743

While the Western corporate media was swooning over the tour of army duty in war-torn Afghanistan by Prince Harry, the third in line to the British crown, scant coverage was given to US national intelligence director Vice-Admiral Mike McConnell’s admission that the situation facing the US and its NATO allies in Afghanistan is “deteriorating”, despite a doubling of their occupation forces since 2004.
Fourteen divers at the Sydney desalination plant being built at Port Botany went on strike this week over safety concerns and demanding a union collective agreement walking off the job on Monday March 3. They are employed by Construction Diving Services (whose parent company is Dempsey Industries).
In the most recent edition of Green Left Weekly (GLW #742, links to all contributions in debate so far are below), well-known progressive anti-imperialist activist, Professor Stephen Zunes, has proclaimed that I am a liar.
Poverty is a dominant feature of life for many university students. Statistics from Melbourne University show that living expenses (excluding course fees) for a student in share accommodation amount annually to around $25,000. Most students must work at least one job to supplement the meagre government-provided youth allowance, which, if paid at the maximum rate of $425 per fortnight, amounts to just $11,050 per annum.
Janet Giles, secretary of SA Unions, South Australia’s peak trade union body, resigned on February 18 from the board of the state government’s WorkCover Corporation, stating that she could not defend the rights of injured workers while remaining on the board.
Well, so much for our new government taking an even-handed position on Israel/Palestine.
The Melbourne Age reported on February 27 that child abuse charges against an Indigenous woman from the NT had finally been dropped after two years. The woman’s son has still not been returned to her by Family and Children’s Services Northern Territory (FACS), however.
“We’re approaching the future with some confidence notwithstanding the obstacles that are put in our path by institutions like the ABCC [Australian Building and Construction Commission]”, Dave Noonan, national secretary of the construction division of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union told Green Left Weekly. Noonan spoke to GLW after the CFMEU national conference, held in Sydney from February 18-22.
On March 3, 400 teachers rallied as part of the Australian Education Union’s campaign for improved wages and conditions. The AEU is calling for a 10% pay rise each year for three years to bring Victorian teachers’ wages in line with those of New South Wales teachers.
As the quarantining of Indigenous welfare payments (50% of individual welfare benefits being received as gift cards for certain shops) rolls out across the Northern Territory, its alleged benefits need to be weighed against the possible cultural and economic consequences.
Centrelink is to cut about 2000 of its 27,000 staff over the next financial year as part of new cost-cutting measures by PM Kevin Rudd’s Labor government.
Last May, the ALP announced a target for greenhouse gas emission reductions that, if observed generally across the world’s major emitting countries, would give humanity virtually no chance of avoiding climate catastrophe.
The April 11-13 Climate Change/Social Change conference being organised in Sydney by Green Left Weekly aims to promote recognition that radical social change is necessary to solve the global climate crisis. This is a crisis that at threatens to make the Earth uninhabitable for the vast majority of humans and other species.
Just weeks after the Ecuadorian and Venezuelan governments called on Colombia to respect the need for peace and negotiation with the guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP), the Colombian of President Alvaro Uribe launched an extensive armed air and land assault against the insurgency movement.
Mothers Against Genetic Engineering (MAdGE) and the Gene Ethics Network launched a campaign on February 28 for local councils in Victoria to declare themselves genetically manipulated (GM) food-free zones. The campaign, launched at a protest rally on the steps of the state parliament, is in response to the Premier John Brumby’s decision to end Victoria’s ban on GM canola on February 29.
The breakout of the people of Gaza in late January provided a heroic spectacle unlike any other since the Warsaw ghetto uprising and the smashing down of the Berlin Wall.

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