Australia

The Rudd government has asked the Productivity Commission to examine the economic, productive and social benefits of introducing a national paid maternity leave scheme. The Commission has heard submissions from a range of unions, business and community groups, and is due to release its report in February, 2009.
Australia is a leading exporter of coal, shipping millions of tonnes every year around the globe. It was appropriate, therefore, that the annual environmental conference, Students of Sustainability (SoS), was this year held in the world’s coal export capital: Newcastle.
PM Kevin Rudd’s “education revolution”, a sad misuse of the word “revolution”, continues to starve public schools of funds. Meanwhile, wealthy private schools are given so much federal money they don’t know what to with it other than bank it or build Olympic-sized gymnasiums.
Rail workers’ militancy against Morris Iemma’s NSW Labor government has won some important concessions and forced the government onto the back foot.
“Unions are totally enmeshed in Cuban society”, Scott Wilson, an organiser for the Queensland branch of the Electrical Trades Union told a July 9 public forum, sponsored by the ETU and the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN).
CANBERRA — The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela celebrated its national independence day on July 5 under the theme “For true independence and sovereignty”.
Socialist Alliance candidates in the upcoming local government elections are calling for a state-wide referendum on power privatisation to be conducted alongside council elections.
Arctic sea ice reached a record minimum in the Northern summer of 2007, prompting the revision of scientists’ predictions of how quickly it will melt away altogether in response to global warming — perhaps as early as 2010-13, rather than the hundred years later estimated in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports.
Some unionists are angry that despite all the warnings about the climate emergency and Australia’s high per capita greenhouse gas emissions, the Victorian ALP government has given the go-ahead to a $750 million 400 megawatt brown coal power station in the Latrobe Valley.
Postal workers protested outside Australia Post HQ on June 25 to voice their opposition to AP’s policy of hiring new employees on lower pay rates and the splitting up their jobs.

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