Australian News

Asian Australians pen letter to parents about anti-Blackness

An Australian version of an open letter from Asian Americans in solidarity with Black Lives Matter has been circulating on social media.

“Letters for Black Lives” is a project that began in the United States to initiate cross-generational conversations between young Asian Americans and their families about anti-Blackness and police violence. The original letter has since gained 200 contributors, 30 translations, and dozens of audio and video recordings.

Support for Sydney College of the Arts occupation grows

Students from Sydney's College of the Arts began an occupation of the Dean's office at Callan Park on August 22 against the corporatisation of their school. Every day more support has been pouring in. On August 24, the Maritime Union of Australia joined the solidarity protest and afterwards was invited in to talk with the protesting students. The occupation is asking for solidarity at the daily convergences at 1pm and 5pm.

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The Maritime Union of Australia joined the rally of support for the student occupation of the Sydney College of the Arts Administration Building.

West End rally for community control over development

"We can't afford your units and we can't afford the bus; if you keep ignoring us we're gonna make a fuss!"

This chant rang through the streets of West End in Brisbane as 150 people marched against the proposed development at the old Absoe site on August 21.

The action began with a community breakfast aimed explicitly at developing community connections.

First Nations activists support arts students' occupation

First Nations activists Raymond Weatherall and Ken Canning have sent solidarity messages to the students occupying the Sydney Arts School (SCA) in protest at the University of Sydney's corporatisation plans.

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I am Ngarr Birriwa Galimaay, I am Gamilaraay, Goonal Goonal clan. Through my uncles I have started my cultural journey and have begun to learn how important art is for expression, story telling and empowering ourselves and future generations.

SCA — here to stay, say occupying students

Right now, on August 22, I am occupying the office of the Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) administration because it is absolutely criminal that the arts are always the first up on the chopping block.

This action comes after the University of Sydney proposed, on August 9, staff cuts of up to 60%, closure of the Ceramics, Jewellery and Glass studios, and the loss of the Rozelle–Kirkbride campus at Callan Park in Rozelle.

Cuts to CSIRO hurting

CSIRO staff remain sceptical about the future of the group's climate research program, with media reports suggesting that science minister Greg Hunt's recent announcement of additional jobs in the area does not include any new funding from the federal government.

The allocation of $37 million -- tied to the nascent Climate Science Centre in Hobart -- will apparently be sourced from CSIRO's own funds over 10 years and involves the creation of 15 new positions, based at locations still to be determined.

Victoria: Trans and gender diverse set to gain rights

The Victorian government tabled a bill on August 18 to allow transgender, gender diverse and intersex people the right to specify their gender on new birth certificates.

The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill 2016 also ensures couples will no longer be forced to divorce if one partner wishes to change the sex recorded on their birth registration.

People will be able to nominate as male, female or specify a gender diverse or non-binary descriptor.

More than 100 detention centre workers speak out

In an unprecedented move, more than 100 workers currently or previously employed in Australia's offshore detention centres called on the federal government on August 17 to immediately resettle refugees and asylum seekers in Australia.

Among those speaking out were doctors, teachers, case workers, managers and social workers from Broadspectrum (formerly Transfield), Save the Children, IHMS, Salvation Army and other contracted workers that have worked in the detention facilities on Manus Island and Nauru.

Academics call for humane approach to refugees

More than 1810 academics from across Australia, including distinguished experts in refugee law, policy, health and politics, have signed an open letter to PM Malcolm Turnbull calling for a just and humane approach for refugees.

The letter calls on the federal government to end offshore processing, boat turnbacks and the mandatory detention of asylum seekers.

ABS staff predicted Census debacle

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), which covers staff at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), said PM Malcolm Turnbull should be "apologising not finger pointing” for the August 9 Census debacle.

CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said: “Staff saw these problems coming a mile off. There are 700 fewer staff at the ABS now than when the last Census was conducted five years ago and as a result staff are suffering under massive workloads.

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