Australia

Supporters of equality will be surprised to learn that of three motions supporting abortion rights scheduled for debate at the NSW state Labor conference at the end of June, 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.

On the 20th anniversary of Sorry Day, May 26, a day to remember the forced removal of First Nations' children from their families that became known as the Stolen Generations, a delegation of First Nations' grandmothers marched on Parliament House chanting "Bring our children home".

Rather than being a landmark for progress and reconciliation the delegation of Grandmothers said that 20 years on, the situation has only worsened.

The Save Our Sirius (SOS) group campaigning against the New South Wales government's decision to sell off the historic Sirius public housing building has warned potential buyers against proceeding with the purchase.

The NSW Coalition government announced on May 25 it had put the now-vacant building onto the market. Media reports suggest the government is expecting to sell Sirius for upwards of $120 million.

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.

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