Issue 271

News

By Jen Crothers SYDNEY — National Challenge, the umbrella group embracing rank-and-file activists within the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), is offering members an alternative leadership in the upcoming national union elections. The
By Tony Iltis HOBART — Tasmania's Legislative Council has finally agreed, in principle, to repeal the state's notorious laws which make homosexuality an imprisonable offence. At the time of writing, however, the upper house was still debating
Pollution law exemption condemned By Bill Mason @box text intro = BRISBANE — Environmentalists have slammed a plan by the Queensland government to exempt the mining giant Mount Isa Mines from stricter national air quality standards to be
Kennett to privatise public transport By Tully Bates MELBOURNE — The Kennett government has announced plans to sell off the entire state public transport system by the end of next year, creating six companies — two rail, two tram, a
University delegation in East Timor By Pavel Slodowy MELBOURNE — A meeting between East Timorese guerilla leader David Alex and a delegation of Melbourne students in February was filmed by University Students for East Timor (USET). Six
Brisbane anti-budget rally planned By Bill Mason BRISBANE — A rally and march to protest against the Howard government's cutbacks and anti-worker policies has been set for budget day, Tuesday, May 13, at 12.30pm in King George Square. The
By Shane Hopkinson NEWCASTLE — Well-known environmentalist Dr David Suzuki addressed a packed house here on April 14. Some 1300 people turned up to hear him give the first Citizenship and Governance lecture. Suzuki began with a grim assessment
UWA to remain affiliated to NUS By Justin Randell PERTH — A referendum at the University of Western Australia April 14-16 has resulted in the UWA Student Guild remaining affiliated to the National Union of Students. The resounding"yes"
Women workers threatened by industrial laws By Bronwen Beechey MELBOURNE — One hundred striking workers at Michaelis Bayley Footwear in Footscray, manufacturers of Homy Ped shoes, have been subjected to police violence and legal threats
Victorian CPSU leader opposes strike action By Chris Slee MELBOURNE — Sue Mountford, secretary of the Victorian branch of the Community and Public Sector Union, argued against setting a date for strike action in support of the union's
Public meeting on Aboriginal rights By Matt Wilson ADELAIDE — The federal government assault on native title is the endgame of the assault on Aboriginal rights since European invasion, a public meeting on the Wik debate and Aboriginal
NTEU supports national day of action By Jo Brown SYDNEY — Meetings of the NTEU branches at Sydney and New South Wales Universities last week decided to support the National Day of Action on May 8 to defend public education. A meeting of
Solidarity forums for Bougainville By Amanda Lawrence CANBERRA — On April 14, around 45 people attended a public meeting and film showing organised by the Bougainville Freedom Movement. The film graphically detailed the environmental
WA parliamentary gallery occupied By Michael Bramwell PERTH — For a few hours on the night of April 15, parliament for once reflected its title as "the house of the people", when 120 trade unionists armed with banners, balloons and their
Clyde refinery flare worries residents By Norm Dixon @box intro = SYDNEY — Residents living near the Shell oil refinery in Clyde, in Sydney's west, are sceptical about management claims that a much larger, brighter and noxious than usual
Unions confront MIM over safety By Bill Mason BRISBANE — The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and the electricians' union are locked in a battle over safety with Mount Isa Mines at the central Queensland Oaky Creek
Anti-racism movement formed in Adelaide ADELAIDE — On April 9, an inaugural general meeting established the Celebrating Diversity Coalition (CDC) to replace the Anti-Racism Alliance. Attending were more than 30 anti-racism activists and

