Mel Barnes

Labor and the Coalition will vote for new laws this week that will strip dual nationals of their citizenship at the discretion of the immigration minister.

Both major parties agree that the laws should also apply retrospectively to those sentenced to at least ten years’ jail.

A bipartisan committee released a report on the proposed laws on September 4 and recommended that some of its measures be watered down.

Newly-elected Nationals Party president Larry Anthony has been revealed to be the executive director and co-owner of a lobby firm that counted coal company Shenhua Watermark as a client.

Anthony’s firm, SAS Group, lobbied for Shenhua until July this year. The company wants to build an open-cut coalmine near Gunnedah, on the Liverpool Plains. The mine is expected to produce 10 million tonnes of coal a year.

Water buybacks for the Murray Darling basin will be capped at 1500 gigalitres after Labor joined with the Coalition to pass a bill in the Senate on September 14.

The bill was backed by the National Farmers' Federation and means the government will be able to buy back only 1500 gigalitres of water entitlements from farmers each year.

More than 1000 people rallied in Wollongong on September 19 to demand the federal government take action to save jobs at the Port Kembla steelworks.

Bluescope has announced it aims to cut $200 million from its operating budget and intends to sack 500 workers in the short term, with a possibility that thousands more jobs will go in the future.

This is despite BlueScope posting a $134 million profit for the last financial year.

Unions have launched a campaign to save the steelworks and emergency talks have been held between government ministers, unions and Bluescope management.

A Greens bill that would require all New South Wales government-funded infrastructure projects to use Australian-made steel is making its way through the NSW Upper House. The bill, which has the support of all parties except the Coalition, is expected to pass in the next session.

The Greens say their Steel Industry Protection Bill will stop the loss of thousands of jobs in the Illawarra and provide long-term security to the Port Kembla steelworks.

A crowd of about 200 attended the Wollongong welcomes refugees rally on June 25. Held during Refugee Week, the rally and march aimed to show support for people seeking asylum in Australia, to call for the closing of all the detention centres, and to let the government know that Wollongong welcomes refugees.

Queensland woman Sheila Oakley has been left blind in one eye after being tasered by police outside her home on February 6.

Oakley underwent surgery after the metal barb from the Taser hit her in her left eye, the Guardian reported on February 7.

A senior constable, who is reported to be a qualified Taser instructor, fired the Taser.

Police said the woman was holding a table leg when they arrived at her home.

Written & directed by Lynette Wallwarth

A new documentary film, Tender, screened at the recent Sydney Film Festival, follows residents of the Wollongong suburb of Port Kembla who are working to start a not-for-profit funeral service in their local community.

Recognising the local need for affordable and meaningful funeral services, the Port Kembla Community Centre decided to provide them. The film follows their journey as they gather community support and explore alternatives.

Update: An earlier version of this article reported that asylum seeker Puvaneethan reboarded the plane after protesting passengers had been removed. Reports have now confirmed he is now back in Maribyrnong detention centre in Melbourne.


Three passengers were removed from a Qantas flight from Melbourne to Darwin this morning after refusing to take their seats in protest against the transfer of an asylum seeker on the same flight.

This week Canadian author Naomi Klein is visiting Australia to speak about why capitalism is incompatible with action on climate change.

Her book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate encourages everyone already involved in fighting for social justice and equality to see climate change as the “best chance we’ll ever get to build a better world”.


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