Australia

In the biggest union mobilisation in Australia in more than a decade, up to 120,000 unionists and supporters descended on the streets of Melbourne on May 9.

The protest was organised as part of the Change the Rules campaign. The rally followed a mass delegates meeting in April and was the conclusion of nearly a fortnight of union actions across the country to launch the campaign.

Huge numbers took part in the annual Labour Day parade in Brisbane. This was the culmination of a weekend of rallies throughout the state. A wide number of workplace and social issues were canvassed at the rally including a strong call to #ChangeTheRules

The Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) released this statement on May 7.

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Refugee advocates have serious fears for the welfare of Omid, a 24-year-old Iranian refugee from Nauru, who has been on hunger strike for more than 30 days.

His condition has significantly deteriorated since he was hospitalised a couple of weeks ago. He has reached a critical stage in the hunger strike with growing concerns that he may have already suffered some long-term damage to his health.

Santos has ignored the 23,000 mainly oppositional submissions on its Environmental Impact Statement in a 1000-page response released on April 23, which claims its Narrabri Gas Project can be developed "safely" and "sustainably".

Founder of 350.org Bill McKibben addressed a sell-out crowd of more than 500 on May 1, on the Sydney leg of his national tour.

Referring to the rapid progress of climate change McKibben said: “Things are changing fast: what isn’t is government policy. The environment movement is engaged in a fight against money and power."

The Supreme Court in Brisbane on May 2 overturned the Land Court decision of May 31 last year that recommended rejection of the stage 3 expansion of the New Acland (NAC) coalmine on Queensland's Darling Downs.

On February 14, the Department of Environment and Science refused the application for an amended environmental authority to allow for Stage 3, however the minister deferred a decision pending the outcome of the judicial review.

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas unveiled his election year state budget on May 1, with highlights including increased investment in public transport, health and education, with more than $172 million dollars allocated to make TAFE free for 30 priority courses.

A new report, Supercharging Australia’s clean energy transition, by the Univeristy of Technology Sydney’s Institute of Sustainable Futures, suggests that an annual investment of just 7.7% of Australia’s trillion-dollar superannuation nest-egg could underwrite the transition to a 100% renewable energy electricity grid by 2030.

"On April 17, the Planning Minister [Anthony Roberts] secretly approved Stage 3 of the WestConnex toll road project. Only 10 days later did they bother to tell the people of NSW about it," activist group No WestConnex: Public Transport (NOWPT) said a statement.

"The project is a scam. The process is fake. The decision is illegitimate."

The Queensland government has reached a $30 million settlement with Palm Island residents in a class action in the Federal Court over the 2004 Palm Island riots that followed the death in police custody of Aboriginal man Cameron Doomadgee. But Doomadgee's family says no amount of money will alleviate the pain of losing him.

The state will also apologise to the community after a landmark racial discrimination case in which the Federal Court found police were racist in their response to riots that followed Doomagee's death.

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