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Thousands of people are expected to join the World Refugee Day rallies around Australia between June 19 and June 26. In Melbourne, the rally - to be held on Sunday June 20 - has the theme “Not another Tampa election”. Patrick McGorry, Australian of the Year will speak at the Museum Square to refugees, asylum seekers, human rights agency staff and volunteers, refugee advocates and activists before the marchers move off to the EMERGE FESTIVAL at Fitzroy Town Hall.
Brisbane, June 18, 2010 - “The only way to find out the truth about the behavior of the Queensland police hierarchy in the cover-ups that followed the November 2004 killing of Mulrunji on Palm Island is to institute an independent commission of inquiry run by a respected interstate figure,” Sam Watson, well-known Murri rights activist and lead Senate candidate for Queensland said today. “In the meantime the Queensland Police Service (QPS) hierarchy, beginning with commissioner Robert Atkinson, must be sacked.”
June 15, 2010 - Thousands rallied and marched around Australia in support of Ark Tribe, a construction worker possibly facing jail for simply failing to attend an interrogation by the construction industry police “Star Chamber” - the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC). Workers held an overnight vigil outside the ABCC offices in Melbourne, 500 rallied and marched in Sydney and up to 1,500 rallied outside the Adelaide Magistrate's court. Trade unionists from other parts of the country have gone to Adelaide to show their solidarity.
SYDNEY - Such is the groundswell of community anger against the Israeli commando attack on the peace flotilla to Gaza that the Campbelltown branch of the ALP passed a strongly-worded motion on June 7 including calling on the Rudd government to cut ties with Israel. The motion also condemned the attack and the blockade of Gaza, and called for support for the solidarity protests being organised by the Palestinian community and their supporters.
For more international union actions against Israel, see Solidarity with the Palestinian people - three-day strike for Israel commercial vessels World Federation of Trade Unions Athens, June 8th 2010 E-mails : Dear colleagues, trade unionists and workers,
By Rosamund Dallow-Smith and Pip Hinman SYDNEY – Conservation and other groups are opposed to the NSW environment minister Frank Sartor’s National Park development bill, introduced into the NSW parliament on June 2. The plan will shift the focus of National Parks away from conservation toward development. It will also allow tourism to be formally recognised as a purpose of national parks, contravening the long-held principle that national parks were only for nature conservation and visitation.
On May 28, it was reported that the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists was considering allowing a certain form of female circumcision, involving “ritual nicks”. RANZCOG later said it was a misrepresentation, and that “anyone suspected of performing such genital mutilation should be reported to authorities”, the Sydney Morning Herald said the same day. But if we reject all forms of female circumcision, why is it that male circumcision remains so acceptable?
Venezuela foreign minister Nicolas Maduro said on June 2 that Venezuela’s announced cancelling of Haiti's debt of US$395 million with Petrocaribe was now official. Petrocaribe is a program under which the Venezuelan government offers discounted oil, to be paid back over long-term low-interest loans, to Caribbean and Central American nations. Maduro made the announcement after the World Summit on the Future of Haiti. The summit was held in the Dominican Republic with the participation of representatives from 50 countries.
If elected, Liberal opposition leader Tony Abbott would not only bring back the punitive measures carried out under the previous Howard government's “Pacific Solution” — including temporary protection visas (TPVs) and offshore processing — but introduce extra cruel measures against refugees that arrive in Australia by boat. Abbott and opposition immigration spokesperson Scott Morrison released the Liberal/National Coalition policy for so-called border protection on May 27.
Sanna Andrew is the Socialist Alliance candidate for Fremantle, Western Australia, in the coming federal elections. She joined the Socialist Alliance in 2007. She is a qualified social worker and has worked in community-based mental health service provision for more than a decade. Andrew is also an active member of the Australian Services Union (ASU) and sits on the executive council as a representative of the Social and Community Services Sector division. * * *
Israel’s latest atrocity After yet another terrible massacre by Israel, this time against mostly foreign nationals in international waters, it must be said that several Western countries bear a lot of the responsibility for this and previous Israeli crimes. These nations, principally the US, Britain and Australia, have constantly tolerated Israel carrying out atrocities without any condemnation or repercussions. In fact they usually make pathetic excuses for Israel’s actions, and stop criticism of Israel in the UN and other forums, granting Israel impunity.
The Socialist Alliance condemns the completely unwarranted and murderous attack by Israeli armed forces on the civilian flotilla carrying aid to Gaza. Not since the French Secret Service blew up the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour in 1985 has there been such a brazen act of international piracy by a sovereign state. Governments around the world have condemned the actions of Somali pirates in international waters off the horn of Africa, and have even sent naval armadas to confront them.
Thousands of workers across France protested on May 27 against President Nicholas Sarkozy’s planned attacked on the French pension system. The protests were called by a coalition of union confederations, including the General Confederation of Labour (CGT); French Democratic Confederation of Labour (CFDT); United Union Federation (FSU); National Union of Autonomous Unions and Solidaires. They came after the government failed to withdraw or modify the planned changes to the pension system following protests on March 23 and May 1.
Venezuelan trade unionist and community educator Alexis Adarfio Marin visited Australia last month, informing many audiences of the radical changes being carried out by Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution. Adarfio was a guest of the Search Foundation, which hosted a range of international guest speakers at its Australian Left Renewal Conference in Sydney over May 29-30.
Workers at the BHP Billiton Mt Arthur coalmine went on strike for about 26 hours on May 26 and 27. It was the first strike at the mine (formerly known as the Bayswater pit) in its 23-year operational history. A striking worker from the mine said the reliability of coal supplied by the mine was a big selling point and the strike would damage the mine’s reputation. The worker, who did not want his name used for fear of retribution, told Green Left Weekly the dispute started when another worker arrived on the afternoon of May 26 and was told she had been sacked.
It’s time the Israeli government’s PR team made the most of its talents, and became available for hire. Then, whenever a nutcase marched into a shopping mall in somewhere like Wisconsin and gunned down a selection of passers-by, they could be on hand to tell the world’s press: “The gunman regrets the loss of life but did all he could to avoid violence.” Then various governments would issue statements saying: “All we know is a man went berserk with an AK47, and next to him there’s a pile of corpses, so until we know the facts we can’t pass judgement on what took place.”

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