News briefs


ADELAIDE — Aboriginal groups have demanded the sacking of the Aboriginal affairs minister, Michael Armitage, over his use of the words "nigger in the wood pile" in Parliament on November 22. Premier Dean Brown met with 14 representatives of Aboriginal groups who all said that the minister should be replaced. Brown apologised for the comments and conceded that they were "insensitive" but rejected calls for Armitage's removal.

Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement director Sandra Saunders said, "It was not an off-the-cuff remark. He said it three times ... Sack the bastard — we don't want him ... We do not want him as Aboriginal affairs minister because he is a racist."

HOBART — Tasmanian Legislative Council member George Brookes plans to introduce a private member's bill requiring people with HIV/AIDS to register and to reveal the identities of their sexual partners. This would make it possible for employers to check the HIV status of employees. Brookes also wants HIV positive workers to be forced out of the food and health industries.

The Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group has denounced the proposal as insane. Spokesperson Rodney Croome said the most effective AIDS prevention strategies are those which gain the cooperation of people who have HIV and who are at risk of infection. Brookes' plan would force these people underground.

MELBOURNE — Greens candidate Professor Peter Singer won 28.9% of the vote in the November 19 Kooyong by-election. "This result was the Greens' highest ever primary vote in a state or federal seat in Australia. At the same time it was the Liberals' lowest ever result in Kooyong", Singer said.

The Liberal Party's state president, Petro Georgiou, won with a reduced primary vote. The Greens beat the ALP's vote at the last election. The Greens benefited from ALP and Democrat decisions not to contest the by-election.

PERTH — The Supreme Court on November 23 granted an interim injunction against logging in Hester block, near the south-west town of Bridgetown. The action was brought by the Bridgetown-Greenbushes Friends of the Forests.

Following an injunction against logging in Kerr forest on November 10, the state Department of Conservation and Land Management had brought forward its plans to log Hester block. A group of 20 lawyers are donating their time to help the campaign to stop logging of old growth forests.

PERTH — The WA Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) has recommended that anti-discrimination legislation be introduced to protect gays and lesbians. It recommends legislation outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexuality in employment, housing, education, insurance, superannuation and the provision of goods and services.

Right-wing church groups and other organisations have already started a campaign to oppose the reforms. Copies of the report can be obtained by phoning the EOC on (09) 264 1930. Letters of support can be sent to the Public Submission on Sexuality Report, Ms June Williams, Commissioner, EOC, 2nd Floor, Westralia Square, 141 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000.