Issue 619

Australia

Chris Latham, Perth Geoff Gallop's state Labor government held onto power in the February 26 Western Australian election, albeit with a reduced parliamentary majority. While there are still a number of seats undecided, the ALP's majority in the
Amy Irwin &Bea Bleile, Armidale After a misleading election campaign by yhe Young Liberals in last year's student elections, the University of New England Student Association electoral tribunal ruled that three Young Liberals breached the
Sue Bolton, Melbourne When it introduced the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Bill 2005 on March 9, the federal government picked out building industry workers for special laws that will restrict their industrial rights even more than
HOBART — Disability workers stopped work for two hours to protest in Franklin Square on March 11 at the state government's refusal to take action over the lack of resources and consequent excessive workloads for workers in the sector. Government
Rachel Evans, Sydney One-hundred-and-fifty people joined the Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) contingent in the 27th annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade on March 5. The Socialist Alliance, the Canterbury Bankstown Gay and
BRISBANE — Police arrested five people during a speak-out against the war in Iraq on the steps of King George Square on March 11. The weekly speak-out to oppose the decision by the Coalition government to send an additional 450 troops to Iraq
Protesters gathered outside the Melbourne Magistrates Court on March 9 in defence of three activists facing trespass charges. The charges relate to a protest at the Australia Defence Industries factory in Benalla, which highlighted the damage
MELBOURNE — Activists from the Timor Sea Justice Campaign drop a banner over the Eastern Freeway on March 7, displaying a message for the Australian government. Negotiations over the disputed oil and gas fields in the Timor Sea took place in
Pip Hinman &Ben Edwards, Sydney "On March 20, millions of people will protest across the globe against the war in Iraq. It won't stop the war but it may, just may, deter them from pursuing the next part of their project — to attack Iran, or
James Vassilopoulos, Melbourne On March 8, staff at Victoria University (VU) went on strike in support of their demands for a new enterprise agreement. A picket line was established to persuade scabs and students not to enter the university. The
DARWIN — Letty Scott has won the fight for a court order to exhume the body of her husband, Douglas Scott, whom she believes was murdered in Berrimah jail on July 5, 1985. Later this month, Brazilian forensic expert Professor Vanrell will travel
MELBOURNE — More than 150 people attended a lecture at Melbourne University by University of Technology Sydney journalism professor Peter Manning, on the treatment of Arabs and Muslims by the Australian media. Manning, who conducted a
BRISBANE — "What [federal industrial relations minister] Kevin Andrews is going to do to union rights after July 1 will make what [Joh] Bjelke-Petersen did to us in Queensland 20 years ago pale into insignificance", Bernie Neville, a leader of the
Margaret Gleeson, Sydney On March 12, 1000 people rallied in opposition to the Coalition government's anti-women, anti-worker agenda, to mark International Women's Day. Women of all ages and backgrounds were united in calling for the immediate
SYDNEY — TJ Hickey, who died following a police chase in February 2004, should have celebrated his 19th birthday on March 9. A community rally in his family's home town of Walgett marked the occasion. This was followed by a rally of the Walgett
CANBERRA — Opposition continues to grow in the lead-up to the Community and Public Sector Union's national council meeting on March 18-20 over plans by the current leadership to rush through a restructure of the union that would concentrate even

