Labor backbencher Michael Danby charged taxpayers $4574 for two advertisements in The Australian Jewish News attacking the ABC's coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The MP for Melbourne Ports, who has long been an outspoken defender of Israel, used his parliamentary communications allowance to fund the ads.

One advertisement accused ABC journalist Sophie McNeill of covering the eviction of a Palestinian family but ignoring the murder of three Jewish settlers by a Palestinian.

Figures released on December 28 by the Australian National Audit Office revealed the Australian Defence Force has spent $10.3 billion on weapons and military equipment from the United States in the past four years. The report estimated about half the money was spent supporting Australian Defence Force activity in Syria and Iraq in that four-year period.

The Traditional Owners of the Mount Jowlaenga area in Western Australia’s Kimberley have won an appeal in the Federal Court against miner Sheffield Resources and the West Australian government over one of the country’s biggest mineral sands deposits.

The win means the Traditional Owners have succeeded in preventing Sheffield Resources from constructing its multi-million dollar Thunderbird project on their land without having reached agreements with them in key areas, including compensation and the management of Aboriginal heritage sites.

This year marks 230 years since British military forces invaded Gadigal land and declared British rule over this continent. One hundred and fifty years later a group of Aboriginal men and women met in the Australia Hall in Sydney to declare January 26 a Day of Mourning.

Every year the Invasion Day protests grow as more and more people realise it is not a day to celebrate but a day to say "enough is enough" and stand with first nations’ people of this country.

A rally of members of the Kurdish community and their supporters was held in Sydney on January 8 to demand justice for Sakine Cansız, Leyla Şaylemez and Fidan Doğan, three Kurdish women activists who were assassinated in Paris five years ago by a suspected agent of the Turkish secret police.

There has still been no adequate inquiry into their deaths and the rally, outside the French consulate, called on the French authorities to publicly investigate all the available evidence in this case.

A snap solidarity action organised by a network of Iranians brought more than 100 people together in Parramatta on January 6 to declare their support for those protesting in Iran.

Mansour Razaghi from the Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People (Sydney) told the rally that those protesting were workers, teachers, women, students, nurses and many others who are fed up with high unemployment, extremism and religious tyranny.

A resolution between the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the Victorian International Container Terminal (VICT) was agreed on December 15, following a 19-day community assembly at Webb Dock and more mass support planned. Union leaders have described it as an important win for workers.

Despite court action by the Victorian International Container Terminal (VICT) against unions and key union leaders, support for the community assembly at Webb Dock is growing.

At the annual Geelong Trades Hall Council (GTHC) President’s Night on December 12, a solidarity motion with the community assembly was carried unanimously. The 100-strong gathering also agreed to mobilise the community on New Year’s Day 2018.

Melbourne unionists closed down Webb Dock in Port Melbourne. Photo: Matt Hrkac

On December 8, national president of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Christy Cain told a peaceful assembly of trade unionists and their supporters that every dock in Melbourne had been closed.

On that day, some 3000 trade unionists attended a rally at Webb Dock in Port Melbourne called by Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) in support of MUA members protesting the bullying, harassment and sacking of their members.

After an appeal process, described by activists as “plagued with allegations of corruption”, the University of Wollongong (UOW) has overturned the election result for the Wollongong Undergraduate Students’ Association (WUSA).

The elections, in which more than 1500 students voted, the biggest student participation in many years, was hotly contested between the Liberals, standing as Revolution, and a broad left group Save Our Union. It followed a year of uncertainty over whether the student union would be closed down.


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