The federal government said on February 23 it would introduce several changes to the 457 temporary visa program, to take effect from July. The proposals were applauded by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and criticised by big business. The 457 visa system is a highly exploitative, insecure and discriminatory visa system, originally introduced under the former John Howard government. Once elected, the ALP kept the visa class in place as a favour to big business, tinkering with it rather than abolishing it in favour of strengthening permanent skilled migration.
It has been a colossal past year for women’s rights, with global and local attention flaring across a range of horrific individual tragedies and broader issues, including sexual assault and violence against women, the ongoing gendered disparity in income, and the debate on misogyny. In Melbourne, Jill Meagher’s abduction and murder lead to about 30,000 people rallying in Brunswick, while the Reclaim the Night march drew a crowd of 5000 people to Sydney Road in a huge public declaration that “Enough is enough”.
Air pollution is an emerging environmental issue in the big cities of Pakistan. Dust and smoke particles in Pakistan are generally twice the world average and five times higher than in the developed world. Though some of the pollution comes from natural sources, most is the result of human activities. The biggest causes are fossil fuel-burning power plants and cars. Combined, these two sources are responsible for about 90% of all air pollution. The most serious issue relating to air pollution in Pakistan is the presence of excessive suspended particulates matter (SPM).