Sue Reilly

The five-year Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which presented its findings last year, opened up a greater understanding of the problems in religious and community institutions’ dealings with children.

The Malcolm Turnbull government has announced it will merge the Family Court of Australia into the Federal Circuit Court (FCC), a move it says will allow the federal court system to reduce its growing backlog of family law cases, some of which date back years.

The NSW Coalition government’s decision to privatise two large ports was announced in July last year. It expected to receive $3 billion from the sale.

NSW Treasurer Mike Baird said on April 12 that the consortium NSW Ports would buy 99-year leases for two of the state’s international ports — Port Botany for $4.31 billion and Port Kembla for $760 million. The total cost of the sale would be $5.07 billion.

An additional yearly lease payment of $5 million would be paid to the government and the annual on cap container movement of 3.2 million would be abolished for Port Botany.

After a successful strike and picket line on August 8, Victoria University’s (VU) vice chancellor, Liz Harman, agreed to negotiate on pay and conditions.

Until then, senior management had demanded that promised pay rises this year be in return for abandoning regulation of workloads in the current enterprise bargaining round. The National Tertiary Education Union Branch (NTEU) has now suspended its bans on releasing results. Stood down union members have been reinstated.

Right-wing, religiously driven sex education policies introduced by the administration of president George Bush Jnr have had disastrous results for the sexual and reproductive health of US youth, a July 17 report by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said.

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

At National Tertiary Education Union meetings on February 23 and 24, Victoria University staff voted to take rolling strike action across all VU campuses.

Wars are fought over access to scarce resources. The 20th century was dominated by wars over colonial possessions and energy resources.

International Women’s Day, observed on March 8, is a testimony to women struggling to better their lives.

A damning report on the impact of Work Choices on workers in the retail and hospitality industries in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria — Lowering the Standards, released on September 13 — documents how quickly employers have acted to legally strip wages and conditions of workers in these sectors, even though the government claims many of these conditions are “protected by law”.

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