Issue 53


By Geoff Spencer PERTH - About 100 construction workers were exposed for three hours to a liquefied petroleum gas leak here recently. The workers eventually walked off the job complaining of giddiness, stinging eyes and sore throats, despite
By Maurice Sibelle BRISBANE - Outgoing officials of the Queensland Transport Workers Union awarded themselves pay-outs totalling more than $500,000 just a week before a newly elected administration took control. Some estimates put the amount at
ADELAIDE - Aboriginal and trade union activist Peter Robin passed away on April 14 at the age of 51, after suffering a stroke. He was farewelled by a trade union funeral march through Semaphore on April 22, which ended in a ceremony at the
By Ian Jamieson BURNIE - Vicious and intimidatory moves by Tasmania's largest employer, Associated Pulp and Paper Mills (APPM), have set the stage for what looks like a long and bitter struggle for union rights and workers' dignity. APPM is
By Leon Harrison PERTH - Indigenous people from the Philippines met with Aboriginal people here on April 12 to discuss their shared struggle to regain their land. Both Aboriginal people and the Aytas people have been denied control of their
By Alex Bainbridge MELBOURNE - Police were out in force with batons and riot gear for the second Student Day of Action on April 15, after having arrested a number of activists in early morning raids the day before. Five members of the
By Elle Morrell ADELAIDE - More than 100 young people from across Australia took up the challenge to salvage a livable future at the third national Environmental Youth Alliance Australian Conference, held here over the Easter weekend. A
By Dave Wright SYDNEY - The May 2 snap by-election in the electorate of Davidson, even if won by the Liberals, will not relieve the state of siege afflicting the NSW minority government of Nick Greiner. The by-election will be followed by an
By Teresa Dowding HOBART - The Tasmanian House of Assembly on April 16 passed a bill granting police increased power of arrest and prescribing mandatory fines for peaceful protest. The bill, introduced by Liberal minister for police Dr F.
By Cliff Owls PERTH - On April 15 internal struggles within the WA State School Teachers' Union (SSTU) took another poor turn when the state executive sacked general secretary Peter Quinn. The sacking came without warning while Quinn was on
By Tracy Sorensen Melbourne war tax resister Robert Burrowes has had an unusual win in his long campaign against military spending. The Federal Court found him guilty of contempt of court on April 22 - but the judge assessed no penalty against
By Bill Mason BRISBANE - "Cameras perched on poles monitor the movement of thousands of passers-by. "Speaking your mind here can cost you dearly, as much as a week's wage. "Only the select few can express themselves here, with the
By Liam Mitchell ADELAIDE - Fears have been raised that a fire at the Port Stanvac oil refinery in southern Adelaide on April 10 may have emitted toxic gases, polluting surrounding suburbs and residential areas. The Noarlunga City Council,
By Liam Mitchell ADELAIDE - The state government, faced with growing resentment over its plan to reduce public transport in order to save money, has been forced to back down. But its latest proposal aims at making the drivers pay for retaining
ADELAIDE - The 14th Dalai Lama, political and spiritual leader of Tibet, will visit Australia from April 29 to May 12, with one of his aims to publicise questions of human and national rights in Tibet, which has been occupied by China since 1949.
By Bill Mason BRISBANE - State legal centres held a stop-work meeting on the steps of the government executive building on April 23 following notification to legal centres of cuts of $500,000 to funding statewide. Despite a Labor Party
By Sue Bolton CANBERRA - Queanbeyan City Council has refused to support Desiko's bid to hold a thinly disguised Aidex arms exhibition in Queanbeyan. Desiko, with support from National Party MP for Monaro Peter Cochran, was proposing to hold an
By Bernie Brian WOLLONGONG - Striking clerks from the offices of the engine drivers and building workers unions (FEDFA and BWIU) have been asked to lead the South Coast May Day march. Local unionists are outraged at the treatment of the clerks,
SYDNEY — Friends of the Earth and the Movement Against Uranium Mining organised a picket of the offices of uranium miner ERA on April 26, the sixth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster (see page 18). Photograph by Jenny Long.


