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November 18 will be the second anniversary of the police killing of Mulrunji in Palm Island’s watchhouse. On that day, members of Queensland’s Aboriginal community and their supporters will rally in Brisbane to demand an end to Aboriginal deaths in custody.
Opening an October 23 public forum organised by Reproductive Choice Australia, Leslie Cannold, Melbourne Age columnist and author of The Abortion Myth, said that Victorian Labor Premier Steve Bracks had stated he favoured keeping the status quo on abortion, even though the ALP’s election platform calls for its decriminalisation.
Forty-nine workers at the largest workshop in the Latrobe Valley have been locked out for almost three months by Mechanical Engineering Services (MES). As soon as he’d locked out the workers, the company owner, Anthony Elliott, went overseas for several weeks.
Three Filipino workers sacked for speaking out about their and 37 other Filipino workers’ treatment by Ipswich welding firm Dartbridge Engineering have been found alternative employment by their union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU).
The Second Latin American and Asia Pacific Solidarity Gathering, held on October 21-22, was attended by 200 people. Organised by the Latin American Solidarity Network (LasNet), it was addressed by Gissel Gonzales from Bolivia’s Coalition in Defence of Water and Life; Maria de Lourdes Vicente da Silva, an organiser with the Landless Workers Movement (MST) in Brazil; Rosa del Carmen Curihuentro Lancaleo, a journalist and a Mapuche (the indigenous community of Chile and Argentina); and Heriberto Salas, a representative from the Mexican People for the Defence of the Earth, among others.
Staff at the University of NSW mail room are the latest victims of the university’s cost-cutting and corporatisation. Mail services at UNSW including internal mail and courier services were put out to tender via an advertisement in the November 1 Sydney Morning Herald.
On October 23, 300 people rallied in this NSW regional town to protest against the Howard government’s mis-labelled Work Choices.
Public transport issues continue to feature in the November 25 Victorian state election as both major parties trawl for votes.
On October 21, two days after the anniversary of the sinking of the SIEV-X, shadow minister for immigration Tony Burke announced that he would recommend that the ALP change key aspects of its refugee policy.
Guests at the $70 per head seminar at Old Parliament House to discuss the strategic alliance between Australia and the United States on November 2 were greeted by 50 protesters against the war in Iraq and the US threats to peace in Latin America. The protest was organised by the ACT Network Opposing War, and supported by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network and the Socialist Alliance. As former US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage, Australian defence minister Brendan Nelson and ALP foreign affairs spokesperson Kevin Rudd addressed the guests, chants of "600,000 Iraqis dead $70 a head" permeated the building.
Geelong Trades Hall was packed with unionists on October 28 exchanging ideas and experiences about surviving and fighting Work Choices. Some 130 unionists travelled from Victorian country centres such as Port Campbell, Portland, Hamilton and the Latrobe Valley to join unionists from across the country.
In its first national minimum wage decision on October 26, the Australian Fair Pay Commission (AFPC) handed down an increase of $27.36 for workers earning under $700 per week and $22.04 for those earning more than $700 covered by awards.
"When hypocritical old sexists like PM John Howard, Treasurer Peter Costello and radio shock-jock Alan Jones start delivering pious sermons about the rights of women, something very suspicious is happening", Pip Hinman, the Socialist Alliance's anti-war spokesperson, told Green Left Weekly.
Along with his contemptible "catmeat" analogy, Sheikh Taj El-din Al Hilaly's assurance to his congregation last month that, "If a woman is in her boudoir, in her house and if she's wearing the veil and if she shows modesty, disasters don't happen" was, of course, absolute bullshit. One in five Victorian women report being physically or sexually abused by an intimate partner at some time in their adult lives (VicHealth 2004). More than 20% of homicides involve intimate partners (Mouzos 2000). An estimated one in four children and young people have witnessed intimate partner violence (Office of Women's Policy 2002).
The drive to oust Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian has been put on hold as the major parties jostle to win the December 9 mayoral and city council elections for the major cities of Taipei and Kaohsiung.
Howard speech The October 4 Sydney Morning Herald printed an extract of John Howard's speech to the Quadrant 50th anniversary celebration the night before. I wrote a letter about it. Unsurprisingly, the SMH has not printed it: "Of Howard's two

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