Susan Price

The ninth National Conference of the Socialist Alliance was held in Geelong over January 18-20. More than 150 people took part in the conference, including Hashim bin Rashid representing the newly formed united party of the left in Pakistan, the Awami Workers Party. Rashid attended the conference as a special guest, and gave presentations on racism, refugees and the war on terror, as well as the continuing struggles of the poor, the dispossessed and oppressed communities in Pakistan today.
In last month’s Victorian local council elections, the Socialist Alliance’s Sue Bolton was elected to Moreland City Council in Melbourne’s north. Green Left Weekly’sSusan Price asked Bolton about her immediate plans for the council and what sets her apart from other councillors. * * * We are going to organise a meeting in Moreland of members of Socialist Alliance, plus other people who supported the campaign or support the victory that we’ve had, to work out a plan of action.
Reporting on the release of the mid-year budget update in the Canberra Times on October 22, Peter Martin wrote that “Tax collections from both wages and the GST are running ahead of projections. Dramatically lower company tax collections account for most of the $21 billion write-down.” Included in that $21 billion is a revenue downgrade of $4.3 billion dollars over four years in resource rent tax from petroleum and mineral extraction from a projected $13.4 billion.
In response to attacks on jobs and services by the Barry O’Farrell Coalition NSW government, Unions NSW is launching Local Union and Community Councils (LUCCs) across the state. Many of these groups are based upon networks established during the Your Rights At Work campaign in 2007. LUCCs have been set up in more than a dozen regional and metropolitan locations, and several groups are having their inaugural meetings over the coming weeks (see below for details).
Workers on Bovis Lend Lease building sites across the country have won site allowances and improved pay and conditions. Union and community action forced the company to complete negotiations on a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) with unions on July 31. Strikes and protest action across 22 Lend Lease sites were launched on July 25, after the company failed to reach agreement with unions on conditions including restored site allowances, improved job security, improved pay and conditions for subcontractors, and union right of entry.
Fair Work Australia’s findings into the Health Services Union (HSU) have revealed serious breaches of the union’s rules, as well as federal regulations governing registered organisations.
On April 28, up to 8000 people marched in Auckland against the threatened sell-off of public assets by New Zealand National Party Prime Minister John Key. A few days earlier, a Hikoi (walk) began from Cape Reinga in the far north of New Zealand's north island, headed for the capital, Wellington. Arriving in Auckland in time to coincide with the event, participants in the Hikoi marched from Victoria Park to Britomart, where they met up with the assembling protest. The crowd then made its way up Queen Street to Aotearoa Square.
Activists have been campaigning to prevent the removal of public housing in the Auckland suburb of Glenn Innes since April 2. Many Tenants who have lived in the homes for decades have been evicted. Contractors are preparing to remove the homes for a new housing development. The development will reduce public housing, and evicted tenants have not gotten any guarantees of a right to return. Tenants, local community members and activists in the Mana Party organised to try to stop the removals,. They have peacefully blockaded and occupied the empty houses in protest.
A series of protests, or Hikoi, will take place across New Zealand from April 24 to May 10, under the banner “Aotearoa Not For Sale”. The demonstrations are being organised against the pro-privatisation, pro-mining and anti-social agenda of the National Party government, led by Prime Minister John Key. The Hikoi will kick off at the top of New Zealand's north island at Cape Reinga on April 24.
About 120 unionists and supporters rallied outside the New Zealand Consulate in Sydney on March 19 in solidarity with 292 Auckland wharfies who were sacked for being members of the Maritime Union of New Zealand. The rally was organised by the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA). It called on the NZ government to pressure the Auckland Council, which owns Auckland port, to immediately reinstate the workers.

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