Issue 571

News

Vannessa Hearman, Melbourne More than 40 people attended the inaugural meeting of the Timor Sea Justice Campaign on January 21. Like many others, they were concerned with the Australian government's exploitation of Timorese oil. The campaign was
SYDNEY — The Socialist Alliance is campaigning in support of train drivers and against the NSW government's destruction of public transport. See the activist calendar on page 23 for details of upcoming campaign events or go to
Kathleen Scott, Sydney After almost 18 months of bargaining and three strikes, University of Sydney staff have secured a landmark agreement that includes one of the best paid maternity packages in the country. Enterprise bargaining at Sydney
Kieran Latty & Susan Price, Sydney The Socialist Alliance will stand three candidates in the March 27 Leichhardt council elections — militant unionist Shane Bentley, Books Not Bombs youth anti-war activist Kylie Moon, and refugees' rights
NSW postal workers strike to defend jobs Jenny Long, Sydney On February 12, Australia Post parcel workers struck for 24 hours over proposed network and technology changes that will undermine jobs, wages and conditions. The Communications,
Student organisations and activist groups have decided to mobilise as many young people as possible on March 20, to protest the occupation of Iraq. The National Union of Students is supporting the protests, and will produce a poster advertising the
James Caulfield, Canberra The University of Canberra became the first institution to endorse implementing domestic full fees since the Nelson Review "reforms" were passed in parliament last year, after a motion put by vice-chancellor Roger Dean was
Women students conference planned LISMORE — Organising is well underway for the annual Network of Women Students Australia (NOWSA) conference, to be held at Southern Cross University on July 12-16. The theme "Women making it real" has been chosen
Tony Iltis, Melbourne Activists from the Western Suburbs Community Coalition Against Racism (WSCCAR) picketed the Melbourne Magistrates Court on February 12 to protest charges laid against TAFE student Hussein Farah. He has been charged with five
Bryan Sketchley, Melbourne The Victorian Labor government has offered its 25,000 public servants a pay cut (in real terms), and a reduction in working conditions, in the current round of enterprise bargaining. By scrimping on public servants'
ADELAIDE — The Socialist Alliance branch here held it first public meeting for the year, held in the Adelaide Resistance Centre, on February 11. Seventeen people listened to Dr David Lockwood, from the department of history at Flinders University,
Leigh Hughes, Adelaide Tom Bertuleit and Amy McDonell, the Socialist Alliance's Senate candidates in South Australia, have pledged to not only do everything they can to stop further privatisations, but to also to fight to return essential services

World

Max Lane On February 12, the Indonesian Supreme Court voted, with one dissenting voice, to overturn a guilty verdict for corruption from two lower courts against parliamentary speaker Akbar Tanjung. In September 2002, a Jakarta district court
Alison Dellit After a sustained campaign by anti-death penalty activists, Californian death-row prisoner Kevin Cooper was granted a stay of execution on February 9 — less than eight hours before his murder was scheduled to happen. The 11th hour
Doug Lorimer On February 2, US President George Bush submitted to Congress a budget for the next fiscal year (October 1, 2004- September 30, 2005) that envisages spending US$427 billion on the US war machine. The Bush administration puts its
Michael Karadjis Three Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange — the herbicide sprayed over Vietnam by the US military during its war against Vietnam in the 1960s and '70s — are suing more than 20 US chemical companies for compensation. The three
Michael Shaik What are we to make of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's extraordinary talk of relocating almost all Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip and 10 settlements in the West Bank as part of a "disengagement plan" from the Palestinian
Patrick Bond, Johannesburg South Africa's Treatment Action Campaign on February 12 criticised South African President Thabo Mbeki in the wake of more government prevarication on providing treatment for the country's 5 million people who are living
Jeff Shantz, Toronto The working class Saguenay-Lac Saint Jean region in Quebec has been hit hard by recent plant closures. In May, the bankruptcy of the Forest Co-operative of Laterriere left 650 people out of work. Another 650 jobs were lost just
Marcus Greville, London On February 7, British PM Tony Blair's New Labour expelled the Railway and Maritime and Transport Union from its ranks. The RMT, involved in the British Labour Party's 1900 founding, is the first union ever to be booted from
Rohan Pearce The February 4 edition of Scotland's Sunday Herald reported that Edinburgh's Pension Appeal Tribunal Service had ruled in favour of an appeal by 1991 Gulf War veteran Kenny Duncan. Duncan is the first British soldier to win recognition
Rohan Pearce Since the January 28 testimony of David Kay, the retired head of the US "weapons inspections" team in Iraq, before the US Senate's armed services committee, the war makers in Washington, Canberra and London have been scrambling to
Norm Dixon As proof continues to mount that US President George Bush's administration systematically lied about Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to justify invading the oil-rich Persian Gulf country, it has been revealed that
Murray Smith, Paris France has been absorbed by a debate over the right of young Muslim women to wear the hijab, which includes the Islamic headscarf, in state schools. Last July, President Jacques Chirac appointed a commission to consider the
Caryl Rivers, Boston Women's eNews (<http://www.womensenews.org/> — The Vatican's anti-contraception campaign — which has an ally in the White House — has been blocked by a New York court. In places such as Kenya — where HIV is
Doug Lorimer On January 26, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported an increase in cases of encephalitis — a viral disease that causes swelling of the brain — among children in Baghdad over the preceding

Culture

The Last SamuraiDirected and written by Edward ZwickWith Tom Cruise and Ken WatanabeShowing at major cinemas REVIEW BY DAVE RILEY Any serious examination of The Last Samurai must consider the historical context in which the film places its
North of Capricorn: The untold story of Australia's northBy Henry ReynoldsAllen & Unwin, 2003220 pages, $50 (hb). REVIEW BY IGGY KIM Bustling multiculturalism is today associated with the major cities of Sydney and Melbourne, while the common
Actively Radical TV — Sydney community television's progressive current affairs producers tackle the hard issues. Includes the Green Left news. CTS Sydney (UHF 31), every Sunday, 9pm. Phone (02) 9564 1277. Long Night's Journey Into Day — This
The DeportedA BBC and Arte France co-productionSBSTuesday, February 24, 7.30pm REVIEW BY SARAH STEPHEN The Deported follows what happens to five asylum seekers, some from Afghanistan and some from Mali, after being deported from France. Most Air

Editorial

Australian and US government representatives finally agreed on a free-trade agreement (AUSFTA) on February 9, after 11 months of negotiations and widespread protest and controversy in both countries. Amid claims and counterclaims about which national