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On November 9, Nicole Watson, an academic from the Jumbunna Centre of the University of Technology, Sydney, condemned the culture of police violence against Indigenous people in Queensland. She was addressing a public meeting at James Cook University attended by 100 people.
Newcastle City Council voted on November 7 to recommend that the NSW government cap coal exports through the Port of Newcastle at present levels. Greens councillor Michael Osborne moved the motion, which was supported by Labor councillors.
On November 10, the Federal Court ordered the reinstatement on full pay and conditions of two retrenched National Union of Workers (NUW) delegates because their employer was unable to prove that its decision to dismiss them was unrelated to their union activities.
The Environment Centre of the Northern Territory and the No Waste Alliance have written to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) urging it not to grant a waste discharge license for a new mine near the town of Batchelor, about 100 kilometres south of Darwin.
On November 3, the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC), while directing the NSW Teachers Federation (NSWTF) to lift its bans on public school teachers using A-E gradings in end-of-year school reports, refused to grant an order sought by the state Department of Education and Training that subjected the union to fines if it failed to lift the bans.
For the second time in three weeks, a community assembly stopped work at the Port Campbell Woodside Gas Plant construction site in regional Victoria on November 10. People came from Portland, Hamilton, Warrnambool, Geelong and Melbourne to support workers at the site in their campaign against the thuggery of industrial relations consultant Colin Milne. Milne has sacked 150 workers to get rid of union delegates and health and safety representatives, and threatened to sack 10 electricians if they didn’t agree to work a six-day week.
Community activists have bolstered picket lines at Botany Cranes (Exell St, Banksmeadow) and Thompson’s Roller Shutters (Henderson St, Turella) on several mornings over a period of several weeks.
About 100 people rallied on the steps of Flinders Street station during rush hour on November 9 to call on Premier Steve Bracks’ Labor government to make public transport free and put it back into public hands.
“The revelation that Sydney’s Labor powerbrokers are determining exactly what their Newcastle Labor candidate says to the media offers a glimpse into how the Labor candidate would be handled if she were elected in March”, Michael Osborne, the Greens candidate for Newcastle, said on October 29.
In elections held last month for officers and councillors in the Victorian branch of the Australian Education Union (AEU), all state councillors who are members of the opposition grouping Teachers Alliance (TA) were returned. The group’s candidates won an average overall vote of 25%.
Around 200 people attended Green Left Weekly solidarity fiesta on November 4 and helped raise $2700 for the newspaper’s fighting fund. The event featured greetings from sacked Botany Cranes delegate Barry Hemsworth, who is campaigning for reinstatement, and a passionate statement of support for the Socialist Alliance by NSW upper house candidate Jakalene X-treme. Cuban band Cafesur kept the dance floor alive until late. Upcoming GLW fundraisers in Sydney include a harbour cruise on December 9 and a raffle for a spectacular Christmas hamper. Phone (02) 9690 1977 if you can help.
More than 600 delegates representing 2 million union members met for the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) congress on October 25-26.
As the November 7 emergency water summit of federal and state parliamentarians was told that the current drought is the worst in 1000 years, the opposition parties criticised the governments for fiddling while the drought worsens. Greens Senator Rachel Siewert claimed the summit “shied away from making the tough decisions at a time when urgent action was sorely needed”.
After having supported the May 20 international day of action in solidarity with Venezuela and Cuba, the National Union of Students (NUS) has taken a retrograde step by voting against giving support to the international week of solidarity with Venezuela starting on November 12.
Scottish Socialist Party MP Rosie Kane was released from Cornton Vale women’s prison on November 8 after serving half of a 14-day jail sentence. The sentence was imposed when Kane refused to pay a £300 fine for participating in a 2005 anti-nuclear weapons protest at the Scottish parliament
John Howard’s new industrial laws contain a raft of penalties for workers and unions taking “unlawful” industrial action. Workers can face individual fines of $6600 ($22,000 for those in the building industry), and unions face $33,000 or more. One result has been a decline in industrial disputes since Work Choices was enacted in March.

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