Ballarat

More than 80 people braved Ballarat’s winter weather to demand an end to institutionalised discrimination against LGBTIQ couples. Ballarat’s Equal Love rally featured several speakers, including Equal Love (Ballarat) convener Koby Bunney. “Love is love and it always wins,” he said at the end of a march from Bakery Hill to Ballarat Town Hall. People were moved to hear from several couples whose relationships are not recognised by Australian law. Many voiced their frustration that while couples in Ireland and the US could now choose to get married, this was not yet the case in Australia.
A prime opportunity for the TAFE campaign to give voice to community opposition to the TAFE cuts came on September 6. Victoria's Upper House of parliament was sitting in Bendigo and its Lower House was at the University of Ballarat.
The Victorian state government has begun a neoliberal experiment with the Victorian public as its guinea pigs. After the Jeff Kennett-led Coalition state government in the 1990s privatised electricity, gas, public transport, roads, prisons, prisoner transport and much else, one of the few things left to be privatised is vocational education. Job losses of 2000 permanent workers have been reported. However, adding all sessional teachers who won't have their contracts renewed, the number who will lose their job tallies to about 10,000, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) says.
Workers from the Australian Services Union (ASU) and the Australian Nurses Federation (ANF) stopped work for the second time in a week to protest outside Ballarat city hall. The second protest coincided with a visit from Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu on April 15. However, Baillieu did not turn up while the workers were protesting, delaying the scheduled event for 90 minutes. The ASU and the ANF have been locked in negotiations with the Ballarat City Council for more than 12 months for a new enterprise agreement and wage rises. Workers last received a pay rise in July 2009.
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