Australia

Documents leaked from Telstra’s human resources department and released by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) to the Sydney Morning Herald on August 14, show that the company wants to bypass unions and impose a non-union collective agreement on its 32,000 employees, thereby cutting its annual wages bill by $50 million. On August 13, Telstra announced a $3.7 billion profit for the 2007-08 financial year.

Around 150 women and men gathered on the lawns of the Mt Isa Civic Centre on August 19 to condemn Mayor John Moloney’s recent statement degrading women and to demand his resignation.

In a move eerily reminiscent of the lousy pay offers this year to NSW and Victorian public sector workers, the Queensland Labor government has offered staff at the Department of Main Roads a 3.25% per year increase for the three years of their current enterprise agreement. The offer is significantly below the official inflation rate in Brisbane of 5.1%, the highest of any capital city in Australia.

In one of the youngest local government election tickets ever, the Socialist Alliance is standing Laura Ealing, 21, Tom Cameron, 19, and Zane Alcorn, 24, for ward 3 in the upcoming Newcastle council elections.

It’s easy to get confused about forests and climate change. Deforestation and forest degradation contribute to around 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, second only to the burning of fossil fuels to produce energy. Climate scientists say that preserving our forests is a quick, easy and cheap way to prevent further global warming.

Victorian TAFE teachers voted on July 18 to take 24-hour strike action on August 20 in support of better pay and conditions after negotiations with the Victorian TAFE Association stalled.

As the Olympic Games opened in Beijing, world leaders have been issuing entreaties to “put politics aside”.

Issy Wyner, one of the early Australian Trotskyists, passed away on August 13, aged 92.

A number of student organisations have responded angrily to the revelation that the National Union of Students (NUS) has reneged on agreements to advocate that the government lower the age of “independence” to 18-years-old immediately.

KATOOMBA — Stepping up its campaign against the state Labor government’s plan to privatise NSW electricity, People Power Blue Mountains held a public meeting on August 9, attended by 75 people.

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