Jim McIlroy

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez released a statement congratulating US president-elect Barack Obama, declaring that, “We are convinced that the time has come to establish new relations between our two countries and in our region, based on the principles of respect for sovereignty, equality and true co-operation”, according to a November 6 Ultimas Noticias article.

BRISBANE — The Brisbane annual consultation of the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) was held on October 18, with the theme “516 years of popular resistance in Latin America”. Thirty-five people attended.

The campaign against the jailing of tramways union leader Clarrie O’Shea, in Melbourne in May 1969, for refusing to pay fines imposed under the infamous anti-union penal powers of the time is rich with lessons for today’s campaign against the Australian Building and Construction Commission’s (ABCC) witch hunt of construction unionists.

On September 14, the Yungaba Action Group (YAG) protested at the Bligh Labor government’s community cabinet in Carindale as part of the campaign to save the historic migrant cultural centre from being sold off for private development.

Supporters of a woman’s right to choose rallied outside Liberal anti-abortion Senator George Brandis’s office on September 16. They were protesting against Tasmanian Liberal Senator Guy Bennett’s private member’s bill to end Medicare funding for abortions after 14 weeks’ pregnancy. The bill, due for parliamentary debate on September 17, has been referred to a committee.

“We knew we had to have the support of migrant women, of the union, and of the community or we couldn’t win”, Robynne Murphy, from the Jobs for Women campaign (JFWC), told a September 11 forum organised by Green Left Weekly and the Socialist Alliance.

“Construction unions across Australia are running the Rights On Site campaign against the union-bashing ABCC [Australian Building and Construction Commission].

“The state Labor government’s failure to honor its promise to pay $55.4 million in reparations to Indigenous stolen wages claimants [is] incomprehensible”, Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) general secretary Ron Monaghan said in an August 19 statement.

BRISBANE — ”The Sri Lankan government is a racist regime which has conducted a decades-long reign of terror against the Tamil people”, Dr Brian Senewiratne, a Queensland medical specialist of Sinhala origin, said at a film night featuring My Daughter the Terrorist on August 30.

The Queensland branch of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union has called statewide stop-work actions and rallies on September 12, the day Victorian CFMEU official Noel Washington faces an initial hearing in Geelong over charges brought by the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

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