World

Kinshasa paralysed by general strike By Norm Dixon Millions heeded the call by the moderate opposition to turn the Zaire capital into a ville morte (dead city) on April 14 and 15. Workers, shopkeepers, market vendors, students and even the
By Renfrey Clarke MOSCOW — Want to make a pile in post-Soviet Russia? Now that privatisation is mostly complete, the readiest ways of having big roubles drop into your lap belong to the past. But riches can still be yours. The Russian
Sudan rebels on the move again By Norm Dixon After a brief lull, rebels opposed to the Arab-chauvinist regime in Khartoum have resumed their offensive in the south of Sudan. In early March, Sudan Peoples Liberation Army fighters liberated
Indian United Front government falls By Sujatha Fernandes Indian parliamentary politics has again entered a situation of uncertainty after the Congress party withdrew its support for Prime Minister Deve Gowda and his United Front
By Eva Cheng Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party on April 17 rounded up enough votes in parliament to pass legislation forcing the landowners in Okinawa to renew leases of the 12 US bases when they expire on May 14. More than 3000 landowners
Between 10,000 and 15,000 PDI supporters massed on the streets of Jakarta outside the parliament on April 15, demanding that the elected leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI), Megawati Sukarnoputri, be allowed to participate in the May 29
Spratly talks in stalemate China and Vietnam's April 9-11 negotiations in Beijing over the disputed ownership of the Spratly Islands ended in stalemate. Tension rose again after Beijing set up an oil rig in March which Vietnam strongly protested
London march for social justice By Sam Wainwright LONDON Around 10,000 people marched here on April 12 to call for social justice and to expose the anti-working class pro-big business policies of John Major's Conservatives, the Liberal
Reprinted here is an abridged version of Pam Corkery's February 20 maiden speech to the New Zealand parliament. Corkery left her 19-year career in broadcasting to stand for the Alliance in the October general election. Her media career — in both
Swept from the scene in 1991 along with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the Communist League of Youth (in its Russian abbreviation, Komsomol), was later reconstituted as a political youth group aligned with the Communist Party of the Russian
By Sujatha Fernandes On March 31, Chandrashekar Prasad and Shyam Narain Yadav were shot dead in the north Bihar district town of Siwan while addressing street corner meetings to build a strike called by the Communist Party of India Marxist
'Odd couple' in South African water privatisation plan By Norm Dixon The Congress of South African Trade Unions has hit out at moves to privatise parts of South Africa's water supply, saying it would "never be acceptable". A surprising
Belgian troops tortured, murdered Somalis By Norm Dixon Leaked photographs and eyewitness accounts reveal that elite Belgian paratroopers assigned to the United Nations US-led "Operation Restore Hope" mission in Somalia in 1993 engaged in
After 50 hours of negotiations, on April 11 the US and the European Union reached a tentative agreement on the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996, known as "Helms- Burton". The EU is suspending until October 15 a complaint it brought
By James Balowski The subversion trials of 14 Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) activists are now dragging into their fourth month and the Indonesian government is moving quickly to bring them to a "conclusion". On March 26, the Jakarta daily
Another nuclear accident in Japan By Eva Cheng Yet another nuclear accident struck Japan on April 14, and the nuclear operating authority once again failed to report it to the central government immediately for possibly crucial emergency
New US nukes targeted at Third World By David Muller The US government is stepping up the technological and nuclear arms race against the Third World. In early April, six radar-evading B-2 "Stealth" bombers were officially commissioned into

Culture

Get on the BusDirected by Spike LeeWritten by Reggie Rock BythewoodWith Charles Dutton, Ossie Davis, Andre Braugher, DeAundre Bonds, Thomas Byrd, Gabriel Casseus, Albert Hall, Harry Lennix, Hill Harper, Bernie Mac, Wendell Pierce, Roger Guenveur
Suffrage Days: Stories From The Women's Suffrage MovementBy Sandra Stanley HoltonRoutledge, 1996. 309 pp., $39.95 (pb) Review by Phil Shannon The movement for the women's vote early in this century, argues Sandra Holton in Suffrage Days, is
The Fertility of Objects and other playsBy Raimondo CorteseGriffin Theatre Company, The Stables, Sydney Review by Brendan Doyle "A compelling trilogy about the dangers of seduction." Sounds promising, doesn't it? But what we get from Raimondo
Chilean band a hit in Brisbane By Lynda Hansen @box text intro = BRISBANE — Chilean band Illapu transformed the staid Performing Arts Complex Concert Hall into a Chilean carnival on April 13. The seven-piece ensemble left Chile,
Children of the Resistance: The current situation in East Timor as seen through the eyes of two Australian touristsBy Rebecca Winters and Brian KellyAustralians for a Free East Timor, 1996. 36 pp., $6 Review by Jon Lamb Children of the
New play by Frank Otis MELBOURNE—As part of his recovery from a traumatic background of sexual assault and psychiatric illness, Frank Otis wrote his first play, And now I lay me down to sleep, which was produced last year and played to packed
A grand sweep of history and class conflict World's Endby T. Coraghessan BoyleBloomsbury, 1996. 456 pp., $16.95 (pb) Review by Phil Shannon If the obsessively introspective focus of most novels these days either puts you to sleep or has you
The Cabaret From HellWritten and Directed by Terry BurganThe Dispensary Cafe, Sydney Review by Brendan Doyle The Devil's ratings are down. His cabaret show needs a lift, while God's Sunday gigs are sold out for eternity. How long can the

Editorial

Hands off native title! @box text intro = Politics and law have come a long way since the High Court rejected terra nullius in the 1992 Mabo case. Given the distance travelled, it seems remarkable that the prime minister should threaten that