Issue 455

News

BY DAVE MURPHY DARWIN — "The CLP government has passed the harshest laws in the commonwealth this century", Chris Howse of the Aboriginal Justice Advocacy told civil-rights protesters on July 5. The rally took place two days after the Public
BY GRAHAM MATTHEWS MELBOURNE — There have been few surprises in the Aston by-election — the competition between the major parties is more marked by what they won't talk about than what they will. The seat of Aston, a marginal Liberal seat
BY BILL MASON BRISBANE — Stoppages and pickets are breaking out in the electricity and building industries around Queensland, as unions campaign for improved enterprise bargaining agreements, focusing on key issues such as wages, job security and
BY TIM STEWART BRISBANE — Nervous about activist plans to protest at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Brisbane on October 6, on July 2 the state ALP government announced on July 2 a high level "mediation unit" to negotiate with
BY GRANT COLEMAN PERTH — Organisers of a June 30 forum on the history of the original Communist Party of Australia got a rude shock when participants were more interested in discussing the future of socialism than condemning CPA mistakes.
BY ALISON DELLIT July 1 marked the first full year of the Goods and Services Tax but while most birthdays are occasions for great celebration, this was anything but. According to the June 7 Herald Sun, 56% of people feel worse off under the new
BY MEGAN WHITE-FOX BYRON BAY — US Independence Day (July 4) was marked here by the burning of a US "dollar signs and stripes" flag as part of a rally demanding drug law reform. The flag burning symbolised the US-led "war on drugs" that
BY ANNA SWANEPOEL & LESLIE RICHMOND ADELAIDE — A $80 million proposal to "redevelop" the Queen Elizabeth Hospital has sparked concerns that the government intends to eventually privatise the hospital either in full or in part. Members of the
BY JAMES VASSILOPOULOS& BERNIE WUNSCH CANBERRA — "No reconciliation without justice", demanded protesters at a July 1 rally and march on Parliament House organised by the Indigenous Students' Network. The protesters called on the government
BY SARAH STEPHEN A spate of clashes in recent months between detention centre guards and imprisoned asylum seekers has led the Howard government to escalate its campaign to demonise, and further punish, detainees who protest against the conditions
BY JOHN PERCY The International Socialist Organization in the United States has agreed to send representatives to the Second Asia-Pacific International Solidarity Conference, to be held in Sydney, March 29-April 1, 2002. The group will be
Vigil marks death in custody PERTH — Seventy people attended a three-hour vigil outside Wesley Uniting church on June 21 to mark the June 18 death of a young Aboriginal man in the Bunbury regional prison. This was the 18th death in custody
Campaign launched to stop bank closure CANBERRA — The Socialist Alliance here has launched a campaign to stop a local branch of the Commonwealth Bank from closing. The group plans to leaflet and petition locals outside the branch, in Bunda
BY KYLIE MOON& AVANTIKA CHANDRA MELBOURNE — On July 5, an embarrassed Nike management was forced to rescind the 20% discount it offered to police, following the announcement by Victorian police commanders that they might ban their officers from
BY JENNY LONG SYDNEY — Twenty activists gathered on July 5 under the banner of Trade Unionists to Defend Workers' Compensation to call on the NSW Labor Council and affiliated unions to relaunch industrial action to defeat the state government's
HOBART — Australia's "minister for racism" Philip Ruddock received an unwelcome reception when he spoke to a Liberal party meeting in Salamanca Square on July 5. Fifteen protesters slammed the government's "shameful" policy of forcibly detaining
BY SIMON BUTLER The 2001 Students and Sustainability (S&S) conference, held July 2-6 at the University of Newcastle, attracted more than 500 student environmental activists. Much of the debate at the conference revolved around the significance of
BY TYRION PERKINS & STUART MARTIN WOLLONGONG — Council workers have struck for two days here after Wollongong City Council refused to increase its pay offer in negotiations on a new enterprise agreement. Employees originally called for a 15%

