Issue 759

News

The chainsaws are poised to enter Wielangta Forest in south-east Tasmania, despite ongoing community opposition and a long legal battle led by Greens senator Bob Brown.
The unjust quarantining of Aboriginal people’s Centrelink benefits, enforced as part of the federal government’s Northern Territory intervention, has been labelled by some as the intervention’s most destructive element.
An anti-privatisation rally calling for the expansion of “renewables, not coal” was held outside NSW treasurer Michael Costa’s Newcastle office on July 14.
“We have escalated this dispute because the members are angry that no real progress has been made on our agreement after five months”, Peter Simpson, Queensland assistant secretary of the Electrical Trades Union, told Green Left Weekly on July 18.
Figures from the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) show that since the election of the Labor government in November, the commission has upped the ante in its witch-hunt of building industry workers.
On November 23, the government of President Hugo Chavez, and the revolution he is leading in Venezuela, will face a serious test. Regional elections will be held nationwide in Venezuela and the results will have a significant impact on the progress of the Bolivarian revolution.
“The world is facing twin disasters in the near future: the coming economic meltdown of the international capitalist system, and the looming climate change crisis”, Jim McIlroy told a Green Left Weekly forum on July 15.
Tasmania Greens leader Peg Putt announced her resignation on July 7 after 15 years in parliament, with Nick McKim replacing her as leader.
A spirited rally of 1500 people protesting against the pope’s reactionary policies took place on July 19 against the backdrop of an important civil liberties victory in the courts.
On July 14, a rally against the corporatisation of Housing Tasmania was organised by the Tenants’ Union of Tasmania. Proposed changes will mean the state housing agency becomes a government-owned business, rather than a government service.
On July 17, 50 people heard Dr Mohamed Haneef’s lawyer, Peter Russo, launch a guide to Australia’s “anti-terror” legislation in Bankstown Town Hall.
Raul Molina — a former Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG) candidate for mayor of Guatemala City, an academic and a refugee advocate now resident in the US — addressed a public meeting on July 4.
A Galaxy poll of 1009 people nationwide found that Australian workers want the hated Work Choices legislation abolished immediately rather than waiting until 2010, the date set by the federal ALP for the repeal of the laws.
Former employees of the sacked Wollongong City Council (WCC) are seeking to expose the culture of sexual harassment and bullying that they say existed in the council workplace for years.

Analysis

On July 3 a funeral was held for Bruce Trevorrow, who passed away peacefully on June 20 after being admitted to intensive care in Sale, south-western Victoria, and suffering a heart attack from which he did not recover. He was surrounded by family members and his wife Veronica.
The following letter was presented by Sam Watson on behalf of Brisbane’s Aboriginal Rights Coalition to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd during a protest outside Rudd’s electorate office on July 14.
Following an extended industrial campaign by the Victorian branch of the Australian Education Union for better wages and conditions including smaller class sizes, Victorian Premier John Brumby announced on May 5 that an agreement had been reached with the union. The deal, which was later ratified by union members, awarded vastly different pay rates to different groups of teachers and failed to address the key issues raised in the teachers’ campaign. The following is a response by AEU member and Teachers Alliance supporter Peter Curtis.
The fact that the NSW Labor government’s World Youth Day laws — which would have made “annoying” Catholic pilgrims during WYD activities a crime punishable by fines of up to $5500 — was a failed attempt to silence criticisms of the Catholic Church was brought home when WYD organiser Bishop Anthony Fisher effectively dismissed criticism of the church’s handling of cases of child sexual abuse by clergy.
Whatever the final detail of the federal government’s carbon emissions trading scheme — the framework of which is contained in the green paper released by climate change minister Penny Wong on July 16 — there’s one thing we can be sure of: it won’t be of much use in cutting Australia’s carbon emissions.
On July 14, the Victorian police moved in to remove a group of protesters from public land near the site of the proposed $3.1 billion desalination plant in Wonthaggi.
Soon after Australian government adviser Professor Ross Garnaut presented his draft climate change review on July 4, world leaders gathered in a Japanese mountain resort for an expanded version of the annual G8 summit meeting.
In November 2006, the G20 — the finance ministers from the 20 biggest economies — plus representatives from the World Bank, met in Melbourne. They were met with protests.
Venezuela has won Miss Universe again. Meanwhile, my friend in Bolivia wrote on her blog that day, “I don’t know if anyone as big as me deserves to be alive”.

