A Socialist Alliance statement on the ‘Tasmanian Forests Statement of Principles’ *** Since its inception in 2001, the Socialist Alliance has been actively involved in campaigns to protect high conservation native forests from being logged and we support an end to the forestry conflict in Tasmania.
Haiti's November 28 election was marred by widespread fraud. Despite the call of all the leading candidates but one to cancel the exercise, officials with the UN Security Council mission as well as the United States, Canada and Europe are voicing satisfaction with the result and urging the country’s electoral commission to press ahead with a second-round runoff vote in January.
Sombat Boonngamanong is a long-time NGO activist in Thailand and has been of great help to renewing public Red Shirt activity following the bloody April-May military crackdown. Lee Yu Kyung spoke to him about the prospects for the democracy movement in Thailand. * * *
The streets of Ayala, the old financial capital of Manila, were taken over by about 5000 people on November 25 in a protest against the growing use of contract labour. Philippine Airlines, owned by the Philippines second richest man, is the latest company to sack its workforce and rehire them as contract workers – with lower wages and without the benefits and security guaranteed to formal, permanent workers.
The Israeli government agreed “in principle” on November 17 to withdraw from the northern part of Ghajar, a village in the occupied Golan Heights. The village was conquered by Israel in 1967, during the six-day war. In 2000, Ghajar was split in two. The northern part was to be controlled by Lebanon, the southern part by Israel. The southern part of Ghajar was deemed by the United Nations (UN) to be a part of the Golan Heights, Syrian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.
About 150 members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of New South Wales and Macquarie University have been stood down after taking part in lawful and protected industrial action. The union put a ban on the transmission of student results after more than two years of negotiations failed to make progress on improving job security, pay and other conditions for staff. A key sticking point in the negotiations is management’s unregulated use of fixed-term contracts and casual employment.
Pope Benedict XVI has told a German journalist that condom use can be justified in some cases to help stop the spread of AIDS. News of the Pope’s historic new stance was first posted online on November 20 in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s newspaper.
Tough talk by the warmongers at the November 20-21 NATO conference in Lisbon, Portugal, obscured the growing opposition in the US and Europe to the nine-year occupation of Afghanistan. Ten thousand people took to the streets of London on November 20 to protest the war. Angry at the British government’s recent cuts to services and pensions, many carried “Cut war not welfare” placards.
The Independent Education Union (IEU) has launched a campaign for pay equity for early childhood teachers. In the months leading up to the NSW elections in March 2011, the campaign will include rallies, postcards and an email bombardment of the Labor and Liberal parties. Early childhood teachers working in community-based preschools and childcare centres earn up to 20% less than teachers working in state government preschools and independent and Catholic primary schools. A full-time early childhood teacher can earn $14,000 a year less than other teachers.
National rallies on November 20 and 27 were held in support of equal marriage rights for lesbian, gay, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) couples. November 20 was also Transgender Day of Remembrance. The day started in 1999 to remember those who were killed by anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. Across the country, trans activists addressed equal marriage rights. A minute's silence was held to remember those killed by transphobic violence.
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 improvements to workplace accessibility. The Job Access website says the SWS is “a process that allows employers to pay less than the award wage by matching a person's productivity with a fair wage”.
The 2005 Naivasha Agreement ended the civil war between the Sudanese government and the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM), based in South Sudan. About 2 million people were killed in the 1983-2005 conflict. A further 500,000 people were killed in the 1955-1972 civil war, also fought between the government and rebels in the south. Under the agreement, a referendum on independence will be held in the south in January 2011. The SPLM leadership recently endorsed independence for the South, while prior to the peace process it been committed to a united, democratic, federal Sudan.
Chilean activist Manuel Olate Cespedes was arrested in Santiago on October 29 after the Colombian government alleged he is linked to left-wing guerilla group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Below is an abridged statement issued by the Latin America Social Forum (LASF) Sydney that calls for Cespedes’ release and opposes plans to extradite him to Colombia. *** The LASF (Sydney) wishes to express its opposition to the arrest and detention of Manuel Olate Cespedes. We also express our grave concern regarding Colombia’s request to extradite Cespedes.
"You can't come in”, Friends of the Earth (FOE) organiser Drew Hutton told mining companies on behalf of a coalition of farming groups from South-West Queensland, outside State Parliament on November 22. The farmers launched the campaign in opposition to mining companies’ plans for up to 40,000 coal seam gas wells and massive new coal mines on the farming land of the Darling Downs. "All the laws are weighted in favour of the mining interests and against farmers”, Hutton said.