Australia

Twenty-first century capitalism has sentenced millions of workers to near slavery in the form of various migrant labour schemes that underpin the mega profits of many giant corporations. From Singapore to Dubai to the US, such schemes spell super-exploitation. So would a “guest
worker” scheme in Australia be much less exploitative?

One thousand farmers from across Victoria descended on Melbourne on June 3 to protest the state government’s North South Pipeline plan, which will bring 75 billion litres of water each year from the Goulburn River across the Great Dividing Range to Sugarloaf Reservoir. The pipeline is due to be completed by 2010.

On June 5, I joined a suburban World Environment Day campaigning stall organised by Resistance, a socialist youth group in Australia.

On June 2, while announcing the withdrawal of 550 Australian combat troops from Iraq, PM Kevin Rudd told parliament that all the arguments justifying the troop deployment in the first place were lies. This vindicates the anti-war movement’s position since the 2003 invasion.

The June 5 South Australian Labor government budget has been praised as “outstanding” by business groups and the corporate media. The budget reduces business taxes and funds extensive infrastructure development.

One of the less noticed consequences of the ALP’s pre-election promise to take a “meat axe” to the federal public service has been the impact of the cuts being made to cultural institutions.

A climate emergency rally to be held in Melbourne on July 5 has been endorsed by more than 30 groups and more have indicated they will support it.

On May 23, Hafizur Rahman, who has lived in Australia for 12 years and was working as a printer in Sydney, was told by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship that he must leave the country by June 6.

Your Water Your Say (YWYS), the group campaigning against Victoria’s proposed Wonthaggi desalination plant, is facing bankruptcy due to the state and federal governments’ decision to pursue costs against the group after it lost a preliminary court case over the project.

Organised racism scored a win on May 27, when Camden Council voted unanimously to reject a proposal to build the 1200 student Al Amanah Islamic College in the south-western Sydney suburb.

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