Issue 405

News

Students occupy UQ Senate chambers BY MATT LIVINGSTON BRISBANE — Students at the University of Queensland occupied the University Senate chambers here on May 10 in protest at a proposed restructure of the Arts faculty until police were brought
Burmese protest arrests SYDNEY — Burmese exiles and supporters held an emergency action outside NSW Parliament House on May 12 to protest against the Burmese military regime's arrest of U Aye Thar Aung, a leader of the Committee Representing
Murdoch students fight course cuts BY GRANT COLEMAN PERTH — Students have reacted angrily to plans by Murdoch University vice-chancellor Steven Schwartz to cut course and staff numbers. They have begun a series of protest actions in the lead up
Bondi protests Olympics impact BY MARINA CARMAN AND ALISTAIR DICKINSON SYDNEY — Despite being described as a "sad turnout" of "rabble" in a vicious editorial in the Australian, a 200-strong action succeeded in delaying construction of the
Students tell Nike: 'Just stop it' MELBOURNE — Twenty students held a mock fashion parade outside the Nike Superstore during the lunchtime rush on May 10. The protesters were in calico bags emblazoned with the words, "I'd rather wear a bag than
Activist forced off union body BY ANTHONY BENBOW PERTH — The Western Australian branch of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has thrown one of its most conscientious rank-and-file delegates off its delegation to the WA Trades and
Lucas Heights reactor shutdown: mum's the word BY JIM GREEN SYDNEY — Information leaked by technicians working for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) has revealed that Australian medical science could get along
Tax office workers strike BY CHRIS SLEE MELBOURNE — Unionists at the Australian Taxation Office struck and picketed their offices on May 11 in support of a demand for a better agency agreement. The workers, mostly members of the Community and
Song for Reconciliation SYDNEY — "Songs get through to people's soul", Aboriginal singer Betty Little said, explaining why her music is a powerful tool for building bridges of understanding between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
Let off for minister over Yanner affair BY BILL MASON BRISBANE — Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said on May 8 that he was taking no further action against mines and energy minister Tony McGrady for a letter the minister forwarded to the judge
Newcastle protests treatment of refugees BY MELODY COUTMAN AND PETER ROBSON NEWCASTLE — As the refugees, some fleeing political oppression, others fleeing poverty, left the ferry in hope of finding a new life they were met by grim grey-suited
BY SHUA GARFIELD HOBART — Vice-chancellor Don McNichol has sought to stare down rising student discontent at the University of Tasmania, refusing to give any promises to meet a log of claims put to him by a student general meeting of 100 students
Police attack Beverley blockade BY BRONWEN BEECHEY & JIM GREEN ADELAIDE — Protesters at the Beverley uranium mine in northern South Australia have vowed to continue their blockade of the site, despite violent assaults by police and private
Security guards attack picketers BY BEN COURTICE MELBOURNE — Striking workers at Gordon and Gotch in Burwood have been bashed and intimidated by management's hired security guards in a dispute over an enterprise agreement. One worker was
'Vote with your feet' on May 28 BY BARRY HEALY SYDNEY — Supporters of Aboriginal rights should make a statement against government attitudes to reconciliation by marching across the Sydney Harbour Bridge at the Council for Aboriginal
Workers rally against Telstra fat cats BY CLARA CONNOLLY BRISBANE — Fifty Telstra workers rallied outside the telecommunications giants' Roma Street offices on May 10 to protest against 10,000 planned redundancies and the scheduled

