted 67 to 1 against the unfair offer on March 3.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union food secretary Tom Hale said the deal failed...

More than 1000 early childhood educators walked off the job at 3.20pm on March 8 as part of a national action to protest gender pay inequality and a lack of government funding for the industry.

Dozens of childcare centres closed mid-afternoon to support the national campaign, which...

Thousands of unionists attended protests around the country on March 9 in opposition to the federal government's new building code, the reintroduction of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) and its planned penalty rate cuts.

The rallies were called by the CFMEU...

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) said it was prevented from conducting a safety inspection at a construction site at the giant Barangaroo project at Darling Harbour, where a 32-year-old worker was killed on March 1. Tim Macpherson, father of a young family, was crushed to death when a large...

The campaign against the NSW Coalition government's controversial WestConnex tollway is mounting. In addition to various locality groups maintaining their protests, a combined rally — “Grand Theft WestConnex — has been called outside NSW State Parliament on March 30 from 4.30pm.

The rally...

International News

“We were taken from Mosul to Syria. There were thousands of young girls and ISIS members in the ISIS centre we were taken to. Young girls were being raped here. Young girls were forcibly brought and savagely raped, then were made to marry [ISIS members]. Those who didn’t agree were tortured and...

WikiLeaks has published what it says is the largest leak of secret CIA documents in history. The thousands of documents published on March 6, dubbed “Vault 7”, describe CIA programs and tools that are capable of hacking into Apple and Android mobile phones.

By hacking into entire...

On March 8, women around the world gave themselves a day off — from the system.

Not that a woman’s work is ever done. But for one day, to mark the International Women’s Strike, women in dozens of cities in the United States and in more than 50 countries across the world redeployed their...

At the 28th Summit meeting of the African Union (AU) held in Ethiopia in January, Morocco’s readmission to the continental body generated heated discussion.

At the end of the day, the Kingdom of Morocco managed to win over sufficient member states to its side and it was allowed to join...

“Water is life!” was the cry heard throughout Washington, DC on March 10 as thousands of people marched for Indigenous rights and the sovereignty of native nations, Common Dreams said that day.

The Native Nations Rise march demonstrated that the fight against the Dakota Access...

President Donald Trump has signed a new executive order temporarily banning all refugees, as well as people from six majority-Muslim countries, from entering the United States, Democracy Now! said on March 7.

In contrast to the fanfare that accompanied Trump’s rollout of January’...

El Salvador’s ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) warned the US Embassy in San Salvador on February 27 to stop supporting the country’s right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party. 

Socialist FMLN leaders accused the US of meddling in the country’s affairs...

Workers in El Salvador won a big rise in the minimum wage on January 1 — in some cases doubling their pay.

But before they had time to celebrate, the multinational companies who thrive on the country’s still-low wages counterattacked with mass layoffs, judicial manoeuvres and a bid to...

Ecuador will return to the polls on April 2 after a first round presidential vote failed to deliver a decisive victory for Lenin Moreno, the candidate seeking to continue outgoing President Rafael Correa’s pro-poor “Citizens’ Revolution”.  

Moreno now faces the challenge of ensuring...

Monsanto, one of the world’s biggest pesticide and seed corporations and leading developer of genetically modified crop varieties, had a stock market value of US$66 billion in 2014. It has gained this position by a combination of deceit, threat, litigation, destruction of evidence, falsified...

Letter sent by Julian Assange to the XV Encounter of the Network of Intellectuals, Artists and Social Movements in Defence of Humanity, held in Caracas, Venezuela over March 6-7, 2017. Translated by Federico Fuentes and originally published at Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network.

...

Ian Hodson, national president of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union, explains why his union continues to support socialist Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, as the veteran left-winger faces fresh calls to resign over his alleged “unelectability”. It is abridged from Red Pepper...

“History has been made in the Assembly election,” wrote John Hedges, editor of Irish republican newspaper An Phoblacht on the outcome of Northern Ireland’s March 2 elections to the Stormont Assembly in the six counties of Ireland still claimed by Britain.

“Unionism has been shaken to its...

Quito-based research institute, the International Centre for Advanced Studies in Communications for Latin America (CIESPAL), has decided against renewing its contract with the British security company G4S after meeting with BDS activists who informed it about G4S’s complicity with Israeli...

