Australia

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) is holding a Telethon on World Refugee Day, June 20, to give people from around the nation is a chance to champion a more compassionate Australia, while supporting and empowering refugees and people seeking asylum.

Now in its third year, the ASRC Telethon is hoping to exceed last year’s total of $660,000, double the amount raised in the first year of the event. This enabled the ASRC to provide food, housing, medical care, employment support, legal aid and advocacy to almost 5000 people.

Participants at the 2018 Beyond Coal and Gas Jamboree

The burgeoning movements against coal and gas projects, to defend the Great Barrier Reef and to conserve precious water resources were boosted by the Beyond Coal and Gas Jamboree held on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland over May 31 to June 3.

More than 350 activists from around Australia joined international guests from the Pacific, the US and India at the fourth Beyond Coal and Gas gathering.

In a clear win for the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU), the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has ruled that Eureka Flags and other union banners can be flown from cranes on building sites.

The decision is another setback for the federal Coalition government and its industrial police force, the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

A contingent of Victorian Socialist members at a union rally

Clearing its first major hurdle in emphatic fashion, the Victorian Socialists gained registration as a political party in Victoria for the November 28 state election.

For a party to be registered in Victoria, a minimum of 500 people must confirm with the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) that they are members of that party.

In an email sent out to party supporters, Victorian Socialists secretary Corey Oakley thanked the members who returned their letters to the VEC confirming their membership. The VEC confirmed the party’s successful registration on June 6.

The Victorian parliament’s lower house (Legislative Assembly) voted on June 7 to create a framework for signing a treaty, or treaties, with Aboriginal people. While it still needs to pass the upper house (Legislative Council), it marks the first legislative commitment to treaty by an Australian parliament.

Earlier this year firefighters employed by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) voted to endorse the proposed enterprise agreement that had been agreed on by MFB management and the United Firefighters Union (UFU).

This followed a long campaign by the union for an agreement that would protect workers' rights. UFU state secretary Peter Marshall told Green Left Weekly the agreement was endorsed by the "overwhelming majority" of firefighters.

Fremantle City Council agreed on May 23 to support a rise in the federal government’s Newstart Allowance paid to unemployed jobseekers, becoming the first local government in Western Australia to adopt this position.

Acting on a motion proposed by Councillor Sam Wainwright, council took this decision following the presentation of a petition of residents organised by Anti-Poverty Network Perth (APN). The petition called for Newstart to be raised to a level sufficient to allow recipients to live in dignity.

"No more chances!" was the main message some 1000 people were chanting loudly at a protest on June 9 against the live export industry as part of a national day of action.

"It is time to be kind" and "Baa baa barbaric" were some of the other messages displayed.

Photos: Alex Bainbridge

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.

The Wollar Three outside the Mudgee Court

Charges brought against the so-called “Wollar Three” under New South Wales’ controversial anti-protest laws were dismissed by a Mudgee magistrate on June 5. However, the laws remain a threat to the right to protest.

The Wollar Three — Bev Smiles, Bruce Hughes and Stephanie Luke — were arrested on April 12 last year for protesting against the expansion of the Wilpinjong coalmine, which would expand the mine to just 1.5 kilometres from the village.

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