Australian News

Protesters take aim at violence against refugees

A group of 20 refugee supporters staged a sit-in at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection on October 7. They were protesting the ongoing rapes and assaults against refugees on Nauru.

The protesters occupied the office for about 90 minutes before police arrived. According to one of the demonstrators, the activists entered the building at about 10.30am and started chanting.

The staff closed the reception area and called security, who filmed the demonstrators and told them to leave. When the activists refused to leave, the police were called.

Prosecutors to drop charges against CFMEU official

In an embarrassing twist in one of the few prosecutions to come from the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) will drop a blackmail charge against Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) organiser John Lomax.

ACT DPP Jon White confirmed his office would offer no evidence against Lomax when he next appears in court on October 19.

Baird gov’t prepares fire sale of harbour assets

The New South Wales government is preparing a fire sale of state-owned properties around the Sydney Harbour foreshore, on the pretext of funding an upgrade of the Circular Quay ferry wharves.

Premier Mike Baird announced on September 28 that government-owned hotels and office buildings would be sold to raise $200 million for the renovation project.

Greens launch bill to treat abortion as a medical, not criminal, issue

Greens MLC and spokesperson for women Mehreen Faruqi launched her bill to remove abortion from the NSW Crimes Act on September 28, International Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion.

Faruqi said that there needed to be a campaign to “bust the myths surrounding abortion”.

Resistance offers radicalisation kit to young activists

On September 21 the federal government released a Radicalisation Awareness Kit. The kit consists of a 32-page booklet that links environmental activism, “alternative music” and terrorism. Most prominently the case study of a young woman named Karen has been shared widely on social media. While Karen’s story starts off excitingly enough with university politics, direct action to protect the environment and alternative music, sadly in the end Karen sells out her activist ideals and joins an NGO.

University fee deregulation: dead buried cremated or just resting its eyes?

On October 1 the new Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham announced that he has no plans to reintroduce legislation to deregulate university fees this year: the key words in that statement are “this year”.

NT: Young people tell of solitary confinement, gassing

Disturbing allegations came to light on September 21 about the trouble-plagued Northern Territory juvenile justice system.

Fifteen-year-old Travis, who spent time at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre last year, told a youth justice forum about the humiliation and depravation inside the centre. According to the ABC, Travis said staff at Don Dale made young people fight and eat animal faeces in exchange for extra junk food.

Are you on your way to being a violent extremist?

Do you like listening to alternative music? Have you attended a protest for the environment? Congratulations! According to the Radicalisation Awareness Kit produced by the Australian government, you could be on your way to becoming a violent extremist.

Call for abortion law reform

Dr Leslie Cannold, a founder of Reproductive Choice Australia, told a forum in Albury on September 23 that abortion does not need a special law. It should be administered no differently than a knee replacement, she said.

“We don’t have a special tonsil law, we don’t have a knee replacement law or a liver cancer law, and we don’t need a particular law governing abortion either.” Abortion should be regulated like all other medical procedures, she said.

Unions rally to defend penalties

Unionists rallied in Melbourne on September 23 to defend penalty rates as employers, such as the Australian Hotels Association, demanded the Fair Work Commission cut weekend penalty rates.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is considering reducing Sunday penalty rates. Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox told 3AW on September 23 that there were concerns about penalty rates because they were a "cost to employment”.

“Sundays are not hugely different to any other day, but there still should be a reward for working weekends”, said Willox. “Employers recognise that."

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