Australian News

An emergency speak-out: "Hands off Venezuela" was called by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) at Sydney Town Hall on April 19. Almost 100 people attended the rally, plus a small counter-protest of about a dozen Venezuelan supporters of the right-wing opposition.

The rally called for "an immediate end to the opposition-initiated violence [in Venezuela], and to demand that the US and Australian governments come out and recognise [Nicolas Maduro] as Venezuela's head of state."

To mark the one-year anniversary of the shooting of four Aboriginal teenagers in Kings Cross, a rally will be held on April 26 to demand an end to police investigating cases of police violence.

The rally will gather outside the Kings Cross police station to voice disapproval of the police involved in the shooting of the unarmed youths in April last year.

Since January 1, 1980, over 200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have died in police custody.

Australia Post workers are now in enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) negotiations with their employer.

Last financial year Australia Post made an after-tax profit of $281 million after it paid the federal government a $213 million dividend. Workers have been falling behind the consumer price index which has grown 2.7% per year while wages only grew by 1%.

A 10-day hunger strike and protest carried out by a group of refugees in a Melbourne detention centre ended on April 17.

Twenty-seven refugees in the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation centre in Broadmeadows were refusing food and water, and sleeping on the ground outdoors to draw attention to their lives in limbo.

Despite being found to be genuine refugees by Australia, they have been denied a protection visa due to adverse ASIO security checks. This means they will never be allowed to live in Australia, but cannot be deported because they have a genuine fear of persecution.

A protest was held outside Labor minister Tanya Plibersek's office in Sydney on April 17 to protest the Julia Gillard government's $2.3 billion cut to tertiary education over the next four years.

The government says they are cutting money from tertiary education in order to increase funding to school education, but the government plans to give a $2.4 billion increase to private schools over the same period. This will increase public funding of private schools to $85 billion over that period.

Another protest will be held at Sydney University on April 24 at 12pm.

The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network released this statement on April 17.


The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network joins with all those voices for democracy and peace to call for an immediate end to the opposition-initiated violence now occurring in Venezuela.

On April 14, a majority of Venezuelans voted for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela’s (PSUV) presidential candidate, Nicolas Maduro. In doing so, they voted to continue the Bolivarian revolution previously led by Hugo Chávez.

Global military spending rose to US $1.74 trillion in 2011. The Australian government spends $25 billion a year — or $68 million per day — on defence spending.

This is a travesty when 125,000 Australians are homeless every night and budget cuts are being made to higher education.

Demonstrations were held on April 15 in cities around Australia and in over 100 centres world wide to mark a global day of action on military spending. This coincides with the publication by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute of world military expenditures for the past year.

Perth protest by sole parents and supporters against the cuts to parenting payment in which 84000 sole parents have been forced onto Newstart at a rate more than $130 per week below the poverty line!

Speakers included: Rachel Siewert, Mary O'Brien and Sam Wainwright and others.

Rallies were held around the country on April 13 to protest the federal government's cuts to single parent benefits which will force families deeper into poverty.

In the western Sydney suburb of Penrith, 30 people gathered to hear from speakers which included single parents, Penrith city councillor Michelle Tormey and founder of ChilOut, Dianne Hiles, who campaigns to get refugee children and families out of detention.

Photos: Tessa Barrett

The Australian Greens have called on the federal government to end fossil fuel subsidies for big mining companies.

The Greens say costings by the Parliamentary Budget Office show that Labor’s spending on fossil fuel subsidies for mining companies will cost the public more than $13 billion over the next four years.

Included in these subsidies are diesel fuel tax rebates, accelerated depreciation on assets and accelerated depreciation on exploration.

Australian Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Sydney released the statement below on April 12, after the Student Representative Council voted to support an academic boycott of Israel.


The Student Representative Council (SRC) at the University of Sydney passed a motion this week endorsing Associate Professor Jake Lynch’s academic boycott of Israel.

The Coal Terminal Action Group released this statement on April 10.


Community groups in the Hunter Valley have responded with relief and celebration to the announcement of a two-year delay to Newcastle’s proposed fourth coal terminal (T4).

“There will be celebration and relief today in suburbs including Mayfield, Tighes Hill and Carrington where residents already live with particle pollution well above the national standard,” said Coal Terminal Action Group spokesperson Annika Dean.

The Victorian government has taken retribution against public housing tenants and their supporters who successfully fought off the privatisation of their open space at two of Melbourne’s public housing towers — Richmond estate and Atherton Gardens estate.

