Kerry Smith

Joe Collins from the Australia West Papua Association said on April 19 that Australia should have no ties with the Indonesian military (TNI) until it is proven to have reformed. TNI commander Marshal Djoko Suyanto was visiting Canberra at the time to strengthen Australia-Indonesia military relations.

Forty-nine workers at Coghlan and Russell, a car components factory in Geelong, have been stood down after the company called in receivers.

On April 5, the workers discovered that their superannuation had not been paid for more than eight months. When the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) confronted management, it was told that the company had a plan and would talk to the union in a couple of days.

On April 13, the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) reported that Yuan Hui Min had been taken from Villawood detention centre to hospital. She is one of ten detainees on hunger strike in protest at the “unjust situation of detention”. The hunger strikers are calling for an end to forcible deportations, a maximum detention period of six months and for the immediate release of two detainees being held incommunicado.

On April 8, police arrested 14 protesters at the Lake Cowal Gold Mine, 47 kilometres from West Wyalong in central-western NSW. Activists had locked themselves to mining machinery and entered the offices of the mine, in support of demands by the Wiradjuri traditional landowners that the mine cease operations. Some 100 Aboriginal and environmental protesters participated in the action.

On April 6, notorious Cuban-born terrorist Luis Posada Carriles was granted freedom on bail in the El Paso Federal Court, which will allow him to return home to his family in Miami after the payment of US$250,000. Posada, a former CIA operative, was the mastermind of the deadly bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976, and has been involved in other terrorist acts and violent campaigns against popular movements in Latin America. Washington has denied requests to extradite him to Venezuela, where he had been imprisoned until he escaped in 1985.

The Gippsland Trades and Labour Council (GTLC) has expressed outrage at the refusal of power companies and the Victorian government to discuss health and safety in the power industry following two workplace deaths and a serious injury in the La Trobe Valley late in 2006.

The Greens are calling for state-of-the-art mobile medical clinics as a means of extending city-based services to rural and remote areas of NSW. The call is part of the Greens’ NSW election policy for health, launched by MP Sylvia Hale on March 16.

At noon on March 8, 50 protesters gathered outside James Hardie Industries’ Pitt Street offices to express outrage at the company’s decision to lock out 12 maintenance workers at its Rosehill plant in western Sydney and to strip them of entitlements.

A satirical website created by climate action group Rising Tide Newcastle (RTN) has twice been shut down by the powerful coal industry lobby group, the NSW Minerals Council.

On March 5, maintenance department workers employed at James Hardie Ltd’s Rosehill site took protected industrial action for 24 hours. They were supported by activists from Worker Solidarity, who organised a community picket on the day

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