Issue 648

Australia

Sarah Smith, Perth PM John "Howard makes laws to suit himself and the laws are all designed to smash us", said Kevin Reynolds, Western Australian secretary of the construction division of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU),
John Gauci, Sydney On October 26, members of the NSW Teachers Federation voted overwhelmingly to accept an offer from the state Labor government that will raise first-year teachers' annual pay to at least $50,000 and teachers at the top end of the
Graham Matthews, Sydney Along with the Howard government's Work Choices Bill, draft laws have been introduced into the federal parliament to restrict the rights of industrial subcontractors, particularly in the transport and building industries.
Anti-war and civil rights activists rallied around the country on November 5-6 to give expression to public opposition to the occupation of Iraq and the federal government's new "anti-terror" laws. In Brisbane, the November 5 rally marched to
PERTH — As part of this year's Pride Parade, held on October 29, the Cross-Campus Queer Network, the Western Australian network for queer university students, put together a parade float opposing the Howard government's anti-student union and
Sue Bull, Geelong Twenty trade unionists and their supporters held a protest on November 4 outside the Aldi Supermarket in Belmont, a residential suburb three kilometres south-east of Geelong, to highlight that Aldi compels all its employees on to
PERTH — On November 5, 400 people attended a forum at the University of Western Australia on the Howard government's new anti-terrorism legislation, now before the federal parliament. Greens Senator Rachel Siewert gave an impassioned speech in
Roberto Jorquera, Melbourne On October 29, a stall selling Green Left Weekly in the inner-city suburb of Brunswick was ordered to leave by police who had been called by the Barkly Square Shopping Centre management. Barkly Square has been the
MELBOURNE — "We gotta get rid of the Howard government", Bill Shorten, the national secretary of the Australia Workers Union, told a mass meeting of 900 AWU and Health Services Union members at the Dallas Brookes Hall on November 4. Stephen
DARWIN — On October 27, around 40 inmates in the Berrimah prison staged a sit-in protest to demand improved conditions. The demands of the prisoners included provision of a second telephone (there is currently only one phone for 120 people in M
Paul Benedek, Brisbane "Secret listening devices, secret recording devices, no right to silence — this is not Nazi Germany in the '30s, this is Australia 2005 for building workers", explained Scott Wilson, an organiser for the Electrical Trades
Kathy Newnam, Darwin On November 3, 100 people attended the Darwin premiere of Australian Atomic Confessions, a 48-minute film documenting the legacy of the 12 British nuclear-bomb tests carried out in Australia in the 1950s. Greg Young, the
SYDNEY — On November 4, 50 people rallied outside the electorate office of federal Liberal MP Jackie Kelly in the western suburb of Penrith to protest against the Howard government's planned new IR laws. Members of the manufacturing and
Emma Murphy, Adelaide The Rice/Rumsfeld Reception Committee (RRRC) has received, from various sources, reliable information that US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld will be in Adelaide on November 16-18. This information follows several months
Sue Bolton, Melbourne At a public forum held in the north-western suburb of Glenroy on October 27, Martin Kingham, Victorian secretary of the construction workers' union (CFMEU), said that the Howard government's anti-union laws can be beaten, but
The federal government's proposed IR laws will adversely affect ethnic workers and immigrants, many of whom are employed in low-skilled, low-paid jobs, according to the NSW Ethnic Communities Council (ECC). In a statement issued on November 2, the

