Delegates to the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) National Council, the union’s annual conference, condemned Murdoch University and Victoria University managements’ anti-union attacks and called for enterprise agreements to be terminated only where workers and unions agree.
Major corporations and multinational companies are dodging up to $3.5 billion in company tax every year, according to new figures released by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on October 11. After audit checks by the ATO, this figure could be reduced to $2.5 billion.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has condemned the federal Coalition government for allowing multinational company Serco to operate a Centrelink call centre, saying the move will put thousands of vulnerable people at risk.
Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has announced Serco subsidiary Serco Citizen Services will begin operating a Centrelink call centre in Melbourne within weeks, with 250 full-time equivalent staff.
Electricians working on the Sydney Opera House renovation scored a win on October 9 after they stopped work over asbestos on site. SafeWork NSW issued a Prohibition Notice to builder Laing O'Rourke banning work on ceilings where friable asbestos was identified.
It ordered the main contractor Downer to conduct an independent inspection of the site.
This meets the demands raised by Electrical Trades Union (ETU) members who walked off the job on October 6.
ETU organiser Stewart Edward said the victory came because of strong collective action by union members.
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is prosecuting a case under the Horticultural Award, which could have wide implications for piece rates — where a worker is paid for the units produced or actions performed rather than an hourly rate.
The case centres on the alleged underpayment of more than 400 mushroom pickers at a farm south of Brisbane in 2014.
FWO said under the Horticulture Award 2010 a piece rate should allow a worker to earn at least the minimum hourly rate plus 15%.
The Federal Court has dismissed a legal challenge by United Voice and the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) to the Fair Work Commission's (FWC) decision to cut penalty rates for pharmacy, hospitality, retail and fast food workers.
The court found on October 11 that the commission met its legal obligations when it decided in February to cut Sunday and public holiday penalty rates for full- and part-time workers.
A powerful gathering of Indigenous leaders and community members from across the Northern Territory marched together in the remote town of Elliott on October 7.
The gathering — Kudij Karrilyi: Stand Strong for Country — pledged to ensure the region’s land, water and culture are kept strong and healthy for future generations to enjoy.
They were there to highlight the underground and surface water connections in the Beetaloo gas basin, an area spanning about one-third of the Northern Territory, which has been targeted for hydraulic fracturing gasfield development.
An individual risks a $44,000 fine for unauthorised access to Sydney’s water catchments. But the NSW Coalition government has just rammed through a new law allowing Centennial Coal to continue to pollute one of the main waterways in the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment, which supplies water to 4 million people in western Sydney.
Aboriginal activist Dylan Voller could be charged with breaching his parole for taking part in a peaceful demonstration. On September 29, police in Alice Springs arrested Dylan and his mother Joanne Voller, among others, at a peaceful demonstration calling for youth prisons to be shut and justice for victims of Aboriginal deaths in custody.
New polling released on October 7 shows most Australians oppose Adani’s proposed Carmichael coalmine and an even bigger majority are against the company receiving a $1 billion federal loan through the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility.
The Queensland parliament has given its stamp of approval to another corporatisation measure for universities on October 10. A new law reduces staff and student representation on university councils or senates and changes other parts of the seven universities’ power structures in favour of management.
University managements, headed by their vice-chancellors, have been pushing for years for their governing bodies to have less staff and student representation. These are the elected members of the councils.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has been referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) by Greens MP Jamie Parker over her 2012 decision to grant a 20-year lease extension on government-owned land in Leichhardt without going to public tender.
Anti-motorway community group Leichhardt Against WestConnex (LAW) has demanded that negotiations to buy the contentious Dan Murphy’s bottleshop site in Darley Road for use as a mid-tunnel dive site for the WestConnex M4-M5 Link must stop until details of its lease to a private company are independently examined.
Thousands of people converged on more than 40 sites around Australia on October 7 to make human signs spelling out “Stop Adani”.
The National Day of Action was called by the Stop Adani Alliance, a national grouping of large environmental NGOs. But what made it happen on the ground were the many grassroots groups that had been organising in their local communities to build the mass movement needed to combat climate change.
After more than four years of systemic torture, six deaths and the Papua New Guinea Supreme court ruling its presence unconstitutional, Manus Island detention centre and the fate of the several hundred men in it, is coming to a head.
The Australian government is ramping up its efforts to close the centre by the end of October, demolishing the centre around the several hundred men it is leaving stranded on Manus Island.
Poverty is everywhere — in cities, towns and the bush across Australia: shivering people sleeping in doorways or cars; ragged people hanging around shopping centres begging for money or food; overstretched private welfare agencies unable to meet the requests for assistance; people turned away from emergency accommodation; and abused women and children turned away from refuges.
But those are only the most visible signs of poverty. The true extent of the poverty crisis is hidden.
While the marriage equality campaign is currently focused on maximising a Yes response in the national survey, supporters of marriage equality and of LGBTI rights more generally need to look beyond the horizon of the survey itself.
This is because a majority Yes in the survey will not definitively resolve the question of marriage equality and because there are many other challenges facing the LGBTI community, particularly around legal rights.
Ahead of to the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference, Australia’s Big Four banks made public commitments to take action on climate change.
The decision by state and territory leaders at the recent Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting to give the federal government real time access to data, including driver's licences, is the latest measure likely to undermine civil liberties in the government’s so-called war on terror.
