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“Tear up Work Choices! Defend all our rights at work” is the title of a new petition being circulated by trade union activists around Australia. The petition calls on the ACTU and state, territory and regional labour councils to immediately call a national day of protest to demand the full repeal of Work Choices and the Workplace Relations Act. It also calls for workers’ right to take industrial action to be enshrined in Australian law.
The Victorian Socialist Alliance held a successful special state conference in Melbourne on June 16. Ninety people attended, with a strong presence from Geelong and Ballarat. The conference also attracted activists from environmental organisations, a range of unions and Latin America solidarity groups.
Jim McIlroy, the Socialist Alliance candidate for the Brisbane seat of Griffith, called on Labor leader Kevin Rudd to condemn the Talisman Sabre war games being held at Shoalwater Bay.
Aims to make a killing "We run an absolute dictatorship and that's what's going to drive this transformation and deliver results. If you can't get the people to go there and you try once and you try twice, then you just shoot them and get them out
On June 17, 400 people marked World Refugee Day by rallying outside the Melbourne Exhibition Building and marching through Fitzroy. The new concentration camp on Christmas Island was a focus for the rally, and protesters called for all detainees on Christmas Island and Nauru, as well as in Australia’s “onshore” refugee jails, to be freed, and for temporary visas to be replaced with permanent residency. Speakers included representatives of the West Papuan and Tamil refugee communities.
“Not many people realise that Hawaiians feel that our country is under an occupation”, Terrilee Kekoolani, an organiser with the DMZ Hawaii activist coalition, told a public meeting of 20 people on June 19. She was in Australia to take part in protests against the US-Australian Talisman Sabre war games in Queensland.
Ali Humayun, a Pakistani gay asylum seeker who has in the Villawood immigration detention centre for more than two years, has been told he could be deported without warning.
Christians Against All Terrorism members Donna Mulhearn, Bryan Law, Jim Dowling and Adele Goldie, known as the Pine Gap Four, were found guilty on June 14 of breaching an archaic law — the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act (1952) — when they conducted a “citizens’ inspection” of the US-Australian spy base at Pine Gap on December 9, 2005, to highlight its role in the Iraq war.
Reproductive health service provider Marie Stopes International has announced it will begin providing medical abortions using cancer drug methotrexate at clinics in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria. The move to broaden the offering of medical abortions using methotrexate in combination with another drug, misoprostol, may add momentum to push the more effective abortion pill, RU486, onto the market.
World Refugee Day was marked with a loud protest by the Sudanese community and friends on June 20 in Hyde Park, to call for urgent action over the crisis in Darfur that has left more than 400,000 people dead. Eighty people participated in the rally — organised by the Darfur Action Network (DAN) and Caritas International — including leaders of the Sudanese community in Melbourne.
I hope that when Kevin Rudd speaks of zero tolerance on lawlessness he means that bosses who kill workers with unsafe work practices will be jailed, and workers who have had their entitlements stripped away by employers, with the backing of the Howard government, will see justice.
The Queensland Police Union (QPU) has launched a series of radio advertisements that accuse the state Labor government of political interference in the case of Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley. A jury returned a verdict of not guilty for Hurley on June 20 in the Townsville Supreme Court. Hurley had been charged with the assault and manslaughter of Mulrunji Doomadgee, a 36-year-old aboriginal man, at the Palm Island police watch-house in November 2004.
Kevin Rudd’s decision to convene a special ALP national executive meeting to expel Joe McDonald marks a new high tide of anti-unionism in the so-called party of the unions. The ACTU, and unions like the CFMEU, should cut funding to Labor if its attacks on unionists don’t stop.
The following is abridged from a speech given by Nathan Fenelon — or “Natty Fen” — to the June 22 “Justice for Mulrunji” rally in Melbourne.
The headline of the June 21 Adelaide Advertiser blared “Unfair pay” and for once, most fair-minded people had to agree with the paper. The headline was referring to a pay rise for the state’s already overpaid members of parliament.
Barry Hemsworth, a Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union member and workplace delegate, was sacked unfairly from his job at Botany Cranes in Sydney’s eastern suburbs in 2006, made possible by the Howard government’s unfair dismissal laws. July 2 will mark the 300th day that Barry has held vigil outside the gates of his former employer with the support of the union movement.

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