Earlier this year, three workers on 457 “guest worker” visas died on the job in separate incidents. Both the construction union (CFMEU) and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) are calling for an independent judicial enquiry into the treatment of all of the 50,000 workers on these visas. In many cases, these workers are underpaid and given heavy manual labour, rather then the skilled work that is stipulated in their visa conditions. Green Left Weekly’s Andrew Martin interviewed AMWU Queensland state secretary Andrew Dettmar, about the 457 issue.
Saturday September 8 was another red banner day for people’s power.
Seventy-two Tamils from Sri Lanka who have been held in detention on the Pacific island of Nauru for more than six months were granted refugee status by the immigration department on September 12. But that does not mean they will be able to live in Australia.
On August 30, western Sydney charged US President George Bush with war crimes committed during the immoral and illegal occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush was also charged with the crimes of assault on the environment, crimes against civil liberties and against workers. A People’s Tribunal was held at the Parramatta Town Hall, and prosecuting witnesses included former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib, Dennis Doherty (from the Anti-Bases Coalition and the Communist Party of Australia), Kamala Emanuel (environment spokesperson for the Socialist Alliance) and Ninos Tooma (Iraqi activist).
Green Left Weekly’s Graham Matthews asked a number of protesters at the Stop Bush rally in Sydney what motivated them to take part.
Throughout the week, some people in Cochabamba had worried about how September 13, a date expected to involve confrontation between the supporters of the government of left-wing, indigenous President Evo Morales and the right wing, would turn out. People at work talked of a coup. Others remembered the protest on January 11 when three people were killed and some buildings burnt, worrying that the same would happen again. Some of the most right wing spoke of a campesino “invasion”.
“Mission accomplished!”, boasted NSW Premier Morris Iemma at the end of one of the most aggressive policing operations in Australia for many years. The last public official to use that phrase was US President George Bush, who had just invaded Iraq. Did Iemma mean to link the thousands of protesters in Sydney with the enemy population of Iraq?
The United States government has almost perfected a method of intervention that is able to penetrate and infiltrate all sectors of civil society in countries that it deems to be of economic and strategic interest. In the case of oil-rich Venezuela — in the middle of a process of transformation led by socialist President Hugo Chavez that is adversely affecting the interests of US corporations — this strategy began to take form in 2002.


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