Issue 683

Australia

MELBOURNE — Around 150 people attended a party at Trades Hall bar on September 8 to celebrate Jack Thomas' release from Barwon prison. Organised by Civil Rights Defence, the event also raised funds to help the Thomas family pay legal fees
Dale Mills, Sydney NSW Labor Premier Morris Iemma announced on September 5 that he plans to introduce legislation later this month to abolish the "double jeopardy" common-law principle for criminal trials. The principle states that people who have
Kerry Smith, Sydney Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union delegate Barry Hemsworth was sacked on September 6 after 40 years in the mobile crane industry. He is another victim of the Howard government's assault on workers' rights.
Mick Bull, Melbourne On September 4, the trade union movement held a memorial service for the workers' hero John Cummins — "Cummo", as he was known. Three thousand people from all around the country and all walks of life packed the Regent Theatre,
Clive Haggar, Canberra On June 6, the ACT government budget cut 120 secondary and 15 primary teaching positions, 10 itinerant and 90 support staff positions, and has foreshadowed the closure of 39 public preschools and schools. In addition the
MELBOURNE — Lionel Bopage, the former general secretary of Sri Lanka's People's Liberation Front (JVP) party, told a September 5 meeting hosted by Australia-Asia Worker Links that hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankan workers had taken industrial
SYDNEY — "The greatest obstacle to peace in the Middle East is US policy." That's how Dr Bouthaina Shaaban, Syria's minister for expatriates, framed her lecture to 150 people at the University of Western Sydney's Bankstown campus on September 7.
Roxana Fuentes, Sydney On September 6, the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) announced that the ISS office cleaning company had agreed to sign on to the principles of the union's Clean Start: Fair Deal for Cleaners campaign. "Today
Peter Boyle We received this note from a reader last week: "My beloved won $100 cash and asked me to donate it to the Green Left Weekly fighting fund. That's when I noticed that there is no direct deposit details given in the terrific page two
On September 7, Hector Navarro, the former Venezuelan minister for higher education, arrived in Australia as a presidential envoy for Venezuela's socialist president, Hugo Chavez. Navarro, who is visiting the Pacific region on behalf of Venezuela's
Troy McGuinness Earlier this year Australia Post, one of the largest employers in Australia, began cutting full-time jobs at its five country mail centres — Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Seymour and Morwell. This has resulted in a large proportion
CANBERRA — A teachers' strike on September 6 closed all ACT schools for half a day as 2500 teachers rallied outside the ACT legislative assembly. The action was the latest in a six-month pay and staffing dispute (see accompanying article). Clive
The people's champion is laid to rest, by the rank and file your soul is blessed, your casket draped with the flag of stars, for you did not break behind those bars, and behind those bars you served your time, for the workingman's gain is
Marcus Greville, Melbourne On September 8, security guards employed by Chubb Protective Services and organised by the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) rallied outside the State Library to demand that Chubb sign a state-wide
Sue Bolton The Western Australian branch of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union is organising a solidarity protest in Perth on September 28, when 40 metalworkers first face the federal court to fight fines of up to $28,600 each. The AMWU is
Tim Doughney, Melbourne The ugly face of PM Howard's new Australia has been exposed by the actions of Melbourne electrical parts manufacturer Heinemann Electric. The company is refusing to pay its workers for five days that the workers have already
More than 60 people helped on polling day for Socialist Alliance candidate Sam Watson in the Brisbane Central electorate, where Watson ran against Queensland's Labor premier, Peter Beattie. Watson received 1.85% of the vote, campaigning for the

