Issue 841

Australia

A press conference was held on June 23 behind NSW Parliament House calling for an inquiry into 34-year-old Veronica Baxter’s death in custody.

Activists presented 500 signatures to NSW Greens MP Sylvia Hale who undertook to present them to the New South Wales Parliament.

On March...

On June 15, around a 1500 people, representing nearly every union, gathered outside Adelaide Magistrate's court for the first day of a week of rallies supporting construction worker, Ark Tribe, in his battle to defend himself against the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC)....

Stop wasting lives - get our troops out now!

Socialist Alliance statement June 22, 2010

The Socialist Alliance today renewed its call on the Rudd government to withdraw all Australian troops from Afghanistan in wake of more Australian troop casualties...

A wave of rallies and marches commemorating World Refugee Week has begun to sweep across Australia.

On Sunday June 20, people came from all over Melbourne as well as Ballarat, Geelong and other regional areas for the rally, indicating that refugee rights networks are...

100 people picketed the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs on June 18 to protest the third anniversary of the Northern Territory intervention.

Kevin Bracken from the Maritime Union of Austrlalia said “The intervention has turned the clock back 50...

55 people attended a June 11 forum with Peter Inverway, a Gurindji worker from Kalkaringi, who said Gurindji people are being forced to work up to 30 hours a week for Centrelink entitlements.

Inverway said: "I was working on [a] construction site. Working hard for up to 30 hours per...

Green Left Weekly has won a victory in its free speech struggle at Brunswick’s Barkly Square shopping centre. Management stopped our stalls in late November and offered us a completely unacceptable deal.

We began our defence campaign in late February and over the next three...

It’s an unlikely scenario, but former refugee and now human rights advocate Riz Wakil says he’s even willing to take a surfing lesson from Tony Abbott if that means he has the chance to knock some sense into the Coalition leader’s head about his racist refugee policies.

On June 15, GetUp...

A single mother from Melbourne’s northern suburbs has begun a campaign against the sale of racist dolls.

Helen Said was shocked to see golliwog dolls on display when she walked past a gift shop in Epping Plaza in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

Said told Green Left Weekly...

A new Sydney group, Fairness and Justice for Overseas Students, held protests on May 1 and June 12 against changes to the skilled migration program. The changes will affect thousands of Asian vocational students studying in Australia.

Immigration minister Chris Evans announced the...

On June 16, the Queensland Nurses' Union (QNU) condemned the new computerised payroll system that has caused ongoing problems with wage and allowance payments to staff in the public health system.

In a statement the QNU said: "This week will mark the seventh pay run under Queensland...

Thousands rallied around Australia in support of Ark Tribe, a construction worker facing jail for simply failing to attend an interrogation by the construction industry police — the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

Workers held an overnight vigil outside the ABCC...

Tens of thousands rallied around Australia on June 10 in support of the Australian Services Union’s (ASU) pay equity test case for community sector workers.

The ASU has opened a test case with Fair Work Australia under the equal remuneration power of the Fair Work Act. The ASU claim is...

May Day in Caracas, Venezuela, was “deeply inspiring”, Adrian Evans, deputy state secretary of the WA Maritime Union of Australia, told a meeting of 40 people in Fremantle on June 16. Evans travelled to Venezuela as part of the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s 2010 May Day brigade....

The Socialist Ideas Conference, organised by the Socialist Alliance in Perth, is shaping up to be the biggest and most interesting socialist event in Perth for some time.

Alongside international guests such as Malaysian socialist parliamentarian Jeyakumar Devaraj and Green Left...

On June 15, climate sceptics held a forum at the Brisbane Irish Club. This forum was the subject of a protest by climate change activists. Ewan Saunders is the Socialist Alliance candidate for Brisbane who helped organise the protest. His speech is reprinted below....

Protests will take place across the country on July 17 to demand the federal and Victorian state governments close down Australia’s dirtiest power station and replace it with clean energy by 2012.

The call for a national day of action was issued by groups active in the “Replace Hazelwood...

World

Labour history was made when New Zealand had its first shopping mall workers strike on May 25. Workers in JB Hi-Fi in Albany, organised by the militant Unite union, went on strike for better pay and against a culture of bullying and intimidation against union members.

Workers at JB Hi-Fi...

The next time someone tells you that Marx or Marxism is outdated because capitalism is not as exploitative as it was in the 19th century, just crack open your copy of Capital, turn to the chapter on the working day, and compare its vivid depiction of the brutalisation of the British...

