News briefs


Meeting discusses crisis in Venezuela

SYDNEY — On January 31, 120 people gathered at Trades Hall to hear Socialist Alliance activist Jorge Jorquera speak on the political situation in Venezuela. The meeting was organised by Committees in Solidarity with Latin America and the Caribbean. A message in solidarity with the meeting was received from the Venezuelan ambassador Leonel Vivas, who was unable to attend. Jorquera said that Hugo Chavez was leading a process aimed at freeing Venezuela's poor from the domination of US imperialism and exploitation by Venezuela's capitalist elite.

Miners continue pickets

NEWCASTLE — Members of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union are continuing industrial action at the United and Costaines Narama mines just outside Singleton in response to the refusal of the owner, Xstrata Coal Investments, to agree to the miners' claims for better wages and conditions. Stoppages have been in place since January 16.

Xstrata's offer of a miserly cent per hour increase has angered miners, most of whom have not had a wage increase for three years (and in some cases, nearly five). Messages of solidarity can be sent to the picket line via <>.

Qld govt moves to evict Narangba protest camp

BRISBANE — Around 50 protesters gathered outside the Queensland Supreme Court on February 5 to support Robyn Taubenfeld in her defence against a state government move to victimise her as a "representative" of opponents of the Narangba food irradiation plant, who have maintained a protest camp outside the site since last year.

Premier Peter Beattie's government has ordered the eviction of the protest camp, and has set February 10 as the final date for police to carry out the order. Supporters of the campaign are set to gather at the camp on that day.

Government lawyers claimed that an order made in court against Taubenfeld for trespassing would be binding on all protesters, as she "represents" all those taking part in the protest camp. Justice Ken McKenzie on February 5 reserved his decision on the case to a date to be fixed.

For more information on the protest campaign, visit <>.

@9point =

From Green Left Weekly, February 12, 2003.
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