Issue 246

News

Deal offered on school cleaner contracts By Bill Mason BRISBANE — The Queensland government has been forced to retreat on its threat to privatise school cleaning, in what the Labor opposition calls "a humiliating backdown". The Borbidge
ALP backs down on hospital funding By Jonathan Strauss SYDNEY — A September 5 rally at Prince of Wales Hospital of more than 1000 hospital workers, patients, building workers from the hospital's construction site and community supporters
National Challenge revitalised By Maree Roberts CANBERRA — At a meeting of Community and Public Sector Union activists held here on August 31, there were welcome signs that the fight against the Howard government's attacks is still a priority
NT TLC to administer workplace agreements? By Tim E. Stewart Darwin — A debate has begun among Northern Territory union officials about whether Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) under Howard's proposed industrial relations laws will be
NSW teachers win pay rise By Liam Mitchell SYDNEY — A 14-month campaign of industrial action against the NSW Department of School Education by public and private school and TAFE teachers has won a 16% pay rise for teachers in public schools and
Brisbane council delays decision on Murarrie plan By Bill Mason BRISBANE — The City Council has delayed a final decision on approval for BHP's proposed metal-coating facility at Murarrie, reverting to its original deadline of November 5. The
CANBERRA — The issue of youth crime in city and suburban centres here has been receiving much media attention. The supposed increase in youth crime, however, is questioned by DAVID MATTHEWS, coordinator of the youth information and advocacy service
Mark Allen By Anthony Benbow Mark Allen, a fiery young organiser with the building division of the WA Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, was killed on the job on September 6. Mark's death was the direct result of massive safety
Defence campaign needed In the wake of the ACTU Council's disgraceful abandonment of union members and principles last week, the Democratic Socialist Party has called for a campaign to defend all those being charged by the Australian Federal Police
By James Vassilopoulos The Senate Economic References Committee, which examined the Coalition government's Workplace Relations Bill, reported on August 22. Three reports emanated from the committee: the majority report backed by the ALP, a
By Anitra Gorris-Hunter and Natalie Woodlock HOBART — More than 100 people rallied on the steps of state parliament on August 14 to protest against cuts to women's services and shelters. The Sexual Assault Support Service (SASS), which will
By Jorge Jorquera PERTH — Up to 2000 people participated in the September 5 stop the budget rally here. Almost half were high school students. All the university campuses had good contingents, and hundreds came from nearly every Perth TAFE,
By Phil Escott The state governments are currently considering a plan by the federal government to radically alter the public housing supply. The plan would slash $500 million from the housing budget. In place of subsidised public accommodation,
Surfrider plans campaigns HOBART — On September 2, the Surfrider Foundation had its first meeting for this year. The group campaigns against the pollution of Tasmania's rivers and oceans. Michael Paxton, Tasmania's NUS environment officer, called
Battle for Hinchinbrook heats up By Bill Mason BRISBANE — Constructing a major resort on the Hinchinbrook Channel on the north Queensland coast is "like building a hotel on the top of Uluru", prominent marine biologist Professor Frank Talbot
Enterprise agreement rejected By Russell Pickering SYDNEY — A meeting of more than 300 Department of Public Works and Services (DPWS) wages staff in Granville in Sydney's west on September 3 overwhelmingly rejected the department's enterprise
By Graham Matthews BRISBANE — Around 1500 public transport workers, from Queensland Rail and City Council buses, rallied at Roma Street forum for a joint stop-work meeting on September 2. Workers were angry at plans by the Borbidge government to

