Issue 216

News

By Tully Bates MELBOURNE — For the past six months, Victorian members of the United Firefighters Union (UFU) have been negotiating with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) for a pay rise. The firefighters, who have not had a rise for five years
By Jane Beckmann NEWCASTLE — Five activists were arrested and others removed on January 4 while protesting against RZM's sand mining at Tomago. Protesters had blockaded the site after RZM attempted to bulldoze the remaining 22 hectares under the
UN agreement a disaster for ozone layerVIENNA Environmental organisations around the world have condemned an agreement reached on December 7 by 149 countries that fails to take urgently needed action on methyl bromide, a highly toxic pesticide that
Goss in deep strife over Mundingburra By Bill Mason BRISBANE — The Goss government is in deep trouble as the February 3 by-election for the Townsville-based seat of Mundingburra draws closer. Polls show Labor's candidate, Townsville mayor Tony
ADELAIDE — Jason Porter died in a motorbike accident on December 31, while travelling through Indonesia. Jason, aged 23, was an activist who travelled extensively throughout the Third World. An internationalist, Jason was a supporter of Green Left
By Chris Slee Australian Tax Office management has attacked the rights and conditions of its workers by refusing to renew the clauses of the Tax Office Modernisation Agreement which guaranteed that there would be no compulsory redundancies, and no
By Tim Gooden CANBERRA — The ACT Liberal minority government, supported by the independents and the Greens, has offered government workers a 4.3% pay increase in return for forced redundancies and "reforms" to the public sector, including
By Jennifer Thompson SYDNEY — A successful Socialist Activist and Education Conference, held here in early January, examined the experience of left and progressive movements, especially socialist parties, in a series of feature talks supported by
By Nick Soudakoff CANBERRA — At a combined mass meeting on January 16, 1000 workers from the Australian National University, the University of Canberra and the Australian Defence Force Academy decided to launch a campaign for a 5.6% pay increase
By Ben Courtice HOBART — As Tasmanians prepare to go to the polls on February 24, it is looking more likely that no party will receive an outright majority. Polling indicates that the Greens are likely to gain one or two seats on top of their
The Green Left Weekly 1995 fund appeal exceeded its target of $115,000 by $300! Congratulations to everyone who contributed, either by direct donation or by supporting the many Green Left Weekly fundraising events that were held in cities across
By Jennifer Thompson Weipa unionists are waiting for the Industrial Relations Commission decision — expected this week — on their claim that award workers be paid the same rates as those on individual contracts performing the same work. The
By Ray Fulcher MELBOURNE — Two of La Trobe University's 1995 Rabelais editors have been charged for printing an article, "The Art of Shoplifting", in the student paper last year. Along with the editors Michael Brown and Ben Ross, the paper's
By Bill Mason BRISBANE — The coal miners' union has called for changes to Queensland law in order to be able to prosecute mine managers for criminal negligence or manslaughter. This follows the release, on January 17, of the inquiry into the
By Emma King and Shane Guthrie Peace activists from around Australia have been discussing the need for an Asia-Pacific regional networking forum on anti-militarism. Many social justice campaigns in the region find themselves up against military

World

By Norm Dixon Frank O. Kokori, general secretary of the Nigerian oil workers' union NUPENG, remains in detention without trial. Most other union leaders detained since mid-1994 were released in December, according to reports that have reached the
By Norm Dixon The British government has approved the sale of fighter aircraft to the Indonesian military. The government ignored calls from human rights groups and campaigners for self-determination for East Timor to reject the sale because of
By Rashid Hilal A women's rights march was held in the West Bank town of Ramallah on January 3. Several women candidates in the elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council, including independent Hanan Ashrawi and Fatah's Jerusalem list
By Adam Hanieh Israeli land confiscation continued at an alarming rate while Palestinians prepared for elections on January 20. On December 25 hundreds of acres of land were confiscated from the West Bank towns of Kalandia, Rafat and Jdeirah. The
By Sujatha Fernandes Having captured the northern city of Jaffna in its war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Tamil people, the Sri Lankan government has again proposed a devolution of powers. The plan involves a
By Conor Twyford Alliance activists across the country are gearing up to contest New Zealand's first mixed member proportional (MMP) election, due to take place between July and November this year. MMP, brought in by referendum in November 1993,
By Renfrey Clarke MOSCOW — For Josef Stalin in 1931 to have blown up the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, just up the Moscow River from the Kremlin, was a crime. But for Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov to have ordered the cathedral rebuilt in 1995 was
By Norman Taylor The McDonald's libel case is the longest in British history. It started in July '94, when young unemployed people Dave Morris and Helen Steele issued a leaflet which said the corporation was responsible for acts of environmental
By Peter Montague As the scientific evidence linking chemical exposures to serious human diseases piles up, many chemical-dependent industries, such as pesticide purveyors, are searching for a strategy to buy themselves some time. They needn't look
By Eva Cheng Both rural and urban women in Japan are fighting for the right to work as the five-year-old recession and the "trade liberalisation" agenda under GATT and APEC hit them increasingly hard. Though official unemployment remained around 3%
The sodium leak at Japan's first power-generating FBR (fast breeder reactor) Monju, which occurred on December 8, was far more serious than first thought, according to the Citizens' Nuclear Information Centre (CNIC) in Tokyo. The government-owned PNC
US organisers have issued a call for papers for the Radical Philosophy Association's Second National/International conference, to be held November 14-17 at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The theme of the conference is "Globalisation
Two prominent members of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) will challenge party leader and former president Daniel Ortega for the party's presidential nomination, the Sandinista newspaper Barricada reported on January 6. Human rights
West Papuan leader: 'OPM has overwhelming support' By Norm Dixon The daring January 10 raid by guerillas of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) has provided fresh evidence that the long struggle of the West Papuan people against Indonesian occupation is
Since 1985, the Indian government has been implementing a neo-liberal economic program opening up industry and agriculture to competition. This has generated enormous profits for some and equally enormous costs for the poor, particularly women. Job
By Eva Cheng Every dollar of economic activity officially registered by Japan in 1990 has hidden unaccounted costs to the environment worth of at least $2.50, an international conference in Tokyo was told late last year. The Japan Centre for Economic

