Australia

GEELONG — Workers at Geelong Wool Combing (GWC) are maintaining their 24-hour picket outside the gates of their employer. The 110 workers have been overwhelmed by the level of support they have received from the community.

Adrian Van Doren, workplace delegate for the Textile Clothing and Footwear Union (TCFUA), told Green Left Weekly that the workers were locked out on April 28. "We've been here all this time and if it hadn't been for the support from our union and all the other great unions, who knows what would have happened?"

About 50 Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) members and supporters occupied the foyer of the Brisbane offices of Rio Tinto on March 28.

Rio Tinto has reneged on its agreement with the MUA to have 70–80% Australian crew on its coastal fleet. Instead it is using exploited foreign workers who are paid $3–4 per hour. This is despite posting a $6 billion profit last year.

Queensland branch secretary of the MUA Bob Carnegie said: “No Australian should be locked out of Australian jobs so foreign workers can be exploited and paid below a minimum wage.”

Over 80 protesters promised they would stop the Carmichael coal mine outside a March 31 appearance at the Hilton Hotel by Adani boss Jeyakumar Janakaraj. Protesters said they would #StopAdani in solidarity with traditional owners who are opposed to the development. Saving the reef and tackling climate change were other reasons given to stop the mine.

The #StopAdani protest was organised by 350 Brisbane which has pledged to build a people's movement against the mine, including targeting banks such as Westpak who have refused to reject funding the mine.

Since March 22, refugee activists have maintained watch at Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney to stop the deportation of Saeed (not his real name), a 60-year-old Iraqi man.

Below is a photo essay by Zebedee Parkes.

Read more about the campaign here and follow the Facebook page here.

1000 people marched through Brisbane to hear speakers talk about the importance of funding science research organisations and basing public policy on evidence.

"Our research organisations, both our universities and industry driven organisations like the CSIRO are critical for our future as a society," spokesperson Joel Gilmore told Green Left Weekly.

"We are going to have to move on from fossil fues as being one of our key economic drivers," he said echoing a strong sentiment in the crowd for recognising climate science and rejecting "alternative facts".

Hundreds defied rainy weather to take part in a vibrant "Love Trumps Hate" rally in Brisbane on June 11.

Around Australia, thousands of unionists, led by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), took to the streets on June 20 as part of a national day of action against the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), attacks on penalty rates, wage theft by employers and exploitation of migrant workers.

The CFMEU was joined by hundreds of other workers in contingents including nurses, teachers, firefighters, financial sector workers, public sector workers, university staff, manufacturing workers, electrical trades and maritime workers.

Activist Steffie Leedham is sitting on a platform high on a tree in Sydney Park. The platform is connected to two other big trees in the area of the park that has been fenced off for clearing to start building of the #WestConnex tollway and tunnel project's St Peters interchange.

Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) students and supporters crashed the University of Sydney’s Vice Chancellor Michael Spence's Christmas party on December 13.

Singing carols and stripping down, they held up a banner — “USYD stripping us of our art school” — as people entered before going inside and jumping on the main stage.

On June 27, Geelong Trades Hall Secretary Colin Vernon along with other union and community activists raised the rainbow flag at Trades  Hall in support of marriage equality.

The council is supporting the LGBTI community and Surf Coast Shire residents who have been campaigning to keep the flag flying at their local council building since council backtracked on a position it took in April.

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