Alex Bainbridge

The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) Socialism 2016 conference, held over November 25-27, featured solidarity with Maria Chin, chairperson of the Bersih anti-government movement who was being held in solitary confinement under the anti-democratic Security Operations Special Measures Act.

A special candle light vigil was held before the solidarity night which opened the conference. Chin was released on November 28 after 10 days in detention.

The Bersih 5.0 demonstration for clean elections and against corruption in Malaysia made a huge splash on November 19 despite threats of serious repression. The night before the demonstration, at least 10 prominent figures (including key organisers of the rally) were arrested.

The Bersih 5.0 demonstration for clean elections in Malaysia made a huge splash despite threats of serious repression. The night before the demonstration at least ten prominent figures (including key organisers of the rally) were arrested.

The leadup to the Bersih 5.0 was also characterised by threats of violence from the pro-government Red Shirts. Although nominally independent, the government was clearly turning a blind eye to these threats. Some figures associated with the Najib regime were also promising to march with the Red Shirts.

After ripping up Australia's commitment to the 1951 Refugee Convention on several occasions in the past, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on October 30 that the Australian government intends to do so again.

In the latest iteration, the government is threatening to formally prevent any refugee who arrives by boat from ever getting an Australian visa. This would include short-term tourist and business visas, let alone the permanent protection envisioned by the Refugee Convention.

Hundreds of Australian Services Union members marched through the streets of Melbourne on October 12 as part of a long running campaign against an unfair enterprise agreement at the City of Melbourne.

Newly elected Senator Pauline Hanson gave her maiden speech in the Senate on September 14 — 20 years after her first appearance as a parliamentarian in 1996.

Her incendiary speech outlined a far-right agenda of racist bigotry, misogyny and attacks on welfare rights.

Campaigners against the inappropriate Absoe development in Brisbane's West End scored a small but important victory on September 14. The state government “called in” the approval that had previously been granted by the Brisbane City Council. This means the state government will reassess the development approval.

This decision comes on the back of a concerted community campaign supported by Greens councillor Jonathan Sri.

Parliament resumed on August 30 and the government's agenda was simple: delay marriage equality; justify the double dissolution; and argue the case for a renewed assault on living standards — I mean: “budget repair”.

The “budget repair” project was contained in a centrepiece “omnibus” bill that combines 24 measures from this year's budget that have not yet passed the Senate. It is an attack on students, welfare recipients, ordinary workers and the environment.

Racism is responsible for the murder of a young boy near Kalgoorlie on August 29.

It is one of several recent examples that demonstrate that the sentiment behind the US #BlackLivesMatter movement is just as relevant in this country.

National attention has focused on the case in large part because hundreds of people protested outside the Kalgoorlie courthouse on August 30. Windows were broken and police cars were damaged — small biscuits compared to the loss of a young boy's life.

Independent MP for Cairns Rob Pyne was once again the lone voice in the Queensland parliament against the Adani coalmine on August 30.

While 300 people protested in the city centre at 24 hours’ notice, the Queensland Parliament was considering a motion to "support the development of Adani's Carmichael mine".

The motion was moved by notorious mining industry apologist Andrew Cripps from the Liberal National Party in the wake of a Federal Court decision in favour of the mine.

The vote was 87 to 1, with Pyne the lone voice of dissent.

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