Jim McIlroy

GLW author Jim McIlroy

Meeting plans Australian solidarity for Venezuela and Latin America

Members of Latin American solidarity organisations from various Australian cities met in Canberra on May 9 for a Gathering in Solidarity with Latin American Struggles and in Defence of Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution. Around 40 representatives attended from Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.

Bureau of Meteorology and Agriculture staff join growing strikes

Community and Public Service Union (CPSU) members at the Bureau of Meteorology and Agriculture Department, including Quarantine and Meat Inspectors, are the latest in a growing number of public servants taking industrial action to highlight the federal government’s attacks on workers’ rights, pay and conditions.

Members held one hour stop-work meetings on May 19, part of a week of rolling stoppages across the Commonwealth public service that has already seen tens of thousands of CPSU members walk off the job in Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support and the Tax Office.

Greens slam 'quick and nasty' inquiry into power sale

NSW Greens MP John Kaye has slammed the upper house inquiry, chaired by Christian Democrats leader Fred Nile, into the government's planned privatisation of the state's "poles and wires" electricity network. The public was given just seven days to make written submissions into the future of the NSW electricity grid, and will not be able to appear in person before the inquiry.

"By delivering a quick-and-nasty timetable to suit the political convenience of the [Mike] Baird government, Fred Nile has denied his inquiry any credibility," Kaye said on May 11.

CPSU to launch industrial action throughout public service

"We are in the fight of our lives," Nadine Flood, national secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), told a central meeting of workplace delegates in Sydney on May 1. "The [federal] government has launched the deepest public service cuts in a generation, cutting 11,000 jobs in one year.

"They have gutted the CSIRO, with 21% of the workforce gone — they have given up researching Alzheimer’s. They have gutted the Tax Office, with 4000 jobs gone, and that means that wealthy people and big business will pay even less tax.

NSW power unions warn of hit to jobs, service

Unions have warned that electricity consumers will be hit by worse services, reduced maintenance and slower emergency response times, after a decision by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) in late April. The AER decision, which takes effect from July 1, sets revenues that the publicly owned NSW network companies Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy, TransGrid and Essential Energy can charge private power retailers.

Sydney cleaners rally for 'Clean Start'

A group of about 30 cleaners rallied outside the Brookfield offices on May 5 to demand a fair deal and an end to super-exploitation. The rally was organised by the Clean Start campaign, supported by the United Voice union.

The cleaners chanted, "What do we want? Clean Start! When do we want it? Now."

The building owners, Brookfield, had recently appointed TFM as a new cleaning contractor. TFM advertised cleaning jobs in the building for $15 an hour — less than the minimum wage — and demanded a $500 payment to get the job.

Defend and extend age pension system

Australia's age pension system is under attack from the federal government and right-wing, neoliberal forces. The whole community, current and future retirees, needs to mobilise to defend and extend the age pension system and change the superannuation system to more adequately meet the needs of working people.

The age pension in Australia dates back to 1909. It was established as a non-contributory scheme, largely as a result of the demands of unions and community pressure.

Social democracy's past and present dissected in new book

A Short History Of Social Democracy: From Socialist Origins To Neoliberal Theocracy
By John Rainford
Resistance Books
$20, 184pp.

The rise and then fall of social democracy as a movement for fundamental social change is a modern tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. It is one of the epic stories of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Baird to be questioned over NSW power industry sale

NSW Liberal Premier Mike Baird is likely to be called before the parliamentary inquiry into the state government's proposed privatisation of the "poles and wires" of the state's electricity industry in May.

Baird will be questioned over allegations of government tampering with an expert report on the planned leasing of the power industry before the recent March state election.

Sydney rally calls for 'US hands off Venezuela!'

More than 100 people joined a rally at Sydney Town Hall on April 11 to demand "US hands off Venezuela!"

The rally demands were: "No more coups; End foreign intervention; Respect Venezuela's revolution; and Peace in Latin America!"

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