World

Doug Lorimer On September 10, the Chamber of Deputies, the Mexican Congress's lower house, recognised Felipe Calderon as the nation's president-elect, but members of parties that supported his main rival in Mexico's contested presidential election
Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter, Caracas "We are waiting for our Commandante Chavez. That's why we are here. Together, we are going to win the 10 million votes!" That was the explanation of a member of Club of Grandmothers of Catia (a low-income western
Sue Bolton A New Zealand subsidiary of Australian retailing giant Woolworths responded to a 48-hour strike by its employees at distribution centres in Auckland, Palmerston North and Christchurch on August 25 by locking them out. The sudden lockout
The Non Aligned Movement — which draws together 115 Third World nations in opposition to domination by rich nations of the First World — will hold its 14th summit on September 14-15 in Havana. Cuba will assume for a second time the presidency of
On August 28 a judge ruled that 63 members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise were not guilty of breaching the peace, which they had been charged with after a February 14 Valentine's Day "bread and roses" protest outside parliament in Harare. A WOZA
Maritime Union of Australia WA secretary Chris Cain and other MUA members were joined by members of the US International Longshore and Warehouse Union in an unprecedented protest during the 41st International Transport Workers Federation conference
Norm Dixon Readers of Britain's newspapers are regularly accosted with blood-curdling banner headlines screaming of the "thwarting" of potentially catastrophic "terror plots", of "Islamic fanatics" being apprehended in daring midnight raids.
Indonesian non-government organisations say that the investigation into the assassination of Indonesia's foremost human rights defender Munir, who died on September 6, 2004, has reached a dead end. The NGOs, including the Commission for Missing
On August 31 Ghana's government banned an international conference for gay men and lesbians that was due to take place on September 4. Information minister Kwame Bartels said: "Unnatural carnal knowledge is illegal under our criminal code.
Eva Cheng On August 16, the Malaysian Court of Appeal rejected the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) case to be legally registered as a national political party — which it has been fighting since 1998. In his 34-page judgement, appeals court judge
Leo Zeilig The July 30 elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo were the first national elections in the country for more than four decades. In the first round, the sitting president Joseph Kabila took a 45% share of the vote, while his nearest
Eva Cheng Although Chen Shui-bian has won twice in Taiwan's three presidential elections by popular vote — ending the half-century, mainly military, rule of the Kuomintang (the KMT or Nationalist Party) — and his term isn't up until March 2008,
Alex Miller On September 2, close to 400 members of the Scottish Socialist Party attended a Glasgow rally dedicated to "Unity, integrity and socialism". It took place in the wake of the announcement that two former SSP platforms, those controlled by
Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter, Caracas "It is not possible [to accept] the continued massacre of our campesinos [peasants]", Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared during the August 6 edition of Alo Presidente, his weekly TV program. "They [attack]
Federico Fuentes A sea of red greeted Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on September 1, as tens of thousands of his supporters — sporting the chosen colour of the Bolivarian revolution — mobilised in a demonstration of the force behind the
The Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign has launched the 4th National and International Week Against the Apartheid Wall, to be held November 9-16. Under the slogan "We shall stay!", Palestinian communities and their supporters will
Federico Fuentes A growing conspiracy to destabilise the government of Bolivia's first indigenous president, Evo Morales, appears to be reaching a climax. On September 1 right-wing opposition deputies withdrew from the country's constituent
Ilan Pappe A genocide is taking place in Gaza. This morning, September 2, another three citizens of Gaza were killed and a whole family wounded in Beit Hanoun. This is the morning reap, before the end of day many more will be massacred. An average
Vannessa Hearman Major Alfredo Reinado and 56 other men escaped Dili's Becora Prison on August 30. On that day, a report by David O'Shea and John Martinkus on SBS's Dateline alleged links between President Xanana Gusmao and military defectors
Doug Lorimer On August 28, UN secretary-general Kofi Annan told journalists that Israel had committed 70 violations of the UN-ordered truce that ended the assault on Lebanon, compared to four by Hezbollah. Israeli officials argue that their

Culture

Message Stick: The Gathering — Indigenous magazine series presented from the perspective of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. ABC, Friday September 15, 6pm. Shorts On Screen Going To The Dogs — Afghan hounds are welcome in Australia, but
Not Part of the Public: Non-Indigenous policies and practices and the health of Indigenous South Australians 1836-1973By Judith RafteryWakefield Press, 2006 $39.95 REVIEW BY EMMA MURPHY "Black men, we wish you to be happy. But you cannot be happy
An Inconvenient TruthWritten and directed by Davis GuggenheimFeaturing Al GorePresented by Participant ProductionsIn cinemas September 14 REVIEW BY LACHLAN MALLOCH The last time we saw Al Gore on the big screen was that shameful introduction to
Plato's Republic: A BiographyBy Simon BlackburnAllen & Unwin, 2006181 pages, $22.95 (pb) REVIEW BY PHIL SHANNON Has all European philosophy been nothing but a series of footnotes to the ancient Greek philosopher Plato and his book, The Republic,