Victorian Socialists launch in Western Victoria

More than 70 people packed Geelong Trades Hall (GTH) on September 13 to launch the Victorian Socialists campaign for the Western Victoria Region Legislative Council electorate.

Former GTH secretary Tim Gooden heads the Victorian Socialists’ ticket for the November state election, with life-long feminist and unionist Nada Iskra second.

Sarah Hathway, a community activist and union organiser, is also running for the Victorian Socialists in the Legislative Assembly seat of Geelong.

Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association Secretary Craig McGregor described the Victorian Socialists project as “significant”. The left regroupment is “the most important aspect”, he said, adding that it had “absolutely invigorated me, like nothing else has in a number of years.”

“This project has socialism right at the heart of it,” McGregor said. “There is no shame in saying that we are a socialist organisation and that we want a socialist society.”

Farmers: ‘Don’t pray for rain, take action on climate change’

We don’t need to pray for rain, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison has suggested, we need to take serious climate action now, was the blunt message farmers delivered to federal parliament on September 10. 

The farmers said the drought gripping NSW and Queensland had to be a wake-up call for politicians to take climate change seriously.

They also raised concerns that the Coalition government is attempting to stymie the development of wind power, which provides income for farmers and rural communities when agricultural income falls.

Charlie Prell, a sheep farmer from Crookwell and deputy chair of Farmers for Climate Action, which organised the action, said: “Our country is locked in drought, yet elected leaders are still fiddling and pretending climate change isn’t happening.”

Alcoa strike enters new stage as company seeks to terminate agreement

An indefinite strike by 1600 Alcoa workers in Western Australia that began on August 8 has entered a new stage with the start of a Fair Work Commission (FWC) hearing in which the company is seeking to terminate the existing enterprise agreement. If the company's move is successful, workers at the multi-billion dollar company’s aluminium refineries and bauxite mines would be forced onto an inferior agreement that offers no job security and a possible wage cut of up to 50%.

Timorese present 10-metre-long petition to Australian embassy protesting prosecution of whistleblowers

Activists from the Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea (MKOTT) delivered a 10-metre-long banner covered with the signatures of 1300 Timorese to the Australian embassy in Dili on September 16. The signatures were collected in protest at the Australian government's persecution of former spy Witness K and his lawyer Bernard Collaery, for allegedly blowing the whistle on the 2004 bugging of Timor-Leste Cabinet offices by the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS).

Following Lana Del Ray, Of Montreal pull out of Israel festival, call for protests against Israeli crimes

With a bold call for protests against Israel’s crimes of apartheid, US-based pop band Of Montreal has dropped out of Israel’s Meteor Festival on September 4, just days before it was set to begin.

This follows the cancellation by headliner Lana Del Rey, who nixed her performance on August 31.

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