Jim McIlroy

On January 8, protesters took to piers around Port Philip Bay as part of the campaign against the planned dredging of the bay — scheduled to begin in the coming weeks. The Port of Melbourne Corporation intends to dredge an underwater rock wall containing unique sea life.

“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.

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.

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.

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”.

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