Issue 449

Australia

BY ALEX BAINBRIDGE
HOBART — Shipbuilder Incat has been forced by the Industrial Relations Commission to back off from attempts to impose on its workers the "choice" of a four-day week or 200 redundancies.
Incat has a legally binding agreement,

BY JENNY LONG
SYDNEY — Affiliates of the NSW Labor Council on May 17 called on the state Labor government to split its workers' compensation "reform" package into two parts, in the latest bid to force concessions on the controversial

BY MELANIE SJOBERG
At an ACTU conference in April unions representing workers employed by BHP decided to put aside demarcation differences to "walk arm-in-arm" against the hard-line industrial moves of BHP.
On May 10 the Construction, Forestry,

BY NICK EVERETT
SYDNEY — Five local campaign groups of the newly formed Socialist Alliance held inaugural meetings across Sydney on May 15 and 16. The meetings — held in Sydney city (Ultimo), Burwood, Parramatta, Marrickville and Chatswood —

BY CHRIS SLEE
MELBOURNE — Two hundred power workers and supporters gathered outside Nauru House on May 16, the first day of an Industrial Relations Commission hearing on Yallourn Energy's application for an arbitrated award that would take away

BY ANGELA LUVERA
SYDNEY — Angry at the imprisonment of asylum seekers in its detention camps, more than 150 protesters descended on the offices of Australasian Correctional Management offices early on the morning of May 17.
The protest to "shut

BY MATT EGAN
LISMORE — Nearly 40 people crammed into a caf‚ on May 17 to hear about the newly-formed Socialist Alliance and help launch a local SA group.
Edda Lampis, of the International Socialist Organisation, outlined the crisis of

BY LYNDA HANSEN
BRISBANE — The International Women's Day Collective launched its abortion law repeal petition campaign at the May 7 Labour Day festivities in Musgrave Park.
The petition demands repeal of the Queensland criminal code sections

Vodaphone workers face sackings
MELBOURNE — Forty workers for telecommunications company Vodaphone turned up to what they thought would be an ordinary day of training on March 15, only to find themselves being marched out of the gates flanked by

BY RODNEY CHRISTOPHER
Nobody can deny that the Medicare system is in need of resuscitation. However, nobody can deny that our most vulnerable citizens, the elderly, are the pawns in the latest debate between doctors and the federal government over

BY ALEX BAINBRIDGE
HOBART — "If doctors in public hospitals were only concerned about money, they wouldn't be working in the public system" said Dr Kamala Emanuel in defence of the campaign by doctors to win improvements in their conditions of

BY REBECCA MECKELBURG
ADELAIDE — Despite the presentation of a petition signed by 80 students which called for the re-affiliation of the Flinders University M1 Action Group, the May 16 student council meeting of the Students' Association of

Refugee policy condemned
PERTH — Australia's policy of detaining asylum seekers in detention centres was a blatant breach of at least three international treaties, Dr Judith Watson, a former minister for multicultural affairs, told a May 21

BY SIMON BUTLER
BRISBANE — The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting here in October is set to be a focus for militant actions against the forum's expressed support for corporate globalisation.
Groups and individuals involved in organising

BY FRED FUENTES
MELBOURNE — Just two and a half years after the launch of Melbourne's first private university, Melbourne University Private (MUP), confidential university documents have revealed it is in financial crisis and could lose its legal

BY SARAH STEPHEN
@box text intr = PERTH — On May 9, 45 people attended a meeting to launch the Socialist Alliance in Western Australia. Roberto Jorquera from the Democratic Socialist Party and Wade McDonald from the International Socialist

World

BY RACHEL MASSEY
US President George W Bush has canceled a health regulation that would have reduced allowable levels of arsenic in US drinking water from 50 parts per billion (ppb) to 10 ppb.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency

BY SARAH STEPHEN
The Scottish Socialist Party is causing a stir in the run-up to Britain's June 7 general election. The party will contest all 72 seats in Scotland, its most ambitious election campaign to date.
"What we want from this election is

