The Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office claims that nuclear safeguards “provide assurances that exported uranium and its derivatives cannot benefit the development of nuclear weapons”. In fact, the safeguards system is flawed in many respects, and it cannot provide such assurances.
Victoria’s Labor premier, Steve Bracks, claimed victory in the state election on the evening of polling day, November 25. Bracks said that the result was a message to the federal government “To stop dictating about nuclear reactors, and industrial relations, and start listening to families right around this country”. With 75% of the vote counted, the ALP had won almost 44% of the vote, a swing against it of around 4.3%.
The role of mining companies overseas is often shrouded in secrecy. Residents of my country Malawi, in the “warm heart” of Africa, are learning first hand about Australian mining companies as four of them are currently exploring for uranium.
Senate estimates hearings in November revealed that the federal government’s plans for a nuclear dump in the Northern Territory are not running smoothly. The site evaluation is lagging six months behind schedule and, as a result, Canberra wants to conduct environmental assessment and site licensing processes concurrently.
Kim Beazley’s speech to the Australian Council of Trade Union (ACTU) Congress on October 25 illustrated the limitations of the Labor Party today regardless of who ends up being its federal leader. Beazley told the delegates that he will “govern in the interests of all Australians, never just for the vested interests of a few”. This is the same sort of language that PM John Howard uses, but what exactly does it mean?
Memorial meetings were held on November 11 in Oakland, California, and on November 18 in New York City to celebrate the life of revolutionary socialist and union activist Caroline Lund. She died on October 14 from ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The worst drought in 1000 years means that water shortage is as burning issue across Australia, cutting across the city-country divide. A Morgan poll, back in October 2005, found that 80% of Australians believe governments are not doing enough about water conservation, a view that has since been reinforced. But just how well will restrictions, water saving devices such as dual-flush toilets and rainwater tanks, and water trading schemes tackle the problem?
The Howard government’s anti-worker Work Choices laws have placed a powerful weapon in the hands of bosses, which they are using to drive down wages and eliminate hard-won conditions. Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released on November 16 showed that average weekly earnings for full-time workers had fallen by 1.2% in real terms since Work Choices became law — an average loss of $13 a week.
From November 21-22, Nelson Davila, Venezuela’s chief diplomatic representative in Australia, visited Perth. He held meetings with the officials and organisers of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union; addressed the Unions WA council; and was the guest at receptions organised by the Australian Islamic College and the Curtin Centre for Human Rights Education. Davila concluded his visit by speaking to a public meeting of 70 people at the MUA hall in North Fremantle, where he explained the development of the people’s power movement in his country and welcomed the launch of a Perth group of the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network. Pictured: Davila and MUA WA secretary Chris Cain.
Workplace Relations Act (1996) This law stripped allowable matters in industrial awards back to 20, restricted the right of union officials to enter workplaces and introduced individual contracts (AWAs). Trade Practices Act (1974) Sections


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