Australia

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.

Supporters of equality will be surprised to learn that of three motions supporting abortion rights scheduled for debate at the NSW state Labor conference June 30-July 1, party officials are recommending that two be rejected and the third be sent off for further consideration.

Activist group No WestConnex: Public Transport not Motorways (NOW PT) has called for a halt to the tender and construction processes for WestConnex, including the acquisition of homes and businesses for all stages of the project and demanded the NSW government conduct a full parliamentary inquiry into WestConnex.

Refugee advocates holding placards at a vigil in Sydney.

Refugee activists in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney held protest vigils for Salim Kyawmin, an elderly Rohingya man who died on Manus Island on May 22. The largest action was in Melbourne where 200 people occupied the streets for a short, time stopping traffic. In Perth refugee activists occupied the department of Immigration, making flowers and in Brisbane a protest was held in front of Peter Duttons office.

Unionists marching down the street carrying banners and flags.

About 700 members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and other unions gathered at Sydney Town Hall on May 29, and marched to the offices of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) where a lively rally was held calling for an end to laws limiting the right to strike.

The action was organised around demands for the right to organise, right to strike and right to live.

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