Socialist Party Yarra councillor Stephen Jolly doorknocked and organised meetings of tenants and their supporters in a successful campaign. The doorknocking was critical to inform tenants of the state government’s plans.

The Broome community and environmentalists around Australia are celebrating an important victory. Oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum said it would not go ahead with a gas hub at James Price Point in the Kimberley.

Long-time Broome resident Nik Weavers told Green Left Weekly: “We've got rid of the one big thing we set out to do, which was to stop the project, so I feel really excited about that.”

Weavers, a member of the Broome No Gas group, said: “I feel really warmed that so many other people have gathered [in Broome] and are feeling really good.”

The SEARCH foundation held a conference called “Secure Jobs in a Green Future: Australian Left Renewal Conference”, on April 6-7. It featured international guest Costas Isychos, a member of the Greek left party SYRIZA and head of the party’s external and defence policy.

Compulsory income management of disadvantaged welfare recipients was slammed by speakers at a forum at the Bankstown Arts Centre on April 11.

The forum, organised by the Say No to Government Income Management: Not in Bankstown, Not Anywhere campaign coalition, attracted about 40 people to hear representatives from unions and Aboriginal, migrant and youth groups call for a campaign to stop the extension of income management from July 1 this year.

About 80 protesters made their voices heard from outside Sydney's Intercontinental hotel as the former Australian Prime Minister John Howard gave his “no regrets” on Iraq speech, hosted by conservative think-tank the Lowy Institute on April 9.

The protest was organised by Stop the War Coalition and a network of concerned groups and individuals.

The Refugee Action Collective released this statement on April 11.


The Refugee Action Collective (RAC) and refugee supporters will begin an ongoing vigil, with tents to stay overnight, outside a detention centre in Broadmeadows from 6.30pm on April 11.

Long-term refugee visitors are growing increasingly concerned for the welfare of the hunger strikers, two of whom have now been taken to hospital by ambulance. One has now been returned to the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation detention centre (MITA) after having refused medical treatment.

The Refugee Action Coalition Sydney released this statement on April 8.


At 2am on April 8, 28 ASIO-negative refugees — 24 Sri Lankan, two Iranian and two Rohingyas — began a hunger strike at the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) detention centre. They have gathered on the playground inside the detention facility.

Sydney Stop the War Coalition released this statement on April 9.


Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, John Howard has been invited by the conservative think-tank the Lowy Institute for International Policy to present his views.

It will be yet another “no regrets” speech. This is despite the horrifying evidence, over the last 10 years, of Iraq’s devastation by the Coalition of the Willing.

Refugee rights activists from around Australia will converge on the Yongah Hill detention centre near Northam on April 26-28. Yongah Hill is near Northam, about an hour and a half from Perth.

Protesters will be highlighting the fact that thousands of refugees locked in detention centres around Australia are being denied their basic human rights. The decisions to reopen detention centres at Nauru and Manus Island have made this situation worse.

About 70 people attended a community forum in Adelaide on March 27 to learn more about plans for unconventional gas extraction in South Australia.

“While ALP politicians are fleeing in terror from factional and media accusations about using ‘class war rhetoric’, the reality is that there is an ongoing class war that is about to be dramatically escalated if Abbott wins the September 14 elections,” says Peter Boyle.

Boyle was preselected on April 3 by the Socialist Alliance to run in the federal seat of Sydney. He is a national co-convenor of the Socialist Alliance and has been an active socialist since the early 1970s, becoming radicalised around war, race and class issues.

He has two daughters and two grandchildren.

Bernie Rosen really was a man for the people.

He battled for the rights of the exploited and oppressed, from being a teenager before WWII, right to the very end of his life.

I have a collection of letters from Bernie, each in his increasingly spindly handwriting and each packed in a little envelope. Every letter is an encouragement to his comrades to carry on the struggle and advice on how we should do so.

Socialist councillor Sam Wainwright has vowed to run a fierce campaign for the seat of Fremantle aimed at winning public support for confiscating the wealth of the mining billionaires and the big banks.

“The mining boom reveals starkly the manifest inequality of capitalism in Australia today,” Wainwright told Green Left Weekly.

“On the one hand, we have Gina Rinehart — who has become the richest person in Australia — and on the other hand we have homeless people on the streets of Fremantle.

About 200 people rallied in Melbourne against media baron Rupert Murdoch in Melbourne on April 4.

