Jim McIlroy

About 50 people gathered on July 8 at the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) offices in Sydney to celebrate Venezuela’s Independence Day and express support for the Venezuelan people and their government.

It followed a reception of more than 100 guests organised by the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Canberra on July 5, marking the 206th anniversary of Venezuela’s Independence Day.

Some 150 people gathered at Carriageworks in Redfern on July 17 to launch an exhibition marking the centenary of one of the largest industrial confrontations in Australia’s history.

1917: The Great Strike is a commemorative exhibition featuring archival images, moving footage, oral history excerpts and commissioned artworks depicting this landmark struggle. It is a joint effort by Carriageworks and the City of Sydney, in partnership with the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) and will run until August 27.

Infamous right-wing ideologue Andrew Bolt penned a "column of shame" about Venezuela in the Murdoch media on July 13. The column is a clear example of what might be dubbed "Bolt's Law": anything he writes is the opposite of the truth unless proved otherwise.

Sydney rally condemns Aboriginal deaths in custody

Jim McIlroy

Sydney

The July 19 anniversary of the death in custody of Aboriginal woman Rebecca Maher was marked by a march from Hyde Park to Parliament House. The march also protested the recent death of Indigenous man Eric Whittaker, a prisoner in Parklea Prison. The action was organised by the families and the Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA).

The rally condemned the continuing killing of Aboriginal people in police and prison custody, with no one ever convicted of these crimes.

The NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association (NSWNMA) welcomed reports the NSW government had capitulated on July 7 on the proposed privatisation of Bowral and District Hospital. This followed the announcement on July 6 that Wyong Hospital, south of Newcastle, will also remain in public hands.

NSWNMA general secretary Brett Holmes said the decision was a testament to 10 long months of campaigning with the community group Public Health First, local health workers and their supporters.

“The revelation that Sydney is set to become the ‘toll road capital of the world’ shows the madness,” said Pip Hinman, Socialist Alliance candidate for Stanmore ward in the September Inner West Council elections.

“The disastrous $17 billion WestConnex tollway is just the latest in a string of tollroads around the city, and should be halted immediately,” she told Green Left Weekly on July 15

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has re-launched his verbal war against his successor Malcolm Turnbull, with obvious relish.

In recent speeches, Abbott criticised leaked internal Liberal Party moves to bring forward a bill for marriage equality; called for an end to all new spending except for national security and infrastructure; and advocated freezing the country's — already inadequate — renewable energy target.

About 100 residents and supporters marched from Penrith Station to the electoral office of the Liberal Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres on July 1, to protest plans to construct "the world's largest waste incinerator" at Eastern Creek. They chanted, "No waste dump for Western Sydney," and gathered signatures on a petition calling on the NSW Parliament to cancel the waste incinerator proposal.

Children carried placards that said "Please don't poison me", "Don't make us wheeze” and “We need clean air to breathe".

About 200 people rallied at Town Hall Square to protest the federal government's proposed new citizenship laws. The new laws extend the residential waiting period for citizenship and raise the standard of the English-language test.

The existing law requires a minimum of four years of continuous residence, with at least one further year as a permanent resident, to qualify for citizenship. The new law would require people to wait four years after becoming permanent residents.

More than 200 people packed into the Pitt Street Uniting Church on June 28 to protest the state government’s plans to privatise public bus services in the city's inner west.

The community assembly, organised by UnionsNSW and the Sydney Alliance, drew bus drivers and other workers, unionists and concerned members of the public to join the growing campaign to stop the sell-off of public transport.

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