Issue 665

Australia

Abby Stowell, Perth According to the United Nations Population Report 2005, domestic violence is the biggest health risk to women in Australia. The Australian Bureau of Statistics' 1996 Women's Safety Report documents that one in four women will
Ben Courtice, Melbourne On March 17, the Flemington and Kensington Community Legal Centre lodged its fifth official complaint with the Office of Police Integrity about unlawful police behaviour in the Flemington area. The complaints contain reports
SYDNEY — A new multilingual booklet for victims of domestic violence titled Helping You Go to Court to Get an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order was launched this month by Legal Aid at Marrickville. It explains in 15 languages how to get an order
SYDNEY — At the April 20 Unions NSW meeting, assistant secretary Mark Lennon reported that affiliates had agreed to organise local mass delegates' meetings in the week beginning May 15. The meetings will discuss what course of action will take
MELBOURNE — On April 16, the Easter bunny was locked up outside of St Paul's Cathedral as protesters condemned the mandatory detention of asylum seekers and PM John Howard's proposed new law to process asylum seekers offshore. The action was
Dale Mills The largest-ever survey of mental health among Australia's gays, bisexuals and lesbians, conducted by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University, found that nearly half of the 5500 people surveyed
Alex Bainbridge & Raul Bassi, Sydney "Torture: are you next?" was the theme of an April 15 forum jointly organised by the Canterbury-Bankstown Peace Group (CBPG) and the Justice for Hicks and Habib Campaign and sponsored by the Research Initiative
Andrew Martin, Brisbane On April 4, the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) certified a subsidiary enterprise agreement between Queensland Rail and maintenance workers employed at QR's Rolling Stock and Component Services (RACS)
A bill will be debated in the Victorian parliament on May 2 that gives the state new "anti-terrorism" powers, reduces the scope of freedom of information and could exempt some documents from public release for longer than the current 30-year limit,
Fred Fuentes & Amber Pike "If the French can do it, we can too. We're going to fight to stop VSU!" This popular chant at a march in Melbourne on April 12 summed up protesters' feelings about the federal government's "voluntary student unionism"
MELBOURNE — On April 14, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) ordered Qantas to try to stop 480 workers employed at the airline's Sydney maintenance centre from losing their jobs as a result of the company's push to move its Boeing
NEWCASTLE — "Bring the troops home now!" was the slogan of an anti-war rally held on April 7. Among the speakers were members of the Socialist Alliance, the Greens, the ALP, Newcastle University Students' Association and Christians for Peace. The
Kylie Moon, Melbourne On April 12, 50 unionists protested outside the Optus city centre offices against the sacking of 70 field technicians in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The protest was organised by the Australian Council of Trade Unions
Lisa Macdonald Groups affiliated with the Australia West Papua Association will protest outside Rio Tinto's AGM in Melbourne on May 4 to highlight the company's involvement in corruption, human rights abuses and environmental destruction in West
SYDNEY — The Shitty Rail Tranny Cop Dance Troupe in a satirical protest against over-policing was part of a Reclaim the Streets action on April 9. The protest targeted the NSW government's embarrassing cross-city tunnel fiasco.From Green Left
Terry Townsend, Blue Mountains "Almost 40 years after Che Guevara died at the hands of the Bolivian Army, the Cuban revolutionist is embroiled in a new uprising in the seemingly tranquil villages of the Blue Mountains", said the front page of the
Fred Fuentes To mark the four-year anniversary of the attempted coup in Venezuela, defeated within 72 hours by a popular uprising in which President Hugo Chavez was reinstated, a week of activity was organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity
Natalie Lowrey Over the weekend of April 14-17, 120 people participated in the Rain Corroboree in support of the Wiradjuri traditional owners' fight to protect Lake Cowal in central-western NSW from contamination by cyanide, which is used by mining
Sarah Stephen & Farida Iqbal, Sydney Around 100 refugee-rights supporters from around the country converged on Villawood detention centre on the Easter weekend to highlight the human rights abuses taking place behind the barbed wire. There are 255
Tony Iltis, Melbourne Despite threats by local and state governments, court injunctions and a racist propaganda campaign by the Herald-Sun and the Returned Servicemen's League (RSL), Indigenous activists remain at "Camp Sovereignty" on the Kings
PERTH — Don't worry, be happy, global warming will be tackled by big business, says a PricewaterhouseCoopers' publication released on April 10. The Corporate Responsibility: Strategy, management and value handbook expects corporate sustainable

