Susan Austin

Four thousand timber workers and their families attended a rally in Launceston in support of the controversial Bell Bay pulp mill on July 19. The Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Energy Union (CFMEU) called the rally as part of a one-day stop-work action aimed at “combating the threat to jobs posed by radical green groups”.
The following article is abridged from a speech by Susan Austin, Socialist Alliance Hobart branch convener, to a 250-strong Indigenous rights rally on June 27 organised by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.
Around 120 people rallied outside Liberal MP for Deakin Phil Barresi’s electoral office in Mitcham, Melbourne, on March 27, the anniversary of the proclamation of the federal Coalition government’s unpopular and destructive industrial relations laws. The lunchtime protest and barbecue were organised by the Deakin community and Your Rights at Work campaign group, which has been raising awareness and campaigning in the area against the anti-worker laws.
Tasmanian Labor Premier Paul Lennon’s Pulp Mill Assessment Bill, which fast-tracks approval of timber giant Gunns Ltd’s proposed $1.5 billion Tamar Valley pulp mill, was passed by the Legislative Council, the state parliament’s upper house, on March 29. Seven days earlier the bill had been passed by the lower house.
(in response to Gunns withdrawing its pulp mill from the independent assessment process and Tasmanian premier Paul Lennon planning to approve it anyway)
A youth march will be held in Launceston on January 26, Invasion Day. The march organiser, Nala Mansell, told Green Left Weekly that Aboriginal young people from all over Tasmania will be coming together to say that they won’t be part of the “Australia Day” celebrations.
The Tasmanian government’s Stolen Generations of Aboriginal Children Bill 2006, which set up a $5 million compensation fund, was passed by the upper house of the state parliament on November 28, having been unanimously approved in the lower house seven days earlier.
Woodchipping giant Gunns Ltd’s proposed $1.4 billion pulp mill in northern Tasmania continues to be the subject of controversy. Gunns has expressed impatience over the delays in the assessment process and threatened to axe the project if government approval is not given within six months.
CBD office cleaners in cities across Australia and New Zealand staged protests on October 18 as part of the Clean Start: Fair Deal for All Cleaners campaign. About 70 cleaners and their supporters rallied outside the Tasmanian parliament marching to the Town Hall to present a letter to the city council.


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