Australia

We are often asked: "How do you do it?". People who have seen Green Left Weekly keep going on the proverbial smell of an oily rag often express surprise (and respect) for the fact that we have doggedly kept going with this project since 1991.

Well, it is hard work. Putting the stories together, collecting the photos and videos that are increasingly important in our online presence and distributing it week after week is no easy feat. 

More than 100 unionists and supporters crowded into the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Sydney meeting hall for a "Fight for the Right to Strike" public meeting on April 14.

Following the recent public exposure gained by the Change the Rules campaign, speakers emphasised the need to overturn anti-worker and anti-union legislation.

The campaign to save the iconic Powerhouse Museum in inner-city Ultimo from being sold off to private developers and moved to a flood-prone site in Parramatta has received a sizeable boost by a motion passed by the NSW Legislative Council that will force the NSW Coalition government to release the "business case" for their plan within two weeks.

Greens MP Jamie Parker successfully moved the motion on April 12, with the support of Labor, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, Animal Justice and a maverick Liberal member, former fair-trading minister Matthew Mason-Cox.

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Several hundred people attended a Rage Against WestConnex rally in King George Park, Rozelle, on April 14. The rally was organised by Rozelle Against WestConnex (RAW), with co-sponsorship from a range of anti-WestConnex action organisations.

More than 2000 delegates from unions across Victoria overwhelmingly supported state-wide action on May 9 as part of the Change the Rules campaign.

The April 17 meeting was one of the largest gatherings of unionists seen for some time as delegates from a range of blue- and white-collar sectors filled the Melbourne Town Hall, with about 200 more being turned away at the door.

About 100 people, including many students from the nearby Haberfield Public School, protested at the pedestrian bridge on Parramatta Road, Haberfield, on April 10, against construction plans for the controversial WestConnex tollway.

Publicity for the protest proclaimed: "Tell WestConnex and the NSW government we oppose four more years of tunnelling, construction, dust and traffic at the Muirs sites, less than 200 metres from Haberfield Public School." The Muirs sites are a large area of former commercial land, now being used by WestConnex as a construction zone.

 

The ubiquitous Commonwealth Games mascot Borobi the blue koala belies the fate of the “Aussie icon” it represents. It is ironic that Borobis flourish in the very region where koala numbers have declined drastically in recent years.

Koalas are an endangered species in Queensland, NSW and the ACT and land clearing has long been recognised as the culprit. As well as the animals killed during the actual process of land clearing, the destruction of habitat results in increasing population losses.

Habiburahman, a Rohingyan refugee and founder of the Australian Burmese Rohingya Organisation, has called on the Australian government to suspend its military aid to Burma (Myanmar). Australia currently spends $450,000 a year on aid to the Burmese military.

Habiburahman was speaking at a public meeting on March 28, organised by the Refugee Action Collective. 

He called for a halt to Australian investment in Burma, with human rights conditions being imposed on any resumption. Woodside Petroleum has invested $400 million in offshore gas and oil exploration.

Astro Labe, the Hobart DJ who headbutted former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in September last year, has been sentenced to the maximum six-month jail term. He will be eligible for parole after two months, when he will be required to pay $2000 and commit no offence for two years.

The Hobart Magistrates Court was told Labe had been drinking at the Whaler pub in Salamanca Place when he saw Abbott walk past. Labe followed him and asked to shake his hand, before headbutting him, saying “you fucking deserved it”. Abbott was left with a swollen lip after the incident.

After a long battle, the residents of Western Sydney were relieved to hear on April 11 that the Department of Planning recommended it should not go ahead.

“This is a huge win for common sense and demonstrates the power of people when we stand together,” spokesperson for the campaign Melinda Wilson told Green Left Weekly.

“The NSW Coalition government needs to realise that the people of Western Sydney are sick of being dumped on. There is a history of human rights violations in the west.

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