WAVE HILL — Aboriginal workers in the community of Kalkaringi — site of the famous 1966 Gurindji walk-off — will stage a protest on October 20 against what they call “a return to the ration days”. Under the NT intervention introduced in 2007, Aboriginal workers on Community Development Employment Projects have been pushed onto work-for-the-dole. They now work for welfare payments only, half of which they receive on a Basics Card that can only be spent on food, clothing and medical supplies.
In December 2009, a Bulgarian court convicted 23-year-old Australian Jock Palfreeman of the murder of 20-year-old Bulgarian man Andrey Monov, who died of a knife wound. Palfreeman was sentenced to 20 years in jail. This resulted from an incident in December 2007 in which Palfreeman, according to his own account, came to the aid of two men of the minority Roma community who were being attacked by a gang of 16 men. Palfreeman was denied bail and spent nearly two years in jail before finally being sentenced.
Over October 8-9, about 70 people attended the Latin America Solidarity Conference, organised by the Latin America Forum in Melbourne, under the theme “Challenging corporate globalisation: people’s power is changing the world”. Feature sessions looked at various issues affecting Latin America today, including “Imperialism, war and resistance”, “Popular power and people’s governments”, and “The battle for environmental justice and survival”.
Popular Thai newspaper Prachatai has reported that, a woman was arrested on October 3 at a freedom bike ride by United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship supporters (popularly known as the Red Shirts) in Ayutthaya for selling slippers with Thailand’s military-installed Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s face on them. The slippers were printed with the message, “People died at Ratchaprasong” — referring to the May 19 military massacre against the Red Shirts’ mass protest camp in Bangkok.
Cuban band JJ Son con Idabelis is touring NSW until the end of November. The quartet is playing at construction sites, organised by the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU), cultural festivals and solidarity concerts supporting the trapped Chilean miners, political prisoners in Colombia and against the Cuban blockade.
About 500 South-East Queensland health workers walked off the job and rallied in front of State Parliament on October 7, protesting against the Bligh government's offer of annual pay increases of only 2.5% a year for three years. The unions are demanding increases totalling 12.5% over the three-year period. Queensland Public Sector Union general secretary Alex Scott said Queensland Health could return to "the bad old days" if workers were forced to leave the system over pay.
What is most interesting about Newcastle’s annual This Is Not Art (TiNA) festival, is that what started 12 years ago as a community festival of independent, emerging art and culture, is still a community festival of independent, emerging art and culture. In an era when it’s not uncommon for even the most intimate art show to be sponsored by a massive alcohol company, the non-commercial nature of TiNA is remarkable. Australia is being hit by a relentless, daily gauntlet of live music and art festivals, but TiNA retains a truly artist-run schedule of events.
Whoops! Why Everyone Owes Everyone & No One Can Pay By John Lanchester 224 pages Penguin, Allen Lane Review by Mat Ward If you don't know the difference between a credit default swap (CDS), a collateralised debt obligation (CDO) and a cheese sandwich, this highly readable book could help you in a painless, entertaining way. Its author, John Lanchester, grew up in 1960s Hong Kong. He says the contrasts of obscene wealth and crushing poverty were “like a lab test in free-market capitalism”.
On September 15, Socialist Alliance member Margaret Gleeson was awarded the prize of delegate of the year by the Queensland state conference of the Australian Services Union (ASU). She will now be put forward as the Queensland nominee for ASU National Delegate of the Year, to be decided at the union's national conference in November. See nomination below.
In a tragedy that occurs far too often, Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old gay university student, committed suicide by jumping off a bridge in New Jersey on September 22. Clementi's roommate and another student had set up a web camera and live streamed him having sex with a man, outing him online. In Clementi’s case, the two students that caused him to feel his only way to escape his situation was death have been charged with invasion of privacy, which holds a maximum jail term of five years. But this is unusual with queer suicides.