738

Speaking from the Heart: Stories of Life, Family and Country
Edited by Sally Morgan, Tjalaminu Mia and Blaze Kwaymullina
Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2007
$27.95 (pb)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez received widespread popular acclaim when he toured the Central American countries of Guatemala and Honduras in mid-January, Rafael Pacheco, from Australian Solidarity with Latin America and the Committee in Support of the FMLN in Brisbane, told a meeting on January 28. The meeting was hosted by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network.
On December 4, US President George Bush was delighted to announce that the US-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (dubbed “PeruFTA”) had finally cleared the Congress. Since late 2005, when PeruFTA was approved by Peru, the Bush administration has campaigned relentlessly to secure the free trade deal’s endorsement by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
Hundreds of people took protest action in North Sumatra, East Kalimantan, Central Sulewesi, East and West Java and Jogjakarta on January 15-17 to demand cancellation of Indonesia’s foreign debt, nationalisation of the mining industries and for strengthening the economy through a nationwide industrialisation.
Indigenous Affairs Minster Jenny Macklin announced on January 30 that the federal government will make a formal apology to the stolen generations — the 13,000 Aboriginal children who were forcibly removed from their parents as part of a government policy of assimilation — on February 13, the day after the first sitting of the new parliament. Despite calls by Aboriginal groups to include a compensation plan, PM Kevin Rudd’s government has continued to rule out any national compensation fund to go with the apology.
“General [David] Petraeus has warned that too fast a drawdown [of US troops] could result in the disintegration of the Iraqi security forces”, US President George Bush declared in his January 28 “state of the union” speech to the US Congress.
This is a statement by the National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas). One of the main organisations that founded Papernas is the People’s Democratic Party (PRD), which played a leading role in the mass movement that overthrew Suharto in 1998. The PRD is building Papernas to continue the struggle against the neoliberal anti-poor policies that have been continued by post-Suharto governments.
The following letter of solidarity with the crew of the customs ship, Triton, taken over in Darwin by its sacked crew, was sent on January 29.
Genocidal mass murderer and former Indonesian dictator Suharto died in hospital in Jakarta on January 27, aged 86, never having faced justice for the millions of people he killed or the billions of dollars he stole during his three decades in power. While Suharto may be gone, the hypocrisy of his rich-country supporters — especially Australia — lives on.
Market forces at work I “The world has witnessed well over 100 significant banking crises over the past three decades. The authorities have even had to rescue important parts of the US financial system — on most counts, the world’s most sophisticated — four times during the same period: from the developing country debt and ‘savings and loan’ crises of the 1980s to the commercial property crisis of the early 1990s and now the subprime and securitised-credit crisis of 2007-08. No industry has a comparable talent for privatising gains and socialising losses.” — London Financial Times, January 18.
The campaign to stop the dredging of a new shipping channel in Port Phillip Bay had a partial victory on January 30 when a Federal Court judge ruled that the Blue Wedges environmental cCoalition must be given at least 24 hours’ notice of any plan to begin work on the $969 million project.
Gaza I The flooding into Egypt of hundreds of thousands of Gazans that followed the breaching of the barrier between those territories is testimony to the desperation and misery of the population of that small enclave. The events have underlined
Although it stated at the last state election in 2006 that it would not go ahead with the construction of a desalination plant, the Victorian Labor government is now pushing for a desalination plant at Wonthaggi, on the South Gippsland coast. Before the environmental impact statement has even been completed, test drilling and compulsory land acquisitions have begun at the proposed site.
The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) is organising a 2008 May Day solidarity brigade to Venezuela for trade unionists and all other people interested in seeing first-hand the unfolding revolution in that country.
After starting contract negotiations on January 12, the Directors’ Guild of America reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on January 17. It was expected that the DGA and AMPTP would come to an agreement, but the swiftness of the deal was a surprise, especially because there were six months remaining on the existing contract.
Four years ago, 17-year-old Aboriginal teenage Thomas “TJ” Hickey was impaled on a metal-spiked fence in Sydney’s inner-city Waterloo suburb after his bicycle was rammed by a police vehicle. Proper medical practices were not followed by the police and TJ died in hospital the next day, February 15. If proper practices had been followed, TJ would probably be alive today.

Pages

Subscribe to 738