Australian News

Local residents held a rally on May 23 to stop trucks entering the Tullamarine toxic dump site in Melbourne’s west. Two days later they picketed to again stop trucks from entering the landfill site.

Abdul Hekmat, a Hazara refugee from Afghanistan, doesn’t believe that the US-NATO invasion and occupation of his country amounts to a “good” war, and is troubled by the prospect of the Taliban seizing more power.

Mamdouh Habib, illegally detained in Guantanamo Bay and then cleared of all terror charges has, since returning to Australia in 2005, faced systematic harassment from security agencies and the NSW Police.

As the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) appears less and less likely to get through the Senate , the Australian Greens say now it is time for real action on jobs creation and climate change.

Flawed Promises, a report released on May 25, found that the Victoria’s state government was protecting paddocks and previously logged areas instead of 500-year-old forests.

Canberra residents picketed the Minerals Council of Australia’s National Conference on May 28. The protest, organised by Climate Action Canberra, condemned the Rudd government’s free permits to Australia’s biggest polluters, worth $16 billion.

More than 120 people packed into a seminar “Media complicity: reporting Gaza and Sri Lanka 2009” on May 27 at the University of Technology.

A Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) member in South Australia has become the second worker to face charges for refusing to speak to the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

Chants of “Hardest working, lowest paid: Bligh and Wilson, be ashamed!” rang out from 4000 teachers at the gates of state parliament on May 19.

Close to 100 people attended a May 17 Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH)-organised International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) rally in Newtown to commemorate the day the World Health Organisation took homosexuality off its list of mental disorders.

On May 21 University of Newcastle cleaners staged a protest at the twin entrances to the campus. They demanded that big budget cuts be reversed and the prior cleaning regime and working hours be restored.

Members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) from five Victorian universities took strike action on May 21.

The NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) has criticised RailCorp plans to decimate station staff numbers.

Socialist Alliance member and Latin American solidarity activist Jim McIlroy addressed a forum organised by the Australia Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) at the Brisbane Activist Centre on May 21. McIlroy and solidarity activist Coral Wynter had recently returned to Australia after six months visiting Venezuela, Cuba and Central America.

Two protesters abseiled from the front of parliament house on May 13 in a dramatic protest against the federal government’s policies on climate change.

Twenty people protested outside the offices of private prison operator GSL in Perth on May 14. The protest demanded justice for Aboriginal elder Mr Ward, who died due to excessive heat in a prison van operated by GSL. The coronial inquest finished on May 1. Findings are due to be presented on June 12.

Greens candidate Adele Carles is set to win a historic victory at the May 16 by-election – the first time the Greens have won a lower house seat in Western Australia. Carles polled 44% of primary votes and 54% of two-party preferred votes at the close of counting on election night.

On May 19, more than 37,000 state school teachers will stage a one-day strike against the Queensland government’s pay offer. The offer would keep Queensland’s teachers among the lowest paid in Australia.

Vision Australia announced on May 6 that it will slash more than 130 jobs. This includes cutting 90 jobs in Victoria and the closing of three regional offices.

As students across Australia sat the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests last week, the media reported NSW government plans to introduce league tables, comparing student performance across schools.

Palestinian supporters in Melbourne and Sydney rallied on March 15 to commemorate 61 years since the Palestinian Nakba — the day of the catastrophe.

Rallies across Australia are planned for May 23 to call for an end to the Sri Lankan government’s genocide against the Tamil people.

Protesters will again travel to Rockhampton to oppose the Talisman Sabre war games between the US and Australian military machines over July 10-13 — estimated to cost well over $100 million.

The statement below was read out at a May 16 rally in Melbourne, called to denounce the Sri Lankan government’s brutal war against the Tamils.

Cityrail management began a staff review process on April 29 for staff working on the Illawarra line. The breakneck speed of the process so far has raised concerns among Cityrail workers that this is just another exercise in cost-cutting that will run down the already stretched rail network.

On May 5, Nelson Davila, charge d’affairs for the Venezuelan embassy in Australia, travelled to Newcastle for a day of discussion about the history and progress of the Bolivarian revolution.

News that millionaire developer and Fremantle Labor candidate Peter Tagliaferri has been a member of the “500 club” — a Liberal party fundraising group — has mired the Labor campaign in controversy in the final weeks of campaigning for the May 16 Fremantle by-election.

The following motion was passed by Students for Palestine (University of Western Sydney) on May 6.

Scuffles broke out in Parramatta mall on May 5 as police and Lord Mayor Tony Issa forcibly shut down a Tamil hunger strike protesting the Sri Lankan government’s genocide of the Tamil people.

On April 29, the steps of Victorian Parliament were filled with the stomping feet of angry protesters. They had marched through the city demanding public transport concession fares for international and postgraduate students.

More than 300 people marched for May Day in Wollongong on May 2. The lead banner read: “People before Profits; Export CEOs not Jobs!”. There were many different union and community contingents.

More than 50 people gathered outside the Mercure Hotel in Hobart on April 30 where Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and state premiers met for the Council of Australian Governments forum.

Anti-desalination campaign group Watershed has called a protest for May 9 at the site of the proposed desalination plant in Wonthaggi, Victoria. The slogan of the protest will be, “If they build it, we all will pay!”

Despite the economic crisis, the Australian government has announced it will increase military spending by billions of dollars over the next 20 years.

SYDNEY— On April 24, more than 30 organisers and officials from the NSW Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) heard a presentation on the Palestinian resistance and the growing movement for boycotts, divestments from and sanctions against Israel (BDS). The presentation was given by activists from BDS Sydney and the Gaza Defence Committee.

The speech below was made by Darren Vanderkaay at a solidarity picnic on April 26 at Melbourne’s Yarraville Gardens. The picnic was hosted by the Western Suburbs Community and Unions Coalition. Darren is one of 39 workers unfairly sacked from the West Gate Bridge strengthening project by construction company John Holland.

Construction company John Holland and unions are locked in discussions to settle a nine-week-long industrial dispute.

Greens candidate Adele Carles and Socialist Alliance candidate Sam Wainwright argued for cooperation among progressive candidates in election campaigns at an April 22 meeting. Both activists are contesting the May 16 Fremantle by-election.

The following article is based on an April 24 statement from Aboriginal activist Michael Anderson. A co-founder of the Aboriginal Embassy in Canberra and a leader of the Euhalyi Nation, Anderson has called on Aboriginal affairs minister Jenny Macklin to resign. He explains why here.

A 19-year-old Cairns woman faces up to 14 years in jail after being charged under Queensland’s abortion laws. It is the first time in more than 50 years such charges have been laid.

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