World

Brian Stephens, Harare Having demobilised the once vibrant mass movement that had previously threatened his rule, and neutered the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ruling party — the Zimbabwe
James Balowski, Jakarta International Women's Day rallies, held in most major Indonesian cities on March 8, were dominated by protests against fuel subsidy cuts, which were announced by the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on March
On March 12, the House of Lords passed new terror laws that allow for the imposition of house arrest, electronic tagging and curfews on people who have not been charged with any crime. In its first draft, which was massively defeated on March 5 by
Doug Lorimer The US military used internationally banned chemical weapons, including nerve gas, during their assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah last November, Dr Khalid ash Shaykhli, an Iraqi health ministry official, told a March 3 Baghdad
A report commissioned by the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, released on March 9, has found that at least 105 illegal "outposts" of Israelis in Palestinian areas are established, maintained and expanded with the support of the government. Under
On March 4, an international day of protest against Coca-Cola's human rights abuses in Colombia, human rights campaigners blockaded the company's Bristol distribution centre for five hours, preventing 30 lorries from entering or leaving the site. The
On March 9, a Zimbabwean asylum seeker jumped out the window of her fourth floor flat when she found out that the government intended to deport her. The Home Office resumed deporting failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe in November, despite a UN
On March 8, the Home Office announced it was considering making targets for ethnic minority police officers apply only to new recruits, not to the service as a whole, in order to make them "more achievable". The announcement came on the eve of the
Eva Cheng Widespread public disgust at the sweeping privatisation process pushed by the Chinese government since 1997 has begun to surface in the Chinese mass media. Last August, Taiwan-born, US-educated and Hong Kong-based academic Larry Lang
On March 8, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers called off its four year boycott of Taco Bell, after the fast-food giant agreed to pay a penny-per-pound surcharge for its tomatoes, the money to go to the indigent immigrant pickers who make up the CIW.
Stuart Munckton A statement released on March 8 and signed by almost 400 Venezuelan journalists accused the US government and media of a campaign to prepare the ground for a US military attack on oil-rich Venezuela. According to translation of
On March 3, a Prison Officers Association official told the inquiry into the 2000 murder of 19-year-old Zahid Mubarek in Feltham Young Offenders Institute that prison officers had been engineering "gladiator style" fights between inmates for
Roberto Jorquera, Santiago On March 6, Chilean Communist Party president Gladys Marin died at the age of 63 after a 18-month battle with cancer. As soon as her death was made public at 6am, many people began to gather outside her house
As Olympic officials descended on Paris on March 10 to inspect the city's potential as a games host, a general strike shut much of the country, including subways, airports, schools, bus networks, radio stations and post offices, across 55 cities and
Rohan Pearce "When are the Iraqis going to fight for their own country? ... We want to know when the Iraqis are going to go out there and shed their blood, as American service men ... are willing to shed theirs", a plaintive Democrat Senator Edward
Doug Lorimer Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi whose right-wing government has 3000 troops participating in the US-led occupation of Iraq, told the Italian parliament on March 10 that the US must take responsibility for the killing of
The March 9 edition of the Sun featured a blazing "Stamp on the camps!" headline, with an article underneath calling for a "war on gipsy [sic] free-for-all", and warning of a "gipsy invasion". The newspaper is campaigning against recent governmental
National Public Radio in the US reported on March 2 that 1700 immigrants had been given electronic monitoring bracelets by the Department Of Homeland Security, in a six-month experimental trial. The immigrants have not been accused of a crime, but
Scottish Socialist Party parliamentarian Carolyn Leckie was ejected from parliament's First Minister's Questions session on March 10, when she refused to put down a poster reading "Rosie Kane is not at FMQs because she discovered WMDs". At the time,
Roger Burbach The February 12 murder of Dorothy Stang, a 73-year-old nun who helped peasants engage in sustainable agriculture in the Amazonian rainforest, came as oligarchic interests and the parliamentary right are on a political offensive
In a March 5 press conference, Somali MP Awad Ahmed Ashra explained that the Boxing Day tsunami had "thrown out containers containing toxic waste" on the country's coastline, causing widespread illness including skin disorders and abdominal
More than 300 staff of the University of Papua New Guinea have been on strike since March 7 on strike demanding the resignation of the vice-chancellor and three other senior management officials. The university's two staff associations claim that the

Editorial

In a staggering display of hypocrisy, US President George Bush told trainee US military officers on March 8 that parliamentary elections scheduled to be held in Lebanon in May could not be free and fair so long as 14,000 Syrian troops remained

Culture

On February 23, Indonesian painter and activist Semsar Siahaan passed away as a result of a heart attack. Siahaan was the foremost artist of the progressive movement in Indonesia and had visited Australia more than once, including to attend the
The Murdoch ArchipelagoBy Bruce PageSimon and Schuster, 2003580 pages, $24.95 (pb) REVIEW BY RUSSELL PINK Bruce Page's The Murdoch Archipelago is, at nearly 600 pages, the most comprehensive and penetrating study of how two men, father and son,
REVIEW BY JIM MCILROY "Old men send young men to die", is one of the stated themes of the riveting exhibition of photographs by veteran British photojournalist Tim Page, now resident in Australia, held in the Brisbane Powerhouse during February
Bomb me humanlyTerrorise me with democracyMcDonaldise me when I hunger. Destroy my country to save it! The old stench of fascismis being blown away by thenew stench of fascism. Uncontrolled B52 joy flightsThat sweet, heavy steel rain. This is