In the lead up to the Palm Sunday refugee rights rallies Green Left Weekly’s Zebedee Parkes spoke to activists in the refugee campaign about the work they are doing in their communities and why they are coming to the rallies on March 25.

There is a global refugee crisis. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported last year that there are at least 22.5 million people seeking asylum across state borders and tens of millions more have been internally displaced.

The numbers are growing as more people become displaced due to conflict and environmental disasters.

In response, from New York to Berlin to Sydney, leading political parties are building walls, figuratively and literally, instead of coming up with humane solutions.

Australia has national environmental laws — the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act). Yet given the staggering rates of land clearing taking place, resulting in the extinction and endangerment of plants and animals in Australia, these laws are clearly not working.

Afrin, a city within the canton of the same name in northern Syria , is under siege by the Turkish military, supported by right wing jihadist forces, including al-Quaeda, al-Nusra and the remnants of ISIS. Fifty-two days after the invasion began, more than 290 civilians had been killed.

Exxon has not paid a cent in corporate income tax on a total income of nearly $25 billion over a three-year period, and it has not broken any rules.

Santos, which is fighting to get its controversial 850 coal seam gas wells approved in the Narrabri in NSW, paid no corporate tax in 2014-15 and 2015-2016. It only paid $3 million in corporate tax in 2013-14 when, over those years, it reported revenue totalling $11.2 billion.

How can this be the case?

A series of submissions to a long-running Senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance are asking this very question.

Within hours of the NSW Land and Environment Court decision on March 9 quashing new land clearing laws, the NSW government produced a new Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code.

The code was created to exempt land clearing from the usual development assessment processes. It was introduced after the government overhauled the state’s conservation laws in 2016, making land clearing easier for farmers.

As the newly-elected Queensland state parliament met for the first time on February 14, a small group of dedicated Protectors from Families Against Fossil Fuels and Standing with Sandi held their regular #StandAgainstCSG protest outside its doors.

Sandra Bamberry (Sandi) is the mother of two little girls who have experienced negative health impacts, including ongoing nosebleeds and nausea, from the many coal seam gas (CSG) mines that now surround their home on the Tara gasfields.

Yet another report has been released showing the capitalist “trickle down” promise is rubbish.

The World Inequality Report 2018 — produced by the World Inequality Lab at the Paris School of Economics — busts the neoliberals’ myths about globalisation and privatisation working for everyone. It shows that the wealth gap is widening and, in some countries, very dramatically.

Progressive, activist campaign groups such as GetUp!, and Friends of the Earth have been in the federal Coalition government’s sights for some time.

However, a new bill introduced into parliament threatens to also frustrate the work of human rights, environmental, women’s, international aid and social justice NGOs and charities.

Following the resignation of former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn as the Trump administration's Chief Economic Advisor, US President Donald Trump tweeted: “Will be making a decision soon on the appointment of new Chief Economic Advisor. Many people wanting the job — will choose wisely!”

I am sure he's right on at least the first part of that tweet. There will undoubtedly be a conga line of other corporate bloodsuckers eager to take the job.


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