'SBS: Don’t screen Eurovision 2019 in Israel’

Protesters gathered outside the SBS offices in Artarmon on November 15 to urge the national multicultural broadcaster not to screen Eurovision 2019, which will be held in Israel.

They handed out leaflets to SBS staff that read: “We love SBS and we love Eurovision, but is a song contest worth more than human rights? Are advertising dollars worth more than international law?

“We can’t celebrate Eurovision in Israel while the Israeli government enforces apartheid and ongoing human rights abuses against Palestinians.

“Just like the campaign that ended apartheid in South Africa, your international solidarity is vital.

“In every Eurovision participant country, campaigners are working in solidarity with the struggle of Palestinians for their human rights and the upholding of international law.

Centrelink’s privatised call centres a disaster, survey finds

The disaster caused by the federal government’s policy of privatising Centrelink call centres work has been underlined by the results of a survey of Department of Human Services (DHS) staff.

The government has outsourced 2750 call centre jobs to private companies since 2017.

The survey of 1300 DHS employees showed 85% of staff believe private call centre staff do not get the training they need; 87% said clients wait longer because private staff cannot resolve their issues; and 85% reported fixing issues caused by private call centre employees.

According to the survey released by the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), outsourced call centre workers are telling Centrelink customers incorrect information, unnecessarily transferring calls and making avoidable errors.

Victorian Socialists pledge to live on a worker’s wage

“I will only accept an average worker’s wage.” This is the promise of all Victorian Socialists’ candidates contesting the November 24 state election.

This has long been the pledge of genuine socialist candidates, but this time it means even more because of the prospect that candidates Steve Jolly and Tim Gooden could each win a seat.

No other party — not even the Greens — makes this promise. Yet, it is a profound principle for socialists.

Why? In short, because it is a critical part of building a genuine peoples’ power movement for change.

Most people have some level of disdain, if not outright contempt, for politicians who are supposed to represent us. That is because big money corrupts almost every aspect of the political process. Though they disguise it with democratic forms, governments end up being corporate dictatorships that rule for the rich.

People, perception and planning

A member of the audience at a recent public meeting in Merewether cheekily referred to Newcastle as being run by the Property Council, not the city council.

Others are starting to make similar observations.

Plans to move Newcastle City Council offices into a brand new tower in Newcastle West, the rezoning of Newcastle’s former transport corridor, the demolition of the historic Hunter Street landmark The Store and so many other changes has left many people wondering about where Newcastle and the region are headed.

It seems that planners directing change think that community engagement involves listening just long enough to tick the consultation box or to denounce critics as nay-sayers.

Reluctance to genuinely consult limits the region’s potential to construct creative solutions out of healthy, respectful but sharp debate.

Planners need to maintain a dialogue with the community during periods of significant change.

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