BY GILAND OMRI
An outsider may observe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and see Israel as an oppressive military occupier — confiscating land, bulldozing houses, imprisoning thousands of poverty-stricken people in their homes through curfews, and

BY HEBA SALEH
Ten days of rioting, beginning in late April, in the Algerian Berber-speaking region of Kabylia have led to the death of scores of demonstrators — all killed by the security forces' gunfire.
As ever in Algeria, there are no

Ignoring the devastating toll 30 years of reckless oil development has taken on Ecuador — particularly on the Amazon and its people — a consortium of multinational oil companies are poised to make the same irreversible mistake by moving ahead

Three years after the chief of clothing giant Nike, Phil Knight, promised
to improve standards in the company's factories, its workers still continue
to suffer repression and poverty wages, a new report released on May 16
has found.

“On

BY AHMAD NIMER
RAMALLAH — As the Palestinian uprising (intifada) enters its eighth month the gap between the Palestinian population and the interests of the Israeli government has never been wider. The systematic policy of state-sponsored

BY ALISON DELLIT
The United States government suffered a humiliating defeat on May 4 when it was voted off the United Nations Human Rights Commission for the first time since the commission's inception.
It's not as if Washington didn't do its

BY JAMES VASSILOPOULOS
More than half a million people have been displaced as a result of the war between the Sri Lankan government and Tamils in the country's north demanding self-determination. Diseases like malaria and tuberculosis are spreading

BY JON LAND
The World Bank has been prominent in East Timor's transition to full independence - so prominent in fact that the country now faces a looming struggle about whether the institution's neo-liberal economic model, so renowned for the

BY JAMES ARVANITAKIS
Seattle, Washington, Melbourne, Prague, Quebec and now Honolulu — the protests against corporate-led globalisation continue to grow.
While smaller than its predecessors, the May 9-11 protests and parallel people's forum

Paul O'Connor, a well-known human rights campaigner, is the projects coordinator for the Derry-based Pat Finucane Centre. The centre is named in memory of Pat Finucane, a human rights lawyer from Belfast who was murdered in front of his wife and

BY ANNA CHEN
At 11am on May 18, as the clouds parted and the sun emerged (briefly), the Socialist Alliance launched its general election manifesto and unveiled its campaign slogan — People Before Profit — in front of Millbank Tower, Labour

BY DAVID BACON
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA — "For immigrants to build a better future, they need to build a union", says Eliseo Medina, a Mexican immigrant from Zacatecas who became a leading organiser for the United Farm Workers, and now serves as

Editorial

HIH is not a bad apple
Public calls for a full-scale royal commission into the collapse of
failed insurance giant HIH are mounting. And so they should be — it's high
time that the insurance industry was dragged kicking and screaming

Culture

Analysing Australia's role in reconstructing East Timor, Lansell Taudevin, Jefferson Lee, JON LAND, East Timor, Indonesia, Australia, Timor Gap, militia, Andrew Plunkett, Dateline">
East Timor: A nation betrayed
East Timor: Making amends?

Colombia — Peace at what prices?Written & directed by Anne O'CaseyRunning time 40 minutes, $20Available from CISLAC (PO Box A431 Sydney South NSW 2000; web site: <http://www.cislac.org.au>)
REVIEW BY LYNDA HANSEN
The latest video

REVIEW BY PHIL SHANNON
Josh White: Society BluesBy Elijah WaldUniversity of Massachusetts Press, 2000336 pp, $69 (hb)
Josh White is the forgotten singer of progressive blues and folk in the United States. Common coin has it that his obscurity is

Elect the Ambassador!By Duncan KerrPublished by the Pluto Press Australia 2000$32.95
REVIEW BY GEOFF FRANCIS
One side-effect of the Keating government's ignominious electoral defeat in March 1996 was that a large number of ALP politicians

Emma's NoseBy Paul J. LivingstonDirected by Neil ArmfieldBelvoir St Theatre, SydneyPlaying until June 24
REVIEW BY BRENDAN DOYLE
One response to the doldrums into which Sydney theatre had lapsed was to say: okay, if the more or less well-known