Ethnic violence against the Uzbek minority in the southern Kyrgyz cities of Jalalabad and Osh has created more than 400,000 refugees and internally displaced people. The official death toll is more than 200, but Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva told the June 16 Washington Post that the...

The tar sands mining project in Alberta, Canada, is possibly the largest industrial project in human history and critics claim it could also be the most destructive.

The mining procedure for extracting oil from a region referred to as the "tar sands," located north of Edmonton, releases...

Reza Shahabi and Saeed Torabian, two executive committee members of the Trade Union of the Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company, have been arrested and are held at unknown locations.

Shahabi, treasurer of the union, was arrested on June 12 as he clocked in at work. Four security agents...

The publication of the Saville Report, the inquiry into the British army massacre of 14 civil rights protestors in Derry in the north of Ireland in 1972, confirmed what the victims’ families had always known — that those shot had been unarmed and posed no threat to the British Parachute Regiment...

The murder of international peace activists on the Gaza flotilla by Israeli commandos marks a turning point in the international standing of the state of Israel. Even though we witnessed the horrific violence in Lebanon in 2006 and then in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza in 2008, Israel has...

On June 15, something amazing happened: British Prime Minister David Cameron apologised for the British army shooting Irish people.

“It was wrong”, said Cameron, after a government inquiry found the British army was responsible for the killing of 14 unarmed civil rights demonstrators,...

Two million Spanish workers participated in a public sector strike on June 8. A general strike in the Basque country has been called for June 29. Spanish unions have called a nationwide general strike for September 29 and the European Trade Union Confederation is currently attempting to organise...

British Petroleum (BP) has admitted it may not stop the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico until August — at the earliest. But despite the catastrophe, the US government’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) has given BP new leases for deepwater drilling.

The MMS has rubber-...

On June 11 at the close of climate talks in Bonn, Germany, UN climate chief Yvo de Boer tried to put a positive spin on the outcome. “This all in all is a big step forward making much more possible in Cancun”, he said, referring to the next big climate conference that takes place in Mexico in...

Two days after the flotilla massacres on May 31, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt announced in response to mass demonstrations in Cairo and across the world, that Egypt was opening the Rafah border crossing, breaching the siege of the Gaza Strip that holds its 1.5 million people in a...

Multinational oil companies in Nigeria spill more oil every year than has been spilled by BP in the Gulf of Mexico. Unlike the gulf disaster, most people are unaware of this ecological crime.

There have been major spills in Nigeria since BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20,...

The Venezuelan National Assembly (NA) is considering a bill to decriminalise abortion, but only in restricted cases, the June 10 Ultimas Noticias reported.

It was one of the proposals of the committee for the rights of women in the NA. It is part of a raft of proposals to be...

Israel stands increasingly isolated following its attack on the peace flotilla, in which nine Turkish activists on board the Mavi Marmara were murdered and many more wounded.

The attack on the flotilla, like the siege of Gaza, is aimed at demoralising Palestinians and their...

One week after Israel massacred peace activists on the high seas, the United Nations Security Council decided to implement sanctions — not against Israel, but rather Iran. Iran’s nuclear program, which was the reason for the sanctions, doesn’t include nuclear weapons nor the capacity to produce...

Many Australian football fans left Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium early on June 13 following Australia’s particularly dismal four-nil loss against Germany. Had they remained they would have witnessed scenes more dramatic than any that had unfolded on the field, when police violently attacked 500...

Analysis

Breaking story (last updated June 25): Socialists and progressive trade union and social movement activists have reacted sceptically to the leadership change in the Australian Labor Party (ALP) federal government of Australia. Julia Gillard displaced Kevin Rudd as PM on June 24...

An internationally renowned academic in the field of Islamic and Gender Studies, Dr Samar Habib, says pressure from management at the University of Western Sydney caused her to resign from her staff teaching position.

Habib said she felt under intense pressure from the university while...

Myself and eight other people were arrested at the gates to Swan Island defence intelligence training base near Queenscliff in Victoria on June 16. We did this to protest the Australian government's continued participation in the occupation of Afghanistan.

Our day began with 40 people...

It was the good news of the month on the Australian economic front. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) announced on June 10 that the official unemployment rate had dropped to 5.2%. But economic commentators have warned that this is close to the lowest level of unemployment the economy can...

