Jim McIlroy

“In the new year, the progressive community needs to take up the cudgels for all those who continue to suffer human rights abuses in this country”, Sam Watson, Murri activist and Socialist Alliance Senate candidate in the recent federal elections, told a speak-out for International Human Rights Day on December 7. He condemned the attacks on Aboriginal rights inherent in the former Howard government’s invasion of the Northern Territory, and the infringement of civil liberties represented by the mandatory detention of refugees and the “anti-terror” laws.
Workers at the Foster’s brewery at Yatala, south of Brisbane, have stepped up their campaign for a union agreement, following a victory over the latest attempt by the company’s management to impose a non-union agreement on the work force at the plant. Scott Wilson, Electrical Trades Union (ETU) organiser for the site, told Green Left Weekly that the Yatala workers had voted by 154 to 120 to reject management’s third offer of a non-union agreement, which provides wages and conditions significantly below those of workers at other breweries in southern states.
The defeat of the Howard government in the November 24 federal election was “a great victory for the Australian working class”, Sam Watson, leading Aboriginal activist and Queensland Senate candidate for the Socialist Alliance, told Green Left Weekly. “John Howard has been cast out, senior ministers defeated, and many Coalition seats now made marginal. This represents a realignment of working-class forces in the country”, Watson added.
Protesting journalists in Pakistan were beaten by police on November 21. I travelled to Pakistan earlier this year, and I wish to show my solidarity with the brave struggle for justice being waged against General Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorship.
Protesting journalists in Pakistan were beaten by police on November 21. I travelled to Pakistan earlier this year, and I wish to show my solidarity with the brave struggle for justice being waged against General Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorship.
Brewery workers at the Foster’s Yatala plant, near Beenleigh south of Brisbane, are continuing their campaign for a union collective agreement. The workers — members of the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union, the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union — are holding pickets outside the brewery gates from 1-5pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as some night-time pickets.
Supporters of the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) gathered in Brisbane Square on November 16 to provide information to passers-by about December’s constitutional referendum in Venezuela, and to demand, “US hands of Venezuela!”
A report in the October 29 Brisbane Courier Mail signalled that the Queensland state Labor government may finally legislate to decriminalise abortion. But not immediately — perhaps in 18 months time, well after the federal elections are over. Labor MP for Aspley, Bonny Barry, has been reported as preparing a private member’s bill to remove abortion from the criminal code. Premier Anna Bligh has said she will support it, but has no intention of introducing a bill.
Launching his new film War on Democracy at the Dendy Theatre on September 24, well-known progressive journalist, author and film-maker John Pilger described it as perhaps “my most optimistic film”.
Ros Kidd, author of a new report detailing the theft of hundreds of millions of dollars from Queensland Aboriginal workers through unpaid wages over many decades, has called for part of the federal budget surplus to be used as compensation. The Hard Labour, Stolen Wages report was launched at the Irish Club on September 5.
On August 25, 500 people braved unseasonal rainstorms to participate in a Walk against Warming rally for urgent action on climate change. The event was sponsored by the Queensland Conservation Council and other environment groups.
Hiroshima Day “is not just a day for commemoration, but a day for action”, Nic Maclellan from the Nuclear Free Independent Pacific told a rally of around 200 people on August 5.
On August 8, 1000 people packed into the Brisbane City Hall for a public forum on “Australia at the Crossroads: A New Direction”. Organised by the Just Peace and the Just Rights groups, the forum was sponsored by a wide variety of peace, environment, social justice and political organisations.
Kevin Rudd: An Unauthorised Political Biography
By Nicholas Stuart
Scribe Publications, 2007
288 pages, $32.95
An estimated 8000 people rallied at South Bank and marched to state parliament on August 3 to protest the Queensland Labor government’s plan for the forced amalgamation of 156 local councils into 72. The majority of the marchers were residents of Noosa shire, who were opposing the inclusion of their council into a Sunshine Coast super-council, involving Noosa, Maroochydore and Caloundra.
Around 50 workers from the Fosters brewery at Yatala, south of Brisbane, and their supporters rallied outside the Carlton United Brewery (CUB) head office in Fortitude Valley on July 27 in support of their campaign for a union agreement. The protesters held up placards and waved to passing traffic, who honked their support.

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