739

The following is the second part of an interview between John Parker, secretary of Gippsland Trades and Labour Council, and Green Left Weekly’s Zane Alcorn. The first part was published in GLW #737.
Around 200 union leaders from around Australia attended a trade union leadership forum organised by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) in Canberra from January 30 to February 1. Many had a lot on their minds. First and foremost, many wondered how the Rudd Labor government’s new industrial relations systems would shape up and what the union movement will have to do to make sure it benefits workers? Unfortunately most walked away after three days asking themselves the same questions they arrived with.
Medical scientists employed in Victoria’s public hospitals began industrial action for a new wages deal with a 24-hour strike at hospitals in Melbourne’s Southern Health region on February 5.
Plans are under way around the country for anti-war protests on March 16 — the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war. This year the anniversary rallies coincide with Palm Sunday, a traditional day of peace movement mobilisation in Australia.
“Forty years ago, the Tet offensive — the decisive battle of the Vietnam War — took place, changing the course of the war, and beginning the long retreat of the US military which eventually led to the victory of the Vietnamese revolutionary national-liberation forces with the fall of Saigon in April 1975", Jim McIlroy said at a public forum inBrisbane on January 31, one of a series sponsored by Green Left Weekly.
Mitsubishi closure Federal industry minister Kim Carr has announced a $50 million "support package" for workers at the Mitsubishi's Tonsley Park car plant in Adelaide to soften the blow of the plant's closure. One way to spend that money which
[The following is a statement from the national executive of the Socialist Alliance.]
The week-long occupation of the armed customs ship, the Triton, ended on February 3 following talks between the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers (AIMPE) and shipping company Gardline. The eleven seafarers, known as the Triton 11, who had been sacked in an attempt to replace them with non-union labour, have been reinstated with permanent positions under a collective union agreement.
In addition to being the home of Bollywood, the Indian city of Mumbai can boast having Asia’s biggest slum, Dharavi. One million residents are crammed into a square mile of low-rise wood, concrete and rusted iron, reported the December 19 Economist.
Members of the Australian Education Union (AEU) employed in Victorian public schools will stop work for 24 hours on February 14 as part of their campaign for a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) with the state government.
On February 5, before any negotiations had been completed between the NSW Teachers Federation and the NSW Labor government, education minister John Della Bosca announced that from the end of the second term in 2010, public school principals will no longer be obliged to the statewide staffing system.
In the lead up to the February 12 Indigenous rights convergence in Canberra, Green Left Weekly gathered statements from Indigenous activists around Australia. At the fore of people’s minds was the Northern Territory intervention, PM Kevin Rudd’s scheduled apology to the Stolen Generations and the issue of compensating those affected by that policy.
Venezuela’s Energy Minister, Rafael Ramirez, characterised a series of court orders obtained by Exxon Mobil Corp. in Britain, the Netherlands, and the Dutch Antilles, freezing up to US$12 billion in assets of Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA, as "judicial terrorism" in a statement today.
On the eve of December’s UN climate conference in Bali, the Indonesian government announced that it would plant 79 million trees in a single day to “offset” the emissions of the entire conference. But this world record-attempt could not mask the presence of another, less flattering, statistic in the 2008 Guinness Book of Records, which awarded the country the world record for the fastest rate of deforestation. From 2000 to 2005, an area of forest equivalent to the size of 300 football pitches was destroyed every hour in Indonesia, the key factor in its having the world’s third-highest rate of greenhouse gas emissions behind the US and China.
In 2001, newly-elected US President George Bush made international headlines when he announced changes to how international aid organisations were to be funded with US money. Known as the “Global Gag Rule”, aid organisations were informed that, in order to continue receiving US government funding, they could no longer provide any information about abortion to their clients.
On May 9, 2007 NSW Premier Morris Iemma announced that he had appointed Anthony Owen, Australia’s first professor of energy economics, to report on NSW’s future needs in electricity generation capacity.

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