Australia

Canberra’s bus service, Action, is trying to impose a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) on bus drivers to undermine their rights at work. Under the current EBA, 40% of Canberra’s bus drivers are part-time and have to wait four years until they can get full-time work. If the part-time to full-time ratio that Action wants is implemented, workers will have to wait seven to eight years for a full-time job. “We’re fighting to protect bus driving as a profession”, one bus driver said.
TOWNSVILLE — More than 230 miners at the Thiess Collinsville Coal Project walked off the job on July 27 over a two-year-old pay dispute. The strike has halted all production at the mine. Secretary of the Collinsville lodge of the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union Rick Grant told the July 29 Townsville Bulletin the miners had dug in and weren’t about to back down. Grant said the dispute was over what workers considered an outdated enterprise bargaining agreement. He said the EBA was well below what miners in other parts of the Bowen Basin were being paid.
During the lead-up to the federal election, there has been almost total silence on Aboriginal rights and the Northern Territory intervention. Aboriginal communities and towns across the NT have suffered three years of income quarantining, compulsory leases over land and housing, a bilingual education ban in schools and cuts to funding for employment programs and services. The corporate media and politicians have ignored the problems caused and made worse by these racist and paternalistic policies.
On July 27, Cockburn Shire council workers took industrial action in protest to the managements offer of a pay-rise in this years new enterprise bargaining agreement. The workers for the shire, which is in southern Perth, have refused the offer, which falls sort of what they consider fair. The workers belong to two unions, the Australian Services Union (ASU) and the Local Government Racing and Cemeteries Employees Union (LGRCEU), which are organising their pay campaign.
· Indigenous juveniles aged 10-17 were 28 times as likely as non-Indigenous juveniles to have been detained. Adults are 13 times more likely. · The infant mortality rate for Indigenous Australians is 9.7 per 1000 live births compared with 4.4 per 1000 live births for non-Indigenous Australians. · The gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous life expectancy: 11.5 years for males and 9.7 years for females. · The Indigenous unemployment rate is 16% compared with 5% of non-Indigenous Australians.
In New South Wales, 96.3% of rail workers have voted in favour of strike action to further their campaign for a new enterprise bargaining agreement. The combined unions campaign committee notified Railcorp this would take the form of a fare-free day involving station staff and transport officers. Strikes at maintenance depots and workshops are planned at Hornsby, Flemington, Mortdale, Sydenham and Eveleigh for all Rail, Tram and Bus Union members on August 5 from 10am-2pm. All RTBU office workers at Burwood and Granville will strike the same day from 11am-1pm.
Barbara Shaw, a well-known Indigenous activist and leader of the Intervention Rollback Action Group in Alice Springs, said on July 27 that she would stand as a candidate in the Northern Territory seat of Lingiari in the August 21 federal election. Shaw will stand for the Greens against Labor’s Warren Snowdon, who holds the seat and is federal Indigenous health minister.
The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) apparently screened Iraqi film Son of Babylon against the wishes of the filmmakers — who object to the sponsorship of the MIFF by the apartheid state of Israel. Israel faces an international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign by opponents of its oppression of Palestinians. As with the international campaign against South African apartheid, this includes a call for a cultural boycott.
Food security will be a focus of November’s Climate Change/Social Change conference, being held in Melbourne. An entire workshop stream will be devoted to the topic. The global food system captures the insanity of production for profit: One in six people in the world are malnourished, yet the United Nations estimates that 40-50% of all food in the United States is wasted. Food waste makes up to half of Australian landfills.
BLUE MOUTAINS — About 60 people filled the Family Hotel bistro on July 24 to see Actively Radical TV's new film on the NT intervention, Alyawarr Walk-Off Protest vs Northern Territory Intervention. The event, organised by Green Left Weekly and the Socialist Alliance, also heard a reportback from the recent anti-intervention convergence in Alice Springs and the “Justice Tour” bus trip. Many participants expressed disgust at the Labor government’s role in the intervention. Many were also amazed at how little coverage there was in the media about the issue.

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