Australia

Habiburahman, a Rohingyan refugee and founder of the Australian Burmese Rohingya Organisation, has called on the Australian government to suspend its military aid to Burma (Myanmar). Australia currently spends $450,000 a year on aid to the Burmese military.

Habiburahman was speaking at a public meeting on March 28, organised by the Refugee Action Collective. 

He called for a halt to Australian investment in Burma, with human rights conditions being imposed on any resumption. Woodside Petroleum has invested $400 million in offshore gas and oil exploration.

Astro Labe, the Hobart DJ who headbutted former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in September last year, has been sentenced to the maximum six-month jail term. He will be eligible for parole after two months, when he will be required to pay $2000 and commit no offence for two years.

The Hobart Magistrates Court was told Labe had been drinking at the Whaler pub in Salamanca Place when he saw Abbott walk past. Labe followed him and asked to shake his hand, before headbutting him, saying “you fucking deserved it”. Abbott was left with a swollen lip after the incident.

A jury has found gas company Linc Energy guilty of causing serious environmental harm at its trial underground coal gasification (UCG) plant near Chinchilla on Queensland's Darling Downs.

After a long battle, the residents of Western Sydney were relieved to hear on April 11 that the Department of Planning recommended it should not go ahead.

“This is a huge win for common sense and demonstrates the power of people when we stand together,” spokesperson for the campaign Melinda Wilson told Green Left Weekly.

“The NSW Coalition government needs to realise that the people of Western Sydney are sick of being dumped on. There is a history of human rights violations in the west.

More than 300 members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), their families and supporters gathered at the M Club in Maroubra on April 7 to mark the 20th anniversary of the historic Patrick’s dispute in 1998.

The Patrick stevedoring company had conspired with the John Howard Coalition government to send in security guards in balaclavas, dogs and scabs to force waterfront workers out and attempt to eliminate the MUA from the docks.

Attending my first commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland, held at Waverley Cemetery on April 1, I was struck by the solemnity of the occasion.

The hushed tones of those in attendance denoted a reverence for the event that time and distance has not dimmed. Even the children attending on this hot and sultry autumn day in Sydney’s eastern suburbs seem to catch the sadness among those gathered to remember.

Two weeks after the Australian cricket team demonstrated the true level of integrity in Australian sport, the Commonwealth Games — dubbed the Stolenwealth Games — opened on the Gold Coast on April 4.

About 100 protesters highlighted Australia’s colonial history and the ongoing genocide of indigenous peoples as the opening ceremony got under way. The protest was organised by a national committee including Indigenous activist group Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) and the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy.

The Coalition opposition has blocked legislation introduced by the Victorian Labor government to restructure Victoria's fire services.

The legislation aims at changing the current situation where cities such as Geelong and Ballarat, and many Melbourne suburbs are covered by the Country Fire Authority (CFA) rather than the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.

Thousands of early childhood educators around Australia walked off the job for the third time in 12 months on March 27, as part of the ongoing Big Steps campaign for equal and professional pay.

The walk-off came about because of the federal government’s failure to meet the February 1 deadline educators and their union, United Voice, had set for a response to their demand for a fair pay increase.

“What is happening in Venezuela is a revolution, not a dictatorship,” Pacha Catalina Guzman, an activist with Venezuela’s largest peasant-based organisation, the Ezequiel Zamora National Campesino Front (FNCEZ) and the Bolivar and Zamora Revolutionary Current (CRBZ), told a public meeting of more than 40 people on March 29.

The meeting was the last in Guzman’s Australian tour coordinated by Latin America Solidarity Network (LASNET) that took her to Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Canberra and Sydney.

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