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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.
On October 5, Resistance held a protest outside the US consulate to offer solidarity to the people of Bolivia and Venezuela in the face of the campaign against their democratically elected governments by the US. Both countries are targets of Washington for their refusal to allow foreign oil and gas corporations to control their natural resources and determine their future.
The surprise decision in August by Colombian President Alavaro Uribe to allow the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to mediate in negotiations for a humanitarian exchange of 45 hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC — Colombia’s largest guerrilla group), for 500 guerrilla insurgents held in Colombian jails, has given many Colombians hope that a humanitarian accord to swap prisoners could develop into broader and lasting peace negotiations that would put an end to more than 40 years of civil war.
On September 30, Ecuador went to the polls for the fourth time in under a year and gave supporters of left-wing President Rafael Correa a massive majority in the new Constituent Assembly.
As the 40th anniversary of the death of Argentinean-born revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, murdered in Bolivia on October 9, 1967, on the orders of the CIA, arrives, there is increasing evidence that his spirit of struggle against injustice continues to get stronger in Latin America.
Due to the Latin America and Asia Pacific International Solidarity Conference (October 11-14 in Melbourne — visit for more information) there will be a one-week break in publication schedule. The next edition will be dated October 24 (uploaded October 21).
In the latest attempt to intimidate forest protesters and restrict freedom of speech in Tasmania, the state government’s Forestry Tasmania agency is suing forest activist Allana Beltran, who is also known as the “Weld Angel”.
Michael Barker has once again (GLW #725, online edition) engaged in a series of false accusations and major leaps of logic in his attacks on the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) — an independent, nonprofit educational foundation that promotes the study and utilisation of nonmilitary strategies by civilian-based movements to establish and defend human rights, social justice and democracy — for which I serve as chair of its board of academic advisers.
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.

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