Women were striking, protesting, and rallying for their rights across the United States and around the world on March 8 in honor of International Women's Day.

The US strike, known as "A Day Without a Woman" and organised in solidarity with an international strike, invovled women across...

Comment and Analysis

Generating electricity using renewable energy is now cheaper than using fossil fuels, but mining companies, banks and governments in Australia continue to invest significantly more in coal, oil and gas than wind and solar. 

A study by Market Forces shows Australia’s big four...

"Former NSW Premier Mike Baird has enthusiastically accepted a job at the National Australia Bank as chief customer officer, in order to spend less time with his family," The Chaser revealed on February 28.

"Baird has reported an exhausting five weeks spending quality time with...

Trevor Grant passed away on March 6, after a long battle with asbestos-caused mesothelioma.

Trevor was well known as a sports reporter, particularly for his reporting on AFL, for many Melbourne newspapers. While the mainstream media has focused on that aspect of his life, what was not...

With the passage of the Climate Change Act (CCA) that mandates a target of zero net emissions by 2050, Victoria is formally in the leadership among state and federal governments. 

If the response of Victoria’s climate denying Coalition opposition is anything to go by, the...

Jesse Lee* is organising the Sydney leg of the March in March protest on March 25. She lives in Sydney’s west and is the primary carer for one of her children. She has first-hand experience of the welfare cuts and the vagaries of the disability support scheme. 

Lee put her hand up to...

A large commercial beekeeper in Darlington Point in the Riverina, southern NSW, has been forced to pack up and move after hundreds of beehives were devastated by pesticide-drift from nearby cotton farms. It is thought the bees died due to the spraying of neonicotinoid insecticides.

The...

There’s a new bogey man on the block.

It is credited with the rise of brazenly crude figures such as Donald Trump and Pauline Hanson. It is behind outrageous-sounding propositions like Safe Schools, anti-discrimination laws and gender equality. It is running around Melbourne, putting a...

In January, the Socialist Alliance decided to embrace animal rights when it adopted a new animal welfare policy.

The Socialist Alliance has the twin aims of fighting the capitalist system and pursuing freedom from all forms of oppression. The animal welfare policy continues that goal in...

The public debate over the problems of electricity supply displays a curious disconnect. On the one hand, there is virtually universal agreement that the system is in crisis. After 25 years, the promised outcomes of reform in the electricity industry — cheaper and more reliable electricity,...

Resistance!

A study by student advocacy group End Rape on Campus has revealed the systemic failure of some of Australia’s highest ranking universities to deal with rape and sexual harassment allegations.

Over the past five years, more than 500 complaints of sexual assault — including 145 complaints...

Cultural Dissent

The scene is one as old as the long history of the Middle East. A child mixes straw and dung to light a fire, some of the straw on his knee. His face is obscured by a beanie so that this child ­– not an infant but still young – could be any child.

Behind the child is a wall. Such...

Fans from Western Sydney Wanderers A-League football (soccer) team distributed hundreds of rainbow flags to those attending the club’s March 5 match against Adelaide United.

After a call for donations of rainbow flags to distribute on the night, which coincided with Sydney’s Mardi Gras...

Professional football players became one more sector to hold strikes in Argentina amid a struggling economy and harsh austerity measures imposed by right-wing President Mauricio Macri when matches were cancelled early this month over ongoing pay disputes.

Several clubs have been unable to...

“I just don’t see how I could be living an honest, truthful life and have that in the background,” said My-King Johnson, the first openly gay recruit in major conference American college football (grid iron) on his sexuality.

Johnson, who will play for the Arizona Wildcats, came out to...

“Every 11 minutes, a woman is being raped,” read a shirt worn by Brazilian football team El Cruzeiro on International Women’s Day on March 8.

The team wore T-shirts highlighting the many issues that women in the South American country still face on a daily basis.

Other slogans on...

“I’d like to call bullshit.” So declared Melissa Barbieri, a former captain of Australian women’s football (soccer) team the Matildas, in a March 9 op-ed at SBS.com.au on the symbolic support for women’s rights offered by sporting clubs and bodies on International Women’s Day.

“There is...