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On April 14, the Victorian Socialist Alliance held its state conference, which unanimously voted to make the federal election a key area of campaigning for the coming year. The alliance will hold further meetings to preselect candidates and determine the shape of the election campaign.
Around 40 people attended a screening of Who Killed the Electric Car on April 18, hosted by the non-profit, community run Western Region Environment Centre in Werribee. The film was followed by a very lively debate about issues such as industry’s drive for corporate profits, the lack of leadership from federal and state governments to provide solutions to climate change and the need for community action.
The 2007 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras award for “Most outstanding political comment” was awarded to the “Bring David Hicks home” float.
The “Our Public Transport” campaign was launched in Melbourne on April 12, when some 40 local commuters rallied at Flinders Street Station to demand free, publicly run transport.
The federal government must take a “strong and principled” approach to opposing the death penalty whenever and wherever it is applied, former ALP national president Barry Jones told a public forum attended by more than 100 people on April 19. The forum was organised by Australians Against Capital Punishment.
Around 100 people filled Newtown Neighbourhood Centre on April 18 to hear visiting Zimbabwean socialist Munyaradzi Gwisai explain the background to the Zimbabwean people’s struggle for democracy.
A snap candlelight vigil was held on April 20 against PM John Howard’s proposal to ban refugees and migrants with HIV/AIDS from entering Australia. The protest, attended by around 100 people, was organised by National Union of Students queer officer Peter Johnson and endorsed by the Queer Students Network, Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) Sydney and the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC).
Refugee-rights groups have accused immigration department and GSL management at the Villawood detention centre of collective punishment of detainees in the aftermath of two detainees escaping on the evening of April 19.
Civil rights and anti-war activists rallied around Australia on April 21 to demand immediate freedom for David Hicks and the closure of the US’s military prison in Guantanamo Bay.
A community protest organised by Union Solidarity shut down the construction site at Woodside’s Otways gas plant near Port Campbell on April 17.
Around 1000 workers rallied in Musgrave Park on April 20 to oppose the Howard government’s Work Choices legislation, under the theme “Time’s Up”.
The eight-day trial against seven people facing charges relating to a February 2006 protest against Kerry Packer’s taxpayer-funded state memorial has concluded with the dismissal of one or more charges against each defendant. Four defendants decided to plead guilty to one minor charge each.
The Golden Triangle Community Crisis Committee (GOLCCOM), a community-based organisation in the south of Johannesburg, has been leading a struggle since the beginning of the year for access to basic housing in the Freedom Park informal settlement. A March 15 community march called for the right to land, housing, water, electricity and education, but the council has still not responded to these demands. In early April, another peaceful protest was held at which police randomly shot protesters and arrested 14 people, who were later released under pressure from the community and supporting organisations. One of those shot, Simon Mkupe, lost his right and GOLCCOM plans to take legal action in response. For more information, email Thabang Makhele at <thamihukwe@toughguy.net>.
new front in the battle against the Howard government’s anti-union laws has opened with a push by federal workplace relations minister Joe Hockey for local councils to sign their employees up to the new Work Choices legislation.
Less than two weeks after resigning to protest against substandard wages and conditions, construction workers at the Coles-Myer distribution centre in Somerton have secured a collective agreement with construction industry-standard wages and conditions. Coles re-opened negotiations with the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union soon after community activists organised by Union Solidarity blockaded the centre’s gates on April 13. The workers had been employed as casuals on individual contracts with wages approximately $10 per hour below industry standards.
Workers at Wangaratta fabric manufacturer Bruck Textiles defeated a second attempt by management to implement a non-union agreement in votes held on April 19 and 20. Bruck tried to entice workers to sign its sub-standard non-union agreement with a 3% annual pay increase that wouldn’t even keep up with inflation.

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