Many Victorians had hoped the election of a state Labor government signaled an end to the East West Link and the dawn of a new age of public transport projects, with the Andrews government committing to start building the $11 billion Metro Rail Project in 2018. Now, federal Liberal MPs from Melbourne’s outer east are trying to resuscitate the East West Link. On August 8 they held a small rally with the demand “Build the Link”.
In what has become a typical pattern by employers, Woolworths sent a text message to the 680 workers at its distribution centre in Broadmeadows on June 9 to inform them that the warehouse would be closed down in 2018.
Woolworths’ decision that all new employees at its Melbourne Liquor Distribution Centre (MLDC) will be labour hire casuals has sparked an indefinite strike.
Victoria Police announced on August 6 they had arrested and charged a 38-year-old man in connection with death threats made against Socialist Party councillor Steve Jolly, from Yarra Council in Melbourne’s inner north. The threats referred to Jolly’s prominent role in mobilisations countering the far right Islamophobic groups Reclaim Australia and United Patriots Front (UPF).
Esso has locked out maintenance workers from its oil and gas plants in Victoria and its offshore platforms in Bass Strait. The move is part of an enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) dispute with members of the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and the Australian Workers Union (AWU). Unions had imposed bans on overtime and call-outs as part of their campaign against Esso’s proposed changes to pay and conditions. The lockouts affect the Longford gas plant, Long Island Point and Esso's oil and gas plants in Bass Strait.
On July 26 more than 150 activists from around the country met in Melbourne for the National Refugee Rights Conference, hosted by the Refugee Action Collective (Victoria). Many of the participants had attended the protest outside the ALP national conference the day before, and inevitably discussion revolved around the decision of the majority of delegates to reject an explicit ban on refugee boat "turn backs" which paves the way for Labor to once again follow Coalition policy.
There has been a wave of support for famous Sydney Swans footballer Adam Goodes in the face of the racist torrent that has been directed at him. At the same time as people are expressing their solidarity with Goodes, right-wing commentators such as Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine and Alan Jones are doing their best to stoke the racism, by denying that Goodes has been subjected to racist booing.
The Whistleblowers , Activists and Citizens’ Alliance released this statement on July 25. * * * Refugee supporters broke through security barriers at the ALP conference today, dropping a banner reading “No refugee tow-backs” and wearing shirts saying “turn back the votes” in opposition to Labor's boat turn-back policy.
Protests against coal, for real action on climate change, for the rights of refugees and for a binding vote in support of equal marriage rights took place outside the ALP conference in Melbourne on July 25.
The Melbourne Street Medic Collective released this statement on July 19. * * * On July 18, first aiders and medical professionals working as part of the Melbourne Street Medic Collective provided medical support to anti-racist/fascist protesters at the Rally Against Racism near the Victorian Parliament. During the course of this rally, officers from Victoria Police deployed chemical weapons in the form of OC (pepper) spray against the crowd. As a result several people required urgent medical attention and eventually hospitalisation, directly as a result of exposure to the spray.
Photo: Ali Bakhtiarvandi. A planned show of strength by racists and neo-Nazis in Melbourne backfired when once again far-right protesters were outnumbered 20 to one on July 18.
Scandal has erupted in Victoria as GDF Suez, the majority owner of the Hazelwood coal-fired power station, refuses to pay an $18 million bill to the Country Fire Authority. The bill is for the firefighting effort at last year's coalmine fire that blanketed local towns with soot and smoke for 45 days.