Issue 450

News

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 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 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 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
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

World

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"
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

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

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