Write on — letters to the editor

May 2, 2009

Mine workers under surveillance

BHP-Billiton Mount Arthur Coal have just recently been found to have acted unlawfully by installing GPS tracking devices into 2 fuel trucks at the Mt Arthur Coal mine near Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley.

When the workers at the pit became aware Mount Arthur Coal had been conducting a covert surveillance operation, they had onsite meetings and resolved to take legal action against the company.

After several weeks of tense negotiations the onsite CFMEU membership were advised by union officials to accept a "sorry letter" from mine management thus avoiding court action and exposing Mount Arthur Coal's lack of trust in their workforce.

As yet the "sorry letter" has not been delivered for acceptance by the rank and file. Workers across Australia can expect to see more of this type of unlawful bastardry as the capitalist economy tightens in recession.

Graham Brown, NSW

Climate sceptics debunked

Notwithstanding claims to the contrary by climate sceptics such as Australian geologist Professor Ian Plimer, man-made global warming is a reality according to an overwhelming global scientific consensus.

The world has already warmed by about 0.8°C since 1900 and another 0.6°C increase is inevitable due to the full effect of past greenhouse gas emissions.

Data indicating this remorseless increase of global average surface temperature is provided by the world's major research centres measuring global temperature, namely NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the US National Climate Data Center and the UK Hadley Centre Climate Research Unit. Simply web search these coupled with the word temperature to find the graphs of global temperature versus time covering the last 130 years.

Indeed the UK Hadley Centre recently warned that the world could warm by more than 5°C in the next 90 years.

A recent UK Guardian newspaper poll asked experts attending the March 2009 scientific Copenhagen Climate Change Conference whether the EU target of a 2°C increase over the 1900 level could still be achieved, and whether they thought that it would be met (noting that the EU regards increases above this as dangerous).

Sixty percent of respondents argued that it was still possible to meet the target but 39% said the 2°C target was impossible.

Asked what temperature rise (over 1900 temperature) was most likely by 2100, 5% of respondents said 6°C or more, 13% said 4-5°C, 46% said 3-4°C, 26% said 2-3°C, and only 10% thought it would stay at 2°C or under — i.e. 90% of climate expert respondents said the 2°C target would not be reached.

Gideon Polya, Macleod, Vic.

The scourge of racism

I have attended many conferences since the Lithgow District Conference of the Communist Party in 1946 which was several months before I was discharged from the Army on October 14, 1946.

The recently concluded one, "World at a Crossroads" is the best that I have ever attended.

Personal contact with other comrades from many countries was an outstanding feature. The workshops were also particularly good. I attended three of them, and made a contribution to the discussion at each.

At the third one, "Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah and the right of Palestine to exist", my contribution to the discussion was the following: "Comrades, we will all leave this conference far better informed after listening to the two last speakers, and Salim Vally.

"As words must be accompanied by deeds, I would like to suggest that each comrade send a letter to their federal member urging that Australia participate in the Durban II conference to denounce the scourge of racism. The Australian zionists, who dote on Israel from the safety of Sydney and Melbourne, are opposed to Australia's participation.

"They want to conceal the crimes committed in Gaza by Israeli armed forces and they don't want Israel to be exposed as a racist state where apartheid against Palestinians prevails."

I also believe that we all know each other a lot better after being together for three days at the conference. Congratulations to all the comrades whose hard work made the conference a great success.

Bernie Rosen Socialist Alliance member, Strathfield, NSW

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