Australia

The truck drivers’ national transport shutdown came to an end on July 30, with the Transport Workers Union (TWU) failing to endorse the action and calling on frustrated drivers to instead lobby the federal government.
The fight to keep NSW electricity in public hands must and can be won. If Premier Morris Iemma and treasurer Michael Costa get away with their plan to sell off the state’s electricity generation capacity and its retail arms, working people and the community will get a dearer, less reliable service, and the chances of the state moving to a sustainable energy policy will be reduced to zero.
At a “Rally for the River” on August 1, some 2000 people gathered on the steps of state parliament to voice concerns about the plight of the Murray River’s Lower Lakes and the lack of action by state and federal politicians to address the crisis.
An enthusiastic audience of 60 attended a public meeting on July 23 to hear the environmental, social and economic case for opposing the Queensland government’s decision to construct a dam on the Mary River.
A team of three experienced activists will contest the September 13 local government elections in Blacktown for the Socialist Alliance.
Why do we put so much faith in the market to solve environmental problems? Why do we assume that increasing the cost of fossil fuel emissions will reduce their use rather than just increase everyone’s cost of living?
Qantas chief executive officer Geoff Dixon announced on July 18 that the company will sack 1500 workers by December and that its plan to hire 1200 more people has been cancelled. The sackings include 99 workers in Qantas call centres in London and Tucson, Arizona, when those centres are shut down.
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.

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