GLW is taking a break. Our next printed edition will be dated September 1 (and published online on the evening of August 29). However, the Green Left website will be updated after August 21 with news and analysis of the federal election outcome. Visit Green Left and please consider taking out an e-subscription so we can continue to bring you an independent voice.
Victorian Socialist Alliance Federal election candidates strongly condemn the Australian Federal Police raids on the Kurdish Association of Victoria and community members as a cynical pre-election maneuver and yet another attempt to sow fear and suspicion into the boarder community.
Greens candidate for Mackellar Dr Jonathan King is a blue-blooded radical. King gained national prominence in 1988 when he staged an $11 million recreation of the First Fleet's voyage. The historian and former journalist became, in his own words, “political hot property,” courted by both major parties. He declined their overtures. Politics “was in [his] blood”, King said, but he was “too radical” for the major parties. Following the bicentennial voyage, King found his “next big project, and that was helping the environment”.
Sick of the manipulative, increasingly policy-free barrage of major party negative advertising in the race to the August 21 Australian federal election? Here are some antidotes: First, check out the table below comparing the policies of Socialist Alliance with that of the Greens, ALP and Liberals: Policy comparison from Left to Right compiled by Dick Nichols. Second, have a look at the independent Vote Climate survey on which parties the best policy on on climate change.
On August 16, Darwin was the venue for a screening of Our Generation, a landmark new documentary about the plight of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory living under the repressive NT intervention. The film focuses on the effects of the intervention on the Yolngu people of East Arnhem Land, which coincided with a move by the NT Labor government to move people off traditional homelands and into larger towns (the “hub town” policy).
About 500 people rallied in Melbourne on August 13 to put the Liberal and Labor parties on notice that the refugee rights movement is rebuilding, and a growing number of people are willing to stand up for refugees. The Refugee Action Collective organised the protest under the slogan of “Stand up for Refugees” in a bid to have the treatment of asylum seekers recognized as a human rights issue. There were contingents of Greens, socialists and the Community Public Sector Union. Protesters chanted, “East Timor no solution, let the refugees in”.
PERTH — ‘We are running because the Labor and Liberal parties do not represent the interests of ordinary people’, said Socialist Alliance candidate for Perth Alex Bainbridge at the launch of SA’s campaign. ‘We're struggling to build a movement that can more effectively represent the interests of ordinary people on some of the big issues that we face. These issues include climate change, workers’ rights, the shameful policies that governments are taking towards refugees and towards Aboriginal people.’
The Greens could have more power in the Australian parliament than ever before, after the federal election on August 21. Achieving the balance of power in the Senate is within reach for the Greens, meaning that the government would have to negotiate an agreement with either the opposition party or the Greens to pass legislation. The Greens currently share balance of power with Family First Senator Steve Fielding and independent Nick Xenophon. “We have shown a responsibility that the Coalition has shunned”, said Bob Brown, leader of the Australian Greens.
Recent scenes of roadblocks, strikes and even the dynamiting of a vice-minister’s home in the Bolivian department (administrative district) of Potosi, reminiscent of the days of previous neoliberal governments, have left many asking themselves what is really going on in the “new” Bolivia of indigenous President Evo Morales. Since July 29, the city of Potosi, which has 160,000 inhabitants, has ground to a halt. Locals are up in arms over what they perceive to be a lack of support for regional development on the part of the national government.
BRISBANE — Quien Dijo Miedo (“We are not afraid”), an film about the popular resistance to the military coup that took place in June last year in the Central American country of Honduras, was shown at the Queensland Council of Unions building on August 6. The screening was sponsored by organisations including the Communist Party of Australia, the Revolutionary Socialist Party, the Socialist Alliance, Guatemalan group URNG-MAIZ Australia, the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, and the El Salvadoran FMLN.
For many union leaders afraid of a Coalition victory on August 21, campaigning against Tony Abbott in the federal election simply means campaigning for Julia Gillard. With a conservative win on the cards, unions have escalated their pro-ALP campaigning. The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) — which has filled Labor’s coffers with more than $340,000 for the election campaign — has enlisted officials for ring-arounds in marginal seats.
Most Melbourne people wouldn’t know that there is a refugee detention centre, called the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation, in Broadmeadows. It is hidden away behind the Maygar army barracks on Camp Road with no sign to indicate it is there. The Socialist Alliance organised a protest outside the centre on August 11 to publicise its existence. When the local media was notified about the protest, none of the journalists approached had heard of it.
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is the focal point of a political shift to the left that has affected most of the Latin American continent for just over a decade. For several years this has been met with denunciations of the nation and its president, Hugo Chavez, from TV personalities like Glenn Beck and Pat Robertson to establishment figures like George W. Bush and Barack Obama, all of whom liken the nation to a military dictatorship.
On August 12, members of the Unite trade union employed at six airports by the privatised British Airports Authority voted to strike by a margin of three to one, rejecting a one percent pay rise offered by BAA. The 6185 Unite members at the six affected airports — firefighters, security staff, engineers and support staff — accepted a pay freeze in 2009. BAA also withdrew a proposed £450 bonus for the airport workers and informed all staff that they would lose out on their annual airport incentive payment of £700 for 2010.
On August 12, candidates from the Greens, Socialist Alliance (SA) and newly formed First Nations Political Party (FNPP) spoke to a group of 50 people at La Tropicana cafe in Fremantle. The forum was organised by SA to highlight environmental and social policies ignored by the major parties in the federal election campaign. The event was chaired by Fremantle councillor and Western Australian SA co-convenor Sam Wainwright Kate Davis, Greens candidate for Fremantle, said: “The Greens have a renewable energy target of 100% by 2030.
New Zealand’s National Party-led government announced on July 18 a law that would allow bosses to fire new workers at will, restrict access to unions, cut workers’ entitlements to sick leave and holidays, and remove the right to appeal against unfair sackings. On August 21, unions will respond with rallies across the country. The two most significant aspects of the government’s plans are the extension of 90-day “trial period” and a requirement for union organisers to gain permission from employers before visiting union members or potential recruits on the job.