862

In October, Kevin Harkins, a member of the Labor Left, won the ballot to become the new secretary of Unions Tasmania. Harkins was an electrician and then an organiser with the Electrical Trades Union in Victoria, before becoming ETU Tasmanian secretary in 2000. He spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Linda Seaborn. * * * The recent Unions Tasmania election was the first contested ballot in years. Can you tell me about that?
Carly Dawson is a volunteer with Peace Brigades International (PBI), a non-government organisation that “protects human rights and promotes nonviolent transformation of conflicts”. The organisation was formed during the 1980s and its first mission was to help counter the war in Nicaragua that was waged by US-backed Contras against the left-wing Sandinista government Dawson recently returned to Australia after 12 months volunteer work with PBI in Colombia. She spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Aaron Roden. * * *
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.
Burma’s November 7 elections — held under an undemocratic constitution in an atmosphere of repression and with the result crudely rigged — have been overshadowed by the release from house arrest of opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi on November 13. Thousands of supporters lined the streets to her house and flocked to NLD offices to hear her speak. Suu Kyi’s release has been compared to that of Nelson Mandela in 1990. However, unlike Mandela, Suu Kyi was not released from detention by a regime seeking negotiations.
Ark Tribe’s battle with the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) may end on November 24, at the Adelaide Magistrates Court when Tribe's verdict is scheduled to be announced. This would end the two-year ordeal for Tribe and his family. The 47-year-old rigger is facing six months’ jail for not attending an ABCC interrogation over an “unauthorised” safety meeting on a building site at Flinders University in August 2008.
In Green Left Weekly #861, Solidarity’s Paddy Gibson addressed a debate that from time to time comes up among activists opposing the NT intervention: whether an assimilationist agenda or mining interests are behind the intervention.
“The National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP) expresses its energetic condemnation of the massacre against the campesino community in El Tumbador, Trujillo, in which our companeros Ignacio Reyes, Teodoro Acosta, Siriaco Munozm Raul Castillo and Jose Luis Sauceda were assassinated”, the FNRP said in a November 16 statement. All of those killed were members of the Campesino Movement of Aguan (MCA). The campesino activists were killed by assassins hired by pro-US oligarch Miguel Facusse, who helped fund the coup that overthrew president Manuel Zelaya last year.
The statement below was released on November 3 by the Canada Haiti Action Network in preparation for Haiti’s November 28 elections. For more information, visit . To contact CHAN, email canadahaiti@gmail.com. * * * The Canada Haiti Action Network is once again expressing its grave concerns about exclusionary elections in Haiti.
Remembrance Day, on November 11, was celebrated again this year in the Australian media with pictures of red poppies and flag-draped coffins and historic photos of Australian soldiers who gave “the ultimate sacrifice” from the human-made wasteland of Flanders to the stony deserts of Afghanistan. Paying tribute to the ten soldiers killed this year in the long war in Afghanistan, Governor-General Quentin Bryce said that Australians were good at remembering: “We seem to know what we ought to hold onto and what is best let go.”
Two hundred people attended the launch of the National Museum of Labour on November 11, in the old government fitter’s workshop in Kingston, ACT. They heard from union officials, politicians and rank-and-file unionists. Unions ACT secretary Kim Sattler introduced speakers including: Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney; Anna Booth from major sponsors, Slater & Gordon; historian Norman Abjorensen, and federal Labor MP for Eden Monaro, Mike Kelly. To find out more, visit National Museum of Labour website.
Fifty people attended the Public School Dreams forum, hosted by the Inner City Teachers Association (ICTA) on November 16. In attendance were students, parents, teachers and principals from 16 inner-city schools, Leichhardt Greens mayor Jamie Parker and NSW Greens upper house member John Kaye. Students from Darlington Public School opened the forum with two songs. School communities at the forum were encouraged to submit comments to the federal government’s Review of Funding for Schooling.
Forty people attended a meeting about the Northern Territory government's attack on bilingual education in remote Indigenous communities on November 18. The government has banned teaching in Indigenous languages during the first four hours of the school day. The meeting began with a phone link to two people from the Yirrkala community, where the local school is defying the ban. They said teaching children in Yolngu language was vital to maintaining culture and producing better academic results.