Jim McIlroy

"This is a law to protect the rich. We will need to break these laws to protect our democratic rights," Aboriginal activist and lead NSW Senate candidate for the Socialist Alliance team in the federal elections Ken Canning, said on March 15.

"Remembering Fukushima: Resisting nuclear waste dumps!" was the title of a public forum held in Redfern on March 3. About 40 people heard a panel of speakers mark five years since the Fukushima tsumani and nuclear disaster in March 2011 and outline the growing opposition movement to federal government plans for a nuclear waste dump in rural Australia.

"The nuclear industry has no place in a safe and sustainable future. Five years since the Fukushima disaster, it is time to break the nuclear chain," forum publicity stated. The forum was organised by Uranium Free NSW.

My Friend Hugo, a moving film tribute to former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made by well-known Hollywood director Oliver Stone, was screened at the Resistance Centre on March 4 to mark the third anniversary of the death of the leader of the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela.

The showing was organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) and the Latin American Social Forum (LASF), with the support of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Australia.

“Turnbull's NBN in crisis”, blared the front-page headline in the February 29 issue of The Sydney Morning Herald. "Malcolm Turnbull's cut-price National Broadband Network is facing mounting delays and rising costs, according to a damning internal report obtained by Fairfax Media," the article said.

Fairfax revealed that the report, labelled “commercial in confidence” and “for official use only”, details a litany of problems in delivering the Coalition's supposedly more budget-friendly fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) model.

Proposals by the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to raise public transport fares on the Opal Card system covering public buses, trains and ferries are facing strong opposition from pensioners, retirees and the general travelling public.

The Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association said the government would face a major backlash if it decided to tighten the eligibility or raise the daily cap on the cost of travel for seniors.

"The Malcolm Turnbull government's proposal to privatise the Medicare payment system is a slippery slope to selling off the whole of Medicare," Peter Boyle, the Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Sydney in the upcoming federal elections, said on February 24.

"The Socialist Alliance strongly opposes any privatisation of our public health system, as well as any further pathology cuts, co-payments or attacks on our public hospitals."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull presents himself as a leader who is different to former prime minister Tony Abbott in substance as well as style. But on the issues that most marked Abbott's tenure — his head-in-the-sand attitude to climate change and his "stop the boats" approach to asylum seekers — there have been no changes.

"The NSW Coalition government's proposed sell-off of public housing to property developers is a huge hand-out to big business from the public purse," Peter Boyle, Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Sydney in the upcoming federal election, said on February 3.

"And the planned 'redevelopments' of public housing will make the housing crisis for workers and poor people even worse than now."

Grandmothers Against Removals (GMAR) Sydney and supporters protested outside the offices of the NSW Department of Families and Community Services in Strawberry Hills on January 29 to demand the immediate return of Aboriginal children forcibly removed from a Queensland family and placed in out-of-home care in Sydney.

Kukulangi Grandmother Aunty Karen Fusi from the Brisbane Sovereign Grannies Group addressed the crowd of around 60 about the case. Other speakers included Aunty Jenny Munro, Aunty Val Colbung from WA, Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge and STICS activist Paddy Gibson.

The New South Wales Baird government has announced an historic decision to privatise public housing.

In a $22 billion bonanza for the government's property developer mates, public housing estates will be torn down and rebuilt into places where private tenants and homeowners outnumber social housing tenants by 70% to 30%.

NSW Coalition Minister for Social Housing Brad Hazzard announced the state government's "Future Directions for Social Housing" policy. It includes the transfer of 35% of public housing to community housing organisations.

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