Intimidation of trade unionists escalated during February after union leaders protested the abduction early that month of three workers involved with railway workers’ union newspaper Akuna. One of the three was Sisira Priyankara, the paper’s editor, who had been involved in lodging complaints by unionists to the courts against salary hikes for senior government figures. Following the protests, the government announced that the three unionists were in custody and were being interrogated over suspicions of links with insurgents. Since then, posters targeting union leaders who protested the abductions have appeared in public places across the country, branding them terrorists and calling for their arrests. The International Trade Union Confederation is demanding an end to the harassment of and attacks on unionists. For more information visit < http://www.ituc-A HREF="mailto:csi.org"><csi.org>.
A United Nations children’s fund (UNICEF) report released in February reveals that Australia’s economic growth over the last decade has done little to benefit the poorest sections of society, particularly young people. Indeed, in Australia and across the developed world, child poverty has increased in the last 10 years.
Four Queensland University of Technology students were arrested on March 1 for expressing their political opinions on campus.
British band Ugly Rumours (named after PM Tony Blair’s college band) has released a cover of War (What is it Good For?) (originally made famous by Edwin Starr). The single, which is performed by “Tony Blair” in an accompanying video clip, reached number six in Britain’s singles chart by March 1 and was expected to go all the way to the top. Profits go to help the Stop the War Coalition. The Respect coalition reported on its website on March 1 that the song had been banned by the BBC. “The BBC Radio One Newsbeat programme was due to record a package about the single today, but pulled out at the last minute, claiming that the record was ‘not newsworthy’. However, sources at the highest level within the BBC have privately confirmed that a banning order has been instituted.” The song is being distributed at <http://www.indiestore.com/uglyrumours/tracks?trackID=-12189>
On February 24, 200 people rallied at the Esplanade Lagoon despite tropical rain to oppose a proposed resort and housing complex at False Cape on the coast south of the city. Until now, this side of Trinity Bay has provided Cairns with a natural setting visible from its centre.
Pot calls kettle black "Their [the Islamists] goal in the broader Middle East is to seize control of a country, so they have a base from which they can launch attacks against governments that refuse to meet their demands." — Lord Darth Cheney,
The Israeli military and security forces have killed more than 5000 Palestinians since the beginning of the Al Asqa intifada in September 2000, according to the Palestinian National Information Centre (PNIC).
The Islamic Girls and Women’s Group will make its office in Ross House on Flinders Lane available for use by Muslim Legal Services Victoria to provide free legal services for Muslims.
Underneath the enormous conveyor belts at the back of the Yallourn power station, 49 metalworkers from MEC Engineering, which is part of the Eliott group, have maintained a six-month “protest embassy” to win their jobs and entitlements back.
The new constitution of Afghanistan formally grants equal rights to women and men. The government has also endorsed the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which, according to development agencies, is significant progress on gender equality “policy advocacy”. The first time I arrived in Kabul the women I saw on the streets were wearing scarves on their heads and those wearing full chador were a minority. Maybe, at a superficial glance, the situation had improved for the women of Afghanistan?
Young people are likely to be hit hard by Work Choices, the Youth Coalition, the peak youth affairs body in the ACT, told the Legislative Assembly’s select committee on working families on March 1.
On February 28, Major Michael Mori, David Hicks’s US military lawyer, addressed a packed Founders Hall at the University of Ballarat. The mixed crowd of at least 600 learned a whole lot more about how Hicks is the Australian government’s sacrificial lamb in the “war on terror”.