Australia

Two–and–a–half years after the suicide of Chinchilla farmer and Lock the Gate activist George Bender, who had led a decade long campaign against fracking, on May 11 Linc Energy was fined a record $4.5 million for causing serious environmental harm at its underground coal gasification plant on Queensland's western Darling Downs.

Protesters outside the NT Labor Party conference

Divisions in the Northern Territory Labor Party were on show on May 12 as the party’s annual conference voted to ban fracking across the territory, weeks after Chief Minister Michael Gunner lifted a moratorium on the practice. The vote was a vindication for the more than 200 protesters who gathered outside. 

Blackmail charges brought against Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) leaders John Setka and Shaun Reardon were dropped by Victorian prosecutors on May 16 in a major embarrassment for the federal government’s trade union royal commission, police and prosecutors.

The formation of Victorian Socialists is continuing to generate excitement among progressives in Victoria, with about 600 people attending the election campaign launch in Collingwood on May 12.

Organisers anticipated about 300 people would attend, but the venue was soon filled to capacity and about 200 people were relocated to the building’s basement. The three candidates and other speakers had to give their speeches twice!

Farmers, businessmen and Traditional Owners from north-west NSW travelled to Adelaide on May 3 to tell Santos and its shareholders at the company AGM it will face a rural uprising if it proceeds with the Narrabri coal seam gasfield.

They were joined by South Australian locals who oppose Santos’s plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight, telling Santos it has “No Licence to Drill” because these projects do not have community support.

Staff and employers of the Murdoch University Student Guild have reached an in-principle agreement in the latest round of bargaining after four weeks of negotiations.

Despite the short time frame, the negotiation team for the workers, which constituted an NTEU Industrial Officer and two Murdoch Guild staff members, were able to keep members in the loop throughout the entire process.

Staff and student rally against the cuts.

Staff and students at James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville and Cairns have refused to accept course and job cuts proposed by the university’s management.

The highlight of the campaign was a 120-strong student-led rally on April 30 at the Cairns campus, the largest student protest action in more than a decade at JCU. Students also joined the community protests called by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) branch on April 27.

 

The 18th annual Green Left Weekly Comedy Debate is set to take place on June 16 at 6.30pm at Brunswick Town Hall. Bookings are available online at Trybooking.    

The event has been running since 2000, each year raising a significant amount to contribute to the annual Green Left Weekly Fighting Fund.

More than 50 people attended the annual May Day Dinner held in Geelong on May 5. Speakers at the dinner included Maritime Union of Australia women’s liaison officer Mich-Elle Myers and Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association secretary Craig McGregor. Former Secretary of Geelong Trades Hall Council (GTHC) Tim Gooden also gave a toast to Green Left Weekly.

Green Left Weekly asked Myers and McGregor, as well as current GTHC secretary Colin Vernon, why it is important to celebrate May Day.

May Day this year, held on May 6 in Sydney, was the strongest, most powerful and largest May Day I have marched in for years.

I joined with dozens of union contingents comprising thousands of workers in Sydney, chanting “The workers united will never be defeated” and “What do we want? The right to strike.”

Pages

Subscribe to Australia