Australia

With the focus on media censorship in China during the Olympics, it is somewhat ironic that Channel Seven refused to run an ad encouraging PM Kevin Rudd, while he was in China, not to remain silent on the repression of the Tibetan people.
Victorian Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) vice president Noel Washington will now face the Geelong Magistrates Court on September 12. Washington was summonsed on June 19 to appear in court on August 8 for failing to comply with the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC). Lawyers acting for Washington contested the charges.
“All those who want to live in a healthy, equal society should vote for the Socialist Alliance”, Soubhi Iskander, one of three candidates to contest ward 3 of the Blacktown City Council elections for Socialist Alliance on September 13, told Green Left Weekly.
When does a worker, even a casual or part-time worker, join a union? When it’s clear that membership brings better pay, working conditions and job security. Why, then, is union membership among workers at an all-time low? Because in so many industries union membership doesn’t seem to bring these benefits.
On August 4, the Australian Education Union’s (AEU) federal president Angelo Gavrielatos announced the union’s proposed reforms for teachers’ career structure and salaries. It amounts to an endorsement of the divisive “performance pay”, in which schools are treated as businesses rather than places of teaching and learning.
Around 200 angry residents crowded into Sunshine’s Glengala Community Centre on August 12 for a second meeting on a proposed $9 billion east-west road tunnel to be built in their neighbourhood.
A group of maintenance workers at the National Foods milk processing plant in Chelsea Heights has won a 21% pay rise after having been on strike for three and a half weeks from late July. They will resume work on August 17.
The export of coal is an important issue for climate campaigners to consider. Australia exports more carbon dioxide in the form of coal than its entire domestic emissions of the gas.
The campaign to throw out all charges against Palm Island Aboriginal leader Lex Wotton is gaining momentum. The Indigenous Social Justice Association, Melbourne (ISJA) is organising a Victorian speaking tour with him from August 6-10.
The Australian Workers Union has many members in the aluminium refining and smelting industry, which accounted for 45.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2006 (7.9% of Australia’s total). Obviously, such a major greenhouse polluter — the dirtiest for every dollar of value added — has to be radically restructured if carbon emissions are to be cut to sustainable levels.

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