World

By Norm Dixon On September 3 the United States launched the latest salvo in its five-year war against Iraq. The US military's cruise missile attacks on Iraq, like its mammoth six-week display of high-tech butchery in 1991, has nothing to do with
By Renfrey Clarke MOSCOW — Workers at one of Russia's largest atomic power plants won another round late in August in a long-running battle to force management and the government to keep wage payments up to date. Protest action at the Leningrad
By Max Lane The National Commission for Human Rights, established by the Suharto dictatorship, has surprised the regime by announcing that its investigations reveal that five people were killed and 74 are missing from the riot that took place after
By Lisa Macdonald A recently released Australian Conservation Foundation report accuses BHP of planning to recreate the environmental and social disaster of the Papua New Guinea Ok Tedi mine, this time in the tiny Caribbean island of Dominica. ACF
By Jennifer Thompson As the third anniversary of the Oslo peace accords between the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Israel approaches, and PLO President Yasser Arafat meets the new Israeli prime minister for the first time, the Israeli
By Max Lane President Suharto's move to oust Megawati Sukarnoputri as the legally recognised head of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) was aimed at ensuring that there would be no opposition to Golkar, the ruling party, in next year's
Philippine union fights railway privatisation By Reihana Mohideen MANILA — The "bonanza sale" of public assets has been described as a new form of colonising the Third World. The Ramos government in the Philippines, with Ramos describing
By Renfrey Clarke MOSCOW — On August 23 leaders of Russia's main coal miners' union, the 780,000-member Russian Union of Coal Industry Workers (Rosugleprof), agreed to suspend a nationwide strike due to begin three days later. Then, shortly
International day of support for democracy in Indonesia "We expect the first international actions in support of the Indonesian democratic movement to be one of the widest series of solidarity actions for many years", Max Lane told a seminar
By Norm Dixon As a national strike by 165,000 public sector workers entered its third week, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) warned the government that workers in the private sector would also walk out if it continued to refuse to
Global merchants of death Tobacco has become a political issue in the 1996 presidential campaign. First, Republican candidate Bob Dole, while speaking in a tobacco-growing state, said that many smokers never become addicted to nicotine. This is
'No food for our communist enemies' With these words uttered in front of the television cameras, the police stopped the parents of students locked up in Yonsei University from bringing food and medicine to their sons and daughters. The final
French unionists oppose deportations Thousands marched in protest at the French government's tough immigration policies on August 28. The demonstrators, led by Communist Party leader Robert Hue, dissident former bishop Jacques Gaillot and human
August 13 — Students begin three-day festival at Yonsei University, calling for unification with North Korea. Hundreds of radicals, who also demand the withdrawal of 37,000 US troops stationed in the South, are blocked from leaving Seoul to march
A New Zealand environmental group, Coromandel Watchdog, is calling for action to counter a serious risk of cyanide contamination from the tailings dam of a gold mine. Sampling by the Waikato Regional Council indicates that cyanide in the tailings at
By Pio d'Emilia KIM MYONG HI is a well-known Korean writer and journalist. He has lived for many years in Japan, first as a student and later as spokesperson of Kim Dae Jung's Korean Democratic Movement and as correspondent of the daily Joong Ang
ANC to review death penalty A meeting of ANC national and provincial cabinet ministers and MPs on September 1 recommended a review of the organisation's policy on the death penalty. The ANC currently opposes the death penalty. ANC MP Carl Niehaus
On August 23 the Los Angeles City Council voted 11-0 to ask US attorney general Janet Reno for an investigation into charges that US-backed Nicaraguan contra rebels supplied tonnes of cocaine to Los Angeles street gangs in the 1980s and that the

Culture

Black Cargoes There's a silence out on the wharf tonight, The wharf they call Pier One, Where in years gone by, there was many a fight, In the bitter winds of the winter night, Till the fight for the wharves was won. The Dutch, they ruled
Post Election Blues Haiku everyday we walk a little lighter pockets emptied into politicians' lies John Tomlinson
Primo Levi: Bridges of KnowledgeBy Mirna CicioniBerg Publishers, 1995. 222 pp., $29.95 (pb)Reviewed by Phil Shannon Amongst the 200,000 demonstrators in Milan in 1994 protesting against the inclusion of neo-fascists in the newly elected right-wing
Independence DayDirected by Roland EmmerichAustralian cinema release August 29Canadian BaconDirected by Michael MooreReleased on video, 1996Reviewed by Greg Adamson Canadian Bacon, John Candy's last film, is a humorous and startling look at the US
t's remarkable that the music of the Pacific features so sparingly on the world music scene in Australia. In PNG, Fiji and the Pacific, there is some great music that combines the best of indigenous rhythms and harmonies with contemporary pop
Challenging the Centre: Two Decades of Political TheatreEdited by Steve CapelinPlaylab PressReviewed by Dave Riley Today, if I employed the term "agit-prop", very few people would know what I mean — and many of those who perchance recognised the
The House on Capital Hill: Parliament, Politics and Power in the National CapitalEdited by Julian Disney and J.R. NethercoteANU/Federation Press, 1996. 245 pp. PaperbackReviewed by Tony Smith This book produces both theory and personal stories.
MisallianceBy George Bernard ShawDirected by Kevin JacksonWith Adrian Adam, Danielle Antaki, Peter Astridge, Stephen Barker, Janet Gibson, John Grinston, Bronwyn Lim, Sean Ryan, Stuart TyeNew Theatre, Newtown, Sydney until October 26Reviewed by Allen
Aboriginal Sovereignty — Three Nations, One Australia? is a new book by controversial author and historian HENRY REYNOLDS. Published by Allen & Unwin at $17.95, it calls for the establishment of three nations within one Australian state as a

Editorial

After two weeks of bluster and evasion, the ACTU Council has officially absolved itself from all responsibility for the actions of angry workers at Parliament House on August 19. In a cowardly and dishonest statement issued from its September 2-4