World

Only six months into her term as president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner faces a massive crisis following the decision by Vice-President Julio Cobos to vote against Fernandez’s proposed tax increases on food exports, breaking the senate vote deadlock in favour of the opposition.
“As a product of four weeks of meetings between the different currents in the National Union of Workers (UNT), together with important union federations, we have democratically decided, in consultation with the grassroots, that [on September 19-21] we will hold a national congress.
The British lawyer Gareth Peirce, celebrated for defending victims of miscarriages of justice, wrote recently in relation to the conflict in Northern Ireland.
The family of Aidan McAnespie, shot dead by a British soldier after he passed through a checkpoint on the Monaghan/Tyrone border between the Republic of Ireland and the six counties of British-occupied Northern Ireland 20 years ago on his way to a football match, say a new report into his death heralds another phase in their campaign for the truth.
According to a July 15 statement by Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) spokesperson Patrick Craven, a meeting of southern African trade union representatives that day had issued a call for unions to place industrial bans on goods destined for Zimbabwe in solidarity with the struggle for democracy.
The British government has been slammed by the European Court of Human Rights for secretly and illegally monitoring every single telephone call, fax message and e-mail between Ireland and Britain for years.
Below is an open letter from Herman Wainggai of the Australia West Papua Association (AWPA) to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
Pakistan is once again a focal point of an imperialist agenda and the so-called war against terrorism.
Reprinted from Granma International, July 11. For more information on the case of the five Cuban anti-terrorists jailed in the US for their role in infiltrating Miami-based anti-Cuban terrorist groups, or to find out how to get involved in the campaign to free them, visit http://freethefive.org.
The following statement was released by a number of European socialist groups affiliated to the Fourth International. For the list of organisations, visit http://internationalviewpoint.org.
The British government has lost three court cases in its own judicial system over the right of the original inhabitants of the Mauritian islands of Chagos (which includes the strategic US military base on Diego Garcia), to return. The case is currently before the House of Lords Judicial Committee — the court of ultimate appeal.
The below statement was released by Tamil youth living in Australia.
The East Timor and Indonesian Commission for Truth and Friendship (CTF), created by the Timorese and Indonesian governments, submitted its final report on July 14. The report concluded that Indonesian military and civilian officials organised, funded and directed the violence, including torture, rape and murder, that surrounded the 1999 independence ballot in Timor.
ALP defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon has used his first visit to the US to call for an escalation of the war in Afghanistan.
Below is a July 10 statement from the Committees in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES). For more information, visit http://cispes.org.
With the victory of an unlikely opposition candidate in the June 29 election for prefect (governor) of Chuquisaca, the number of opposition-controlled prefectures increased to seven out of nine.
The Peruvian capital of Lima, faced with rapidly rising costs of living, was the epicentre of the protests on July calling for fulfilment of social and wage agreements signed by the government on July 9. Although only one violent incident occurred, some 200 demonstrators were arrested.
On June 11, the axe of Nicaragua’s Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) came down on the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS) and the Conservative Party of Nicaragua (PCN).
“Member countries of Petrocaribe, the Caribbean energy integration organisation that Venezuela initiated in 2005, agreed Sunday to adjust the terms of financing for the purchase of Venezuelan oil in order to lower the impact of soaring oil prices on Caribbean countries”, according to a July 15 Venezuelanalysis.com report.

Culture

The Gruen Transfer
Wednesdays, 9pm, ABC
Executive Action: 634 Ways to Kill Fidel Castro
By Fabian Escalante
Ocean Press, 2006
RRP $28, 229 pages

General

We could see this disappointment coming a mile off. First, Professor Ross Garnaut’s report tells us the global warming problem is dire and demands immediate response, but then, he comes to the diabolical conclusion that we should leave the solution to a dodgy market mechanism: carbon pollution permit trading. Now, the Rudd Labor government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme green paper on this all-important challenge offers to hand the biggest carbon polluting companies free permits to pollute.

Letters

Liberation movements? Marika Dias (GLW #758, "Terrorist turns liberator in the stroke of a pen") needs to be clearer in her suggestions. Is she, or is she not, saying that Hamas is in fact a liberation movement? Some of her readers would

Resistance!

More than one thousand people successfully blockaded the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle on July 13, bringing coal trains to a halt for most of the day. The mass blockade was part of the Camp for Climate Action, held in Newcastle between July 10-15.