Issue 450

Australia

Rally saves planetarium
BRISBANE — The Brisbane City Council has backed off from a threat to cut funding to the Brisbane Planetarium, after some 60 people rallied at the planetarium's Mount Coot-tha site on May 20 to demand it be kept open.

BY ALISON DELLIT
If anyone expected the 2001-2002 federal budget to kick-start a vibrant and exciting election contest between the two major parties, they will have been sorely disappointed by Treasurer Peter Costello's latest effort.
Facing an

BY NICK EVERETT
SYDNEY — Angry at federal budget plans to further erode access to social security and toughen "mutual obligation", local residents, indigenous community representatives, welfare recipients and Centrelink staff met in inner-city

BY ANDREW HALL

CANBERRA — The Socialist Alliance was the best thing to happen on
the left in Australia since the formation of the Communist Party following
the 1917 Russian Revolution — a bold claim from the National Tertiary Education

BY SEAN HEALY
Fearful of being embarrassed by large anti-corporate protests at the October Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Brisbane, Queensland Labor Premier Peter Beattie is preparing a concerted effort to either intimidate or co-opt

BY ALEX BAINBRIDGE
HOBART — Seventy of ship-builder Incat's 900 workers finished work on May 25 after accepting voluntary redundancies. The company extended an earlier deadline for workers to apply for redundancies but threatened forced sackings

BY MARIA VOUKELATOS

SYDNEY — Coming hard on the heels of launches of local Socialist
Alliance groups across the city, 25 students at Sydney University gathered
on May 23 to launch the alliance on their campus.

Student activist Dom Rowe,

BY TIM STEWART

BRISBANE — “Twenty-nine years ago, the Labor Party came to Musgrave
Park and promised to do something for Aboriginal people, 29 years later
and nothing's changed”, indigenous activist Sam Watson told the 135 people
who

Ken Fry was the Labor member for Fraser, one of Canberra's
two lower house seats, from 1974-1984 and is best known as one of the leading
parliamentary supporters of independence for East Timor, having visited
the country shortly before its

BY SIBYLLE KACZOREK & JO ELLIS
DARWIN — The AIDS Council's annual candlelight vigil, held on May 20, provided solidarity for those living with HIV and encouraged people to join the fight against discrimination and oppression.
Gary Meyerhoff,

BY KATHY NEWNAM

ADELAIDE — “This is an occasion we should all be rejoicing about”,
was how veteran socialist Norm Taylor began his address to the launch of
the Socialist Alliance here on May 21.

The alliance was urgently needed, Taylor

BY WILL WILLIAMS
WOLLONGONG — Unions claimed victory over BHP in last week's dispute over individual contracts and workplace safety. After a three-day strike, BHP was forced to delay its contracting out of protective services workers at its Port

BY KAMALA EMANUEL
HOBART — In a move that has shocked workers in women's and children's refuges, the Tasmanian Labor government announced plans on May 11 to close one of the four refuges in the south of the state, while the other three will have

BY JENNY LONG
SYDNEY — The details are emerging of the NSW Labor Council's deal with the state Labor government to resolve the debacle over industrial relations minister John Della Bosca's proposed changes to workers' compensation.
Although the

BY MELANIE SJOBERG

Workplace relations minister Tony Abbott has called for an inquiry
into the construction industry, alleging widespread corruption, fraud and
intimidation of workers. What this really represents is a blatant political

BY SUE BULL
GEELONG — Victorian teachers are set to strike on June 19, if the Premier Steve Bracks' Labor government does not reconsider its allocation of funds for education.
The Australian Education Union has called on pre-school, primary,

BY JIM GREEN
Environment groups have slammed the May 22 federal budget for failing to provide much-needed funding for environmental repair, for creative accounting and disguising corporate welfare as environmental reform.
The Coalition government

BY ALISON DELLIT
The Australian Financial Review's May 23 headlines said it all, "There's a hole where the surplus used to be", "Even the 1.5 billion isn't as good as it looks" and, on May 24, "The incredible shrinking surplus".
Behind the

World

BY EVA CHENG
Eight protesters who took part in the April 20-22 protests in Quebec City against the US-led plan for a Free Trade Area of the Americas have been sentenced to up to nine months imprisonment.
Stephane Paquet, based in Quebec City, was

BY MAX LANE
JAKARTA — More than 500 people, Acehnese and Indonesians, attended a series of lively debates and cultural events at conference organised by the Acehnese People's Democratic Resistance Front (FPDRA) and the Popular Youth Movement

BY DICK NICHOLS
Since it called off its truce in late 1999, the Basque armed independence organisation ETA (Basque Homeland and Freedom) has carried out a spate of bombings and assassinations across Spain. These have aroused such disgust among

BY TERESA FOARD
As a result of the May 13 elections, Silvio Berlusconi's right-wing La Casa delle Liberta ("House of Freedom") coalition will hold 177 seats in the 315-member upper house and 368 seats in the 630-member lower house of Italy's

BY DAVID BASS
LAHORE — A 250-strong demonstration at the Lahore Press Club has supported a boycott by social and political organisations here of World Bank consultations for a new "Country Assistance Strategy".
Representatives of the Joint

BY VIV MILEY
"The California crunch really is the result of not enough power-generating plants and then not enough power to power the power of generating plants", George 'Dubya' Bush, January 14, 2001.
Bush and his administration definitely know

BY EVA CHENG
Failing to coopt the activists who were planning to protest at its Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE) in Barcelona on June 25-27, the World Bank announced on May 19 that the meeting has been called off.

BY SEAN HEALY
One of the corporations which had a direct part in drawing up George W Bush's new energy policy was Houston-based corporate giant Enron, a US$100 billion empire which trades energy in every corner of the world.
Enron and its chief

Israel's use of F16 jets against Palestinian civilians on May 18 departed from all military norms of the previous 33 years of occupation [of the West Bank and Gaza Strip]. This extreme step shows an imbalance of judgement. When a nation-state uses

BY PATRICK BOND
ACCRA — There are signs of genuine hope in Ghana. In May, I was privileged to witness a careful regrouping of the country's former revolutionary student/community movement, which is strengthening its political base by addressing

BY MAX LANE
JAKARTA — If opponents of President Abdurrahman Wahid have their way, when it meets on May 30 the Indonesian parliament will call a special session of the People's Consultative Assembly, the only body which has the power to impeach

BY SARAH STEPHEN
Some media commentators have ridiculed the fact that the Scottish Socialist Party doesn't expect to win any seats in the UK general election on June 7. The unfairly high deposit of 𧺬 combined with the "first past the post"

Editorial

@box text intr = The June 3 demonstrations to free the refugees will be the first nationally co-ordinated actions in support of refugees in Australia's history. It is a tragedy that they are necessary.
Australia offers no welcome haven to those

Culture

REVIEWED BY PHIL SHANNON
The Tombstone Imperative: The Truth About Air SafetyBy Andrew WeirSimon & Schuster, 2000372 pp, $14.95 (pb)
"Nothing is more important to us than safety", "Safety is our number one priority": all the variations on this

Lemonade & Buns/Tog E Go Bog EKilaGreen Linnet records
REVIEW BY BILL NEVINS
Kila play Irish music the likes of which you've never heard. Forget your notions about tiddly diddly dee and them boring auld laments and dirges. This lot of young

Links No. 18128pp, $8.00Available at Resistance Bookshops
REVIEW BY ALLEN MYERS
The latest issue of Links magazine sets out to provide an indication of the breadth and depth of Marxist political activity and theory in Asia. It contains a