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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’.
Thousands of Palestinians joined rallies on May 15 throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories to mark the 59th anniversary of al Nakba (“The Catastrophe”) — the establishment of the State of Israel and the consequent expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes — as renewed fighting took place between Fatah and Hamas.
On May 12, federal opposition leader Kevin Rudd chartered a private plane to fly to Western Australia to meet with BHP, Rio Tinto and Woodside bosses. The meeting followed two weeks of the mining bosses arguing that Labor’s promise to abolish AWAs (individual contracts), confirmed at its April national conference, would harm the resources boom and lower productivity in the mining sector.
Activists from climate-action groups, environment collectives at the University of Queensland and Griffith University, Friends of the Earth, the Queensland Nuclear Free Alliance, Resistance and the Socialist Alliance are coming together to organise a “Stop Global Warming” rally in the week of World Environment Day (June 5).
As of 2004, foreign capital controlled 76.6% of Chinese industry, a study produced by academics from Beijing’s Communication University has found. The findings of the report, which was released in March, are consistent with a November 2006 report by the Development Research Centre of the State Council, China’s cabinet.
A group of construction workers in Somerton have proved that it is possible to get off an individual contract (Australian Workplace Agreement — AWA) and onto award rates and an enterprise agreement.
The Wilderness Society (TWS) has taken Malcolm Turnbull, the federal environment minister, and logging giant Gunns Ltd to court in an attempt to stop a pulp mill being built in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley.
A new vaccine against the human papilloma virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease that causes most incidents of cervical cancer, is being opposed by religious conservatives in the US who claim it will “encourage promiscuity” in young women. According to Newscientist.com, half of all sexually active women in the US between the ages of 18 and 22 are infected with HPV and some of these cases go on to develop into cancer later in life. After successful trials of the vaccine, the US Centers for Disease Control and Protection recommended vaccination of all 11-12 year-olds. But so far only Virginia has passed a law requiring vaccination and West Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi and New Mexico have rejected the program. In Texas, the Senate overturned the governor’s order for the program to be introduced in that state.
The shambles of the Airline Partners Australia (APA) private equity takeover attempt for Qantas demonstrates the greed and rapaciousness of this rotten capitalist system. All parties involved in the grubby business have shown up the irrationality of capitalism.
The Queensland University of Technology says it has yet to decide the future of its humanities and human services school. The comments came after a meeting of QUT academic board, outside which 100 students rallied for almost four hours on May 16 before pursuing an agitated QUT vice-chancellor Peter Coaldrake across campus.
A new report by leading health experts on behalf of the Municipal Services Project, The Problem of Handwashing and Paying for Water, found that pre-paid water metres have a negative effect on household hygiene, with insufficient handwashing increasing the risk of water-borne diseases and other health problems in poor communities. The report argued: “In a country where poverty is rife, where there is soaring unemployment, where there is a massive housing backlog, and where hunger is a daily reality, it is unrealistic to expect poor people to purchase, in advance, a basic good such as water.” The findings give weight to the legal challenge launched in the High Court in July 2006 by a coalition collection of community organisations and NGOs opposing current water policies — and Soweto residents, which is demanding that Johannesburg Water’s unilateral decision to impose the pre-paid meters be declared unconstitutional and illegal.

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