The Victorian Labor Party has gone on a propaganda offensive against the Greens, accusing them of selling out on nuclear issues and taking away Victorians’ right to protest against nuclear reactors. Large posters have been put up and pamphlets will be sent to households in the four lower-house seats where the Greens pose the most direct challenge to the ALP.
Australia’s highest-paid boss, Macquarie Bank chief executive officer Allan Moss, has pocketed a 57% pay rise, now taking home more than double an average worker’s yearly wage for one day at the office. In a day, he earns more than most workers get in a year.
On May 17, a candlelight vigil was held in in Taylor Square to mark International Day Against Homophobia. The vigil was organised by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) Network of Amnesty International and Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) and called for the immediate release of Ali Humayun, a gay refugee from Pakistan who has been held in the Villawood immigration detention centre for more than two years.
May 27 marks the 40th anniversary of the overwhelming victory of the 1967 referendum, in which almost 91% of the Australian people voted to give the federal government the constitutional power to override the brutal, degrading racist laws of the states under which Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders were tormented. The federal government now had the power to make specific laws in respect to the Indigenous people. The Australian people had sent a clear signal that it was time for Canberra to make laws, introduce programs and provide the necessary resources to end the racial oppression of Indigenous Australians.
The 1967 referendum on Aboriginal rights — in which more than 90% voted in favour of including Aboriginal people in the census and giving the federal government the power to override racist state laws and legislate for Aboriginal people — has “enormous importance for Aboriginal people and our struggle”, Queensland Indigenous leader Sam Watson told Green Left Weekly.
Some 250 people heard from Terry Hicks, father of former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks, at a May 19 public meeting organised by the Stop the War Coalition. The meeting was also addressed by academic Tim Anderson, Omar Merhi (brother of one of the Muslim men being held in Barwon Prison accused of being terrorists) and STWC’s Anna Samson. Responding to a suggestion at a media conference before the meeting that one of Australia’s ‘most notorious criminals’ would soon be coming home from Guantanamo, Terry Hicks commented that one of Australia’s most notorious criminals would soon be ‘dis-elected’.
Vote Yes for Aborigines — While many people believe that the 1967 referendum gave Aborigines the right to vote, it in fact removed two sections of the constitution which discriminated against Aborigines. SBS, Sunday, May 27, 8.30pm. The Tracker
Since the ALP national conference in April, the big companies have had the ear of the Liberal and Labor parties about what sort of changes should be made to Australia’s industrial relations laws. The voice of workers and their unions have not been heard.
Representatives of the Australia Cuba Friendship Society, the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network and the FMLN Australia, along with members of the Greens, the Socialist Alliance and the ALP, gathered at the US embassy at lunchtime on May 15 to present a statement criticising the release by the US government of convicted terrorist and mass murderer Luis Posada Carriles and demanding his extradition from the US to Venezuela (see article on page 14). The protest, part of a global day of action in solidarity with Posada’s victims, was addressed by Luisa Espino from the ACFS, ACT Greens MLA Deb Foskey and AVSN national coordinator Lara Pullin.
Carora’s streets are much like other Latin American cities — bustling commerce on every corner, traffic, noise, people going about their daily routine. But there is something that distinguishes Carora and the Municipality of Pedro Leon Torres from any other municipality I’ve visited in Latin America, and in particular, any other in Venezuela. The city is on a path to democratise and transform its entire governance system, from the bottom up — led by the current Mayor Julio Chavez (no relation to President Hugo Chavez).
On May 29, an unpredictable drama will begin. Attorney-General Philip Ruddock will try to overcome a series of embarrassing blunders by the entire Australian chain of command at the joint Australia-US Pine Gap spy base in the Northern Territory, and four activists will face trial in Alice Springs for entering a prohibited site.
The University of Western Sydney Student Association passed a controversial motion on May 10 to remove student activist and Resistance member Shelly Dahl from the position of UWSSA queer officer. This decision comes in the context of a campaign against course cuts and privatisation that was endorsed but not fully supported by UWSSA.
In the early hours of March 13, the National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas) regional office in Palu, Central Sulawesi, was attacked by around 30 men. Three Papernas members were hospitalised.
On May 7, New Matilda published an article by Antony Loewenstein, titled “Cuba: paradise left”, in which he reports on his impressions of Cuba. Loewenstein describes Cuba as a “police state” with “no freedom of speech”. He takes issue with Australian academic, Tim Anderson whom, he wrote, “ought to know better” for arguing that Cuba has more democracy than the US, (see http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=5609). Below is Anderson’s reply to Loewenstein’s article.
Australia’s top silk and civil rights advocate Julian Burnside QC has suggested introducing a law that makes it an offence for politicians to lie. I don’t know how practical this would be, but imagine if politicians could be forced to tell the truth and ’fess up like the makers of Ribena?
HARARE — On May 15, members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police bashed vendors in the Eastgate area and arrested leaders of the Progressive Youth Movement and the Zimbabwe Youth Movement, charging them with inciting vendors to resist arrest. Some 60-80 Harare vendors have been rounded up and arrested by the state police for illegal selling of products on the black market. Massive inflation and more than 80% unemployment have created harsh conditions for those in the informal sector to make a living. The youth were charged with assaulting police and are in custody with the vendors at the central police station. The Free-Zim Youth Movement called on President Thabo Mbeki to comply with human rights legislation and demanded that the Pan African Parliament send a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe immediately.


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