Australia

In protests around the country on Workers Memorial Day, April 28, thousands of workers came out to remember those killed on the job and to protest against the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC). Speakers pointed out that since the ABCC was formed, deaths in the construction industry had risen from 3.14 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2004, to 4.27 in 2008. The rate peaked in 2006, at 5.6. The Rudd government’s home insulation program, under which four workers died and there have been 120 house fires, also came under attack.
After weeks of political wrangling and uncertainty since the March 20 state elections, a new government has been formed in Tasmania. For the first time in Australia’s history, the Greens will have ministry positions. The Labor Party and the Greens agreed to a “power sharing deal”, which offered a ministry for Greens leader Nick McKim and a cabinet secretary position for Greens MP Cassy O’Connor.
As a doctor working in the front line of the public hospital system for a decade, I have been watching the debate around health reform with great interest. The phrase “controlled locally, funded federally” has been repeated ad nauseam by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Imagine if we could hear him saying “free universal health care for all ... no more handouts to the private sector ... break the feudal strangle hold of the colleges on the number of specialists being trained ... will include dentistry ... a healthy society ... a shorter working week so we have time to exercise...”.
Resistance, socialist youth organisation, held its national conference in the Thirroul Community Centre (Wollongong, NSW) over April 24-26, 2010. Nearly 300 largely young people took part in the event, discussing organising a fight back against racism, war and environmental destruction. The event was filmed by Win TV (regional NSW version of Channel Nine). The news report can be seen below.

Australians voted out the Howard Coalition government in 2007. But the Labor government's decision to suspend processing new refugees arriving by boat from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka means John Howard's racist refugee policies have been revived.

A coalition of community environmental groups has been trying to stop logging in the Mumbulla State Forest in the NSW far south east, with a blockade of about 90 people. The forest contains the last known koala colony between Canberra and Victoria.

The logging is being carried out by Forests NSW, a public trading enterprise under direct control of the NSW state government. Ninety-five percent of felled trees are to be processed at the Eden woodchipping mill, owned by South East Forest Exports (SEFE).

To all Socialist Alliance members and supporters: I am asking for your support for the Resistance national conference, Resistance 2010: The World Can’t Wait!, to be held in Thirroul, New South Wales over April 24-26.To all Socialist Alliance members and supporters: I am asking for your support for the Resistance national conference, Resistance 2010: The World Can't Wait!, to be held in Thirroul, New South Wales over April 24-26. Resistance is a socialist youth organisation affiliated to the Socialist Alliance.

BRISBANE — Aboriginal rights activists rallied outside state parliament on February 23, calling for official recognition of the Aboriginal flag in Queensland’s constitution. Inside the house, amendments to the constitution were being discussed.
SYDNEY — Forty people gathered at the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) offices to hear a reports from unionists recently returned from the Alyawarr people’s walk-off in the Northern Territory, where they participated in building a house in protest against the NT intervention.
SYDNEY — Two thousand people successfully reclaimed local lanes in Newtown, Sydney, on February 13. “A city is its people”, they publicly proclaimed. We want “living lanes” said spokesperson David Bentley.

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