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Tasmanian deputy premier Steve Kons resigned in disgrace on April 9 following the eruption of a new political scandal for Premier Paul Lennon’s Labor government related to its support for Gunns Ltd’s planned Tamar Valley pulp mill.
ACT police have been given enhanced stop-and-search powers for dealing with protests planned for the Canberra leg of the global Olympic torch relay on April 24. This comes as protests by the Tibetan diaspora and their supporters have turned the torch’s world tour into a public relations disaster for the Beijing Olympics.
Adverse financial conditions “The financial market crisis that erupted in August 2007 has developed into the largest financial shock since the Great Depression… Adverse financial conditions are likely to have a continuing negative impact on activity in the United States… The United States remains plagued by profound errors in risk management.” — From the International Monetary Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook survey, released April 9.
Approximately 20,000 votes were submitted across NSW by teachers who attended stop-work Sky Channel meetings on April 8. Teachers went on strike over the state Labor government’s refusal to negotiate a new staffing scheme that would ensure transfer rights for all teachers and guarantee qualified and trained teachers for all students in NSW public schools.
As the British parliament is discussing proposals to extend its “anti-terrorism” laws even further, existing anti-terrorism laws have been used to conduct surveillance on a family wrongly suspected of lying on a school application form.
In an obvious attempt to silence political dissent, on April 14, 10 G20 protesters who had pleaded guilty to charges of common law riot, criminal damage and recklessly causing injury received severe sentences in Melbourne’s Magistrates court.
On April 9, some 700 workers employed at the Port Melbourne-based Boeing subsidiary Hawker de Havilland went on strike. They were protesting against the company’s April 7 sacking of an Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) member without going through the agreed dispute-settlement procedure. The HDH plant makes parts for Boeing’s new 787 airliner.
Denouncing the “coloniser attitude” and “barbarous exploitation” of workers by the management of the Sidor steel company, Venezuelan Vice President Ramon Carrizalez announced at 1.30am on April 9 that President Hugo Chavez had decided to nationalise the company.
On April 3 Fremantle wharfies stopped work for two hours to commemorate the 1998 Patricks dispute and thank all those who generously and courageously supported the Maritime Union of Australia. Nearly 1500 MUA members and other members of the community marched through the streets of Fremantle. In other ports the anniversary was marked with a one-minute stop work on April 7.
Australia’s military “would contain a careful mix of capabilities that could in extremis rip an arm off any major Asian power that sought to attack Australia”, said Professor Ross Babbage of the Kokoda Foundation in a private lecture to Australian Defence Force officials according to a March 25 AAP report.
For most of us here in wealthy and relatively insulated Australia, the word “crisis” sounds like an exaggeration. We hear about the global warming crisis, the world financial crisis and now the food crisis but these seem like abstractions to most of us. “Crisis, what crisis?” is a familiar rejoinder.
The government of Argentinean President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner had the first of a series of meetings on April 15 with the leaders of the agricultural sector.