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“Ain’t that the truth”, said the Socialist Alliance’s lead upper house candidate in next March’s NSW state election, Susan Price. “And it sums up why we’re running against them.”

On October 10, 60 people attended a public meeting at which the keynote speaker, historian Henry Reynolds, spoke about the ongoing oppression of Indigenous Australians.

Architects for Peace, Australia, took an active part in the protests against Israel’s attacks on Lebanon and Palestine. Beatriz Maturana, a founder of the group, told Green Left Weekly that the group formed in February 2003, in response to the invasion of Iraq. It continues to campaign against the US-led occupation of Iraq.

Thirty people protested outside the US consulate on October 13 calling for justice for five Cubans unfairly imprisoned in the United States. The Cuban Five helped expose the activities of US-based terrorists planning attacks on Cuba, for which they were imprisoned, even while known terrorists in Miami walk free. Cuba solidarity activist Tim Anderson told the crowd that the Cuban government is not going to let the case rest until justice is achieved.

In the first eight days of October, 30 coalition troops and close to 300 Iraqi civilians and security forces were killed. Iraq has become such a shameful example of Western arrogance that such figures barely warrant a mention on our television screens or in newspapers.

On October 10, 50 people joined a memorial service at Melbourne University to commemorate the drowning of 353 refugees when their Indonesian boat — the SIEV X — sank in international waters off Christmas Island in October 2001. A year after the sinking, a Senate select committee investigation concluded that it was “extraordinary that a major human disaster could occur in the vicinity of a theatre of intensive Australian [border patrol] operations and remain undetected until three days after the event, without any concern being raised within intelligence and decision making circles”.

Pope Benedict XVI is reported to be on the verge of authorising the return of the Latin Tridentine mass. This would open the way for some of the most extreme clerical reactionaries and anti-Semites to rejoin the Catholic Church.

The NSW Labor government has been forced to partially back down on its plans to enforce the educationally unsound A-E report system.

Technicians employed by Radio Rentals who were locked out of work for a month have returned to work after the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and the company agreed on an enterprise agreement that was better than Radio Rentals’ original offer.

One of the first things I usually do on a Saturday morning is read the “Number Crunch” column in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Weekend magazine. I find the assorted collection of interesting statistics irresistible.

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