Jim McIlroy

Around 200 people joined a “Walk for Peace and Unity in Zimbabwe” on June 8, organised by the group Australians Supporting Zimbabwe. Gathering at the Peace Pagoda at South Bank, they walked along the Brisbane River bank to Davies Park for an information session and BBQ.

“Under the jackboot of Howard’s Northern Territory intervention, the great majority of Aboriginal people supported Rudd in the last election. Now they feel betrayed by the Rudd Labor government”, commented Sam Watson, the Socialist Alliance’s national Indigenous affairs spokesperson, at its Queensland state conference on May 31.

“The Venezuelan revolution is slowly going forward, despite problems. President Hugo Chavez hasn’t stopped for a minute in pushing the process ahead, in the face of serious challenges”, Coral Wynter, co-leader of the Australian May Day 2008 solidarity brigade to Venezuela, told a meeting of the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network on May 26.

@9point non = BRISBANE — “Get on the phone to all your relatives, friends and those you know in El Salvador to urge them to vote for the FMLN in the elections in 2009\", Jorge Shafik Handal Junior, a leader of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, told a 60-strong audience of mainly El Salvadoran migrants at a public meeting on May 17. He also called on Australian supporters to visit El Salvador next year as international observers, to limit the right-wing ARENA government’s attempts to use fraud to prevent an FMLN victory in the January parliamentary elections and the March presidential election.

A rally against a ban by the Gold Coast City Council on demonstrations in the city’s parks is being held on May 26 outside the Gold Coast council chambers in Surfers Paradise.

More than 1000 electricity workers, employed by Energex, Ergon Energy and Powerlink, marched through the city on May 14 in an escalation of the combined power unions’ campaign for improved pay and conditions from the three state government-owned corporations.

More than 10,000 unionists marched through Brisbane’s streets on May 5, celebrating the union movement’s role in the defeat of the Howard government last year. The annual Labour Day parade was led by the building unions, with the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) in the lead. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of the original building workers\' union in Queensland.

On April 2, the Queensland industrial relations departments’ Workplace Health and Safety agency issued a breach notice against the state government’s Queensland Health (QH) department for providing unsafe accommodation to nurses working on the Torres Strait islands.

A landmark legal case has begun against mining corporation Xstrata over claims that it “wilfully and negligently” caused toxic contamination of large parts of the north-western Queensland city of Mount Isa over decades.

“The union movement can fight back and grow overall in the next period”, Tim Gooden, secretary of the Geelong Trades Hall Council, told Green Left Weekly on April 18. He was responding to reports in the mainstream press highlighting figures indicating a further fall in national union membership last year.

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