Australia

Qld government funds coal rail line

The G20 barriers were still in place, the interstate police contingents had not left Brisbane, and US President Barack Obama’s “Brisbane” speech calling for protection for the Great Barrier Reef was still resonating when Premier Campbell Newman announced he had brokered a deal with Indian mining company Adani.

NSW public housing tenants hit with bedroom tax

The number of people on the waiting list for public housing in NSW has increased by 3.5% in the past year to almost 60,000. This is forecast to increase to 80,000 in 2016.

According to a report last year by the NSW auditor-general, the present figure represents only about half of the people in NSW who actually need housing. The one thing that all policy analysts agree on is that demand will increase.

Melbourne rallies to save the Palace Theatre

An emergency protest was called on November 20 to save Melbourne's Palace Theatre.

Dozens of protesters rallied outside the building the same evening to stop it being demolished. The rally was met with resistance by a group of unidentified young men who intimidated and physically attacked protesters.

Aboriginal protesters target Labor Party convention

Protesters rallied outside the South Australian Labor Party convention in Adelaide on November 15.

They were protesting against South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill's endorsement of mining magnate Andrew Forrest's controversial Indigenous Employment and Training Review.

The report's proposals went beyond the narrow terms of reference — employment and training for Aboriginal people — to include policy recommendations around welfare reform, school attendance, land rights, early childhood and prenatal services, and other areas.

The people v the G20

As the G20 wrapped up in Brisbane last week, national leaders issued a statement to announce the key issues they would focus on until the next meeting.

This included the creation of jobs through growth, with the ambitious target of growing the GDP of G20 countries by 2% over the next four years.

It was couched in language that promised a better life for everyone. “Raising global growth to deliver better living standards and quality jobs for people across the world is our highest priority,” the statement said.

Unions, Friends of ABC protest cuts

Carrying signs declaring "Hands off our Aunty", and "Save our local ABC", supporters of the ABC rallied outside the ABC's North Coast NSW studio in Lismore on November 20.

The protest formed one of a series of rallies around the country in support of the national broadcaster over the week of November 18 to 25, called by unions and the Friends of the ABC.

Scott Morrison narrows the meaning of ‘refugee’

Here are some numbers. There were 51.2 million refugees and displaced people worldwide at the end of last year. About 11,000 Australian protection visas are available, worldwide, each year, for people overseas who have applied for asylum.

Australia’s total share of the 11.7 million refugees officially registered with the UN refugee agency is 0.3%.

The war on dissent in Queensland

“The Battle of Brisbane.” These were the words that greeted readers of Queensland’s Courier Mail on October 28.

The article, taking up the front cover and several subsequent pages, dealt with the alleged threat of violent protests at the G20 summit to be held in Brisbane on November 15 and 16.

The police, according to the Courier Mail, should meet the protesters with brutal suppression. The actual threat of violence was left vague.

In many ways, the phrasing of the subhead for the piece told it all: “Cops vow to crush G20 ferals”.

Aboriginal communities resist government attacks

Aboriginal activists in Western Australia are gearing up for a rally on November 12 to protect remote communities in the face of federal government attacks. It will follow a September 16 rally against state government threats to Aboriginal heritage and an October 23 rally against ongoing Black deaths in custody.

The federal government announced on September 24 that it would withdraw funding for 180 remote Aboriginal communities in WA. It will grant $90 million to the WA government for a two-year “transition period”.

Aboriginal communities rally against land grab

About 300 Aboriginal people and supporters from around NSW rallied against legislation being pushed through state parliament that threatens the land rights of coastal Aboriginal communities.

On November 3, Hyde Park was awash with Aboriginal flags and community members, young and old, representing many of the 120 Aboriginal land councils across the state. They were there to protest against the Crown Lands Amendment (Public Ownership of Beaches and Coastal Lands) Bill. The bill was introduced by Minister for Natural Resources Kevin Humphries last week.

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