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Sixty students and staff rallied in the Queensland University of Technology Kelvin Grove amphitheatre on March 15 to protest against the recent arrest of four QUT students for “unauthorised” political activity on campus.
Around 120 people rallied outside Liberal MP for Deakin Phil Barresi’s electoral office in Mitcham, Melbourne, on March 27, the anniversary of the proclamation of the federal Coalition government’s unpopular and destructive industrial relations laws. The lunchtime protest and barbecue were organised by the Deakin community and Your Rights at Work campaign group, which has been raising awareness and campaigning in the area against the anti-worker laws.
On April 4, students at the University of Sydney will protest against the $50-$100 million development of the United States Studies Centre (USSC), a “think tank” designed to “strengthen the relationship” between Australia and the US.
On March 23, hundreds of thousands of people from all over India converged in Delhi to express their anger at the killing of peasant protesters on March 14 by police and thugs aligned with the West Bengal Left Front (LF) government. Those killed were resisting eviction from their land in Nandigram. Similar killings also happened on January 7. The mass rally was preceded by two days of cultural protests.
The following is abridged from a statement received by the socialist youth organisation Resistance from the Frente Francisco de Miranda (FFM), an organisation of revolutionary youth at the forefront of Venezuela’s socialist revolution.
Munya Gwisai, a member of the national coordinating committee of the International Socialist Organisation (Zimbabwe) as well as the deputy chairperson of the Zimbabwe Social Forum considers issues facing the democratic movement. He writes in a personal capacity.
After five years imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay without trial, David Hicks has agreed to a plea-bargain deal at his military commission trial to hasten his return to Australia. “I think most of you would be pleading guilty to something to get out of the place”, Hicks’s father Terry told the assembled media after returning to Adelaide from Guantanamo Bay on March 29.
Esperance Port Authority workers and residents angry at the heavy metal contamination scandal affecting the town and Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) workers have banned handling lead through the port. More than 700 residents packed the Esperance Civic Centre on March 26 to hear reports of a pattern of bureaucratic buck-passing on the lead and nickel pollution.
After the NSW elections it looks very much like your time’s up, John Howard.
HOBART — The Howard government has promised to spend $200 million on an international fund to halve the rate of deforestation in Indonesia and the Asia Pacific as part of Australia’s contribution to stopping climate change. However the government hasn’t mentioned putting an end to the 20,000 hectares of native forest that are clear-felled and burned each year in Tasmania. Greens leader Bob Brown highlighted this hypocrisy on March 30.
Greenpeace has revealed that an independent report into safety testing by genetic engineering giant Monsanto was ignored in the lead-up to a vote on whether the company’s new genetically engineered maize would be approved for consumption in the European Union.
Workers and concerned community members are continuing to hold rolling protests outside Preston Motors sites across Melbourne after the company’s refusal to negotiate a wage increase for its warehouse employees.
The NSW Minerals Council has backed away from legal action against Rising Tide, a community group campaigning against the expansion of the coal export industry in the Hunter region.
On the National Day of Shame — March 26 — more than 100 supporters of voluntary euthanasia from across Australia came together at Parliament House, chanting “Not the church, not the state, let the people decide their fate”. A Freedom Ride from Sydney to Canberra marked the 10th anniversary of the federal government’s overturning of the Northern Territory’s Rights of the Terminally Ill Act.
The major parties’ “green” credentials were again put to the test on March 22 when Greens Senator Christine Milne introduced Australia’s first climate change bill. Despite some high profile backing for the bill — which attempted to set legally binding targets for cuts to greenhouse gases — the major parties refused to support it, giving the lie to their concern about climate change.
Tasmanian Labor Premier Paul Lennon’s Pulp Mill Assessment Bill, which fast-tracks approval of timber giant Gunns Ltd’s proposed $1.5 billion Tamar Valley pulp mill, was passed by the Legislative Council, the state parliament’s upper house, on March 29. Seven days earlier the bill had been passed by the lower house.

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