By Irina Glushchenko and Renfrey Clarke MOSCOW - As the Russian economy crumbles, unemployment is making a big comeback. And to an even greater extent than in the west, the first to suffer are women. According to research by the Union of
By Sally Low and Peter Annear Most of Britain's relatively large but deeply divided left campaigned hard for a Labour victory in the April 9 election, even though they opposed Neil Kinnock's "consensus politics" and "new realism". The
By Norm Dixon Australians concerned about the deteriorating health and human rights situation on the besieged island of Bougainville have formed a network to gather vital supplies and ship them there. A three-year military blockade of
By Peter Gellert MEXICO CITY - Investigations into the case of disappeared left activist Jose Ramon Garcia are uncovering a trail of responsibility and police spying that could become a major scandal. Garcia, a leader in the Cuautla, Morelos
On April 14, INFIGHT, the Indonesian Front for the Defence of Human Rights, issued the following open letter to Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating as he began his visit to Indonesia. This marks the first visit by an Australian Prime Minister
By Sally Low Vaclav Havel, Czechoslovakia's former dissident turned president, once told a reporter it was possible he could again become a dissident. For Dimitrina Petrova and her friends, founding members of Bulgaria's most famous opposition
By John R. Hallam At 1.46 on the morning of April 26, 1986, the shift supervisor of the Chernobyl-4 reactor — part of the massive reactor complex close to Kiev, capital of the Ukraine — pressed a button in a routine end to what was supposed
By Gosta Lynga In June 1991 the Swedish Parliament authorised the government to apply for membership in the European Community. Only the Green Party and the Left Party were unanimously against this decision. Since membership of the EC means
By John R. Hallam Mishka and I entered Bangladesh from the north at Haldibari. Haldibari is a little-used entry point, one of only two between Bangladesh and India. We had been invited to Dacca by people from the Bangladesh Interreligious
By Reihana Mohideen The plunge in the Tokyo stock market has dealt the banking sector some of the hardest blows. Banks' stock prices have fallen roughly twice as much as the average. Bank shares have fallen 28% in April alone. Shares in the
By Craig Cormick Following the recent nuclear power station accident at Sosnovyi Bor near Saint Petersburg in Russia, global confidence in nuclear power continues to decline, as do the number of power stations being built. Yet in Asia, the
By Adam Novak PRAGUE - Czecho-Slovakia is slowly disintegrating under the impact of contrary forces. In Slovakia, there is a radicalisation against the restoration of capitalism. On the other hand, there is a growing willingness of the Czech


By Bronwen Beechey The Topp Twins are one of New Zealand's most successful acts, with a career spanning 10 years. Their music, combining beautiful harmonies with comedy and incisive social comment, has been heard at Australian venues including
Cosi By Louis Nowra Directed by Adam Cook Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney Reviewed by Tracy Sorensen and Angela Matheson How could you go wrong? Louis Nowra breathes new life into that now thoroughly worked-over period in Australian history -
Labor, Prosperity and the Nineties: Beyond the Bonsai Economy By Michael Costa and Mark Duffy Federation Press. 201 pp. $25 Politics and the Accord By Peter Ewer et al Pluto Press. 190 pp. $16.95 Reviewed by Mike Rafferty Steve Painter's
By Lin Wolfe and Bronwen Beechey Now in its ninth year, the St Kilda Film Festival is the only festival devoted to recent Australian short films and documentaries. If the preview tapes are any indication, film goers will be treated to the usual
Hair Written by Gerome Ragni and James Rado Music by Galt MacDonald Footbridge Theatre, Sydney Reviewed by Barry Healy Hair is moving, dramatic, entertaining and confronting. Anyone expecting some kind of dewy-eyed recreation of flower power
By Bronwen Beechey MELBOURNE - Shoppers in Bourke St Mall are being treated to some alternative entertainment in the form of street theatre during the Voices of Dissent Festival, which runs to May 3. On April 18, an alternative version of the
AIDEX 91 - Inside the Australian Arms Trade By Community Access Television Reviewed by John Black Weapons and media are fully interlocked. Rupert Murdoch is on the board of United Technologies, one of the world's largest arms manufacturers.
Mining and Indigenous Peoples in Australasia Edited by John Connell and Richard Howitt Sydney University Press. 200 pp. $22.95 Reviewed by Emlyn Jones Scholars from Australia, New Zealand and Fiji examine the effect of mining on indigenous


While the US and British governments continue to undermine the credibility of the United Nations by using it as a vehicle for their political vendetta against the Libyan government, Time magazine and the Pan Am company have come up with evidence