Issue 755

Australia

Between June 10-13, NSW Nurses Association (NSWNA) branches met to consider the state government’s paltry offer of a 3.9% wage rise over one year, with strings attached.

Opponents of the proposed Traveston Crossing Dam on the Mary River, inland from the Sunshine Coast, are preparing for a mass protest march to the Queensland ALP state conference on June 21.

Tim Anderson’s new documentary on the East Timor-Cuba health cooperation program is an inspiration. The Doctors of Tomorrow, which was launched at a screening on June 12 hosted by NSW Greens MLC John Kaye, was filmed in both countries, and documents the human face of Cuba’s profound international solidarity.

Resistance activist Naomi Rodgers-Falk and Socialist Alliance’s Margaret Gleeson led a roundtable discussion with 25 others on “Solutions to the global food crisis” at Northey Street City Farm on June 8.

CSIRO staff took protest action in Melbourne and Geelong on June 13 over stalled enterprise bargaining agreement negotiations. The CSIRO Staff Association is part of the Community and Public Sector Union.

A morning rally of 50 in City Place on World Environment Day, June 5, demanded action for sustainable transport. Renee Lees from Cairns Action for Sustainable Transport (CAST) pointed out that the current Cairns transport plan proposes only that a minimum of 10% of passenger travel should be by public transport by 2036.

Around 200 people joined a “Walk for Peace and Unity in Zimbabwe” on June 8, organised by the group Australians Supporting Zimbabwe. Gathering at the Peace Pagoda at South Bank, they walked along the Brisbane River bank to Davies Park for an information session and BBQ.

A Chinese man, Pang Pang, was deported back to Tian Jing province last week from Sydney’s Villawood detention centre. After he had been placed into State 1 at Villawood — the immigration prison’s maximum security area — he had asked to see his case officer. No-one came to see him for two weeks, and he was subsequently deported.

A group of Japanese consumer representatives currently visiting Western Australia have been assured by Labor Premier Alan Carpenter that the state’s current moratorium genetically modified (GM) organisms will not be removed. The assurance was made during parliamentary question time on June 11.

While the increasing censorship of art made headlines with the police raid and confiscation of Bill Henson’s work in Sydney, this is far from a stand-alone case of political interference in art.

As Green Left Weekly goes to print, public school teachers in South Australia are planning to strike on June 17. It will be the first all-day stopwork the SA Australian Education Union (AEU) has called in over ten years.

Despite the longstanding water supply crisis in Queensland, big business continues to guzzle water.

Anticipating a report scheduled to be released by the office of federal resources minister Martin Ferguson in about a month, NT Labor Senator Trish Crossin told the ABC on June 10 that the Northern Territory could be home to a nuclear waste dump.

Who says Australians are too laid back, lazy and spend most of their time holidaying? This myth has been shattered with the findings of a global survey conducted by online travel company Expedia, which revealed that of all study participants Australians were the least likely to take their annual leave entitlements.

More than 100 people rallied in Wollongong’s mall on June 7 for World Environment Day. Organised by the Wollongong Climate Action Network (WCAN), the action was in opposition to the proposed sell-off of NSW electricity and plans to build a new coal-fired power station.

World

On June 5, the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five — the five Cubans who infiltrated right-wing anti-Cuban terrorist groups in Miami and have been imprisoned in the US since 1997 — issued a statement condemning the decision the previous day by an Atlanta court of appeals to uphold the sentences against the men.

Two representatives of Guam’s Chamoru people are visiting Australia. Lisa Natividad and Julian Aguon are fighting against the militarisation of their land by the US.

The pro-corporate European Union Lisbon treaty has been rejected by voters in a referendum in the Republic of Ireland, according to a June 13 BBC.co.uk report.

The six anti-war activists who occupied arms manufacturer Raytheon’s offices in Derry and destroyed its computers — part of the Raytheon 9 who took part in the action — have been acquitted by a jury in Belfast on June 11.

The voices of those who know how to help Burma are all but extinguished by a virus called the “war on terror”.

Nepal, a small landlocked nation in the Himalayas wedged between China and India, is an incredibly poor and underdeveloped nation.

“We talked about Iraq, how Iraq is changing for the better, how people are beginning to realize the blessings of a free and peaceful society” — such statements from US President George Bush started looking increasingly surreal for even the most fervent supporters of the Iraq invasion long before the war had seen out its first anniversary.

“I am on a bus roof top for two hours. I cannot tell how many have started from Lahore for the Long March to Islamabad but everywhere there are heads and heads. It is going beyond our expectations.”

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale, a heroic struggle in which, between October 1987 and June 1988, in some of the fiercest fighting in Africa since the Second World War, the South African Defence Forces (SADF) were humiliatingly defeated by liberation forces in Angola.

