Issue 572

News

Anna Samson, Sydney Will Saunders and David Burgess commenced their first weekend of periodic detention on February 14. The pair were found guilty of malicious damage after painting the words "No war" on the highest sail of the Opera House. They
Ian Jamieson, Fremantle For the first time, the Western Australian branch of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has allowed rank-and-file members to express their opinions at a state conference of the union. Held over the February 14-15
Aaron Benedek, Sydney Young people living in Sydney's south-west, regularly targeted by the state ALP government's "law and order" and "anti-terrorist" policing, have seen the Redfern Block's resistance as an inspiration. "The way the police
Ray Fulcher, Melbourne On February 1, Victoria Police dragged Raymond Merritt through the broken window of an allegedly stolen car and smashed his head against the roof. Merritt, an Aboriginal man, is wanted by NSW police as a suspect in a series
Chris Latham, Perth Metropolitan train drivers voted on February 13 to strike as part of their campaign for a new enterprise agreement. The Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) later that day ordered the workers to return to work. However, most
Sarah Stephen Immigration minister Amanda Vanstone is feeling the pressure of public opposition to children in detention. So the government is quietly releasing them, one by one. Over the past 12 months, the number of asylum-seekers under 18
Rihab Charida, Sydney Channel 31, Sydney's public access community television station, may be forced off the air if its broadcasting license is not renewed. Community Television Sydney (CTS) Channel 31 has been broadcasting for more than 10
Brianna Pike & Norman Brewer, Sydney Aboriginal residents of the Redfern Block and anti-racist activists have rallied to defend the block, and oppose police brutality. On February 16, an impromptu public speak-out was held on the block. About 200
MELBOURNE — Many unions have passed motions in support of the March 20 international protest against the occupation of Iraq. They include: the Geelong Trades and Labour Council; the Victorian branch of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and
Sarah Stephen, Sydney "A journalist recently asked me whether the average Australian cared any more about the unravelling case for war", Andrew Wilkie told a Stop the War Coalition public meeting on February 15. "It's true that some have taken PM
DARWIN — The local No War committee has begun meeting to organise for the March 20 global day of protest against the occupation of Iraq. The rally also will demand a stop to plans for a new US base in the Northern Territory. The rally will be held
Sarah Stephen In early February there was a flurry of media coverage about 25-year-old Palestinian Aladdin Sisalem — the lone asylum seeker detained in the Australian-financed Manus Island detention centre. It was revealed by the February 11
Steve Georgopoulos During the 2001 Tampa crisis, the unwritten law of the sea to help those in need was denigrated and broken by Prime Minister John Howard. Some asylum seekers were accepted as refugees by New Zealand and the rest have been sent to
Kylie Moon & Stuart Munckton, Sydney On February 14, Thomas "TJ" Hickey, a 17-year-old Indigenous man, was flung from his bike and impaled on a metal fence in the inner-city suburb of Waterloo. He died early the next morning in hospital. Redfern
ADELAIDE — A mass meeting of state public service unionists has been called for February 24 to discuss the dispute between the Public Service Association and the South Australian government over wages and conditions. The call came at a 200-strong

