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Members of the Victorian branch of the Australian Education Union (AEU) will have a choice in this month’s union elections. The current leadership is being challenged by the Teachers Alliance.

Despite ALP election commitments to “oppose any new uranium in South Australia”, on September 30 Premier Mike Rann’s Labor government announced final approval for Southern Cross Resources to expand uranium mining operations at the Honeymoon site, 75 kilometres north-west of Broken Hill. The announcement came just three days after the 50th anniversary of the first nuclear bomb test at Maralinga in SA.

Melbourne-based human rights group Civil Union Action! held a snap action on October 6 outside the Victorian ALP headquarters to denounce Premier Steve Bracks' confirmation that the state government opposes civil unions for same-sex couples. The Labor government has ruled out a debate before the November 25 state election on independent MP Andrew Olexander's civil unions bill.

Nelson Davila, Venezuela’s charge d’affaires in Australia, addressed a 100-strong meeting on September 22 organised by the Socialist Alliance and the Lebanese Communist Party in Australia (LCPA), held at the Lebanese Cultural Centre in Brunswick.

The 1999 abduction of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan by Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MIT) while he was in Kenya set a precedent for the CIA’s post-9/11 practice of “extraordinary rendition”, Ocalan’s lawyers told the first Australian Conference on the Political and Human Rights Dimensions of the Kurdish Question, held in Melbourne on October 3.

Walk against Warming is an international day of action to bring the issue of global warming to the attention of governments. This year it is happening on November 4 and rallies will be held around Australia demanding: more support for renewable energy, no nuclear and no new coal-fired power; better public transport; and that the Australian government ratify the Kyoto protocol.

ACT government ACTION bus drivers held a snap strike on September 20 to protest against service cutbacks that would reduce some drivers’ extra shifts and pay. The action was taken following the failure of negotiations with the ACT government’s municipal services department and despite a Transport Workers Union warning that the strike would be illegal and could result in fines of $4000 for each worker.

The stout, broadly smiling chief editor ushered me into his small office. From the wall, the face of forbidden fruit — stern theoretician, military leader and organiser of the Red Army, “sorcerer” Leon Trotsky — stared defiantly down at me.

Workers at the Tronics factory in Thomastown voted to return to work on October 6 after management agreed to an 11.5% pay rise over three years, maintenance of existing conditions and an acceptable disputes-settling procedure. During the preceding three weeks the workers had taken strike action for a total of eight full days and three half days.

On October 4, student anti-war campaigners were threatened by security guards with being kicked off the University of Technology Sydney campus.

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