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At least 20,000 Victorian unionists defied the federal government’s anti-worker laws and risked fines to show their opposition to Work Choices and the Australian Building and Construction Commission on September 26.
Two public education institutions in Sydney’s west — the University of Western Sydney’s (UWS) Blacktown campus and Macquarie Boys High in Parramatta — are set for the chopping block. The UWS board of trustees is trying to close the Nirimba campus at Blacktown in 2009. Additionally, on August 23, NSW education minister John Della Bosca announced the state Labor government’s intention to close Macquarie Boys’ Technology High School in Parramatta by 2009.
Releasing a government-commissioned report on NSW’s future power needs that recommends privatisation of electricity production and distribution, Labor Premier Morris Iemma said on September 11 that his government would consider “part-privatisation” of the industry.
Following a 500-strong vigil in Melbourne on September 27 protesting the Burmese military regime’s repression of pro-democracy protests, 600 people took to the city’s streets the next day in solidarity with Burma’s pro-democracy movement. They marched from Melbourne Town Hall to the claps and cheers of onlookers.
#151; After several protests and weeks of leafleting, the postal and telecommunications branch of the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union organised a public meeting on September 27 to stop the closure of Australia Post’s Fitzroy delivery centre and to save the jobs of 17 posties.
On September 26, angry workers picketed the Seven Hills offices of national trucking company McArthur Express, which has collapsed owing 700 workers across Australia an estimated $2.5 million in pay and entitlements.
Berlin-based Transparency International’s latest corruption perceptions report listed Burma and Somalia as the two most corrupt countries in the world. Then comes Iraq, Haiti, Tonga, Uzbekistan, Chad and Afghanistan. The three least corrupt countries were New Zealand, Denmark and Finland. Australia came in 11th, just after Canada but ahead of the US, which was 20th on the list.
The committal hearing for three Tamil men accused of offences under the “anti-terror” laws began in Melbourne on September 24. Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, Sivarajah Yathavan and Arumugam Rajeevan were arrested in May and are accused of raising funds for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a group fighting for self-determination for the Tamil people who are oppressed by the racist Sri Lankan government.
On September 26, the NSW Greens called for an independent public inquiry into the actions of the NSW police during the APEC protests earlier in the month. It was voted down by the two major parties, as well as the Christian Democrats and the Shooters Party.
Job losses will result from 11 years of Coalition government policy on the environment, Gippsland Trades and Labour Council (GTLC) secretary John Parker told Green Left Weekly on September 26. He said Australia has been left 11 years behind in developing clean energy technology, which means instead of now being able to export these technologies, the industry has moved overseas. Employment opportunities are wasted and inevitably jobs will be lost as our own dirty industries are forced to close.
Maurie Mahoney, Textiles Clothing and Footwear Union (TCFUA) delegate at Wangaratta’s Bruck Textiles, is being targeted at work with disciplinary action that could result in dismissal, after speaking out against Work Choices laws allowing the company to pay some workers less then the federal government’s Fair Pay standards. Bruck management informed Mahoney that he had breached his terms and conditions of employment. He was directed that he must not speak about the matter with anyone other than his wife, who is one of the Bruck workers currently being paid under the Fair Pay standard.
Launching his new film War on Democracy at the Dendy Theatre on September 24, well-known progressive journalist, author and film-maker John Pilger described it as perhaps “my most optimistic film”.
Those who claim that Australia is not a land of deep and abiding racism live in a fairy tale. This willful denial of reality is abetted by the commercial media, self-serving politicians, bureaucrats and capitalists of all stripes — those whose interests are served by maintaining the divisions of racism while convincing us that no such divisions exist.
“The Venezuelan economy in the Chavez years”, a study released in July by the Centre for Economic and Policy Research, reveals massive social gains for the poor and working people in Venezuela as a result of the pro-people polices promoted by the government of socialist President Hugo Chavez. The study, by Mark Weisbrot and Luis Sandoval, also provides a detailed look at the state of the Venezuelan economy, which has experienced significant economic growth. The authors argue that, contrary to suggestions widely made in the corporate media (which the authors refer to as “conventional wisdom”), this growth is unlikely to end any time soon.
“We need someone to take the pressure off us”, an exhausted Liz Skerrett told an electorate officer outside PM John Howard’s Sydney office on September 25 during a protest by carers and the disabled calling for more government assistance.
Some 230 people attending the Green Left Weekly annual dinner in the Marrickville Town Hall on September were the first to hear the news that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has decided visit Australia.

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