Australia

The Independent Planning Commission of NSW hosted a meeting on May 14 at Rooty Hill RSL to give residents (and politicians) a chance to express their views on the proposed Energy from Waste Facility at Eastern Creek.

Of the 28 politicians and residents who made submissions at the meeting, 27 were strongly against building the incinerator. The one submission supporting the incinerator was by a representative of the incinerator’s owner Next Generation NSW, who gave a very professional presentation on the desirability of building the incinerator.

A public housing rally on May 26 attracted about 200 people to the Walker Street estate in Northcote, one of the many estates threatened with a “renewal” program that will lead to much of the land being privatised with no certainty of return for current residents.

One of the most exciting developments in Melbourne recently was the launch on May 21of Hospo Voice, a new union for hospitality workers, initiated by United Voice.

Host of the event James Lea said he joined Hospo Voice last year when he was offered a job at Bar Americano for $21 an hour flat rate, no penalties.

He had a meeting with the owner of Bar Americano where he was told that “penalty rates don’t exist in Victoria anymore.”

The last legal roadblock Adani faces, the challenge by the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners of the Galilee Basin to the Indigenous Land Use Agreement, is likely to be resolved this month. While the proposed Carmichael mine in central Queensland is often deemed “a stranded asset”, as Adani has not succeeded in securing finance for the $16.5 billion project, it will not just walk away.

Another person who came to Australia seeking safety and security died on Manus Island on May 22. The Rohingya man is the seventh person to die on Manus Island since Labor re-established offshore detention.

The man died after jumping out of a bus — it is being reported as a suicide. Doctors for Refugees had been calling on the government to bring him here for more than a year as he suffers from epilepsy.

Activists opposed to the opening up of coalmining in Queensland’s Galilee Basin have taken to the streets in local actions calling on Coalition and Labor MPs to stop the Adani coalmine from going ahead.

On May 18, activists in Ballarat protested outside the local MPs office and on May 19 more than 200 gathered outside the Camberwell office of environment minister Josh Frydenberg. Rallies were also held in Brisbane and Adelaide.

Angry Bananas in Pajamas on placards at rally against cuts

Unions have condemned the federal government's decision to cut a further $84 million from funding for the ABC in the federal budget announced on May 8.

The budget confirmed the government has frozen the indexation of ABC funding to effectively cut that amount over three years. These latest cuts come on top of the $254 million the Coalition government has already removed from the ABC's revenue since 2014.

Hundreds of people linked hands on the shores of Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Newcastle and many other coastal towns across Australia on May 19 to call on Norwegian oil giant Statoil-Equinor to drop its plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight.

The event was organised by the Great Australian Bight Alliance, a convergence of 13 conservation groups, including The Wilderness Society, Sea Shepherd Australia, Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network, Australian Marine Conservation Society, Conservation Council South Australia and First Nations Mirning and Kokatha elders.

As the government’s criminal case against Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) officials John Setka and Shaun Reardon ended in embarrassing collapse, unions called for the repeal of draconian secondary boycott laws.

Sympathy strikes are one of the most common forms of secondary boycott. They involve a union taking industrial action to force a company to cease trading with another company until the targeted company agrees to industrial demands. The law against secondary boycotts thus interferes with the right of workers to campaign collectively.

The Victorian branch of the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) has decided to withdraw its financial support for federal Greens MP Adam Bandt and formally rejoin the Labor Party.

The branch disaffiliated from Labor in 2010 over the then-Kevin Rudd government's refusal to dismantle the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

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