Australian News

A 22-year-old Aboriginal man has died in custody after being found unconscious in his cell at the Tamworth Correctional Centre on September 20. He was taken to hospital and died two days later.

Even before an investigation has been undertaken, the police and some media have said his death is not “suspicious” — a deliberate attempt to pass judgement that his death was a suicide.

But his family, who rallied outside Tamworth Correctional Centre on September 24 say he had no reason to self-harm.

The week of frontline action against the Adani coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee basin, which took place from September 16 to 23, is just the beginning.

More than 100 people, many new to campaigning, came to say: “We will stop Adani”.

Adriana Rivas is a former National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) agent living in Sydney. DINA was Chile’s intelligence bureau during General Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship and is known as Pinochet’s Gestapo due to its cruelty and mass assassinations.

Deakin University researcher Ronan Lee believes Australia’s links with the Burmese military must stop in light of its recent campaign of violence against the Rohingya.

Lee, whose research focus is Burma, made these comments at a Darebin Ethnic Communities Council forum on Burma the Rohingya refugee crisis held on September 16.

Lee gave some historical background, noting there is evidence that the Rohingya have lived in what is now Burma’s Rakhine state for hundreds of years.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions launched its national “Change the Rules” campaign in Perth on September 21. The campaign seeks to push for pro-worker changes to the Fair Work Act.

ACTU secretary Sally McManus said: “We need to change the rules at work so working people can’t be held to ransom by bad employers who will use loopholes to cancel agreements, cut pay and slash conditions.”

Staff at the Berkeley Living retirement village in Patterson Lakes, Victoria, walked off the job on September 15 after months of not being paid. Some staff returned the next day to look after residents on a voluntary basis.

Consumer Affairs Victoria is also investigating reports that the village operators owe money to former residents.

The daughter of a former resident backed up claims that staff had not been paid properly, but said they were providing the best care they were able to. “They are feeding the patients out of their own pockets,” she told ABC News.

Western Sydney University (WSU) staff went on strike on September 20 over stalled negotiations on their pay and working conditions. The half-day strike and rally, called by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), took place at WSU’s Parramatta City Campus.

University management has delayed the bargaining process by unilaterally removing core entitlements from the NTEU’s enterprise agreements, while resisting members’ key demands. Staff at WSU say they are concerned about looming job cuts, the downgrading of classifications, increased workloads and job insecurity.

The CSIRO Staff Association has slammed the latest proposed cuts to jobs in vital research areas of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia’s premier public scientific body.

The union warned of job redundancies in minerals research and the Sydney laboratory that helped invent wifi internet technology.

Members of Armidale Rural Australians for Refugees and the Socialist Alliance New England branch held their third weekly picket in solidarity with refugees and asylum seekers at a busy intersection in Armidale, New South Wales, on September 22. It followed a successful action on September 15.

Protest organiser Bea Bleile said: “Manus Island and Nauru are not safe for refugees and asylum seekers. We call on the Australian government to bring all refugees and asylum seekers from Manus Island and Nauru to Australia immediately.

Local residents rallied with activists from around Sydney as part of the "No M4 toll, Stop WestConnex" campaign on September 18 in Penrith. Protesters marched on the local electoral office of New South Wales Minister for WestConnex Stuart Ayres.

The protesters delivered more than 2000 letters of opposition to the re-imposed tolls on the widened M4 motorway, which is part of the controversial $18 billion WestConnex tollway project.

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