Australia

After 18 months of enterprise negotiations and strike action in December and February, Brisbane ferry workers have won significant improvements in pay and conditions. A new agreement was accepted in principle at a union mass meeting on February 27.

The management of the public ferry service has been in the hands of private company TransDev. For years, the company has used aggressive tactics against the workers to drive down wages and conditions.

I had the privilege of attending the Pascoe Vale Football Club's February 22 celebration of Hakeem Al-Araibi's homecoming after he spent about two and a half months in a Thai jail for no crime other than being a refugee and human rights advocate.

School students striking for climate action won’t be bullied by conservative media and politicians telling us not to strike from school on March 15 as part of the Global #ClimateStrike.

Thousands of people, many under 30, rallied in Sydney’s Hyde Park to save live music in NSW on February 21.

La Trobe University Latin American studies lecturer Ralph Newmark told a meeting of 80 people on February 20 that the English-speaking media misrepresents the causes of the crisis in Venezuela.

The meeting was organised by the newly-formed Venezuela Solidarity Campaign.

Newmark said the crisis is being caused by external pressure from the United States and internally by the Venezuelan middle and upper class who oppose the government’s pro-poor measures.

“We’re mad as hell and we’re not taking it anymore!” Mary Court, secretary of the Penrith Valley Combined Unions (PVCU) and No M4 Toll, told the Don’t Mess With the West rally on February 16.

“Western Sydney will rise up; we’re not a dumping ground for Sydney’s problems”, Court said. “The ‘toll tax’ on the M4 Motorway is an assault … We are being forced to pay this M4 toll until 2060, increasing at a rate much higher than inflation, to pay for the Coalition state government’s cost blow-outs elsewhere.

The Socialist Alliance will be running three Hunter-based candidates in the March 23 NSW state elections.

Following its successful November state election campaign, the Victorian Socialists held its inaugural conference on February 16, attended by more than 230 members.

Grandmothers Against Removals rallied in Sydney on February 13 against new state laws that are set to further raise the rate of forced removals.

Hundreds of people marched through Newtown, Sydney, against Adani’s proposed Carmichael mega coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, on February 17.

Protesters demanded local Labor MP Anthony Albanese and his party come out against the mine.

School students led the march and called for support for their March 15 School Strike 4 Climate.

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