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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.
Several hundred people participated in a January 26 rally against homophobic violence in Harmony Park, next to the Surry Hills police station. The rally was called after the brutal assault in Oxford Street of Craig Gee and his partner Shane Brennan in December was met with an inadequate police response. Gee was left with a broken leg and serious facial injuries.
An October 17 National Union of Students (NUS) report on the impact of the Howard government’s “voluntary student unionism” legislation argued that VSU has failed to deliver “self-sustaining student organisations just able to survive off voluntary memberships, investments and trading operations”. It documented a series of job losses and closures of student associations’ campaigning departments as a result of VSU robbing them of funding.
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.
More than 40 people gathered at the Katoomba YHA on February 2 to demand that the Labor state governments in NSW and Victoria overturn their decisions to end the ban on the commercial growing of genetically modified (GM) canola. From March this year, NSW farmers can apply to grow GM canola.
A key aspect of PM Kevin Rudd’s IR agenda is the creation of a national industrial relations system that would cover all private sector employees.
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.
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.
Although the corporate media present an image of Venezuelans suffering under would-be dictator President Hugo Chavez, whose supposedly irresponsible and populist policies are ruining the country, a new poll released by non-profit NGO Latinobarometro reveals that Venezuelans have the most positive view in Latin America about the state of their country and the direction it’s heading in.
Confronting Power & Sex in the Catholic Church, Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus
By Bishop Geoffrey Robinson
John Garratt Publishing 2007
307 pages, $34.95
On January 23, a series of explosions ripped open the concrete and steel barrier that had sealed off the Gaza Strip from the outside world. The breach in the barrier allowed hundreds of thousands of desperate Palestinians, perhaps a third of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents, to surge into the Egyptian cross-border town of Rafah to buy some of life’s basic necessities — denied them by Israel’s siege of the 10 kilometre wide, 40-kilometre long Palestinian enclave.
On January 27, Germany’s newest and third-largest party, Die Linke (The Left), scored historic victories in two important state elections, as anger grows at the failure of the economic boom to close the gap between rich and poor.