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The following media statement was released on November 25 by Tim Gooden, Secretary of Geelong Trades Hall Council.

“The decision of Adelaide magistrate David Whittle that Ark Tribe is innocent is a tremendous victory for Ark, his family and for working people across Australia”, Geelong Trades Hall Council Secretary, Tim Gooden said today.

Geelong Trades Hall congratulates Ark Tribe for his brave stand against unjust laws. The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (Ark’s union) has done a great job in the courts and ensuring Ark received all the legal help he needed.

Workers with disabilities are speaking out against the Supported Wage System (SWS), which encourages employers to legally underpay workers with disabilities.

The federal government’s Job Access program markets SWS as a progressive innovation by burying it among more egalitarian policies such as funding workplace accessibility improvements.

The Job Access website said the SWS was “a process that allows employers to pay less than the award wage by matching a person's productivity with a fair wage”.

Dear Melissa Parke, Federal ALP MP for Fremantle,

As blue collar workers, I and my partner have been involved with our unions over the past decade. In that time, I have seen our unions fight for safety, dignity and a better life for our family.

I welcome the "not guilty" verdict in the trial of Ark Tribe, but the fact that Mr Tribe was on trial at all is a disgrace. Laws that compel people answer questions in secret, do not guarantee people access to lawyers of their choice and involved other breaches of basic human rights should disgust you.

Unions NSW presented the "Better Services for a Better State" campaign in the Sutherland Shire at the Sutherland District Trade Union Club ("Tradies") on November 19. There was only a small crowd but there was fruitful discussion on the issues confronting the campaign.

In his opening presentation, Maritime Union of Australia Sydney branch secretary Paul McAleer explained how the battle to keep Sydney Ferries public had been won. McAleer said the MUA, and other unions representing workers on the ferries, had focused on building the broadest possible alliance against the sell-off.

If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success. This phrase has become the unofficial motto of this year’s United Nations climate conference in Cancun, Mexico.

A week out from Cancun, which runs over November 29 to December 10, there is little hope of meaningful progress. Yet key players have sought to throw a shroud of official optimism over the looming failure.

Few Western politicians want a repeat of last year’s Copenhagen climate conference. They consider it a public relations disaster.

Port Adelaide's Newport Quays luxury apartment development has run into difficulties. The release of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report reconfirmed high levels of industrial air pollution in the port and LeFevre Peninsular areas.

The report was presented to the Development Assessment Commission on July 15, but released only after a successful request by Greens parliamentary leader Mark Parnell. The Land Management Council has refused requests to release 27 of 28 further documents on pollution in the area.

— "Queensland is now the world epicentre of pollution of our atmosphere", Greens leader Bob Brown told 200 people at a November 14 meeting sponsored by Friends of the Earth, 6 Degrees, the Wilderness Society and the Queensland Conservation Council.

"We know what is coming if we don't put a stop to the use of fossil fuels. This year is the hottest ever in human existence, and it's only going to get worse if we don't take urgent action to tackle climate change."

The South Australian Labor government’s public service cuts were passed through parliament on November 8, ignoring sharp criticism from the Public Service Association (PSA) and widespread protests.

Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney described the cuts as a form of “political terrorism”, in an address to the PSA that day. She said public funding issues would become increasingly frequent across Australia as governments continue to adopt “neoliberal, global agendas”.

Green Left Weekly spoke to some of the progressive candidates running in the November 27 Victorian state elections.

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Stephen Jolly

Stephen Jolly is the Socialist Party candidate for Richmond. He was elected to the City of Yarra council in 2004. He first came to prominence in the campaign to reopen Richmond Secondary College. He spoke to GLW’s Narendra Mohan Kimmalapati.

What is your platform for the election?

The Anatolian Cultural Centre was packed for the Socialist Alliance's Victorian election campaign launch on November 13. Guest speakers Rob Stary, civil liberties lawyer, and Merryn Rednebach of Climate Action Moreland, gave messages of support.

Messages of support from the Blind Workers Union and the Council of Single Mothers and their Children were read out. West Papuan freedom fighter and refugee rights activist in Australia, Gilios Kogoya also addressed the gathering.

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