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Several thousand people rallied at Sydney Town Hall before marching to the US Consulate on December 9 to call for the immediate return of Guantanamo Bay prisoner David Hicks. The action marked the fifth anniversary of Hicks’ capture by the US military. Speakers at the rally included NSW Greens Senator Kerry Nettle, former Guantanamo detainee Mamdouh Habib, CFMEU state secretary Andrew Ferguson, and Raul Bassi from Justice for Hicks and Habib and the Stop the War Coalition. Nettle said that the chances are good of getting Hicks home before the next federal election.
The “Climate Change, Despair and Empowerment” roadshow, which will tour the east coast of Australia from January to March, is based on the highly successful “Endangered Species” roadshow organised by the Rainforest Information Centre in the run-up to the 2003 NSW state election.
Woodchipping giant Gunns Ltd’s proposed $1.4 billion pulp mill in northern Tasmania continues to be the subject of controversy. Gunns has expressed impatience over the delays in the assessment process and threatened to axe the project if government approval is not given within six months.
For the first time since the foundation of the National Union of Students (NUS) 15 years ago, Labor’s right-wing student faction, Unity, was ousted from the office of general secretary at the NUS annual conference, held in Ballarat on December 4-7.
Climate action group Rising Tide Newcastle wants the proposal for the contentious Anvil Hill mine proposal to be assessed under Commonwealth law. Apart from its impact on species and ecosystems protected under the Commonwealth environment act, Rising Tide believes that the proposed mine would impact on World Heritage areas protected under the act.
Three more people, including a teenager, have been charged following the November 19 protests against the G20 financial ministers’ summit in Melbourne, bringing the total number of participants charged to 11. The following is an abridged version of a statement Resistance issued in response to the arrests.
The Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union (TCFUA) has won its drawn-out dispute over carpet manufacturer Godfrey Hirst’s attempt to force more than 300 Feltex workers to sign AWAs (individual contracts) with reduced rights and conditions in order to keep their jobs.
The 2007 Socialist Summer School was a great success. Sponsored by Resistance and the Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP), both affiliates of the Socialist Alliance, the event was held at Sydney University’s Women’s College from January 4-7. Some 210 people attended the four days of talks, workshops, meetings and social events.
December 14 marked the 100th day since the unfair dismissal of Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) construction division delegate Barry Hemsworth from his job at Botany Cranes. The managers used the federal government’s new anti-union laws to sack Hemsworth for the purported crime of “insubordination” — in fact because he was defending the occupational health and safety standards at the company.
George Browning, the Anglican Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn, said on January 11 that it would not be morally responsible to vote in the next federal election for any party that did not have a credible climate change policy. He was speaking at the “Australia as a Neighbour” conference in Melbourne, organised by Initiatives of Change, Australia, and attended by 300 people from 17 countries.

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