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Two of the central figures in a major media and government scandal that erupted in the lead-up to the launch of the Northern Territory intervention will speak in Sydney on September 3, in their first public engagement together. Tjanara Goreng Goreng, a former Howard Coalition government official-turned-whistleblower, and Chris Graham, the founding editor of the National Indigenous Times, will speak address a public forum, at the University of Technology, Sydney, hosted by the Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney (STICS).
Voters’ stunning rejection of both major parties has left neither likely to form a government in its own right. Whichever party governs, it will have to rely on the support of at least three and probably four independents, with Andrew Wilkie's chance of taking Denison from Labor firming.
Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi announced on August 24 that its affiliated unions will launch a solidarity “secondary strike” on September 2 in support of the country's 1.3 million public servants and teachers on strike for better wages and allowances. Vavi warned: “No member of COSATU will be at work next week.”
For most queer rights activists, the most pressing issue is queer marriage rights. Denying this basic right to a large number of Australians is abhorrent. In a democracy, the elected officials are supposed to represent the views of the people who elect them. The majority of Australians are in favor of giving same-sex couples the right to marry, but both major parties have shown their contempt for the opinions of the majority.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the murder of San Salvador Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was killed on March 24, 1980 by one of El Salvador’s infamous government-backed “death squads”. As archbishop, Romero spoke out about economic inequality and violent government repression. The anniversary of his murder always triggers reflection on the nightmare the country experienced during the 1980-’92 civil war, which left 75,000 people (mainly civilians) dead, 8000 “disappeared” and 50,000 permanently disabled.
Coalminers in Tahmoor have been locked out of their workplace again. They've been fighting with their employer, the coal giant Xstrata, for more than 22 months for a fair, new Enterprise Agreement. Attempts to negotiate have collapsed repeatedly because the company has refused to budge, even during mediated talks. During a workplace dispute over job security and safety conditions, the workers held a six-hour strike on February 7, followed by a 24-hour stoppage on February 8.
No … politeness, happiness, humanity Have … pain, sorrow, suffering Nobody is here, to love us Nobody is here, to be honest We are suffering without love We are expecting politeness person We are looking for humanity — but we couldn’t see anywhere We couldn’t see in the dream also We are suffering difficulties for a long time We faced so many sorrows in our country Even we can’t tell anything that our past life We can’t explain in a word
Thirty students, parents, teachers and FairWear activists met at Brunswick South West Primary School on August 16 to celebrate and highlight that school’s commitment to ethical uniforms. Students at Brunswick South West Primary School joined with FairWear supporters to praise their school community for ensuring that the uniforms they wear are made fairly and ethically.
"It seems that the whole narrative of politics is going through a seismic shift”, said Greens lead candidate for the NSW upper house at the 2011 state election, David Shoebridge at an August 25 forum discussing the post-election political landscape. Shoebridge told the meeting, which was organised by Socialist Alliance, that the result would impact on upcoming state elections in Victoria and NSW. In NSW, Labor is particularly hated.
On August 11, the NSW Combined Unions Campaign Committee (CUCC) — which consists of 80 rank-and-file delegates of the combined rail unions, called off a planned strike on election eve, August 20. Delegates were divided over the decision. The CUCC was discussing how to respond to Railcorp’s latest offer, which, the August 25 rail union bulletin reported, had three elements: “• A four year agreement ,to protect our jobs and entitlements should we be faced with a new State Government following next year’s State election, with guarantees for no forced redundancies;
In April 2009, Kevin Rudd, then Labor prime minister, announced the National Broadband Network (NBN), a massive infrastructure project to provide high-speed network access to 93% of Australia, with satellite access for the rest. Rollout of the network began in Tasmania in July. 2009. Operations began in some other areas in July 2010.
The fight is on at Bluescope Steel, in Western Port Hastings, where 86 maintenance workers from the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) are holding their picket lines in the face of scab labour. The workers are under attack from their employer Silcar and Bluescope Steel, which contracts its plant maintenance to Silcar. The steel manufacturing plant employs around 1400 people full-time and produces more than a million tonnes of steel products a year.
August 19 marked 91 years since Afghanistan gained its freedom from the British Empire, following three bloody wars of independence. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has issued a video statement to mark the occasion. It’s worth watching, if only to appreciate the new Empire’s irony-laden platitudes. In her greetings of “friendship”, Clinton wished Afghans a “happy and safe Independence Day”. She said: “On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I want to congratulate the people of Afghanistan on 91 years of independence.
Greg Eatock, a well-known Indigenous activist in Sydney, passed away aged just 51 on August 24. His early death, from chronic health problems, was more proof of the shameful 11.5-year gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous males in Australian. One of Greg's brothers, Ronald, had already passed away, aged 27. Greg came from a family with a four-generation history of political activism. His great grandmother, Lucy Eatock, and her husband William were veterans of the great 1890s shearers’ strike. Lucy later moved to Sydney from Queensland.
On July 26, Wikileaks released thousands of secret US military files on the war in Afghanistan. Cover-ups, a secret assassination unit and the killing of civilians are documented. In file after file, the brutalities echo the colonial past. From Malaya and Vietnam to Bloody Sunday in Ireland and Basra in Iraq, little has changed. The difference is that today there is an extraordinary way of knowing how faraway societies are routinely ravaged in our name.
The introduction in May of a racist law targetting immigrants in the US state of Arizona has sparked a powerful movement from wide sections of US society. It has also sparked the biggest movement of musicians in the US since the times of South African apartheid, with a growing number of artists refusing to play in Arizona in protest. The musicians are organised through Sound Strike, an organisation initiated in May by Rage Against the Machine (RATM) lead singer Zach de la Rocha and film-maker Michael Moore.

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