Dateline Sydney

Hutchison Port workers: 'Proud of our efforts'

“We're all very happy and proud of our efforts in this dispute: 106 days ago we didn't have a job and now we are going back inside,” a waterfront worker at the Hutchison Port Botany community assembly told Green Left Weekly on November 19.

He was commenting on the settlement agreed between Hutchison management and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) to bring to an end conclusion the long-running industrial battle over the jobs of 97 workers sacked by text and email on the night of August 6.

Justice for Bulga rally says 'no' to Rio coalmine

About 200 people rallied outside the NSW Supreme Court building on November 12 to demand justice for the small community of Bulga, in the upper Hunter Valley, and an end to the expansion of the Rio Tinto Warkworth coalmine that is threatening the future of their village.

Communities oppose council merger

"Overwhelmingly, our communities don't want us to merge," Greens Leichhardt councillor Rochelle Porteous said on November 12.

She was commenting on the decision by Labor and Liberal councillors in the Leichhardt, Marrickville and Ashfield councils to endorse a "voluntary" merger of the three inner-west councils, under pressure from the state government.

At meetings on November 10, the Labor and Liberal councillors voted to support a merger, should the state government proceed with its draconian plan for compulsory council amalgamations across the city.

Hutchison workers to vote on new agreement

Waterfront workers at Hutchison Ports in Sydney and Brisbane are set for a crucial vote on a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) on November 16. The vote takes place after 100 days of community assemblies at Port Botany and Port of Brisbane, following the controversial sacking by text and email of 97 workers at the two ports on August 6.

NSW govt sells $1 billion of public assets

The Mike Baird Coalition government sold $1 billion of state-owned property in 2013 and 2014, escalating its neoliberal drive to privatise public assets. Office blocks, hospitals, schools and even an island are on the block in this wholesale theft of the people's property, in the interests of the banks and big business.

In 2011–2012, the state government sold assets worth $5 million. In late 2012, it established a new agency, Government Property NSW, to identify and manage the state's substantial real estate holdings.

Medical students take action for refugees

One hundred medical students and their supporters took action at Sydney University against offshore processing and the detention of children on November 5.

Taping their mouths shut to represent the attempt to gag workers under the Border Protection Act, the students held up signs saying “I am a Medical Student Against Kids in Detention #DetentionHarmsChildren #KidsOut.”

Fred Nile resurrects foetal personhood bill

NSW Christian Democrat MLC Fred Nile intends to reintroduce a bill to give personhood rights to foetuses. He has already had several attempts — the last one failing a year ago.

On November 9, Nile sent NSW Legislative Council members notice of his new Crimes Amendment (Zoe’s Law) Bill 2015.

The Crimes Act currently recognises grievous bodily harm to a pregnant woman if her foetus dies as a result of assault or violence committed against her. The maximum sentence is 25 years’ jail.

Object to WestConnex — $15 billion down a hole

“If it were ever completed, WestConnex would be the biggest underground motorway system anywhere in the world and certainly, per kilometre, the most expensive,” states the October edition of EcoTansit News.

“Yet it won’t solve Sydney’s traffic problems and instead, will take much-needed funding away from other, integrated public transport. It just doesn’t add up!”

MUA rally targets cruise ship company in Sydney

Around 100 members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) rallied at the Sydney Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay on October 9 to oppose harsh exploitation of crews aboard Royal Caribbean cruise ships, and demand the right of employees and linesmen on the dock to be union members.

Sydney MUA secretary Paul McAleer told the rally: "This cruise company imposes a huge level of exploitation on its crews, including underpayment and poor conditions on board. Up to now, the company and the shipping agents, Port Jackson Holdings, have refused to allow port workers to join the union.

Movement leaders feature at Radical Ideas conf

Radical Ideas is a 3-day conference of discussion, debate and ideas for radical change, from December 4-6 in Sydney.

We are lucky to have a number of guest speakers confirmed so far, including well-known campaigners involved in various movements and Socialist Alliance and Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance activists.

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