World

Steve O'Brien, Cape Town An International Labour Media Network and Cooperative (ILMNC) will be established following the "Workers' Education and Workers' Media in a Global Economy" workshop held on April 4-7. Fifty people representing
Vanessa Garbett, a member of the Electrical Trades Union in Victoria, writes of her experiences visiting Colombia last year as part of a union delegation. Colombia is a country in turmoil and war caused by globalisation and exploitation by
Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter, Caracas Three days of commemorations of the fourth anniversary of the right-wing coup that briefly ousted President Hugo Chavez and installed a pro-US regime were held on April 11-13. The highlight was the opening of a
Annolies Truman April 26 marks the 20th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear power accident, the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. One-hundred-and-twenty-three kilometres north of Kiev in the Ukraine, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant's number four
Alex Miller The National Health Service (NHS) is facing its biggest financial crisis since its inception in 1948. It is estimated that NHS Trusts throughout England have a total deficit of up to £800 million for the 2005-06 financial year,
Doug Lorimer "US troops repelled an attack Monday by Sunni Arab insurgents who used suicide car bombs, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons in a coordinated assault against this city's main government building and two US observation
A report by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions on labour standards in the United Arab Emirates has condemned the appalling treatment of migrant workers, who comprise around 95% of the private sector work force. The abuse of migrant
Since 2001, the Rheebuu Nuu Committee has been protesting against the Goro-Nickel mine in southern New Caledonia, which is operated by the Canadian mining giant INCO. INCO acquired the land for free and was given tax-free status for the first 15
Kerryn Williams The Indonesian government withdrew its draft labour law revisions on April 8, pressured by a wave of workers' protests. The revised law would have made it easier for employers to sack workers by dramatically reducing severance pay;
Rohan Pearce "The invasion and occupation of Iraq is a campaign of imperial military conquest and falls into the category of criminal acts. I would have had criminal responsibility vicariously if I had gone to Iraq. I still have two great loves in
Nuclear power is not the answer to Britain's looming energy shortage because the infrastructure cannot be built in time to fix the problem, says a British Parliament Environment Audit Committee report. The Keeping the Lights on: Nuclear, Renewables,
Steve Zeltzer Labour film and video activists are assembling the first international working class film and video festival to be held in Turkey. The festival will include labour films from around the world, including Venezuela, Korea, Iran, Japan,
Murray Smith, Paris After two months of a mass campaign against the CPE (First Employment Contract), on the morning of April 10 the French government finally caved in and withdrew the measure. The CPE would have enabled employers to sack young
On April 12, hundreds of South African activists attempted to blockade borders with Swaziland to protest the Swazi monarchy and its disregard for human rights and democracy. Timed to coincide with the 33rd anniversary of the late King Sobuza II's
Eric Ruder, Chicago The streets of cities across the US were filled on April 10 with supporters of immigrant rights making their voices heard and sending a message of proud defiance to the politicians who want to keep undocumented workers as
The Wall Street Journal published a worried analysis about the April 10 day of action for immigrant rights, pointing to widespread absenteeism by workers who participated, which forced many employers to shut down. Workers at an Excel meatpacking
Luisa Ara The April 9 presidential election in Peru attracted the attention of many in Latin America and the rest of the world, given the possibility that Peru may join the wave of South American countries turning against neoliberal policies and
Documents released under freedom of information laws show that queer activists at universities have been monitored by an intelligence system set up for surveillance of suspected terrorists. The official role of the secretive Counter-Intelligence
Eva Cheng Police opened fire on April 20 on tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters who defied a dawn-to-dusk curfew to march toward the centre of the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human
Federico Fuentes With 80% of the population living in poverty, Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution, led by President Hugo Chavez, has faced an enormous challenge. For Chavez, the only way to get rid of poverty was to give power to the people. On
Simon Tayler In the face of a mounting wave of street protests and following the failure of his party to secure enough seats in the April 2 general election to be able to convene the country's parliament, Thaksin Shinawatra announced on April 4
Doug Lorimer On April 11, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that two days earlier Iranian scientists had succeeded in producing "nuclear fuel" — uranium gas enriched with 3.5% of the fissionable uranium-235 isotope (natural uranium
On March 19, 450 people attended the London launch of the Campaign for a New Workers Party (CNWP), at which it was announced that more than 1300 people, including leaders and members from 25 different unions, Labour Party councillors, Green Party
Kim Bullimore Palestinians have protested US and European Union economic and political sanctions against the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government, which was elected on January 25. On April 7, Washington and the EU both moved to freeze all
Farooq Tariq, Lahore An indefinite national strike by bhatta (brick-kiln) workers began on April 18 and was marked by violence, kidnappings, arrests and torture of workers by the bosses and police all over Pakistan. More than 20 workers were
Kim Bullimore After weeks of bombarding Gaza with more than 2000 heavy artillery shells, killing more than two dozen people and wounding hundreds, Israel continues to target the region. Shelling began on March 31. On average, 150 artillery shells
Eva Cheng A seven-year battle by the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) to gain registration as a legal association failed to produce a clear result when the case was heard in the country's Court of Appeals on April 10. The court reserved its

Culture

Tania — Undercover with Che Guevara in BoliviaBy Ulises Estrada Ocean Press, 2005327 pages, $28.00 REVIEW BY ALEX SALMON After working clandestinely for over two years in La Paz, Bolivia, and then fighting in the ranks of the Bolivian National
BlowbackWritten and directed by David PledgerNot Yet It's Difficult ProductionsWith Roslyn Oades, Todd MacDonald, Luciano MartucciThe Studio at the Sydney Opera HouseUntil April 29 PREVIEW BY CLAIRE VINCE Award-winning, internationally acclaimed
Connecting Diversity: Paradoxes of Multicultural Australia Forum — Personal experiences, community ties and media engagement through the eyes of 16- to 40-year-olds in locations across Australia. SBS, Saturday, April 29, 3pm. No More Tears Sister
Political FictionWritten by Geoffrey SykesDirected by Robina BeardWith Sarah Doyle, Alan Popely, Marc Kay and Karen CobbanOld Fitzroy Theatre, WoolloomoolooUntil May 6 REVIEW BY LACHLAN MALLOCH An entertaining new play by Geoffrey Sykes suggests
BY JOHN TOMLINSON Autonomy not integrationfreedom not transmigrationindependence not exterminationliving forests not devastationdecency not exploitationfair dealing not expropriationpeaceful lives not annihilationindigenous voice not usurpation.
We Built This CityWritten and directed by Donna JacksonMelbourne Workers TheatreWith Mark SeymourScienceworks, MelbourneUntil May 6 PREVIEW BY MARGARITA WINDISCH At a time when the Howard government has introduced the most reactionary IR