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On October 5, 350 union members and their supporters marched through Fortitude Valley to rally at a park in the north Brisbane suburb of New Farm to protest the refusal of Foster’s Yatala brewery to negotiate with unions over the latest pay agreement.
On October 4, the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) Victoria had its application for a secret ballot to vote on taking industrial action rejected by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC). The application was on behalf of almost 30,000 public sector nurses.
A coalition of 300 schools and churches from around Australia have asked that a memorial to the SIEV-X tragedy, currently standing on the Canberra lakeshore in Weston Park, be allowed to remain in place for a further 12 months. The SIEV-X boat sunk in October 2001 while en route to Australia from Indonesia, drowning 353 asylum seekers, many of them children.
Australia’s peak nature conservation groups — the conservation councils of NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, Environment Victoria, the NT Environment Centre and Environment Tasmania — have launched a website to promote Walk Against Warming 2007, which will be held on the Sunday two weeks before this year’s federal election.
The committal hearing for three Tamil activists charged under the “anti-terror” laws began on October 1. Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, Sivarajah Yathavan and Arumugam Rajeevan are accused of raising money for and giving other assistance to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a group fighting for self-determination for the Tamil people of north-east Sri Lanka, who are oppressed by the racist Sri Lankan government.
On October 3, immigration minister Kevin Andrews justified cutting the number of African refugees accepted into Australia using racism, alleging that African refugees were “not adjusting too well” to Australian society.
Two public screenings of Constructing Fear have been held in Brisbane — the first on September 19 to an enthusiastic crowd of 200 people at the University of Queensland organised by the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU). The film exposes the role of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, the anti-union taskforce set up by the Howard government following the recommendations of the Cole Royal Commission.
The first comprehensive research study on how Australian working life is being transformed under Work Choices reveals that Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs — individual contracts) are eating away at workers’ wages, conditions and job security.
On September 19, 100 print and maintenance workers at printing company PMP’s Wacol site south-west of Brisbane took protected industrial action for 48 hours in a bid to bring the company to the negotiating table for a new enterprise bargaining agreement. The workers were supported by their union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), which formed a peaceful picket line at the workplace entrance.
The Youth Affairs Council of Victoria (YACV) is calling on the Victorian government to consider lowering the voting age, following the tabling of a report in the ACT parliament recommending 16- and 17-year-olds in the territory be given the vote.

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