News briefs


Misinformation on S11 leaked

A briefing paper on the planned S11 protests, prepared by one of the world's largest public relations firms, Hill and Knowlton, has been leaked to Melbourne Independent Media Centre. The paper, marked "Highly Confidential", is littered with factual errors.

Hill and Knowlton is notorious for having concocted false reports about Iraqi soldiers killing babies during Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The reports helped the United States win public support for its war against Iraq.

The full text of the report can be found on the Melbourne Independent Media Centre web site at <>.

Sharing the spirit

A group of about 500 New Zealand workers, along with officials from the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, have forced the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games to keep its promise to employ the workers.

The workers were enticed to Australia to fill security positions at the Olympic Games. They had to pay $370 to complete a training course and foot the bills for air fares, accommodation and uniforms. After they completed the course, the jobs were no longer available.

The worker's representatives and CFMEU officials stormed SOCOG headquarters demanding that all the workers be given jobs. SOCOG relented and the workers have been told that all will be employed.

Greenhouse rules weakened

Australia's record on enforcing the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions has been further tarnished by a recent decision of the federal government to exempt the natural gas industry from realistic greenhouse restrictions.

In order to allow a $20 billion North-West Shelf natural gas project, cabinet has waived its greenhouse gas abatement regulation. Environment minister Robert Hill's proposed greenhouse trigger, which forces developments likely to emit more than 500,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year to get government approval, was also shelved for the project.

Partial victory for Selleys workers

SYDNEY — Members of the Australian Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union employed at the Selleys plant in Padstow voted to return to work on August 21 after striking for almost two weeks.

The dispute began on August 9 after negotiations with the Australian-owned company broke down. The company had refused the workers' claim for a 6% wage increase over 18 months, but backed down after the workers struck.

While the 6% increase over 18 months was won, the starting date for the agreement has been moved back. The workers have mixed feelings about the outcome: while some believe that the deal was the best that could have been won under the circumstances, others felt that all of their demands could have been won if they had held out longer.