Eyewitness report on Indonesian elections
BRISBANE — Fifty people gathered in the Paddington Workers Club on April 24 to hear from Karen Fletcher and Graham Matthews, who recently returned from Indonesia. The new documentary Indonesia in Revolt: democracy or death!, released by Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor and co-produced with Indonesia's People's Democratic Party (PRD), was also screened.
Fletcher and Matthews spent three weeks in Indonesia on the election campaign trail of the PRD. Fletcher described how workers in Solo had been inspired to work with the PRD activists organising workers in factories employing predominantly women workers. "Women workers are more radical than men", one organiser told them, "because they are more oppressed".
A highlight of the visit was their participation in an election mobilisation in Jakarta on May 28 in which more than a million Indonesians turned out to support leader Megawati Sukarnoputri and her Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle. The PRD joined this mobilisation, urging greater unity among pro-reform forces, an end to the military's role in politics and support for East Timorese independence.
SYDNEY — More than 200 supporters of the Gordonstone coalminers gathered at Kitty O'Shea's pub in Paddington on June 22 to help raise funds for the miners' campaign. The workers were unfairly dismissed and have been locked out of the mine for 20 months by former owners ARCO and current owner Rio Tinto.
The benefit was organised by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union members, and was a tremendous success. Almost $10,000 was raised through donations (including $1000 from the publican) and an auction. A cheque for $20,000, raised by levies from workers on Sydney construction sites, was presented to the CFMEU mining division to assist the Gordonstone campaign.