Australia

Why do we put so much faith in the market to solve environmental problems? Why do we assume that increasing the cost of fossil fuel emissions will reduce their use rather than just increase everyone’s cost of living?
Qantas chief executive officer Geoff Dixon announced on July 18 that the company will sack 1500 workers by December and that its plan to hire 1200 more people has been cancelled. The sackings include 99 workers in Qantas call centres in London and Tucson, Arizona, when those centres are shut down.
Labor won the November, 2007 federal election on the promise to “tear-up” Work Choices, abolish the hated Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs — individual contracts) and overhaul the entire industrial relations system. Of course, all of this was promised to contain ample consultation and be in the spirit of balance.
On July 23, Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes teamed up with a select group of CEOs of some of the richest companies and major employers of AWU members in a roundtable discussion on climate change.
I was a participant in the NoToPope protest in Sydney on July 19, and was part of the broad coalition that organised the protest. One of the issues the NoToPope coalition raised as part of the World Youth Day protests was the gap between what the Vatican preaches, (no to condoms and abstinence in sex education) and the reality of sexually transmitted diseases around the world today.
Socialist Alliance and Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) member Colin Campbell died suddenly in the early hours on July 17.
When federal environment minister Peter Garrett paid a visit to a Sydney public primary school last term he discovered that the school had installed enough solar panels to supply three-quarters of its electricity needs.
Despite the heavy rain, more than 100 people participated in a rally through Sydney’s CBD on July 25, protesting the ongoing discrimination, abuse and killing of Tamil civilians by the Sri Lankan state.
A documentary film-maker arrested and held without bail overnight after the September 2007 anti-APEC protest in Sydney was cleared of all charges on July 21.
For three years, the Health Services Union (HSU), which covers ambulance drivers, has been pleading with the state Labor government to employ 300 additional ambulance service staff in NSW. In late July they lost patience.

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