Australia

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.
Two radical events marked July 26, the date in 1953 when Fidel Castro led an attack on the Moncada Barracks that failed militarily, but inspired the ultimately successful Cuban Revolution.
A survey of unionists in the heart of Australia’s coal regions shows strong sentiment for action to stop climate change. The poll, commissioned by the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU), surveyed 400 AMWU members in the Bowen Basin, Gippsland, Newcastle and the Hunter Valley.
More than 100 workers and union solidarity activists closed down the Yarraville CSR construction site on July 25. They were protesting against construction manager John Kint’s threat to dock the pay of any worker who talked to a union official. Kint is notorious for his anti-union stance. He was responsible for sacking a workers’ representative at Woodside’s Otways gas plant in Port Campbell in 2007, which led to months of industrial unrest. There will be a community meeting in Yarraville to discuss the CSR dispute. For more information, visit http://www.unionsolidarity.org.
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.

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