Peter Boyle

Berlin-based Transparency International’s latest corruption perceptions report listed Burma and Somalia as the two most corrupt countries in the world. Then comes Iraq, Haiti, Tonga, Uzbekistan, Chad and Afghanistan. The three least corrupt countries were New Zealand, Denmark and Finland. Australia came in 11th, just after Canada but ahead of the US, which was 20th on the list.

Some 230 people attending the Green Left Weekly annual dinner in the Marrickville Town Hall on September were the first to hear the news that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has decided visit Australia.

Thanks to the generosity and hard work of Green Left Weekly’s supporters, we have raised $155,467 for our Fighting Fund this year. Over the next three months we need to raise $94,500 to reach our target. Every bit our readers do — whether through making donations or organising and/or attending our fundraising events — will be critical.

Saturday September 8 was another red banner day for people’s power.

Whenever a socialist from the generation whose political ideas were shaped by involvement in the global movement against the US-led Vietnam War pay their first visit to Vietnam, it is a bit like a pilgrimage. It is an encounter with a symbolic home of our political hopes and convictions.

A report released on August 30 by the Australia Council Of Social Services (ACOSS) shows that the number of Australians living in poverty has increased over the past 10 years. Using an international poverty line of 50% of median income, the numbers increased from 7.6% to 9.9% of the population between 1994 and 2004, or nearly 2 million Australians. This measure is used extensively in OECD countries. Using the same poverty line used in the UK and Ireland, 60% of median income, poverty has risen from 17.1% of the population in 1994 to 19.8%, or 3.8 million Australians, in 2004.

In a desperate attempt to justify the criminal and disastrous US war of occupation in Iraq, President George Bush has chosen to wrestle the ghost of the US defeat in the Vietnam War.

Debra Jopson is an investigative reporter with a conscience and a very good record for exposing the crimes that continue to be committed against Indigenous people of Australia. Her latest expose, in a series of articles in the Sydney Morning Herald on August 21-22, was of a multi-million dollar robbery of funds allocated to address the Third World-like conditions of Indigenous Australians. And who was the robber? The Howard government.

On August 8, I attended a noisy demonstration by trade unionists in Malaysia who were demanding that the government bring in a minimum wage of 900 ringgit (A$300) a month. I had come to the picket with a group of some of the country’s lowest-paid workers — rubber-plantation workers whose ancestors had been brought from India generations ago by the former British colonial rulers as indentured labourers.

For the last week, I’ve woken up each morning at five to join ordinary Hanoi residents exercising in Lenin Park, which surrounds one of several huge lakes in the centre of the city. The first time I went out of curiosity, but it was such a buzz I’ve returned every morning.

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