News briefs

November 17, 1993

SYDNEY — On August 3, University of Western Sydney students protested against the increasing course and subject cuts at the university's Bankstown campus. The cuts will affect at least 80% of Bankstown students, and are being implemented to compensate for revenue lost through the federal government's higher education reforms.

The communications/arts course will be transferred to the Penrith campus and converted to a communications degree. Chinese medicine and naturopathy students have been transferred to the Campbelltown campus and education, aviation, Indonesian, and information technology courses will no longer be offered at the Bankstown campus. Any subject with less than 16 students enrolled will have its funding withdrawn.

Further actions are being planned against the cuts. For more information phone Megan on 0419 117 606.

Megan Connor

Protest rejects nuke dump in NT

DARWIN — On August 3, anti-nuclear campaigners delivered mock radioactive waste to the office of federal MP David Tollner, in response to his call for the Northern Territory to be considered for a national nuclear waste dump site.

Protest organiser and NT Greens member Justin Tutty told Green Left Weekly that "environment groups agree that every state should have its own above-ground storage facility, for the small but significant amount of low-level waste each state produces. But they won't need a new intermediate-level waste dump facility if they don't build the new nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights"

Kathy Newnam

Protest against racist lecturer

MELBOURNE — On August 4, 25 students protested against Daniel Pipes, a well-known right-wing ideologue who was scheduled to give a lecture at Melbourne University entitled "Militant Islam and the war on terror". Pipes was invited to speak by the Australian Union of Jewish Students, the MU Liberal Club and the MU Labor Club.

Pipes is well known for his racist views on the Israel-Palestine conflict. He has written that "the Palestinians need to be defeated even more than Israel needs to defeat them" and that "all Muslims, unfortunately, are suspect". Students held up placards, chanted anti-war and pro-Palestinian messages and later entered the hall.

Recently Pipes was nominated by US President George Bush to become a member of the United States Institute for Peace, a think-tank devoted to "peaceful resolution" of international conflicts.

Zoe Kenny

Ambulance dispute in holding pattern

MELBOURNE — The Ambulance Employees Association has suspended 27 work bans that were in place in Victoria.

AEA Victorian secretary Rod Morris told Green Left Weekly that the government abandoned action it was pursuing in the Federal Court against the AEA. The AEA also dropped an appeal against a July 30 order by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission to lift the bans. Both sides are now involved in a series of conciliation meetings.

One significant breakthrough, according to Morris, is that the government's negotiating team now includes a decision-maker empowered to accept the AEA's demands, which include a 12% pay rise over three years. Previously, government negotiators claimed that they had no authority to accept any settlement that went beyond the government's policy of capping public-sector pay increases at 3%.

Morris explained that the government had, in effect, been asking paramedics to pay for improvements to the ambulance service, which he described as "an outrageous position for a government to take."

Once the conciliation meetings are finished, the AEA leadership will take the new offer to a mass meeting of paramedics on August 11. Until then, the dispute was in what Morris described as a holding pattern.

Tony Iltis

From Green Left Weekly, August 11, 2004.
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