Issue 494

Australia

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 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 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

[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.

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

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" —

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