Issue 398


By Michael Bull MELBOURNE — Three thousand construction workers marched through the streets of Melbourne on March 17 in support of their unions' claim for a shorter working week, confident that they are close to winning their demands for a
Meeting condemns nuclear cycle By Jo Williams MELBOURNE — The Australian nuclear industry's justifications for building a new nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights in suburban Sydney are untrue, a public meeting here on March 15 heard. Anti-nuclear
CLP by-election victory proves little By Dave Murphy DARWIN — The Northern Territory's chief minister, Denis Burke, claims that the Country Liberal Party (CLP) victory in the March 11 Port Darwin by-election shows that Territorians approve of
By Graham Matthews BRISBANE — Two thousand manufacturing workers rallied in the city on March 15 — with the support of their bosses. The rally was organised to protest against the loss of manufacturing jobs from Queensland, and specifically the
Protest against mandatory sentencing! MELBOURNE: "Oppose mandatory sentencing". Resistance forum. Guest speaker from Deaths in Custody Watch Committee. Thursday, March 23, 1pm. Union Laws, Melbourne University. SYDNEY: Protest against the visit
By Sue Boland When the Coalition government announced that it was introducing the "Timor tax" in November, Green Left Weekly warned that it could be used as a precedent for introducing other "special purpose" levies. It was quite likely, we argued,
Workers' alternative needed, say socialist candidates By Jim McIlroy BRISBANE — "The Democratic Socialists support a city council which truly represents the working people of Brisbane", socialist candidates Graham Matthews and Coral Wynter
UTS unionists vote for industrial action By Melanie Sjoberg SYDNEY — Academics and general staff at the University of Technology, Sydney have voted to begin rolling strikes at the university to secure a new enterprise agreement. The unionists
Nestle targeted for GE food By Daniel Jardine SYDNEY — Protesters outside the offices of food giant Nestle have demanded that the company declare that its products sold in Australia have not been genetically engineered. The March 15 protest,
Grassroots action needed against mandatory sentencing By Edward Johnstone BRISBANE — Two hundred people attending a meeting against mandatory sentencing at City Hall here on March 17 were told, "If we let politicians introduce these laws, the
Cuba film premiere NEWCASTLE — Two hundred people attended the premiere of a documentary about Cuban music, the Buena Vista Social Club, here on 17 March. The screening was sponsored by the Committee in Solidarity with Latin America and the
By Tim Stewart GOLD COAST — Public access to popular Back Creek Gorge in the Gold Coast hinterland has been won back from the Australian army, which wanted the land to expand their Canungra Land Warfare Centre. What began as a protest by 200
Olympics forcing Sydney rents up By Sean Healy SYDNEY — Tenant rights advocates Rentwatchers have warned that rent levels in the Olympics corridor here are skyrocketing and the frequency of evictions from houses, flats and lodges in the city
Education cuts hit Adelaide By Maria Voukelatos and Lisa Lines ADELAIDE — A proposal to amalgamate the Elder Conservatorium of Music with the School of Music at Flinders University has sparked widespread anger. Two hundred students attended a
Griffith students unite for better conditions By Justin Randell BRISBANE — An upgrade of computer facilities, tutorial sizes capped at 15, free child-care, better security on campus, abolition of library fines and an end to academic job losses
Students oppose UWS merger By Kylie Moon SYDNEY — Student activists from the University of Western Sydney (UWS) have united under the banner of "Westy Net" to organise against a major restructuring of the university that is likely to reduce


Behind the Spanish left's worst electoral loss By G. Buster In the March 12 Spanish election, the left suffered the worst electoral defeat in its history. After four years of conservative and neo-liberal policies, the governing People's Party
Indonesia plans to deport labour consultant By Pip Hinman Roger Smith, an Australian who works for the American Centre for International Labor Solidarity, which is funded by the US government and the AFL-CIO, has been threatened with deportation
On March 16, the Paris Club of rich creditor countries announced a suspension of Mozambique's debt repayments until July, following the floods that devastated the country earlier this month. The Jubilee 2000 coalition, which campaigns for the
By Jim Green Melting snow and torrential rains broke a dam at the Baia Borsa lead and zinc mine in Romania, 375 kilometres north-west of Bucharest, on March 10. More than 18,000 tonnes of sediment laden with lead, zinc, copper and a small
What happened to the Democratic Republic of East Timor? DILI — The small, unassuming office of the CPD-RDTL (Council in Defence of the Democratic Republic of East Timor) in Balide belies the debate that is brewing over the restoration of the
By Lara Pullin The left-wing FMLN (Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front) won a resounding victory in March 12 legislative and municipal elections in El Salvador. The win is the FMLN's most significant political gain since the signing of the
By May Sari SURABAYA — One thousand five hundred workers at PT Surabaya Meka Box in East Java, Indonesia, began a strike on February 21 to protest against the dismissal of three colleagues who were representing workers in negotiations for a new
New party is 'a half-way house' Patrick Bond spoke with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in Johannesburg. Question: How can the MDC's industrial worker and urban community activists persuade the rural folk to abandon Mugabe's "nationalism". We're
Hindu fundamentalists knocked back By Eva Cheng The February attempt by India's main Hindu fundamentalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to seize power through the back door in India's second largest state, Bihar, has failed miserably.
By Rupen Savoulian New, draconian labour laws recently enacted by the Iranian regime will exempt small businesses from the Islamic Labour Law, affecting 2.8 million workers and resulting in 600,000 redundancies, according to a statement by the
The following is abridged from a statement by MUHAMMAD NAZAR, chairperson of the presidium board of the Aceh Referendum Information Centre (SIRA), to Indonesia's President Abdurrahman Wahid, dated March 5. Violence and human rights violations by the
Turkish police attack neighbourhood Several thousand Turkish cops, including anti-riot police and special units with face masks and assault-style weapons, swept the predominantly leftist and Kurdish Gazi neighbourhood in Istanbul on March 12. Three
All eyes on Zimbabwe's new 'workers' party' By Patrick Bond JOHANNESBURG — The Shona-language slogan of the popular new political party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has spread far and wide throughout the countryside: Chinja!
Reject Wahid's austerity plan, says PRD By Pip Hinman Since his election five months ago, the new president of Indonesia, Abdurrahman Wahid, has managed to create the impression that his is a people-friendly government. But how true is this?

