Issue 1213

News

Mozhgan Moaref, a co-founder of the Refugees and Asylum Seekers Information Centre in Jakarta, spoke by video link to a Refugee Action Collective forum on refugees in Indonesia.

Residents gathered in leafy Buruwan Park in Annandale on March 4 to protest the park’s destruction by NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) as part of the controversial $17 billion WestConnex tollway network.

Satellite imaging analysis released for the first time on March 13 shows much greater ground settlement and potential property damage from WestConnex tunnelling than predicted by the NSW Coalition government and the environmental impacts statements for the project.

The latest Newspoll for the NSW elections on March 23 has Labor and the Coalition neck and neck. A Coalition or Labor minority government dependent on crossbench support is considered to be likely by the pundits.

On top of that, with a plethora of right-wing micro-parties contesting in the upper house, only the tightest preferences between more progressive candidates will stop the right gaining more ground in the Legislative Council (upper house).

A flavour for the trans-inclusive, sex worker inclusive International Working Women's Day march in Brisbane 9 March 2019.

"The family just want the truth to come out," Leetona Dungay told supporters and the media outside the New Coroners Court on March 4. Dungay is the mother of Aboriginal man David Dungay Jnr, who died in Long Bay Jail as a result of assault by prison guards in 2015.

Members of the Dungay family and supporters had gathered at the entrance to the court to express solidarity with Leetona in her quest for justice from the NSW legal system at the coroner's inquiry beginning that day.

About 80 people attended a rally called by the Refugee Action Collective on March 2 to protest against the Australian government's plan to reopen the detention centre on Christmas Island and send refugees from Manus Island and Nauru there.

Workers on the Sydney Harbour ferries that have been privatised went on strike for two hours on March 6. The strike involved workers on the NRMA-owned My Fast Ferry and Fantasea Cruising.  

While the company brought in non-union skippers, all Fast Ferry services between Manly and Circular Quay were stopped by the strike and picket.

Analysis

The ABC 4 Corners program “Pumped”, which screened on July 24, 2017, showed that far from saving the river system, the implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan has created a financial windfall for a select few.

On International Women’s Day, March 8, 57 countries signed on to a United Nations’ statement calling for universal sexual and reproductive healthcare, including access to safe abortions, and comprehensive sexuality education.

Australia was not one of the signatories.

In an interview with Sky News on March 8, finance minister Matthias Cormann said, “The whole reason why it is important to have flexibility in the labour market … is … to ensure that wages can adjust in the context of economic conditions, is to avoid massive spikes in unemployment … That is a deliberate design feature of our economic architecture.”

The split in the grassroots women’s liberation movement was on display when two rallies to mark International Women’s Day (IWD) were held on March 9. Each attracted around 100 people.

Labor leaflets in Summer Hill and Balmain are attempting to allay the fears of residents concerned about the Western Harbour Tunnel (WHT).

A recent City Hub article outlined a scenario in which at some point after the election Labor would do a back flip on their election promise to oppose the WHT.

Well, it appears we did not have to wait that long.

Is anything really going to change in NSW on March 23?

Let’s assume Glad the Impaler [NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian] gets up and we are subjected to another four years of the Coalition’s neo-conservative brutality.

Everything that hasn’t already been sold is then put up for sale, forgoing any pretence of morality or acting in the public good. Public assets segue into private property.

The entire state becomes a private entity, run purely for profit — even the prisons.

The synergy of China appearing to restrict the import of Australian coal with the world’s largest coal exporter and commodity trader Glencore capping production to current levels has been heralded by many as a victory for the movement for action on climate change. While significant, these decisions could owe as much to the operation of market forces and geopolitics as to a desire to comply with the Paris climate accords.

World

As Yemen faces the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, a major new report has documented the role that the United States and Europe have played in the deaths of hundreds of civilians in the Saudi- and UAE-led war on Yemen.

According to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), an additional 650 Indonesian commandos were deployed along with an extra 2000 troops on March 12 to the Central Highlands of West Papua to fight the West Papua National Liberation Army.

The Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) contested the Semenyih by-election in the state seat of Selangor on March 2. Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Zakaria Hanafi defeated Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate Muhammad Aiman Zainali. Green Left Weekly’s Alex Salmon spoke to PSM’s campaign media coordinator Nalini Elumalai about the campaign and result.

An electricity blackout has affected most of Venezuela for several days after an alleged cyber attack crashed the country’s main electricity generator, the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant in Bolivar State, commonly known as the Guri Dam.

One month after declaring himself the “legitimate president of Venezuela”, Juan Guaidó attempted to provoke a crisis on February 23 by forcing United States' humanitarian aid across the Venezuela-Colombia border. Here Elisa Trunzo asked Jose Curiel for his account of what happened at the border that day.

Sibylle Kaczorek, a member of Socialist Alliance and the Left Party, addressed the International Women's day rally in Berlin on behalf of Stand Up Against Racism (Aufstehen gegen Rassismus).

Chelsea Manning, a transgender soldier who blew the whistle on United States war crimes and spent four years in an army stockade, is back in prison because she refuses to join a bipartisan campaign against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, writes Barry Sheppard.

On March 14, 2018 in the centre of Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro, two gunmen in a car murdered Municipal Chamber Councilor Marielle Franco and her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes. Unlike most of the city’s political leaders, Marielle came from Rio’s favelas. And many of the favelas’ millions of marginalised and mostly black residents saw her as their champion.

Culture

The Club: How the Premier League Became the Richest, Most Disruptive Business in Sport|
Joshua Robinson & Jonathan Clegg
John Murray Publishing, 2019
338 pages

If football is a simple game (get the ball, pass the ball), then the football business is even simpler (buy the best players, bank the profits).

United States football (soccer) players filed a federal gender discrimination lawsuit on International Women’s Day on March 8 seeking pay equal to that of their male counterparts.

The action comes just three months before the women’s national team will defend its title at the Women’s World Cup.

The class-action lawsuit was filed today in a Los Angeles federal court under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. It alleges gender-based discrimination by the US Football Federation.

When world football executives receive FIFA’s annual report this year, they will see that US$753,000 is funding a women’s league in Colombia, $588,197 is helping female players in New Zealand and girls in Botswana are benefiting from $341,600.

That’s merely a snapshot of the $270.3 million that football’s world governing body has invested in projects between 2016 and 2018.

Four years since police raided the hotel and offices of football officials and FIFA’s Zurich headquarters in 2015 in a scandal that threatened the organisation’s existence, FIFA is awash with cash.