World

A coalition of independent trade unions organised a nation-wide protest on June 19 against a government proposal for a new labour code, which massively weakens the position of workers. The code would nullify collective bargaining, force workers to
BY EVA CHENG On the eve of the end of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's five-year-old Awami League government, a strike and protest wave is gripping Bangladesh. After thousands of garment workers rose nationally on July 1 to defend their
On July 3, an Israeli settler named Yair Har-Sinai was shot to death near a settlement enclave south of the West Bank. Fellow-settlers, who were extensively interviewed, explained two things about him: unlike other settlers, he did not carry a gun
BY SARAH STEPHEN Professor Israel Shahak, one of the most prominent and brave human rights activists in Israel, died on July 2 at the age of 68. Shahak, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at Hebrew University, headed the Israeli League for Human and
BY SEAN HEALY Austrian authorities deployed more than 4000 police officers, including elite riot units, from across the country in the Alpine town of Salzburg on July 1, in an effort to prevent anti-capitalist protests against a summit of the World
BY REEM HALAWANI While touted as the new solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Mitchell report, tabled in June, is yet another example of the myths and lies peddled about the Palestinian cause since the inception of Israel 53 years
BY SEAN HEALY @box text intr = One group of small farmers has managed to escape the wreckage of the coffee price plunge and the "tyranny of the C market": those farmers organised in the global Fair Trade network. To have their coffee certified as
BY JONATHAN STRAUSS "We have a chance to fight ... to present a unified picture of workers", said N. Vasudevan, general secretary of the Federation of Blue Star Workers Unions, as I talked with him in the union's office in Mumbai. Behind him were
BY JANE FRANKLIN As the 20th century opened, the United States was codifying future relations with Cuba in the Platt amendment. As the 20th century was ending, the United States was trying to restore past relations with Cuba through the Torricelli
BY NORM DIXON JOHANNESBURG — Trade union militants and grassroots activists involved in a wave of working-class community struggles against evictions and cut-offs of water and electricity gathered here for the annual Khanya College winter school
BY AARON BENEDEK & ANN DOBINSON TOKYO — Despite international protest, Japan's controversial new junior high school history textbook went on sale in early June. Its high media profile ensured it gained bestseller status immediately and it has
China's Dilemma: The Taiwan IssueBy Sheng LijunInstitute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore2001 239 pagesS$45.90 REVIEW BY EVA CHENG It's no accident that Sheng Lijun named his new book on Taiwan China's Dilemma — he seems to see "the Taiwan
BY SEAN HEALY Drinking it in a wannabe-hip caf‚ in Newtown or Fitzroy, it smells of modern sophistication; hauling great bags of it down a steep hillside in East Timor or Colombia, it smells of age-old slavery. It's just a little bean, but coffee
BY CHRIS SLEE The civil war raging in Sri Lanka cannot be ended through negotiations between the government and Tamils fighting for self-determination, a visiting Sri Lankan farmer activist has said. It is "the unarmed people of all ethnic groups
BY VIVIEN MILEY The involvement of the giant corporations in the global HIV/AIDS fund may quickly destroy what hope there is that the global fund will help stop the spread of the virus. On June 26, the day after the UN General Assembly's special
BY MARC LYNCH Heated debate in the UN Security Council on June 26 previewed the coming showdown over the US-British "smart sanctions" initiative, designed to "re-energise" the international consensus on sanctions against Iraq. Faced with
BY SEAN HEALY A week after police killed peaceful student protesters, it is the government of Prime Minister Makere Morauta under fire, as demands for compensation and a comprehensive inquiry increase and new revelations emerge suggesting that

Culture

Last resortDirected by Pawel PawlikowskiWith Dina Korzun, Artiom Strelnikov and Paddy ConsidineScreened at the Sydney Film Festival REVIEWED BY SARAH STEPHEN Last resort is a unique insight into the cold, bleak reality of seeking asylum in
REVIEW BY JON HILLSON Before Night FallsStarring Javier Bardem, Olivier Martinez, Andrea di Stefano, Johnny Depp and Michael WincottDirected by Julian SchnabelGrandview Pictures, Fine Line Films 2000. Those who defend the Cuban Revolution should
Selling the work ethicBy Sharon BederScribe Publications, 2001292 pages, $30pb REVIEWED BY ALISON DELLIT Labour productivity in the First World has increased so dramatically since 1948 that North America could now reproduce the same standard of
REVIEW BY SARAH STEPHEN Song of TibetDirected by Xie Fei 2001 Sydney Film Festival Set in Lhasa, in the hills of Tibet, Song of Tibet captures much of the rugged beauty of the country. In recalling her life, Yixi takes us back to the 1950s, when

Editorial

On July 5, representatives of the East Timor Transitional Cabinet, the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor and the Australian government met in Dili and signed the Timor Sea Arrangement, concluding 10 months of negotiating and