World

On November 18-19, the Asia Pacific Economic Forum will take place in Pusan, and will be attended by various heads of state including US President George Bush. Labour and people's movements, including the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, the
Kerryn Williams On November 4, riots continued for the ninth consecutive night as young people, many with African and Arab backgrounds, set fire to cars and buildings in Paris's poor, migrant-populated suburbs. The riots were sparked on October
Barry Sheppard, San Francisco The October 28 indictment of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, US Vice-President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, on charges of obstruction of justice and perjury are the latest blow to the already reeling administration of US
Jon Lamb The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR) in East Timor has completed its report documenting human rights violations that took place under 24-year-long Indonesian military (TNI) occupation. The 2000-page report, which
Nick Everett In September last year, the owners of Venepal, a paper mill in Venezuela's Carabobo state, decided to cease operations and not pay their workers' wages. A year later the paper mill, now known as Invepal (Venezuelan Endogenous Paper
Federico Fuentes, Caracas Since the 1998 election of President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's people and government have embarked on an ambitious struggle to transform their society — in which a majority of the population is poor — to one that
Susan Price & Margarita Windisch, Caracas Venezuelans celebrated across the country on October 28 to mark the official declaration that the Bolivarian republic has now become officially free of illiteracy. The day also marked the birthday of Simon
Simon Cunich The strengthening of Australia's "anti-terrorism" laws proposed by the federal government includes creating new offences for "those who communicate inciting messages ... including against Australia's forces overseas and in support of
Swadesh Bhattacharya Even as India was getting ready for the festivities of Deewali and Eid, October 29 turned out to be India's saddest Saturday in recent memory. Tragedy struck in the wee hours when many bogies of a Secunderabad-bound passenger
Richard Pithouse, Durban On October 21, 16 shacks burnt down in the Kennedy Road shack settlement in Durban. One-year-old Mhlengi Khumalo was very badly burnt. He died the following night. This was the third conflagration that month. The fire
According to a report issued on October 24 by the Palestinian National Information Centre, 4172 Palestinians have been killed and 8435 have been wounded in the five years since the beginning of the Al Aqsa intifada. Of those killed, 783 were
John Cleary There are about 35,000 electrical industry workers in Venezuela. They are organised in 30 unions, which together form Fetraelec. About 80% of all workers in the electrical industry are in unions. A new leadership was elected in
On October 28, Botswana's High Court ruled that the government must allow Amogolang Segootsane and his family to return to their land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and must return his goats to him and allow him to bring water into the
Brian Jones, Chicago After Martin Luther King, the most widely recognised figure of the US civil rights movement is Rosa Parks. She died on October 25, at the age of 92. Her famous act of defiance — refusing to give up her seat on an Alabama bus
Margarita Windisch & Susan Price, Caracas One thousand delegates crammed into the Teatro Teresa Careno to hear President Hugo Chavez open the first Latin American Conference of Enterprises Recovered and Controlled by Workers, held on October
On November 4, more than 100,000 people converged on the seaside town of Mar del Plata, 400 kilometres south of Buenos Aires, for a protest and counter-summit to the Organization of American States meeting. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez received a
Linda Waldron At 8.52am (local Pakistan time) on October 8 an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale hit Afghanistan, north-west India and Pakistan. The worst-affected areas were in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and
On October 17, the CFMEU Construction and Energy Division adopted the following resolution in solidarity with Venezuela at its national conference. The CFMEU Construction and Energy Division congratulates and supports the Venezuelan government for
Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific (ASAP) is collecting donations to send to Pakistan for the Labour Relief Camp for Earthquake Victims. The LRCEV is a coalition of progressive organisations, including the Labour Education Foundation
Steph Mawson& Karol Florek, Tupiza Beginning on October 17, the Bolivian towns of Villazon, Tupiza and Cotagaita went on strike to pressure the government to complete a "highway" asphalting project. The planned "highway" runs between these towns
Eva Cheng The world was stunned when the Indian Ocean tsunami hit the shores of Asian countries in December 2004. It killed 300,000 people. But "slow-motion" disasters are unfolding every day with a killing power equal to three such tsunamis every
Stuart Munckton Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's government has attempted to implement policies that benefit the working majority via redistributing the nation's oil wealth. Despite being the fifth largest supplier of oil in the world, when
Federico Fuentes, La Paz After travelling 18 hours from La Paz on a number of different buses and a trek through mud and rain to cross flooded roads, I arrived in Chimore, a town of 2000 residents in Bolivia's remote Chapare jungle, located 580
Ron Perkins On October 26, Ka Ric Ramos, president of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (CATLU), became the latest victim in the year-long strike of sugar mill and agricultural workers at the Hacienda Luisita in central Luzon. Shot dead
Jorge Jorquera Over the next year, the people of Venezuela will once again go to the polls on at least two occasions — in December 2005 for parliamentary elections and December 2006 for presidential elections. If Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian
Death-row prisoner Stanley Tookie Williams faces execution in California on December 13. Having grown up in the face of poverty and racism in Los Angeles, African American Williams co-founded the Crips in 1971, which soon became the city's most
The test broadcast phase for the new Latin America-wide satellite television channel Telesur ended on October 31 with the launch of a continuous live signal from its studios in Caracas. The Telesur website <http://www.telesurtv.net> states
The following is an abridged message of solidarity issued by Venezuela's National Union of Workers (UNT). The National Union of Workers of Venezuela backs the actions of the Australian workers in their struggle against the anti-union laws being
A Workers Charter political movement was launched at an Auckland conference, attended by more than 100 activists, on October 22. A draft charter (see <http://workerscharter.org.nz>) was endorsed and will now be taken around the country for

Culture

The Latham DiariesBy Mark LathamMelbourne University Press, 2005429 pages, $39.95 (hb) REVIEW BY PHIL SHANNON No wonder federal ALP politicians are narked. Mark Latham, after eleven years in federal parliament (including a year as leader of the
Big bucks and the triumph of Wests Tigers BY JAMES VASSILOPOULOS In a nation dominated by the ruling class, where sport is a commodity ruled by big money - more like a Big Mac on wheels than an athletics contest - sometimes remarkable events,
New BougainvilleBy CliveAvailable as VHS for $28 (including postage)Email <clive@mekamui.org> New Bougainville is about Bougainville gaining a new autonomous government, a joyous moment for Bougainvilleans after ten years of blood and
BY ANNIE FEITH Lake Sentani, near West Papua's capital Jayapura, is home to traditional Sentani bark paintings. The bark from the Kombou tree is soaked for a few weeks, then pounded until flat and dried in the sun before being painted, using