The Tuzla Shipyards in Istanbul entered the spotlight last year with the back-to-back deaths of five workers in 12 days. Most recently, on May 18, a 31-year-old welder, Murat Caliskan, was sacrificed in the drive for profit.

“The Penobscot Nation is committed to continue our efforts until the fish, wildlife and plants are safe to eat, and the sacredness is restored to the river. Only then will our culture be whole again …”

Venezuela, along with Argentina, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Bolivia, criticised the final declaration of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Summit in Rome on June 5, arguing that the document failed
to identify the true causes of rising food prices, such as agricultural subsidies and unequal trade policies imposed by developed countries.

“Once they got their wages, [the workers] occupied the installations and demanded that the company go, then they occupied the offices and demanded that the administration of Sincreba [Merida Waste Incineration and Recycling System] retire”, Simon Rodriguez told Green Left Weekly on the peaceful take-over by its workers of the Solid Waste Processing Plant in Merida in September last year.

Fuel price hikes have always sparked widespread mass protests in Indonesia since the overthrow of the dictator Suharto in a popular uprising in 1998. However, the timing this year was special.

A Filipino left activist wrote in a June 12 post on the Green Left discussion list: “The fuel-hike protests in the Philippines are now underway. As I write 100 trucks and 500 pedi-cab (tricycle drivers) are marching to Mendiola, Malacanang Palace.

Below is a June 3 statement from the International Trade Union Confederation. Visit http://www.ituc-csi.org.

Analysis

SA Unions secretary Janet Giles may face expulsion from the ALP for giving a speech critical of the ALP state government at a fundraising dinner organised by the Communist Party of Australia (CPA).

The state aid debate of recent years has raised some issues that have, until now, largely been neglected. One of these is the extent to which the Catholic education system, which relies heavily on the public purse, is fulfilling its own objectives.

Abortion is the second most commonly performed surgical procedure for women in Victoria and, according to the World Health Organisation, one of the safest in the world. However it is singled out to be the only medical procedure in the Victorian Crimes Act, making it a criminal offence.

Take a moment to commiserate with Glen Stevens, governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia who, after a year working hard for the budget bottom line, only received a pay rise of 4.3%. By contrast, last year he scored a 6% increase for his efforts.

The paternalistic Northern Territory intervention, started up under the Howard Coalition government, and continued by the Rudd Labor government, has reignited the push for Aboriginal control of Aboriginal affairs.

There has been a lot of speculation in the mainstream media about whether or not Labor PM Kevin Rudd’s honeymoon with “the electorate” (that is media-speak for us) is over.

On June 9, PM Kevin Rudd announced that Australia would be forming an international commission to work towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The minister for Indigenous affairs, Jenny Macklin, announced a review committee on June 6 for the federal intervention into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.

The announcement came as the widely criticised intervention — often referred to as the "NT invasion" — approaches its 12-month anniversary on June 21. The terms of reference for the review are limited to assessing the intervention's progress and improving its implementation and "service delivery".

These days, the city of Wollongong is famous for all the wrong reasons.

Letters

Nuclear solution

Zane Alcorn (Write On, GLW #751) appears so overly concerned with avoiding nuclear power that he seems to forget that the real enemy is global warming. Nuclear power already plays a far more important role curtailing emissions

General

I declare a personal interest in this story. In 1976, I worked for a year in a James Hardie factory in Western Australia. We were producing asbestos cement sheets; at that time still a popular building material.

In the early morning of June 4, Malaysian activist, and one of my best friends, Toni Kasim passed away after an all-too-brief struggle against an aggressive cancer.

Resistance!

Young people today are angry: there are major and urgent problems in our society including global food shortages, a rise in oil prices — which will send millions into greater poverty — and the build-up of greenhouse gas emissions.

Culture

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Directed by Andrew Adamson

Based on the Chronicles of Narnia books by C.S. Lewis

In cinemas

Sex in the City

Directed by Michael Patrick King

With Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Kim Cattrall

In cinemas

Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War

By Joe Bageant

Scribe, 2007

$32.95 (pb)

Embassy Days: Pt 2 — Follows the confrontations in Canberra in 1972 that gave birth to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and the evolution of the Aboriginal land rights movement. ABC, Friday, June 20, 6pm.

Goodbye Lenin! — October, 1989 was a bad

Ningla a-Na

Produced & directed by Fabio & Alessandro Cavadini

Distributed by Smart Street Films

Screening by the Inner West Film Fanatics, Petersham Bowling Club, June 24 at 7.00 pm

http://www.thepbc.org.au or email innerwestfilmfanatics@yahoo.com.au&