Australian News

As the tropical sun set over Manus Island detention centre on November 23, Walid Zazai wrote on Twitter for the final time that night. He reflected on the day as:

“A day of horror. A day of fear. A day I will never forget.

“I thought I’m back in Afghanistan in a war zone. There was no way to hide, just the sky.

“Friends have been beaten, have been taken by force to town centres.

“Don't know what will happen tomorrow. Remember us in your prayers.”

More than 60 Aboriginal community members from across the Northern Territory gathered on Larrakia Country in Darwin over November 18–19 to discuss how to stop fracking from destroying the Territory.

They came from Alice Springs, Borroloola, Mataranka, Minyerri, Maningrida, Marlinja, Tennant Creek, Yuendumu, Jilkminggan and Katherine to demand a permanent fracking ban, saying they fear for the future of their land and culture if the moratorium ends.

Activists from the Oakey Coal Action Alliance, Great Sandy Strait Saviours and Lock the Gate gathered in the park across the road from New Hope Coal’s AGM in Ipswich on November 16 with a message for shareholders.

Accompanied by a giant inflatable cow, the protesters’ message was that New Hope is wasting its money on legal battles and public relations campaigns.

The Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory handed down its final report on November 17.

The commission was called after a July 2016 Four Corners report showed chronic levels of abuse in the NT’s youth detention system. Video footage showed instances of guards stripping detained children naked and piling on top of them, and of guards applying painful restraint holds to children as young as 12.

Workers at the PPG paint manufacturing plant at Villawood have been locked out for more than three months in a bitter dispute over pay and conditions.

The multinational company, which makes Taubmans, Bristol and White Knight paints, locked out 57 workers on August 10 after they refused to cancel legal industrial action during negotiations for a new enterprise agreement.

More than 300 people joined a forest camp in the Pilliga State Forest in north-west New South Wales during the weekend of November 11–12 to protest against coal seam gas (CSG) mining.

The protest culminated in a convoy of about 100 cars filled with locals, farmers and environmental activists making their way into the forest to create a human sign on the sand beds of the river spelling out “NO CSG”.

It is difficult to predict the result of the Queensland election on November 25.

Polls continue to indicate a close result between the major parties with a likelihood that preferences will determine the outcome in many seats. Most likely, whichever party forms government will need the support of independents or minor parties.

A crowd of unionists, estimated by organisers at 15,000, gathered at Belmore Park and marched through city streets to a rally in Cook and Phillip Park on November16, demanding "Stop the War on Workers".

Members of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) walked off building sites for the rally, while waterside workers belonging to the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) closed down the Port of Botany for the day.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs is set to reap $16.5 million in NSW taxpayers' funds for a mere 11 months work as financial advisor to the state government on privatisation of the controversial $16.8 billion WestConnex tollway. The money will be paid for work between August this year and next July, in flogging off 51% of the Sydney Motor Corporation (SMC) which is building WestConnex.

The corporate vampires are circling as the sell-off process advances, with Transurban the favorite to buy WestConnex. Transurban already owns most of the toll roads in Sydney.

This month there have been four big wins for the union movement. Seventy jobs were saved at Murray Goulburn after a six month campaign; Dave, the union delegate sacked for leading a protest in his undies, has been reinstated; electricians at Crown Casino all got their jobs back on union conditions; and supermarket giant Coles has agreed to fast-track a vote on a new workplace agreement that will pay much higher penalty rates.

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