Culture

PentecostBy David EdgarDirected by Rodney FisherSydney Theatre CompanyWharf Theatre until February 24Reviewed by Helen Jarvis Ambitious in theme and plot, Pentecost fails to realise its potential, leaving at least this reviewer with a sense of
Flickerfest 965th International Short Film FestivalPresented by Fearless PromotionsSydney: Bondi Pavilion, Jan 12-20; Alice Springs: Araluen Arts Centre, Jan 26-28Broome: Sun Pictures, Feb 8-11; Adelaide: East End Feb 15-18; Perth: Camelot Picture
Beirut BluesBy Hanan al-ShaykhAllen and Unwin, 1995279 pp., $19.95 (pb)Reviewed by Jennifer Thompson This well-written book, published originally in Arabic in 1992, is an insightful novel about the war that engulfed Lebanon between 1975 and its
Shostakovich: A Life RememberedBy Elizabeth WilsonFaber and Faber, 1995. 550 pp., $29.95 (pb)Reviewed by Phil Shannon Russia, it could be said, has over-fulfilled its quota of great classical composers — Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Mussorgsky,
Red Light Radio5UV (531 AM), Mondays 10-11 pmProduced by P.J. Rose and the Red Light CollectiveReviewed by Penny Saunders "Loved ya since I knew ya,I wouldn't talk down to ya ...I've told you once, won't tell you again,It's a bad way." — From
By Jen Crothers February is Mardi Gras month in Sydney. While most of the attention is given to the parade, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is also a month-long festival. Now in its 18th year, the Mardi Gras encompasses art, sport, politics and
By Brendan O'Reilly My housemate Marilyn really likes her rabbit. I serve it up to her, and she chews away happily for hours. The vet put me onto it. Marilyn was grooming and scratching herself to bits. Because there are too many cats in the city,
The Father We Loved on a Beach by the SeaBy Stephen SewellDirected by Mary-Anne GiffordWith Adrian Adam, Bridge Andrews, Stephen Barker, Hamish McDonald, Andrew Rodoreda, Gerard Sont and Julia ZemiroNew Theatre, Newtown (Sydney)Thursday-Sunday until
Why is Labor so rightwing?By David GlanzA Socialist Worker pamphletPublished by Bookmarks Australia, 34pp $3Reviewed by Ray Fulcher With the federal and some state elections drawing nearer, it is important to clarify the question of what sort of
When you saw me lying wounded On the battlefield of life, You swore you would carry me Until we both made it to safety. Somewhere on that road, My blood soaked your shirt And heart and soul. In return you told me of your hopes, And dreams — and
That's History: Vietnam — A two-part program about the effects of the Vietnam War on the lives of two individuals. Professor Nguyen Ngoc Hung, a former liberation army soldier, talks about his experience of the war and the difficult process of
Based on highly reliable international contacts, leaked documents and horoscopes from several TV magazines, Nostradamus' Media Watch presents a highly accurate forecast of political events across the globe. Bill Clinton — peacemaker US President
Programs of interest on Sydney Community TV (UHF 31) — Perleeka, indigenous Australians' program, nightly, 7pm. Art Experimenta, Mondays, 8pm and 11.30pm, and Tuesdays, 3am and 6.30am. Bent TV, gay and lesbian program, Thursdays, 10.30pm and
Here on Mars...By Neila Seciov (of the Martian Society of Intergalactic Archaeologists)Fast Books, 1995. 95pp., $12.95Reviewed by Alex Bainbridge Subtitled "A Martian View of the Collapse of Earthly Civilisation in the 21st Century", Here on Mars...
Justice and PrideBy Noel GardnerReviewed by Nick Everett This 13-track debut solo CD by Sunshine Coast performer Noel Gardner is a welcome contribution to Australian folk music. Gardner's lyrics pull no punches, while his music blends a variety of

Editorial

The findings of Queensland mining warden and coroner Frank Windridge's inquiry into the explosion at Moura No. 2 coal mine on August 7, 1994, highlight BHP's culpability for the 11 miners' deaths. More than that, they indicate that the "accident" was