Activist group No WestConnex: Public Transport not Motorways (NOW PT) has called for a halt to the tender and construction processes for WestConnex, including the acquisition of homes and businesses for all stages of the project and demanded the NSW government conduct a full parliamentary inquiry into WestConnex.
Refugee activists in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney held protest vigils for Salim Kyawmin, an elderly Rohingya man who died on Manus Island on May 22. The largest action was in Melbourne where 200 people occupied the streets for a short, time stopping traffic. In Perth refugee activists occupied the department of Immigration, making flowers and in Brisbane a protest was held in front of Peter Duttons office.
About 700 members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and other unions gathered at Sydney Town Hall on May 29, and marched to the offices of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) where a lively rally was held calling for an end to laws limiting the right to strike.
The action was organised around demands for the right to organise, right to strike and right to live.
On the 20th anniversary of Sorry Day, May 26, a day to remember the forced removal of First Nations' children from their families that became known as the Stolen Generations, a delegation of First Nations' grandmothers marched on Parliament House chanting "Bring our children home".
Rather than being a landmark for progress and reconciliation the delegation of Grandmothers said that 20 years on, the situation has only worsened.
The Save Our Sirius (SOS) group campaigning against the New South Wales government's decision to sell off the historic Sirius public housing building has warned potential buyers against proceeding with the purchase.
The NSW Coalition government announced on May 25 it had put the now-vacant building onto the market. Media reports suggest the government is expecting to sell Sirius for upwards of $120 million.
The Independent Planning Commission of NSW hosted a meeting on May 14 at Rooty Hill RSL to give residents (and politicians) a chance to express their views on the proposed Energy from Waste Facility at Eastern Creek.
Of the 28 politicians and residents who made submissions at the meeting, 27 were strongly against building the incinerator. The one submission supporting the incinerator was by a representative of the incinerator’s owner Next Generation NSW, who gave a very professional presentation on the desirability of building the incinerator.
A public housing rally on May 26 attracted about 200 people to the Walker Street estate in Northcote, one of the many estates threatened with a “renewal” program that will lead to much of the land being privatised with no certainty of return for current residents.
One of the most exciting developments in Melbourne recently was the launch on May 21of Hospo Voice, a new union for hospitality workers, initiated by United Voice.
Host of the event James Lea said he joined Hospo Voice last year when he was offered a job at Bar Americano for $21 an hour flat rate, no penalties.
He had a meeting with the owner of Bar Americano where he was told that “penalty rates don’t exist in Victoria anymore.”
The Global Day of Action for Women's Health was on May 28. Around the world, the preceding week was punctuated by significant actions for abortion rights.
The most significant was the resounding Yes vote in the May 25 Irish referendum on removing the ban on abortion from the constitution. This gave a shot in the arm to the campaign for abortion rights in the six counties of Northern Ireland, where the anti-abortion provisions of British Offences Against the Person Act from 1861 remain in force.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is the highest-paid leader in the entire Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), according to a recent report.
Analysis by market research group IG also showed Turnbull earns up to 10 times the average Australian wage — the second-highest disparity with the majority of ordinary workers among OECD countries.
The Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) held its state conference over the weekend of May 26 and 27.
The conference was held amid rising tensions within the Victorian ALP; with several prominent unions including the Construction, Forestry, Mining, Maritime and Energy Union (CFMMEU) splitting from the Socialist Left to form the new “Centre Unity and Industrial Left Alliance” faction with a number of right-wing unions including the Australian Workers Union (AWU).
"Old fashions please me best; I am not so nice To change true rules for odd inventions."
William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, 1593.
On May 21 Australian Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt introduced a small but potentially significant private member's bill into the House of Representatives.
The North Coast Environment Council (NCEC) has accused the NSW government of trying to keep the public in the dark about its proposals for logging on public land. The proposals include opening state forests to increased logging, zoning 140,000 hectares for clearfelling, removing the need to look for and protect most threatened species before logging, reducing stream buffers and allowing logging in old growth forest.
There were mixed results in the recent Greens NSW Legislative Council preselections. But, that in itself represents a revival in the fortunes of the more radical (or red-ish) Greens who have suffered a series of losses in such ballots over the past two years. Those losses were welcome news to the self-styled “mainstream progressives” (or centrists) who lead the Australian Greens and have long chaffed at the presence of Corbyn-like elements in the Greens NSW. Now, writes former convenor of NSW Greens Hall Greenland, that losing trend is over.
