Australia

Almost immediately after the Rudd Labor government’s Fair Work Australia came into effect on July 2, the Australian and other News Ltd newspapers launched a sustained attack on the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union’s (AMWU) wage claim for the manufacturing industry.

On July 1 the Age reported the federal government had understated the number of international students who had died in Australia during 2008. The government had reported 51 deaths — a disturbingly high number. But the real figure was “at least 54” and is probably higher, the Age said.

On July 16, satirical ‘Billionaires for Coal’ group rallied in Wollongong Mall to welcome a raft of state government decisions that will benefit the rich. The billionaires congratulated the NSW ALP government on its plans to expand coal mining and burning.

We have a coal industry and a government — even some unions — that tell workers they must choose between a safe climate future and their jobs, their livelihood.

Cindy Shelley had worked for Thomastown-based tooling specialist Sutton Tools for more than 20 years when she was told that her job was gone.

Comedian Rod Quantock launches his new show, Bugger the Polar Bears, This is Serious, in Melbourne on July 21. He spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Jay Fletcher about climate change, government inaction and the urgent need to create a global movement to save the planet.

Former US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney was among a group of activists who made international news when they were seized from their boat, the Spirit of Humanity, and imprisoned by the Israeli military on June 30.

In late June, the federal government helped launch a paper entitled Bridges and Barriers: Addressing Indigenous Incarceration and Health.

Aboriginal leaders have questioned the motives behind the NT intervention policy after the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) failed to find evidence of organised pedophile rings — a key motivation of the policy produced by then-Aboriginal affairs minister Mal Brough in 2007.

June 28 was the anniversary of the two bookends of World War I, in which it is estimated more than 15 million people died. On that date in 1914, Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo. Five years later, in 1919, 90 years ago this year, the Versailles Treaty was signed in Paris.

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