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A landmark Federal Court hearing for 96 Western Australian construction workers that begins on October 24 is the most dramatic demonstration yet of the impact of the Howard government’s draconian IR laws.
More than 400 people participated in around 65 workshops and 10 plenary sessions to discuss a myriad of national and international campaigns against imperialism and neoliberalism at the Latin America and Asia Pacific International Solidarity Forum held at Victorian Trades Hall and the RMIT on October 11-14. The participants included 33 activists and leaders from people’s movements and political parties in 20 countries, the most diverse left gathering hosted in Australia for years.
Fractures have emerged in Respect — the Unity Coalition, a group formed in January 2004 by an alliance that drew together expelled Labour MP George Galloway (now Respect’s sole MP), the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and anti-war activists. On August 23, Galloway issued a letter to Respect’s National Council titled “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” criticising the group’s lack of organisation and “custom of anathematisation in the organisation which is deeply unhealthy and has been the ruin of many a left-wing group before us”.
On October 13, 450 supporters of the Burmese democracy movement, including members of Sydney’s Burmese community, trade unionists, and members of the Greens and the Socialist Alliance, rallied in Martin Place.
On October 12, PM John Howard announced his plan to hold a referendum to alter the preamble to the Australian constitution to include an acknowledgment of the original inhabitants of Australia. This is a departure from Howard’s historic position against “symbolic” gestures of reconciliation — a position that in the past has earned him the ire of Indigenous groups, who in 2000 literally turned their backs on Howard when he refused to apologise for previous governments’ complicity in the horrendous policies that led to the Stolen Generations.
On October 6, 40 people attended a public meeting on the Howard government's "emergency" intervention into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory and the development of independent political voices for Indigenous people to aid the defence of their rights. Sam Watson, Brisbane-based Aboriginal activist and lead Socialist Alliance Queensland Senate candidate was the guest speaker.
Writing in an Age of Silence
By Sara Paretsky
Verso, 2007
138 pages, $39.95 (hb)
#151; A special convention of Western Australian Civil Service Association delegates voted unanimously on October 17 to serve a claim for a 23% wage increase over three years on the WA government. The claim, known as GA4, would begin with a 9% rise in February 2008, when the current general agreement 3 expires.
Resistance is an active, campaigning organisation. We’re in there where the struggle is. We don’t just talk about standing up for the oppressed. We actually do it. Recently, we met members of the Burmese community in Canberra at a series of protests outside the Burmese embassy. When we met them, we naturally wanted to jump into the struggle right there alongside them. We were involved in the first meeting of the Canberra Network for Democracy in Burma (CNDB), and helped organise the protest on October 13 for the international day of solidarity with the Burmese struggle.
Sustainable Living for Dummies
By Michael Grosvenor
Wiley Publishing Australia, 2007
320 pages, $39.95 (pb)
The NSW Teachers Federation will hold a public forum on October 31 at the Parramatta Town Hall with ACTU president Sharan Burrow as the guest speaker. In a media release announcing the forum, Jenny Diamond, the union’s acting assistant general secretary (schools), said it would be “final salvo for public education before the federal election”.
@body intro = My name is Ayi Layah Mon and I am a member of the Mon Youth Group.
Radioactive racism If the Howard government is serious about reconciliation, it should repeal blatantly racist legislation. A case in point is the government's attempt to impose a nuclear waste dump on unwilling Aboriginal communities in the
The guessing competition run by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network this year was drawn on October 14 at the Latin America Asia Pacific International Solidarity Forum in Melbourne. The winners are: first prize, Barry Healy (Perth); second prize, Steven O’Brien (Newcastle); and third prize, Rowan Stewart (Geelong). The AVSN thanks all those who supported the competition, which raised $2500 for Venezuela solidarity activity in Australia.
The Howard government’s changes to electoral legislation, passed last year, will mean a large portion of young people who are of voting age will be left off the electoral roll for the November 24 federal election. This legislation — an obvious move to bar certain voters from the political process — affects mainly those who are statistically more likely to vote against the government, such as the young, homeless people, house-renters and those who speak English as a second language.
The socialist movement lost a strong supporter with the death from cancer of David Matthews — my father — on September 30 at the age of 79. David joined the Socialist Alliance soon after its formation and remained a financial member and a strong supporter of the campaign to bring the fractious left together.

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