World

Kiraz Janicke Last year University of Western Australia student Joshua Taafee travelled to Israeli-occupied Palestine to work with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). The principle role of the ISM in Palestine, Taafee told Green Left
Rohan Pearce The Reuters wire service revealed on February 9 that Al Rafidayn, Iraq's largest bank, has sacked one-third of its 7300 employees in preparation for privatisation. Bank chairperson Daya al Khayoun told Reuters that Al Rafidayn accounts
Nicole Colson, Iowa "Friends, the piece of news that I have is historic," Brian Terrell announced to a crowd of 150 cheering protesters gathered at the federal building in Des Moines, Iowa on February 10. "The subpoenas against the four of us were
Eva Cheng More than 60,000 people formed a human chain in southern Taiwan on February 1, acting in defiance of Beijing's military threats. Supported by President Chen Shui-bian and former president Lee Teng-hui, the protesters vowed to form a much
David Glanz The unambiguously good news from the January 16-21 World Social Forum in Mumbai, India, is that the global movement against capitalist globalisation is not just alive and well, but extending deeper into civil society. The immediate
Max Lane With only six weeks until the general election, there still seems to be very little popular interest in it. Even professional politicians, who are very interested, are focused on possible cross-party alliances, rather than competitive
Murray Smith, Paris As campaigning for the March regional elections moves into top gear, the familiar odour of corruption is once again wafting across the French political scene. Ex-prime minister Alain Juppe, president of the governing Union for
Rachel Evans On February 2, a US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) advisory committee warned doctors to use great caution in prescribing anti-depressant drugs to children, citing an increased risk of suicide among those taking the drugs. The FDA is
Rohan Pearce& Doug Lorimer Resistance fighters have forced US troops to abandon their occupation of the Iraqi city of Fallujah, at least temporarily. According to the February 8 Washington Post, US troops abandoned fixed positions in the city,
Lee Sustar The media have a standard story line to explain the uprising in Haiti — one-time populist leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide has become a corrupt authoritarian who is relying on armed gangs to crush a popular uprising. In reality, the

Culture

SylviaDirected by Christine JeffsWritten by John BrownlowWith Gwyneth Paltrow and Daniel CraigNow showing nationally. REVIEW BY JESS MELVIN If Sylvia Plath was a death-glorifying, dull, domesticated homeworker whose suicide epitomised her life,
Gold Warriors: America's Secret Recovery of Yamashita's GoldBy Sterling and Peggy SeagraveVerso, 2003332 pages, $49.95 (hb) REVIEW BY PHIL SHANNON In June 1945, with US tanks less than 30 kilometres away, General Yamashita, head of the Japanese
Far from HeavenWritten and directed by Todd HaynesWith Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid and Dennis HaysbertWarner Home Video REVIEW BY LOUIS PROYECT For anybody growing up in an affluent small town or suburbia during the 1950s, Far from Heaven will

Editorial

The February 12 announcement by Prime Minister John Howard that a Coalition party room meeting had approved a reduction in federal parliamentarians' superannuation to 9% (from 69.1%) would have gladdened most hearts. Howard was pleased because he

General

Sarah Stephen The weekend after the January 29-31 ALP national conference, I attended the Rural Australians for Refugees national conference, one of the biggest gatherings of refugees' rights activists in the last few years. As the outcome of the
Sarah Stephen, Sydney Journalist and film-maker John Pilger and former intelligence official Andrew Wilkie addressed a packed crowd of 1000 at a public meeting organised by the Stop the War Coalition on February 15. Addressing the impact of the
The electoral fortunes of the ALP seem to have turned around since its national conference. Recent polls have the two major parties level, and the Liberals behind on a two-party preferred basis. The intelligence justifying the Iraq war is being
Brian Webb & Dick Nichols As the federal poll approaches, the Socialist Alliance is poised to launch Australia's biggest socialist election campaign in decades. The alliance will be contesting Senate seats in six states and territories and at
Jenny Long, Sydney As Sydney enters its third week of massive disruption to commuter rail services — with up to 121 daily commuter services having been cancelled — some astonishing facts have been emerging from this remarkable dispute. One is
Patrick Emerton The September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre have resulted in a burst of legislative activity in Australia. A host of new laws has been passed, ostensibly to respond to the threat posed by terrorism. The latest proposal to
Tamara Pearson, Sydney Forget the artist's impression of the Sydney western suburb of Auburn: the sleek and slender buildings, clean wide streets, happy people walking dogs in pretty parks with tall, blooming trees. As construction on the Collex
Tom Orsag Since the official end of the war in Iraq, Australia, the former British colonial settler-state, has gone on to send troops and police to recolonise parts of the South Pacific, its so-called backyard. Prime Minister John Howard is US