Conflict has erupted on Melbourne’s waterfront after Qube Ports applied to terminate an enterprise agreement covering its Bulk & General operation. Members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) retaliated with a snap 48-hour strike over March 17–18 and declared bans on shifts greater than seven hours and on overtime.

If Qube’s application to terminate the Melbourne agreement is successful, it would be the first time an agreement has been terminated on the nation’s wharves.

Recently released labour force data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics overwhelming shows that those successful in gaining fulltime employment are those who are already employed, rather than young people entering paid employment or those returning to work after an absence.

Over the previous 12 months, a monthly average of 82,640 people became unemployed, while at the same time about 117,500 unemployed people got jobs.

Protesters gathered outside the Sydney studio where Channel Seven broadcasts its breakfast show Sunrise on March 16.

They were there to express their outrage at comments made by two panellists, neither of whom are Indigenous, on the show on March 13. They, and many on social media, objected when one, who had no experience in child welfare or Indigenous affairs, argued the Stolen Generations were justified because Indigenous children were being abused by their parents and a second Stolen Generation was needed.

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) have undertaken a series of actions against the Victorian Transport Association, which held its annual conference at Lorne’s Mantra Hotel on March 19 and 20.

The actions were taken in protest over the Victorian Transport Association’s support for the Victorian International Container Terminal (VICT).

Federal and state governments are about to renew Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) to prolong industrial logging across 2 million hectares of New South Wales native forests. It is expected that an additional 100,000 hectares of native forest will be re-zoned for clear felling.

RFA renewals and burning native forests for energy is will mean the end of native forests.

More than 100 people marched in Northcote on March 10 in support of refugee rights. The rally was called by the Refugee Action Collective to focus attention on refugees in the context of the Batman by-election.

Aziz Muhammad, who has been imprisoned on Manus Island for 5 years, spoke to the rally via skype. He spoke of the “terrible” conditions on Manus Island. The three camps where refugees are living are overcrowded. There is no proper medical care. Mental health is deteriorating, as people see no hope. Refugees have been badly beaten by local people.

Lovers of the Murray and Darling rivers gathered outside Victorian Parliament on March 7 to call on Premier Daniel Andrews and Water Minister Lisa Neville to save the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s Basin Plan.

Housing is a basic human right, but under neoliberal capitalism it has become a privilege enjoyed by fewer and fewer people.

In the 2009 kids film Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, a joke revolves around the illusion that waste products can be sent to a dump called Mount Leftovers. The joke turns dangerous when the dump suddenly bursts and spews forth.

Australia has been treating China as its Mount Leftovers for decades — 76% of paper and 88% of plastics went to China in 2011.

The first day of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry heard startling evidence that National Australia Bank (NAB) managers took envelopes full of cash as part of an alleged bribery racket in which bankers sold loans based on fake documents to “smash” sales targets.


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