World

BY NORM DIXON The International Union of Agricultural, Food and Hotel Workers — which has 330 affiliated unions in 124 countries — has pledged to wage "a very strong" campaign on behalf the more than 9000 workers, mainly women, thrown out of
Old CDS needed for East Timor Old CDs needed for East Timor The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union in Sydney is collecting old CDs for East Timor's only community radio station, Voice of Hope. The appeal was launched at a
An ugly coalition The week before the April 16-17 demonstrations against the WTO and IMF in Washington, the AFL-CIO leaders had their own rallies in Washington. One, called by the Teamsters union (part of the AFL-CIO), underscored an ugly new
PALESTINE: Teachers resume strike RAMALLAH, Palestine — Palestine's teachers resumed a long-running strike on May 2 following the Palestinian Authority's (PA) failure to fulfill promises for wage rises for 25,000 teachers working in public
UNITED STATES: March for immigrant amnesty NEW YORK — Nearly 3000 people marched on May 1 in New York City to demand a general amnesty for undocumented immigrants and better conditions for all workers. The march was part of a national day of
LEBANON: Israel bombs again as deadline nears RAMALLAH, Palestine — The Israeli government's latest round of bombings in Lebanon has raised concern about the possibility of a major war following the expected pullout of Israel's troops from
Before dawn on May 4, some 300 US federal agents — backed by a large Marine presence offshore — began clearing protesters from the US Navy's bombing ranges on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. The agents removed 216 protesters from the 14
The 100,000 East Timorese refugees in camps in West Timor face daily hardship and terror from the pro-integration militia gangs which control or are active in many of the 200 camps. The repatriation of refugees to East Timor has slowed considerably.
BRITAIN: Labour cracks down on asylum seekers LONDON — A plane hijacked by Afghan asylum seekers provided the pretext for a resurgence in overt racism against refugees, urged on by right-wing newspapers and Britain's Labour government. The social
UNITED STATES: Nike cuts support to universities Footwear and sports clothing giant Nike has cut millions of dollars in sponsorship money to three prominent US universities. The universities claim the move is in retaliation for their support for
PHILIPPINES: Army must withdraw from Mindanao The following statement was issued in Manila on May 4 by the Sosyalistang Partido ng Paggawa (SPP — Socialist Party of Labour). The SPP, a mass-based socialist party, demands that the Estrada
Special fund appeal for a special issue Progresibo, the socialist unity paper in the Philippines, needs to help build a solidarity campaign in support of the Bangsa Moro peoples, who are facing a 200,000-strong Philippines army assault on their
The loud complaints from the British Labour government and hysterical coverage by the international capitalist mass media have given undeserved credibility to Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's populist claims that he suddenly intends to "resolve"
SOUTH AFRICA: Millions strike over job losses Close to 4 million workers in South Africa joined a national strike against job losses on May 10, according to the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). Around 400,000 strikers marched
SAN FRANCISCO — The demonstrations in November-December in Seattle against the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have rightly inspired activists in the labour movement. Many have commented on the coming together of youth and students concerned about
SRI LANKA: Government in crisis as Tamils advance The People's Alliance government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga is facing a serious political crisis in the wake of military advances by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the Jaffna
SOUTH AFRICA: Misdirected strategy weakens workers' movement JOHANNESBURG — The broad left (both in South Africa and internationally) has taken a cautious approach to critically analysing the program and activities of South Africa's largest and
BY JOHN GAUCI SYDNEY — "The goal of our union is to create prosperity as a welfare state similar to that of Europe or the US", Indonesian union leader Muchtar Pakpahan told 50 unionists gathered in the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous
BOUGAINVILLE: PNG frustrates independence referendum Statements by Sir Michael Somare, Papua New Guinea's minister for Bougainville affairs, have exposed the lack of sincerity behind the PNG government's apparent agreement to allow the people of
BY SEAN HEALY As protesters from around the world were gathering outside his Washington, D.C., office on April 16, World Bank president James Wolfensohn was rehearsing his riposte: you're not the defenders of the poor, he would tell his critics, we

Culture

Serial satirist captured Double Disillusion: Musings from a Rebel ComicBy Rod QuantockLothian Books, 1999229 pp., $19.95 (pb) By Phil Shannon Inspector Mastiff of the Yarra turned up the collar of his gabardine coat as the wind whistled with
Peter Hicks tour dates Peter Hicks' tour dates Peter Hicks is touring to launch The Times We've Been Through. He is playing with percussionist Jules Witek and promises "some pretty damn hot progressive music". Friday, June 2, Selby Folk Club,
Songs of protest, humour, justice and love The Times We've Been ThroughPeter Hicks$25 from Resistance Centres (addresses page 2)Order at <http://www.indie-cds.com> or phone (03) 6295 1032 Review by Alex Bainbridge Unfortunately, there
Socialist web site praised The glossy Internet.au magazine took a stroll on the radical side in its June issue with a review of the web site of the Democratic Socialist Party. It said: "At some point in our lives we've all had a copy of the Green
Short story by Craig Cormick "Smell that fresh country air", says John Citizen, with the car window wound all the way down, and the wind blowing through the whole car. "This is the best idea you've ever had", says his wife, Gail, from the front

Editorial

The budget and 'democracy' Every year, at 7.30 pm on the second Tuesday of May, the federal treasurer gives a half-hour speech in which he (there has never been a woman treasurer) "hands down" the national budget. In the following hours and days,