Australia

O'Farrell's resignation: time to break corporate power over governments

"Money speaks” is the message we should be taking from the resignation of NSW premier Barry O'Farrell, after the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) revealed he accepted a vintage bottle of wine valued at almost $3000 from the head of Australian Water Holdings (AWH), Nick Di Girolamo, who was lobbying for a lucrative state government contract.

AWH is accused of inappropriately billing Sydney Water and using the money for political donations while lobbying for an public/private partnership with state-owned Sydney water to roll out Sydney’s water infrastructure.

Editorial: Only unions can solve union corruption

The Royal Commission into the use of union funds began on April 9. The commission is not an attempt to stamp out corrupt union practices, but a serious political attack on unions by the Tony Abbott government. It is designed to weaken the union movement and break militant union activity.

Comments made by Coalition ministers before the public hearings have started sets up a presumption of guilt in order to prejudice the public mind.

Why we tried to stop the forced transfer of asylum seekers

When refugee activists found out about the imminent transfer of at least 83 asylum seekers from Villawood detention centre to a remote detention centre in Curtin in Western Australia, a picket was hastily organised to try to stop the buses leaving.

Even though there was very little time — about 10 hours — activists wanted to show the asylum seekers that there is broad support for them.

Communities fight for trains not toll roads

The campaign against Melbourne's East West Tunnel received a boost when about 1500 residents and members of community groups rallied in Brunswick on March 30. The rally sent a strong message to the Denis Napthine government that the project should be scrapped and the money be spent on expanding Melbourne’s public transport system.

The rally was organised by Moreland Community Against the East West Tunnel (MCAT), a grassroots community organisation supported by the council.

Cambodia solution? Fresh plan to dump refugees

The former Labor government tried and failed with its ill-conceived "people swap" deal with Malaysia in 2011. Now, the Tony Abbott government has said it may try a resettlement deal with the even poorer nation of Cambodia.

After talks with foreign minister Julie Bishop in February, her counterpart, Hor Namhong, said Cambodia was considering an offer to resettle refugees from Australia. Immigration minister Scott Morrison visited Cambodia again this month, to discuss "regional cooperation to deal with asylum seeker movement".

Lest we forget why Anzac Day glorifies war

ANZAC Day, we’re told, is Australia's "most important national occasion”.

But beyond the glib cliches about how the ill-fated Anzac “campaign” at Gallipoli Cove in 1915 “shaped Australia's identity”, there is little political and historical reflection on what happened and why.

Battle to save the Pilliga heats up

The Pilliga Forest is at the centre of a large battle over the right for companies to drill for coal seam gas (CSG) on public land.

Coal seam gas company Santos is planning to develop a $2 billion CSG project in the forest and it has already begun operating 40 exploratory gas wells.

The exploration licence was supposed to end on April 3, but Santos has been granted multiple extensions by the NSW government to put in more exploratory drill holes.

When Wollongong workers stared down the prime minister

A new documentary film Radical Wollongong, produced by Green Left TV, will premiere in Wollongong on May 18, followed by screenings in other cities and regional centres.

The film features activist participants from Wollongong's radical history of strikes and community rallies, from miners’ struggles to Aboriginal justice and environmental protection.

Co-producer John Rainford gives some background to the rise of fascism in Europe and the actions of Robert Menzies against wharfies who refused to ship pig iron to Japan.

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Carlo's Corner: No need to bother with the news

I am not going to bother following the news any more, I am just going to wake up each morning and drive large rusty nails straight into my eyeballs to save time.

After all, efficiency is our new watchword, according to treasurer Joe Hockey. We must all play our part in doing more with less.

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Palm Sunday marches: End the war on refugees

ADELAIDE: Sun 13 April 2pm, at the steps of Parliament House. Gather there then walk to Light Square via the Immigration office in Currie Street

ARMIDALE: Sun 13 April 11am, Central Park

BRISBANE: Sat 12 April 1pm, King George Square

CANBERRA: Sun 13 April 1pm, Gareema Place, Civic

MELBOURNE: Sun 13 April 2pm, State Library

PERTH: Sun 13 April 1pm, St George's Cathedral

SYDNEY: Sun 13 April 1pm Hyde Park

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