“The situation in Egypt is different than the situation of Sudan,” Sudanese government spokesperson Rabie Atti insisted to reporters after January 30 anti-government protests. “We don’t have one small group that controls everything. Wealth is distributed equally. We’ve given power to the states.” Atti proves one similarity between Hosni Mubarak’s regime in Egypt and that of Sudanese President Omar al Bashir: both make ludicrous public statements that show no understanding of reality or the consciousness of their populations.
Members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) voted on January 13 to lift their ban on the transmission of student results. More than 40 staff members who took part in the lawful industrial action had been stood down without pay for nearly eight weeks. The decision to lift the ban followed concerns over attempts by university management to release unauthorised student results.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange delivered a pre-recorded video address to a public meeting at Melbourne’s Federation Square on February 4. Below is the transcript of Assange’s speech. ***** Thank you so much for coming to this rally. Your presence here and your support, in homes, workplaces, online and elsewhere is exactly what is needed to keep us strong.
Less than a week after Australians learned about the death of the 22nd Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan, Corporal Richard Atkinson, footage aired by Channel 7 on February 8 showed opposition leader Tony Abbott caught with his pants down. “Shit happens,” Abbott told a US general during an August visit to Afghanistan as they discussed the circumstances surrounding the death of another Australian soldier — Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney. MacKinney’s family had questioned whether the standard of the Australian Defence Force’s equipment contributed to his death.
For communities affected by Cyclone Yasi and the recent floods across Queensland, Western Australia, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania, it will be no comfort to hear that the Fair Work Act provides little protection for workers from unscrupulous employers. Many bosses will choose to stand workers down without pay if their business is affected by these natural disasters. At the height of the Queensland floods, state Workplace Rights Ombudsman Don Brown told ABC Online on January 21 that employers have the right to not pay workers for time off caused by the floods.
Greetings to Green Left from around Australia Greetings to Green Left from around the world Send your own greetings to firstname.lastname@example.org . Twenty years ago, on Monday February 18, 1991, the first issue of Green Left Weekly was produced. Its full-colour poster-style cover expressed opposition to the Gulf War, the first US-led invasion of Iraq.
WikiLeaks has launched the WikiLeaks roundtable series, in which founder and editor Julian Assange addresses, in a short video, questions that people put to the organisation. This forum aims to cut out “intermediaries” such as the mainstream corporate media, and instead allow the whistleblowing site to speak directly with people. The first video was published on February 6. “We are going to put everyone on a level playing field,” Assange said. “All members of the press and all members of the public.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez expressed his support for workers in a dispute at a Venezuelan Coca-Cola plant conflict in a televised address on February 4. “If Coca-Cola doesn’t want to comply with the constitution and the law, well, we can live without Coca-Cola,” he said to cheers from the crowd. Chavez was speaking in Valencia, the capital of Carabobo state, where 1230 workers are striking in a bottling and distribution plant of Coca-Cola Femsa.
When the British Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government announced it would raise the maximum yearly tuition fee universities could charge students to £9000, thousands of students took to the streets of London in a series of protests. Highlights included occupying the Conservative Party headquarters in London and frightening Prince Charles. The tuition rise came after the release on October 12 of the Browne Review, a report into education funding chaired by former BP chief executive John Browne. The report recommended abolishing the cap on tuition fees.
The attempt by Hosni Mubarak’s regime to stop anti-government protests by shutting down the internet and mobile phone services failed to stop the popular uprising that forced the dictator out on February 11. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Egypt on January 25 demanding political reform and an end to police brutality. When 24 hours passed and they hadn’t dispersed, Mubarak shut down access to media and telecommunications.
Socialist Alliance candidate for upper house in the coming NSW elections Bea Bleile expressed her continuing support for family of TJ Hickey, who are still fighting for justice following his death in 2004. TJ Hickey, a young Aboriginal man, was killed during a police chase. He was impaled on a spiked fence in Phillip St, Waterloo. In 2006, the NSW coroner exonerated the police involved from any wrongdoing. Yet a large amount of evidence was not included in the hearing. The family has called for the inquest to be reopened.