Large mining companies enjoyed a huge profit margin of 46.1% in 2008/9, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on May 28. The mining sector as a whole has a profit margin of 37.1%, making it the most profitable sector in the economy, with professional and...

The National Rugby League (NRL) establishment is in damage control once again after one of the game's stars took a courageous stand against racism in the sport.

Star centre Timana Tahu quit the New South Wales State of Origin team on June 11 in protest against racism directed towards an...

Andrew John Brent is an activist with Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH). He recently visited Villawood dentention centre to speak with Leela, a queer Tamil refugee from Sri Lanka. This is his story. More information on the campaign to...

A recent survey, the results of which are published in Speaking Out: Stopping homophobic and transphobic abuse in Queensland, was yet another reminder that that Australia's lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex (LGBTI) community continue to suffer abuse and victimisation in silence...

Kiama Municipal Council will sign an open letter to the NSW government calling for no new coal-fired power stations.

Greenpeace, who initiated the letter campaign, says the NSW government plans to approve two new coal power stations in Lithgow and the Hunter Valley. If built, they would...

Traditional owners of Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory have launched a federal court challenge over a proposed nuclear waste dump on their land.

A small group of traditional owners signed a deal for $12 million in exchange for roads, housing and infrastructure, but senior elders...

Lesbians, gays, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people across the world have rejected Israel’s brutal occupation of Gaza and are coming out in support of the boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) campaign.

In the wake of Israel’s bloody attack on the Freedom Flotilla and murder of...

Muckaty Voices is a 10-minute video documentary that tells the story of the Muckaty traditional owners opposed to a radioactive waste dump on their country.

Traditional Owner Dianne Stokes said: “We made the video throughout the Warlmanpa land. It is all of the Milwayi story....

Attempts by Tahmoor mineworkers to negotiate with mining giant Xstrata have collapsed yet again after the company refused to budge during mediated talks in May. For 20 months, the Construction, Forestry, Mining, Energy Union (CFMEU), has been trying to negotiate an agreement.

Mineworkers...

Jeff Carrol, Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) seafarer, was on the Front Puffin when the burnt bodies of Afghan refugees from Ashmore Reef were hauled onboard a year ago.

On June 7, he was with the Tamil refugees from the Oceanic Viking in the union rooms as they...

The federal Labor government plans to extend welfare quarantining across the Northern Territory.

The law reforms are designed to circumvent the reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act, suspended in 2007 when quarantining was first imposed on Aboriginal people as part of the NT...

Ruth Ratcliffe works in the community sector in the southern suburbs of Adelaide. She is an activist in the Adelaide climate action movement and has supported many other campaigns for social justice including the campaign against the racist Northern Territory...

After seven years, the police officers responsible for the killing of Palm Island Aboriginal man Mulrunji Domadgee — and the cover-up that followed — may face new charges as a result of a Crimes and Misconduct Commission (CMC) report.

In November 2004, Mulrunji was found dead in a Palm...

Green Left Weekly’s Niko Leka spoke to refugee advocate Saradha Nathan. Last year, Nathan travelled to Indonesia with other refugee advocates, to inspect conditions in Australian-funded detention centres there and take aid and visa application forms to...

Culture

“[We are] saddened by the mixture of politics and sports.”

So said a spokesperson for the Israeli Football Association in response to news on April 31 that the Turkish under-19 soccer team cancelled its match in Israel. Turkey's team made the move following the Israeli Navy's attack on...

Late last year Western Australian artist Nathalie Haymann exhibited thirty-six artworks based on the book "A Certain Maritime Incident — the Sinking of the SIEVX" in Fremantle. The showing commemorated the 2001 sinking of a refugee boat off the coast of Australia — a crime against humanity...

The Runaways tells the story of what is considered to be the first all-female instrumental rock band.
With artistic licence, the film provides a good depiction of the crippling stereotypes that women in the music industry and throughout society have to contend with and undermine...

Each US Memorial Day long weekend begins the annual summer harvest for Hollywood studios as their blockbusters open. This year Sex and the City 2, Prince of Persia and Shrek 4 led the way.

It was a disaster, with the worst Memorial Day weekend takings in nine...

Fighting Fund

According to a recent study by the United States Geological Survey, Afghanistan has nearly one trillion dollars in mineral deposits. The study claimed to have found previously unknown reserves of lithium, gold, cobalt and other minerals.

According to the New York Times: “An...