Action updates


BRISBANE — 100 people attended the launch of Bomber Grounded, Runway Closed on March 25. The book by Ciaron O'Reilly documents his experiences during his trial and prison sentence in the United States. It details the pre-dawn action of the ANZUS Plowshares who entered an air force base and disarmed a B-52 bomber.

CANBERRA — The Resistance East Timor campaign gained momentum here with an April 5 forum at ANU on Australia's links with the Indonesian dictatorship, addressed by Aksi national coordinator Max Lane. The forum followed a screening of John Pilger's Death of a Nation at a Resistance film night attended by 65 people. To get involved in the May 13 East Timor National Day of Action in Canberra, call 247 2424.

  • The ANU No Fees Campaign is building towards a mass rally and march on federal parliament on May 11. It is hoped that it will draw students from interstate and involve other sections of the community likely to come under attack in the May 9 federal budget. This rally will be built at the May 3 No Fees National Day of Action, which ANU students will be marking with street theatre and a march.

MELBOURNE — After a week-long walkout, ending on March 30, health workers at St Vincent's hospital X-ray department have won a reprieve from the threat of privatisation. Management has struck an agreement with the Health Services Union of Australia (No.3 branch) which states that the hospital has no intention of privatising radiology and that any vacancies in the radiology department that arise will be refilled.

  • The Western Region Housing Council is initiating a campaign to convert the old Tottenham RAAF base into public housing. The site, near Footscray shops and trams, is currently used by the Department of Defence for staff housing. The department plans to sell it. Members of the WRHC are proposing that it be transferred to the state government instead and used for public housing.

SYDNEY — At 8.30am on April 4, 50 protesters blockaded the Regent Hotel to condemn the commercialisation of the aid budget and disrupt a conference hosted by AusAID (formerly AIDAB) and Austrade. "Aid Business, Good Business" was convened to inform companies how they can access the $35 billion aid market. AID/WATCH, the organisers of the protest, has found that "an increasing amount of our official aid budget is going to assist Australian businesses win contracts for projects which exacerbate poverty and lead to environmental degradation". Co-director Lee Rhiannon said only about ten cents in the dollar gets through to those who really need it.

  • Rolling blockades against the M2 freeway continued last week, with four arrests on April 5. New roads minister Michael Knight called for a temporary stop-work, but without a response from the consortium. To dig your heels in with Freewaybusters, call Macquarie Uni Greens on 850 7629.

  • Supporters of the South Sydney Rugby League club have initiated a campaign against Rupert Murdoch's Star League. Other clubs have been contacted and names were collected on petitions at games on the April 8-9 weekend. Football fans and those against the further privatisation of sport will protest beginning at noon on April 14 at Sydney's Domain and marching to News Limited.