Melbourne

Seventy refugee supporters held a birthday party for a young girl outside the State Library on May 12. They ate birthday cake and sang "happy birthday".

But three-year-old Kopika was unable to attend. She was kept behind razor wire in the Broadmeadows detention centre, along with her parents and sister.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions' new Change the Rules campaign is well underway.

In conjunction with a professional advertising and social media strategy, the campaign was launched on April 7, building up to the 12 Days of Action in early May around the May Day rallies. Thousands of people attended these rallies across the country, culminating in 120,000 workers marching in Melbourne on May 9.

The Victorian Labor government’s final budget before the November state election is strong on spending — for health, education and public transport, but unfortunately also for toll roads and law and order.

The formation of Victorian Socialists is continuing to generate excitement among progressives in Victoria, with about 600 people attending the election campaign launch in Collingwood on May 12.

Organisers anticipated about 300 people would attend, but the venue was soon filled to capacity and about 200 people were relocated to the building’s basement. The three candidates and other speakers had to give their speeches twice!

 

The 18th annual Green Left Weekly Comedy Debate is set to take place on June 16 at 6.30pm at Brunswick Town Hall.

The event has been running since 2000, each year raising a significant amount to contribute to the annual Green Left Weekly Fighting Fund.

Once again, Rod Quantock, well known for his particular brand of politically-driven stand-up comedy, will be the master of ceremonies and judge of two teams of comedians who are set to debate the very pressing question: Will Trump tweet us in to oblivion?

In the biggest union mobilisation in Australia in more than a decade, up to 120,000 unionists and supporters descended on the streets of Melbourne on May 9.

The protest was organised as part of the Change the Rules campaign. The rally followed a mass delegates meeting in April and was the conclusion of nearly a fortnight of union actions across the country to launch the campaign.

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas unveiled his election year state budget on May 1, with highlights including increased investment in public transport, health and education, with more than $172 million dollars allocated to make TAFE free for 30 priority courses.

On the steps of Victorian Trades Hall, on the morning of April 27, the deaths of 26 workers in Victoria over the past year were remembered in a moving service for International Workers’ Memorial Day.

The official statistics provided by WorkSafe do not take into account workers killed by occupational disease, in accidents in transit or people working on their own. Considering this, unions estimate that more than 200 workers were killed in Victoria over the past year in relation to their work.

 

Former staff and United Voice union members protested outside Barry cafe in Northcote’s trendy High Street shopping strip on April 23 after workers said they were sacked for asking to be paid award wages.

The staff say they were paid $18 an hour and no penalty rates for weekends or public holidays. Under the award, the minimum rate should have been $23.51 for weekday shifts and $29.30 for weekends.

More than 100 people rallied for renewable energy outside the COAG Energy Council meeting in Melbourne on April 20.

The Yes 2 Renewables campaign called the snap rally to demand greater action on renewable energy and climate change. The rally urged state energy ministers to reject the federal government's dodgy energy policy, the National Energy Guarantee, which would end investment in renewable energy and lock in polluting coal and gas.

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