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On January 18, the Australian ran a story on a leaked report commissioned by the Peter Beattie Labor state government on the shocking living conditions for Aborigines in Queensland (see accompanying article). Green Left Weekly asked Sam Watson, Murri leader and member of the Socialist Alliance, about this and the ongoing struggle for justice for Indigenous people in Australia.
A confidential report titled Partnerships Queensland was drafted last year by the Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy. The report — which found there was an urgent need to improve the standard of living for Indigenous people and take “immediate and sustained action” — was withheld from public release before the September state election. Premier Peter Beattie’s government abolished the department after Labor’s re-election.
The decision by a full bench of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) on appeal to deny a Victorian cinema manager access to unfair dismissal laws because he was sacked for “genuine operational reasons” is another blow to attempts to hold unfair employers to account.
The trial of four activists who inspected the US-Australia top-secret spy base at Pine Gap for terrorist activity, is set to continue on May 29.
It’s been more than five years since the first hooded, shackled men were brought to the US prison at Guantanamo and although not a single prisoner has been tried or convicted of any crime, more than 400 still remain, including David Hicks.
Tamworth, 595 kilometres north of Sydney, each year welcomes more than 50,000 people to its music festival. The town boasts it is the Australian equivalent of “Nashville”, albeit on a small scale.
Carrier strike group diplomacy "I made a statement last night that I had ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region ... We will use our full diplomatic resources throughout the Middle East." — Emperor George Bush
On January 15, Ecuador’s new president, Rafael Correa Delgado, was sworn in, promising to build “socialism of the 21st century” to overcome the poverty and instability of the small Andean country.
The case of Melbourne man Jack Thomas should be ringing alarm bells over the use of the so-called anti-terror laws in Australia. Thomas’ case demonstrates that these laws can be, and are being, misused for political purposes against someone who is not a terrorist.
One year ago 43 West Papuan asylum seekers arrived in North Queensland fleeing Indonesian government oppression. Today in West Papua, the oppression continues, the Australia West Papua Association (AWPA) said in a January 18 media release.
A chain of events triggered by the passage of a new agrarian reform law, part of the “agrarian revolution” of indigenous President Evo Morales, has brought into sharp relief the drive by the right-wing opposition to overthrow Morales’s government, even if it means pushing Bolivia towards a civil war.
After comparing data from the Office of the Employment Advocate (OEA) on pre- and post-Work Choices agreements, Professor David Peetz from Griffith University revealed last December that 63% of Australian Workplace Agreements (individual contracts — AWAs) remove workers’ entitlement to penalty rates, with these being “absorbed” into hourly rates of pay. As well, 64% of AWAs remove workers’ annual-leave loading and 54% include no shift loadings.
Abdias Jean was murdered on January 14, 2005, shortly after finishing his lunch near his home in the Village de Dieu slum.
The Australian writer Donald Horne meant the title of his celebrated book, The Lucky Country, as irony. “Australia is a lucky country run by second-rate people who share its luck”, he lamented in 1964, describing much of the Australian elite as unfailingly unoriginal, race-obsessed and in thrall to imperial power and its wars.
High-profile pro-democracy campaigner and parliamentarian Akilisi Pohiva has been arrested by police in connection with a riot last November that left seven people dead. Following the riot, a state of emergency was declared, giving police the power to detain people without charges for seven days. Some 700 others have already been arrested, including Pohiva’s fellow-MP Isileli Pulu, who was charged with manslaughter, sedition and abetting property damage. According to Radio NZ International on January 19, Pohiva says the motivation for the riot will be revealed in court. “He knew what the people were upset about”, RZNI correspondent Mateni Tapueluelu said. “They were upset because the very peaceful approach that they’d made to the government demanding political reform hadn’t worked. And he knew why their anger spilled out and this is why he made a statement to that effect, which is now interpreted by the government as meaning that they [the pro-democracy movement] did plan it.”
Sheikh Isse Musse, Imam of the Virgin Mary Mosque and spiritual leader of Melbourne’s Horn of Africa Muslim community, condemned the US bombing of his native Somalia and its instigation of the invasion by Ethiopian troops inlate December. He also expressed hope that out of the current conflict Somalia might regain its sovereignty and national unity after years of anarchy and violence.

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