News briefs


Log-truck drivers paid illegal rates

HOBART — The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has begun a campaign to win improvements in pay for log-truck drivers in Tasmania after discovering a number of drivers had been illegally underpaid, some by as much as much as $1000 per month.

One test case before the industrial commission involves a 66-year-old driver working over 80 hours per week who has been underpaid $83,000 over two-and-a-half years.

The TWU will hold a rally of log-truck drivers in Cooee on December 7.

New Socialist Alliance branch formed

TAREE — On November 2, the founding meeting of the Socialist Alliance was held in Taree, a regional centre in northern NSW with a population of 20,000. The meeting decided to stand Ron Bailey as the Socialist Alliance candidate in the local council elections, which are scheduled for March 2004.

Protest against Israeli apartheid wall

BRISBANE — Fifty people gathered on the steps of King George Square on November 9 as part of the international day of action against Israel's West Bank apartheid wall.

The rally was addressed by Brisbane Palestinian community leader Hashem Kleibo, International Women's Peace Service activist Jean McLaren and Jewish-Palestinian Unity Association member Ray Bergman.

ACT anti-wall protest

CANBERRA — On November 9, 150 people protested against Israel's apartheid wall. The protest rally was chaired by former media coordinator for the International Solidarity Movement Michael Shaik, who was recently arrested and deported from Israel after attempting to resume his work with the ISM in Palestine.

There were loud cheers in response to the call from community radio 2XX's Tanya McConville that "the wall must fall". The rally was organised by Australians for Justice and Peace in Palestine (AJPP), and other speakers included Baptist Minister Dr Thorwald Lorenzen, ACT Greens MLA Kerrie Tucker, and AJPP activist Diana Rahman. Women In Black organised a substantial contingent for the rally.

Remembrance Day protest

MELBOURNE — On November 11, seven members of Women for Peace staged a vigil at the 11 am Remembrance Day Service at the War Memorial. Displaying a banner which read "War is murder, rape and grief — ban wars — peace in the 21st century", they gathered at the forecourt but a contingent of police came immediately and stood in front of their banner.

Police used physical force to try to disperse the protest group. One women was dragged on her knees across the lawn, and two women were arrested and taken to the nearest police station.

Airline picketed over refugee deportations

BRISBANE — On November 14, 30 people picketed the offices of Malaysian Airlines to demand that it to cease to allow its aircraft to used by the Australian government in the forced deportation of refugees.

Malaysian Airlines has been contacted on this issue by a number of people, including ACTU president Sharon Burrow, but has failed to respond.

From Green Left Weekly, November 19, 2003.
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