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“A strong majority of Iraqis want US-led military forces to immediately withdraw from the country, saying their swift departure would make Iraq more secure and decrease sectarian violence, according to new polls by the State Department and independent researchers”, the September 27 Washington Post reported.

Debts owed by students for university fees are growing by about $2 billion a year, according to the federal education department. Reporting the finding, the September 13 Melbourne Age observed that if the debt rise “continues at this rate, the amount owed will double in six years, from $10.2 billion in 2003-04 to more than $20 billion by 2009-10".

On September 23, the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society and Green Left Weekly held a public screening of Power of Community — How Cuba Survived Peak Oil. Around 90 people attended.

A group of Aboriginal leaders supported by the West Australian Social Justice Network has initiated a campaign in the wake of what “appears to be an orchestrated attack by the federal government and sections of the media on Aboriginal culture” and leaders.

On September 23, Jayme Magana, a young activist in El Salvador’s Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, addressed a community meeting about the oppressive conditions in El Salvador. A short documentary by Salvador Castro about political struggles in the country was also shown.

The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network national consultation decided to support the relaunch of an Australian campaign in support of the “Cuban Five” - five Cubans convicted in the United States in 2001 on charges ranging from conspiracy to commit murder to endangering the security of the US. The Cuban Five are being held in maximum security prisons across the US.

Around 250 people gathered on September 23 to voice their anger at the ongoing occupation of Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon by the imperialist “coalition of the killing”. A letter to the crowd on behalf of Jack Thomas’s family said: “If Jack had not been targeted it would be someone else. This is why solidarity with the Muslim community is so important right now.” The rally marched to Trades Hall, where a fundraiser for Doctors for Iraq and Human Appeal International was held later that afternoon.

The rising tide of enthusiasm for Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution is reaching Australia. This was seen at the Fourth National Latin American Solidarity Conference held in Sydney on September 29, the biggest such solidarity gathering in over a decade.

A September 1-3 Newspoll survey commissioned by the progressive lobby GetUp revealed that more than 91% of people in Australia believe Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks deserves a fair trial without delay. Only 24% believe he will receive a fair trial at Guantanamo Bay. Visit ><http://www.getup.org.au>.

MELBOURNE — On October 5, 80 people from a range of trade unions protested outside the new Australian Industrial Relations Commission headquarters in Exhibition Street. The opening was attended by federal workplace relations minister Kevin Andrews. Protest organiser Dave Kerin from Union Solidarity told the rally that workers will fight the Howard government’s unfair laws all the way, and that bad laws needed to be broken.

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