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.
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.
A new report published by Friends of the Earth (FoE), Climate Code Red: The case for a sustainability emergency, warns that human-induced climate change is dangerously impacting on the planet and its people, and calls on the Rudd government to take real action to avert disaster from global warming.
The president of the Venezuela’s National Assembly’s Energy and Mines Committee, Angel Rodriguez, rejected the illegal judicial decision on behalf of British, US and Dutch courts, of freezing the Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) assets in their countries, as part of a lawsuit brought by the US Exxon Mobil, due to the nationalisation of the Orinoco Belt, which took place last May.
On February 2, 150 people rallied in support of same-sex civil unions in the Australian Capital Territory, demanding the restoration of the original version of the ACT civil unions act, which included the right to hold an official ceremony and the right for non-ACT residents to obtain a civil union certificate.
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.

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