Murdoch was speaking at the 70th anniversary dinner of the Institute of Public Affairs, a right-wing think tank dedicated to preserving and strengthening a pro-big business, neoliberal agenda.

Attendees at the $400-a-head dinner included former prime minister John Howard, Murdoch-columnist Andrew Bolt, Opposition leader Tony Abbott, conservative shock jock Alan Jones and Catholic Archbishop George Pell.

A fortnight after the NSW Liberal government announced policy changes to coal seam gas (CSG) mining in NSW to ban drilling within two kilometres of some residential areas, about 400 local residents met at Springwood Civic Centre on March 24 for the “Coal seam gas — it still stinks” public forum.

Speakers explained the continuing threat to the environment, residents’ health and the world heritage values of this area posed by the CSG industry.

Income support for single parents has been slashed by up to $140 a fortnight as part of a new “fair incentives to work” bill adopted last year, similar to a 2006 law designed by the former John Howard government.

Insidious in nature, the new rules will move many sole parents onto Newstart once their youngest child turns eight. The federal government says this will encourage parents to find work.

But it may conflict with state-based child protection laws.

The annual Western Sydney fundraising dinner was held on March 23. In a great start to the year, organisers filled Granville Town Hall and raised more than $1600 for the Green Left Weekly fighting fund.

Speakers Viv Moore and Trevor Grant addressing protesters inside the National Gallery of Victoria on April 4. The occasion was the 70th anniversary of the right wing think tank the Institute of Public Affairs. It featured Rupert Murdoch and Andrew Bolt and Gina Rinehart and Tony Abbott were in attendance.

On March 30, Students for Palestine organised a rally against Australian university complicit in Israel's crimes.

BAE Systems is a defence company worth $US38 billion. They make everything from assault rifles, missiles, tanks, drones, nuclear weapons, and even the shackles used in Guantanamo Bay. BAE has been targeted because of the horrifying weapons systems it sells to Israel.

National co-convenor of the Socialist Alliance, Peter Boyle, addresses the opening night session of the Marxism 2013 conference.

Marxism 2013 has been organised by Socialist Alternative and supported by Socialist Alliance, Green Left Weekly & the Revolutionary Socialist Party.

This talk discusses some of the challenges and prospects of left unity in Australia.

On March 9th, 2013, around 400 people gathered in Melbourne to say no to violence against women.

Photos by Ali Bakhtiarvandi.

A capacity crowd of about 350 people filled the room for the opening night of the Marxism 2013 conference in Melbourne on March 28.

The forum, called "Uniting the left to resist austerity, war and crisis", heard from six speakers, including Australian unionist Bob Carnegie, striking airline union PALEA president Gerry Rivera, US teacher and socialist Brian Jones, Socialist Alliance co-convener Peter Boyle, Socialist Alternative national executive member Vashti Kenway, and the Revolutionary Socialist Party's (RSP) Kim Bullimore.

A protest was held outside the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Sydney on March 19, to oppose the controversial state visit by the Myanmar president Thein Sein.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard met with Thein and announced a $20 million two-year aid program, as well as the posting of a resident military attache and a trade commissioner in Yangon.

Protesters representing the Rohingya, Karen and Kachin communities demanded the Australian government address the gross human rights abuses before business and military deals are made.

Photos by Peter Boyle.

Sydney University staff have successfully shut down campus as part of their ongoing enterprise bargaining campaign today (March 26). The two-day strike, by members of the National Tertiary Education Union and Community and Public Sector Union, is continuing tomorrow.

A protest against racism outside Labor MP Tanya Plibersek's office on March 21 demanded an end to the Northern Territory intervention and its expansion into areas such as Bankstown in south-west Sydney.

Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney (STICS) organised the rally, which highlighted the small but significant steps being taken to bring Aboriginal communities, unions and others together to prevent the spread of these apartheid-like policies.

The protest was held on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and national Close the Gap day.

This letter was read out to 300 people who rallied in Campbelltown, NSW on March 17 to protest against coal seam gas (CSG) expansion in the area.


Good afternoon all. My name is Debbi Orr and I live in the Tara Estates — a gas field in Queensland.

Since CSG invaded our area, all of my six children have become sick. Headaches, nosebleeds, burning itchy eyes are a regular — sometimes daily — occurrence in our house.

There has long been support across Australia for sustainable job creation. With new environmental technologies being created at a rapid pace, green jobs have been created in installation and retail — but what about sustainable manufacturing?

There is now a push for sustainable jobs that consider the future of communities where local jobs are reliant on coal, such as Morwell in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.