Issue 494

News

BY KERRYN WILLIAMS CANBERRA — More refugee-rights activists are getting involved in the organising of a June 23 protest. In addition to the Refugee Action Committee (RAC), the ACT Council of Churches, Community Aid Abroad, Amnesty International,
BY SUE BULL MELBOURNE - The Victorian branch of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has found itself under major attack from both its national office and the state government, in what many of the union's supporters believe is an
BY SAM WAINWRIGHT SYDNEY — "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again" — this could be the motto of the leaders of the Bus and Tram division of the NSW Rail Tram and Bus Union. On May 20 they finally got the majority of Sydney and
BY CHRIS SLEE The Australian Taxation Office's insistence that staff must meet "corporate indicators" before receiving a pay rise will likely be a hot issue in negotiations on a new certified agreement for the agency. At a May 16-19 meeting of
Melbourne greets Tampa MELBOURNE — On May 16 the MV Tampa was greeted by a flotilla of boats organised by both the Refugee Action Collective-Victoria and the City of Port Phillip. Messages of support for Captain Arne Rinnan's rescuing of
BY SEAN MARTIN-IVERSON PERTH — Parents, students, teachers and maintenance workers are furious that the state government has been hiding from them the possible health risks of asbestos in several state schools. One school, East Beechboro
BY IGGY KIM SYDNEY — "If it wasn't for the Tampa, we'd have a Labor government today", former NSW premier Neville Wran told a May 23 Labor for Refugees forum which heard calls for an end to the government's present policy towards asylum seekers.
BY CLAYTON MCDONALD, TONY ILTIS & SEAN MARTIN-IVERSON MELBOURNE — "We have lost hope in the Australian government", said refugee Fahim Fayyazi, a member of Afghanistan's Hazara minority of the attitudes of his fellow asylum seekers. "Our only
BY SUE BULL MELBOURNE — "The workers united will never be defeated", 300 unionists chanted, led by Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) national secretary John Maitland, on May 22. The event was a public meeting, titled "They
BY JACKIE LYNCH MELBOURNE — A joint meeting to explore the links between unionists and environmentalists was held on May 22. Jack Mundey, former NSW Builders Labourers Federation leader and environmental activist, addressed 70 people who were
BY TERRICA STRUDWICK ROCKHAMPTON — On May 23 employees at Consolidated Meat Group's Lakes Creek plant called a 24-hour work stoppage. As from May 24, the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union (AMIEU) members at the plant will cease doing
BY NICK EVERETT SYDNEY — Activists representing the Wilderness Society, the Palestine Human Rights Campaign, the Democratic Socialist Party, the International Socialist Organisation, the NSW Greens and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union
BY ANDREW HALL CANBERRA — Government heavy Tony Abbott is asking the workers of his own department, the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR), to trust him, even as he seeks to reduce employee conditions and to introduce
BY LYNDA HANSEN & JULIE WEBB-PULLMAN BRISBANE — Latin American solidarity activists here have combined forces to launch a campaign to free five Cubans imprisoned in the United States on espionage charges. The "Miami Five", as they have come to
BY ERIN KILLION CANBERRA — Labor Senator Kate Lundy has spoken out against the mandatory detention of asylum seekers, saying that the policy "in its current form is not an acceptable way to process asylum seekers" and that "children should never
BY BILL MASON BRISBANE — Construction and maintenance workers employed by the Queensland government public works corporation Q-Build marched through city streets on May 21 to protest low wages and inequities in superannuation and working
BY DARREN JIGGENS HOBART — Praised by the establishment for handing down a "fiscally responsible" budget, the Labor government was criticised by the Socialist Alliance, which has just announced its candidates for the state election later this
By Edward Rutkinn

MELBOURNE — After 27 years of working for their country's freedom, the East Timorese community in Melbourne and their Australian supporters celebrated their newly-won independence on May 20.

Collingwood Town Hall was packed with some 2000 people, who watched a replay of the independence celebrations in Dili on a giant video screen and listened to musical performances, speeches and an official ceremony.

World

BY SARAH STEPHEN DILI — May 19 marked the turning point of a historic period of transition for the East Timorese people. It was the last day of operation for the UN Transitional Administration of East Timor (UNTAET), bringing to a close
Against war and capitalist Europe Up to 200,000 people protested in Madrid on May 19, the culmination of a weekend of protests outside the EU-Latin American and Caribbean summit, which included 50 government leaders. Protesters marched with
'Peace for the world - pretzels for Bush' A crowd of 50,000-70,000 rallied on May 21 in Berlin against George Bush's phony “war on terror”, preparing to give the US president a not so much warm as heated “welcome” to the city when he arrived
BY EVA CHENG The March massacre of more than 2000 Muslims in Gujarat was not a spontaneous outburst of religious anger, but a cold-blooded, anti-Muslim pogrom masterminded by India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Dipankar Bhattacharya,
BY JOHN PILGER LONDON — In his first few weeks as prime minister, Tony Blair made a number of symbolic gestures. One of them was to visit the Aylesbury estate in South London, where the poor lived. The stairs of the rough-cast concrete estate
[The following is a slightly abridged version of a speech given by Sarah Stephen, a member of the Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific brigade to East Timor, at a protest organised by a number of East Timorese groups in Dili on
BY SEAN HEALY Out of sight of the world, a humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions is unfolding in Angola, as perhaps hundreds of thousands of people flee the “grey zones”, the 90% of the country which have until now been closed to
BY EVA CHENG In Gujarat state, where since February Hindu fundamentalist violence has killed more than 2000 people, mostly Muslims, and terrorised many thousands more, the local government plans to force 100,000 Muslim refugees out of relief camps.

Culture

REVIEW BY LISA MACDONALD In the prologue to his new book, Tariq Ali writes: "Tragedies are always discussed as if they took place in a void, but actually each tragedy is conditioned by its setting, local and global. The events of 11
BY SUE CAMPBELL-ROBERTS SYDNEY — How do 17 emerging artists respond to the Australian government's treatment of asylum seekers? With an exhibition of powerful new art works focussing on the individual and collective meaning of journey,
REVIEW BY ELIZABETH TERZAKI Since September 11, the media has dedicated itself to dishonesty and spinelessness in its support of George Bush's “war on terrorism”. Need some air? Then pick up a copy of Terrorism and War, a collection
REVIEW BY JON LAND This is a two-part series looking at how two different individuals begin new lives in East Timor following the August 31, 1999 referendum on independence. Rosa's Story, which screened on May 23, is a particularly moving account
The dullest of records were old Factory Reports bound, called “Blue Books”. List of figures, translations of workers' lives tossed about in debate and later boredom. Members of Parliament used these for target practice (the force of

Editorial

In another predictable round of dole bludger bashing, federal employment minister Mal Brough announced on May 19 that government-commissioned research, largely based on Centrelink surveys, had shown that some 16% of the unemployed were "cruisers" —