Melbourne

Under the slogan “Australia needs a pay rise”, an estimated 170,000 trade union members and their supporters filled Melbourne’s CBD on October 23 for the Australian Council of Trade Unions-initiated Change the Rules rally.

More than 2000 young people and adults packed into Birrarung Marr Park on October 21 for a Children’s March for Nauru, to demand all refugees imprisoned on the Pacific island be resettled in Australia.

Chanting “nurture not torture” and “kids out, all out”, participants marched into the city.

They were prevented from occupying the Flinders Street and St Kilda Road intersection as planned by an intimidating police presence including mounted and riot cops.

The action was organised by the Artists’ Committee and Melbourne Youth with Refugees. 

There is a medical emergency on Nauru, where many physically and mentally ill refugees are being detained without proper medical treatment, according to Kathy, a refugee on the Pacific island.

"The new [Sri Lankan] government has made no substantial changes", Tamil National People’s Front leader Gajen Ponnambalam said when addressing a mainly Tamil audience in Melbourne on October 14.

Ponnambalam was referring to the government of President Maithripala Sirisena, who was elected in January 2015, replacing Mahinda Rajapaksa.

About a third of Victoria's firefighters have experienced bullying in the workplace and more than 95% believe that negative media coverage of their campaigns for new enterprise bargaining agreements had profoundly damaged workplace morale and led to "public aggression" and a "reluctance to disclose their occupation".

More than 150 local and public housing residents attended a forum organised by the Public Housing Defence Network at the Brunswick Town Hall on October 4.

The forum focused on the problems with the Victorian state government’s Public Housing Renewal Program and, in particular, the plight of residents from the Gronn Place estate in West Brunswick who have been forced to leave as a result of the estate’s sell-off to private developers.

Refugee advocates are campaigning to stop the deportation of Huyen Tran, a Vietnamese woman who fled her home country by boat due to religious persecution in 2011.

About 100 people attended an election forum on transport in the Moreland local council area with some candidates on September 27. The Victorian election is on November 24.

More than 1700 delegates from 40 unions attended a mass meeting at the Melbourne Convention Centre on September 25, where they voted to hold an all-unions march and rally next month. Present at the mass delegates meeting were unions covering workers in the health, construction, education, public, transport and manufacturing sectors, among others.

The Victorian road lobby is at it again. Fresh from being defeated on the East-West Link, the rent-seeking tollroad builders have been given a construction gift in the form of a massive new project in Melbourne’s east.

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