Analysis: Fight for the Murugappan Family to Stay in Australia Continues

The Murugappan family is a Tamil family facing deportation under successive Liberal and Labor Governments’ cruel and racist immigration policies. The family was first taken into detention in March 2018, then moved to Christmas Island in August 2019, after a last-minute court injunction blocked their deportation to Sri Lanka. They lost their attempts to gain refugee status in Australia in May 2019 when the High Court refused to let them appeal against a deportation decision. The Federal Court later decided Tharnicaa, the younger daughter, had been denied procedural fairness, prolonging the family’s legal fight with the government. When Tharnicaa became ill with Sepsis, she was evacuated off Christmas Island and brought to Perth, where now she and the whole family have been united, but remain in community detention.

Workers’ Solidarity’s Jiselle Hanna and Pier Moro interviewed Aran Mylvaganam, from the Tamil Refugee Council.

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Backbone of Our Movement: Olly

Olly, delegate at the Australian Services Union VicTas

 

How long have you been a union member?

Since my first job as a teenager.

Why did you join the union?

Working class people are the overwhelming majority of society. We do all the work, we produce all wealth, and we should run things ourselves. The only way to do this is to come together with our fellow workers and organise – to win better wages and working conditions today, and to build towards a world where we control our own workplaces and run them democratically in the interests of everyone, not just for profit.

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Analysis: Workers Solidarity with Palestine

On 10 May Israel Defence Forces’ began mass bombardment of the Gaza Strip, in retaliation for Hamas and other groups’ rocket fire towards Israel.

This new chapter in the Palestinians’ struggle began on 6 May in Sheikh Jarrah, a Palestinian neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem. Six Palestinian families who have lived in Sheikh Jarrah for decades are under imminent threat of eviction from their homes which are to be annexed by Israeli-Jewish settlers, who routinely subject them to harassment and violence. Israel’s Supreme Court was to decide on confiscating the homes under Israeli occupation law in early May. On 6 May, hundreds of Palestinians filled the streets in Sheikh Jarrah to protest the evictions and were met with brutal violence from settlers and Israeli security forces who stormed the nearby al-Aqsa Mosque during prayers a day later. The Palestinians’ mass defiance forced Israel’s Attorney-General to intervene and delay the Supreme Court’s ruling.

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OHS Matters: COVID-19 Vaccinations - Where are Things at?

In early April, the Morrison government had been boasting that everyone in Australia would receive the first of the two vaccination doses, at least, by October of this year.

The staged vaccine rollout of the two vaccines that Australia currently has available, the AstraZeneca and the Pfizer, commenced on 22 February this year, organised through the Federal government. High risk, frontline workers and older or vulnerable Australians were to get immunized first. The rollout was supposedly proceeding well: those workers and members of the community in Phase 1a receiving the vaccines before anyone else.

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Backbone of Our Movement: Vanessa Born

Vanessa Born, member of the Australian Services Union (ASU)

How long have you been a union member?

10 years.

Why did you join the union?

I joined during the Equal Pay Campaign. My dad had always been a union member, but my feminist course at Uni made me think that unions only really helped out men. When an ASU organiser came to visit my workplace for the first time during the Equal Pay Campaign, I asked if I could come and listen to the meeting, and I suddenly realised that unions were for women too, so I joined immediately.

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Analysis: Omnibus Bill Passes Senate

On 18 March 2021, the Fair Work Amendment (‘Supporting Australia’s Economic Recovery’) Bill passed the Senate in a version dramatically stripped-down from what had originally been contemplated by both the Morrison Government and their friends in big business.

The ACTU called this a win for workers, while at the same time acknowledging that the casual worker provisions that got up were a defeat. They celebrated:

“BREAKING: The union movement has successfully prevented the worst elements of the Morrison Government’s proposed anti-worker “Omnibus Bill”.

“Thanks to the hard work of tens of thousands of union members and supporters, of the five elements of these dangerous, extreme workplace laws, only one element was passed.” (Australian Unions email blast, 18 March 2021)

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Backbone of Our Movement: James

James, rank and file member of the NTEU

 

How long have you been a union member?

2 years.

Why did you join the union?

I joined the union for political reasons, and an understanding that all workplaces need a strong, efficient union to represent their workers’ needs.

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OHS Matters: OHS Laws for Volunteers and Non-Employees

 

“I am a volunteer in an information centre and am being asked to clean toilet facilities open to the public daily. Are they allowed to do this?”

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Parvin Mohammadi: Long-time labour and women’s activist

Parvin Mohammadi is a 59 year old Iranian woman who is currently in hiding from authorities in Iran.

Mohammadi was born in a working class family and her formative teenage years were in the tumultuous years that led to the 1979 Iranian Revolution that overthrew the repressive dictatorship of the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

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Analysis: International Women’s Day as Union as May Day

Born from the strike of women garment workers in capitalism’s early and brutal ascendancy, International Women’s Day (IWD) stands alongside May Day as a red letter date in workers’ global resistance.

On 8 March 1908, thousands of mostly immigrant striking women marched through New York City. They were demanding better pay and the end to the grueling and dangerous conditions, which included long hours and sexual harassment. After three months on strike, they won.

 

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