Sydney

The NSW Coalition government has brought down a budget designed to bedazzle NSW voters ahead of the 2019 March state election.

The Coalition’s election war chest is made up of a massive surplus from increases in revenue from Commonwealth grants, rising land taxes and the proceeds from the sale of state assets — boosted by the federal government’s Asset Recycling Scheme.

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has welcomed as a “victory for common sense” a Federal Court decision on June 21 to reject massive fines sought by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) over the Hutchison Ports dispute three years ago.

On August 6, 2015, Hutchison Ports Australia sacked 100 workers at its Port Botany terminal by text message the day before many were due to go on shift. The company then placed guards on the gates and workers were not even allowed to clear out their lockers.

The Sydney University branch of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) held a forum on campus on June 13 to discuss how to organise to rewin the right to strike.

Professor John Buchanan, from the University of Sydney Business School, told the forum: "The current Fair Work Act (FWA), introduced by the previous Labor government, is the second worst industrial relations legislation in Australian history, after John Howard's Work Choices.

More than 100 members of unions, aid and development organisations, health, environment and other groups rallied in Sydney on June 15 outside the Federal Parliament's Joint Standing Committee public hearing on the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)-11 trade agreement. The rally was organised by the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET).

Irene Doutney, a tireless campaigner for the downtrodden, laid down her warrior gloves on June 11.

She fought her last herculean battle against cancer and passed away at the Sacred Heart Hospice, Darlinghurst, having outlived doctors’ expectations while being cared for by a loyal friend in her Redfern public housing apartment.

When I moved to Sydney, in even the most dreadful of weather, Irene was always at rallies. Against the war, protesting for refugees, demanding justice for TJ Hickey, for marriage equality: Irene was always there.

Supporters of safe access zones at abortion clinics are celebrating after the NSW Parliament voted for such zones in the early hours of June 8.

Supporters of equality will be surprised to learn that of three motions supporting abortion rights scheduled for debate at the NSW state Labor conference June 30-July 1, party officials are recommending that two be rejected and the third be sent off for further consideration.

Activist group No WestConnex: Public Transport not Motorways (NOW PT) has called for a halt to the tender and construction processes for WestConnex, including the acquisition of homes and businesses for all stages of the project and demanded the NSW government conduct a full parliamentary inquiry into WestConnex.

Unionists marching down the street carrying banners and flags.

About 700 members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and other unions gathered at Sydney Town Hall on May 29, and marched to the offices of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) where a lively rally was held calling for an end to laws limiting the right to strike.

The action was organised around demands for the right to organise, right to strike and right to live.

The Save Our Sirius (SOS) group campaigning against the New South Wales government's decision to sell off the historic Sirius public housing building has warned potential buyers against proceeding with the purchase.

The NSW Coalition government announced on May 25 it had put the now-vacant building onto the market. Media reports suggest the government is expecting to sell Sirius for upwards of $120 million.

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