March 16 marks the twelfth anniversary of the massacre of Kurdish people in Halabja, in north-east Iraq. Madhi Kalka, a Kurdish journalist now living in Perth, has written an account of the events and their aftermath.

Korean steelworkers press on By Eva Cheng Against great odds, almost 190 Sammi Specialty Steel workers in South Korea are continuing their long struggle for jobs and justice after 580 workers were dismissed by the Pohang Steel Company (Posco)
Job seekers demonstrate in East Timor By Vanya Tanaja DILI — Frustration and discontent spilt over into another demonstration here on March 7 as 300 job seekers gathered outside the offices of the United Nations Transitional Administration in
By Moayad Ahmed Serious events are taking place in the areas of southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq) where the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), led by Jalal Talabani, is imposing its rule. The PUK has violated the political freedoms and human
By Eva Cheng Under the Communist Party's tight control, the annual session of China's parliament — the National People's Congress (NPC) — has traditionally been a staged event. It often is, however, a useful gauge of Beijing's prevailing
East Timorese under attack By Jon Land The recent spate of pro-integration militia incursions along the western border of East Timor highlights the failure and unwillingness of the Indonesian government to disarm its militia gangs in West Timor.


By Kim Bullimore CANBERRA — A new permanent exhibition has recently opened in Old Parliament House's Discover Gallery. The exhibition, Corridors of Power, looks at Australia's political and social history since federation in 1901. The exhibition
Girt by sea By Allen Myers A few weeks ago, I was reading some of Frederick Engels' correspondence and came across an interesting letter. Someone was compiling a book of labour movement songs and wrote to Engels asking his advice on songs to
Indonesian art and politics By Zanny Begg From November 26 to January 29, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne hosted an exhibition of Indonesian art called AWAS! — the Indonesian word for "beware". The exhibition will be in
Exhibition extended in western Sydney The Living without Violence 2000 exhibition reviewed in the previous issue of Green Left Weekly has been extended due to popular demand. The exhibition, which provides art spaces and audiences for women artists
Review by Sean Healy Stopping Traffik: the war against the war on drugsDirected by Jerry ThompsonSBS TVTuesday, April 4, 8.30pm. There's a point in this Canadian documentary when you realise the devastating effect of governments' relentless war


Mandatory sentencing: it isn't over In spite of Senate and United Nations reports finding mandatory sentencing laws are in breach of international conventions, and in spite of the Senate's March 15 adoption of a private member's bill overturning


By Will Williams If you came across the headline "Valley of death", what would you imagine? A massacre? A hideous natural or un-natural disaster? In fact, the February 22 Sydney Morning Herald editorial under this headline was about the Happy
By Bronwyn Powell Three hundred students rallied at the Southern Cross University in Lismore on March 15 to protest against a $50 late enrolment fee which was levied on 1000 students. The university failed to give adequate notification that the due
Speaking tour will highlight need for solidarity By Simon Butler Despite democratic changes in Indonesia and the end of the occupation of East Timor, "... there's still lots of reasons why solidarity from people in Australia is desperately
Resistance pushes on MELBOURNE — Resistance members here spent their Labour Day holiday on March 30 at the Push On concert at Melbourne's Luna Park. Thousands of young people, mainly high school students, gathered to hear bands play. Resistance
Sex, drugs and our right to decide Marina Carman The $5 million National Alcohol Campaign has hit our TV screens. In the two advertisements, teenagers drinking alcohol end up either having unsafe sex or beating someone up. The campaign includes