Changes to Victoria’s rental laws have been described by campaign group Make Renting Fair as “a significant step in the right direction”. However, spokesperson Mark O’Brien said more changes are needed because the state still “lacks adequate safeguards against eviction”.
More than 50 community services, local governments and others have been working for nearly a year, under the Make Renting Fair banner, to push the government to change the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA).
Tony Abbott reckons a bit of global warming could be a good thing, especially if it comes with capitalist prosperity.
He’s checked a few pics of his local Manly Beach and has seen no signs of sea level rises (the islands that have already disappeared beneath the South Pacific being, conveniently, beyond the horizon).
A member of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) for the ruling Likud party, Anat Berko has presented Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with plans to change the status of 300,000 Palestinians in Jerusalem.
If implemented, Jerusalem would be formally divided and a group, similar in number to that of Wollongong would suddenly find itself stripped of permanent residency within Israel’s formal borders, as well as associated rights. The 300,000 would instead be considered residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territory of the West Bank.
Students and staff of Jaffna University rallied on October 4 in support of three Tamil prisoners who are on hunger strike.
The prisoners are accused of having been members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which fought for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka, until defeated in May 2009. The Sri Lankan government’s victory was accompanied by a genocidal massacre of tens of thousands of Tamil civilians.
Catalan Premier Carles Puigdemont officially declared an independent Catalan republic on October 10, only to announce a suspension in its implementation to allow for talks with Madrid.
The harsh reply of the conservative People’s Party (PP) government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy came two days later: abandon all thought of secession or see Catalan self-rule erased under article 155 of the Spanish constitution.
The approval ratings of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro rose to 23.2% at the end of September, according to a new poll conducted by private centre-right think tank Datanalisis.
The increase in the head of state’s popularity comes just weeks ahead of regional elections scheduled for October 15, when Venezuelans will choose their state governors for the next four years.
Workers in Venezuela are demonstrating what is possible when workers and communities take over the means of production.
Faced with a company shutdown and mass sacking, workers at the former Brahma beer factory in Barquisimeto, Lara state, occupied the factory in 2013. Today, the company is owned by the community, run by workers and geared towards meeting the need of local farmers and residents.
Canadian activist and writer Naomi Klein is the author of books that have helped define the thinking of the left for the past several decades.
Last month, Klein talked to Alan Maass about the whiplash pace of natural disasters and the unnatural factors that make them worse — and how we can fight back while working toward an alternative.
A common feature of the rallies that have taken place following Catalonia’s historic October 1 vote for independence has been the outpouring of support for Catalonia’s firefighters, who played a critical role in the lead up to and during the referendum.
Catalonia’s firefighters are now calling on firefighters around the world to support their cause.
Hundreds of thousands of workers, retirees and students joined a third day of strikes and protests across France on October 10. The protests are part of ongoing efforts by unions, left parties and progressive organisations to defeat attacks on workers and the public service by President Emmanuel Macron.
Protests were held in 140 cities and towns and drew 400,000 people into the streets.
At the centre of the day was a strike called by the nine union confederations active in France's public sector.
The Colombian National Police massacred between 8 and 16 people, and wounded more than 50, in the municipality of Tumaco, Narino on October 5. The attack was directed against protesting coca growing families demanding the government fulfil its commitments to voluntary eradication programs.
Then, on October 8, the National Police attacked an international team sent to investigate the massacre. The police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse representatives from the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and a journalist from the Colombian weekly, Semana.
The term “Green Revolution” refers to the introduction of high-yielding varieties of staple food crops, particularly wheat and rice, into Third World countries, starting in the 1960s. The stated aim was to raise food production to end hunger and prevent revolution.
An unstated secondary aim was to raise the penetration of agribusiness into the Third World. Profits could be made by selling the new varieties of seed and the fertilisers, pesticides and equipment that were indispensable to their success.
Ian Parker has a track record as an ecosocialist political activist in Britain. He is a committed but non-dogmatic Marxist and a psychoanalyst so, unsurprisingly, anything he writes is likely to be serious and challenging.
Despite a strong theoretical and academic background, however, Parker writes in a very engaging and interesting fashion.
Antonio Gramsci, one of the founders of the Italian Communist Party (PCI), suffered and died in Mussolini’s prison system. In jail, he wrote his famous Prison Notebooks — more than 3000 pages long — in which he theorised a unique revolutionary Marxist alternative to Stalinism.
About 250 people packed into Leichhardt Town Hall in Sydney on October 7 for the fifth annual Green Left Weekly comedy fundraiser — with this year’s event being the first all-women line up.
The theme, “Feminists Laugh Back”, comes in the context of the misogyny pushed from the White House to the mainstream media, while the all-women line-up comes in the context of the widely noted male-dominated nature of the comedy scene.
United States President Donald Trump has tried to focus the nation’s ire on anti-racist Black athletes. He tried to demonise them on the highest possible stage, calling for them to lose their jobs.
His transparent aim was to find a bogeyman to distract people from a cascade of scandal and failed legislation, and his administration’s disastrous response to the suffering in Puerto Rico.
Well, the results of this idiotic effort are in.
Sarah Hathway is a member of Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance and a social work student at Deakin University. She is running for the Socialist Alliance in the City of Greater Geelong council election with union activist Sue Bull. Sarah is a marriage equality activist and vice president of Geelong Rainbow.
Green Left Weekly’s Mia Sanders asked Sarah about the campaign.
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