While the architect of Australia’s detention system Liberal Senator Jim Molan was rehearsing his lines to promote this cruel system on ABC’s Q&A, a woman was arrested for the crime of standing outside and peacefully holding a banner reading “Close the Camps, Bring Them Here”.
Just under two years ago, people gathered in the Victorian State Library to launch the Home Stretch campaign, which calls on all state governments to raise the age a young person can remain in a care placement from 18 to 21 years.
Home Stretch came together because there had been too many young people who, having been cared for and looked after by the state, were cast adrift at the tender age of 15–17, with all formal support ending.
Hundreds of people attended an International Seminar on Marxism and Socialism in Kathmandu over May 30-31 to commemorate 200 years since the birth of Karl Marx. Representatives of 23 socialist parties from 17 countries attended.
The results of Colombia’s May 27 presidential election confirmed that a run-off election between Gustavo Petro and Ivan Duque will be required to decide the country’s newest leader. The election is set for June 17.
Ivan Duque, former president Alvaro Uribe's protégée and candidate for the right-wing Grand Alliance for Colombia, ended with 39.14%. Centre-left ex-mayor of Bogota Gustavo Petro, running for the List of Decency coalition, won 25.09%.
The centre-left candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (or AMLO, as he is commonly known) has widened his lead and is now 26 points ahead of his nearest rival, the right-wing Ricardo Anaya, for the upcoming July 1 presidential elections in Mexico.
In an opinion poll carried out by the popular newspaper Reforma, the candidate and head of the National Renewal Movement (Morena) got 52% of the vote intention.
The same poll showed that Morena will probably be the biggest minority in the House of Representatives, polling at 42%.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro responded rapidly to the European Union’s proposal to impose further sanctions on top government officials following the May 20 presidential and state council elections. The 28-country bloc alleges the vote failed to comply with "minimal democratic standards".
Maduro, who won the presidential election by a landslide despite low voter participation, said on May 28: "This is the European Union that arrogantly wants to put its nose in Venezuela's business." He added, "Enough of this old colonialism."
1968 was one of those extraordinary years when millions of people were involved in trying to change the world for the better. Hall Greenland writes that the year's most compelling events took place in May and June on the streets of France.
Thousands of women marched across Italy on May 26 to mark the anniversary of Italy’s 194 Law, which passed in 1978 and legalised abortion in the country.
As the results of the Irish abortion referendum were announced on May 26, registering a big win for repealing a constitutional ban on abortion, scenes of celebration were shared around the world, writes Kamala Emanuel.
The world is looking the other way as Turkey plans to build on its successful occupation of Afrîn to expand its power with a new round of ethnic cleansing, John Tully writes.
Palestinians are welcoming the news that Shakira will not play in Tel Aviv in July, as previously announced.
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), said Shakira’s decision dashes Israel’s hopes “to use her name to art-wash its latest massacre in Gaza”.
Palestinians injured by Israeli army gunfire during recent peaceful protests sought to break Israel’s illegal maritime blockade of the territory by sailing out to sea on May 30.
While the May 14 massacre of protesters by Israeli snipers was occurring in Gaza, United States President Donald Trump was symbolically opening the US Embassy in Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was there, heaping praise on Trump.
There were also two pastors present, one to give the opening prayer, the other the closing one. Both pastors were from the extreme rightist, white Christian evangelical community and are well known for their outspoken anti-Semitism and support for Israel.
“Sexual education to decide, birth control to not abort, legal abortion to not die!” For over a decade, this has been the rallying cry behind Argentina’s National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe, and Free Abortion, and for the first time it seems like it may become a reality.
Thousands of people flooded the streets of France to demonstrate against President Emmanuel Macron’s economic reforms on May 27. "In the name of the poor, the humiliated, the homeless and the jobless, we are telling you, 'Enough, enough of this world'," leader of the left-wing France Unbowed party, Jean-Luc Melenchon, said.
Ireland's historic abortion vote has fuelled calls for reform in the island's North, with Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald saying it was time for the six counties to adopt the same legislation. The six counties that make up the Northern Ireland statelet are still controlled by Britain, although British laws governing abortion does not apply and abortion remains illegal.
Melbourne’s 3CR Community Radio will run its annual Radiothon over June 4-17 to keep its radical voice broadcasting.
“Fight for Your Mic” is the rallying cry for this year’s fundraiser, and it’s shows like Blaknoise Radio that will ask listeners to dig deep to support the station.
David Bradbury is an iconic left-wing filmmaker who has been at the forefront of telling the stories of people fighting against injustice and oppression for the past four decades.