Issue 847

Australia

In the midst of a Federal Election and with the major party leaders equivocating on climate change and a price on carbon, the Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan will be launched at a free public forum in Sydney Town Hall on Thursday 12 August at 6.00 pm.

Hosted by the...

Canberra’s bus service, Action, is trying to impose a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) on bus drivers to undermine their rights at work.

Under the current EBA, 40% of Canberra’s bus drivers are part-time and have to wait four years until they can get full-time work. If the part-...

Food security will be a focus of November’s Climate Change/Social Change conference, being held in Melbourne. An entire workshop stream will be devoted to the topic.

The global food system captures the insanity of production for profit: One in six people in the world are malnourished,...

“I’ve never felt so good about an election”, an upbeat Senator Bob Brown told a packed crowd at Leichhardt Town Hall on July 29. The Greens parliamentary leader urged people to help his party out in the August 21 election in which the Greens hope to win the balance of power in the Senate....

The statement below has been signed by the Australian Socialist Alliance, the Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) and the Indonesian Working People’s Association (PRP).

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We, the undersigned organisations, view with serious concern the possibility of military aggression towards...

Barbara Shaw, a well-known Indigenous activist and leader of the Intervention Rollback Action Group in Alice Springs, said on July 27 that she would stand as a candidate in the Northern Territory seat of Lingiari in the August 21 federal election.

Shaw will stand for the Greens against...

Protesters had coal trains backed up for kilometres at the small mining town of Collinsville, inland from Bowen, north Queensland, on July 26. They were protesting against the dust and noise of the trains, and the plan to upgrade the rail line to bring up to 70 coal trains a day through their...

The Cairns Women’s Network (CNW) has endorsed a planned national day of action for abortion rights on October 9.

“We do not understand why a section of the Qld Criminal Code from 1899 is being used to bring charges against a young Cairns couple in 2010”, said Dr Carole Ford from the...

For 10 years, the former Tip Top bakery site in Brunswick East has attracted ambitious property players who later saw financial ruin. These include disgraced property spruiker Henry Kaye followed by Norm Carey’s property group Westpoint.

Thanks to the new owner, Toll Holding’s CEO Paul...

BRISBANE — To celebrate the 57th anniversary of the start of the Cuban Revolution, the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society organised a night of Cuban poetry readings, live music and food and drinks. On July 26, 1953, Fidel Castro led an attack by opponents of the Batista dictatorship on the...

Ben Courtice, Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Gellibrand, launched his election campaign on July 31 outside the Maribyrnong Detention centre. Courtice told Green Left Weekly the Socialist Alliance calls for an immediate end to mandatory detention and off shore processing....

TOWNSVILLE — More than 230 miners at the Thiess Collinsville Coal Project walked off the job on July 27 over a two-year-old pay dispute. The strike has halted all production at the mine.

Secretary of the Collinsville lodge of the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union Rick Grant told...

On July 27, Cockburn Shire council workers took industrial action in protest to the managements offer of a pay-rise in this years new enterprise bargaining agreement. The workers for the shire, which is in southern Perth, have refused the offer, which falls sort of what they consider fair....

BLUE MOUTAINS — About 60 people filled the Family Hotel bistro on July 24 to see Actively Radical TV's new film on the NT intervention, Alyawarr Walk-Off Protest vs Northern Territory Intervention. The event, organised by Green Left Weekly and the Socialist Alliance, also heard...

The “world’s first dedicated climate election website” Vote Climate, which rates political parties climate change policies, has recommended a vote for the Socialist Alliance in the upcoming August 21 federal elections.

Vote Climate provides detailed policy analysis based on available...

In New South Wales, 96.3% of rail workers have voted in favour of strike action to further their campaign for a new enterprise bargaining agreement. The combined unions campaign committee notified Railcorp this would take the form of a fare-free day involving station staff and transport...

The Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) apparently screened Iraqi film Son of Babylon against the wishes of the filmmakers — who object to the sponsorship of the MIFF by the apartheid state of Israel.

Israel faces an international boycott, divestment and sanctions...

The launch of the Nuclear Freeways Campaign took place outside federal resources minister Martin Ferguson’s office on July 30.

The launch was a send-off for a group of activists from Friends of the Earth who will travel the likely route nuclear waste will be transported from Sydney to a...

World

On July 29, 250,000 power loom workers in Faisalabad, Pakistan’s third largest city, won a 17% pay increase after a nine day strike.

Authorities also agreed to release four unionists arrested during the dispute. The authorities’ backdown came after a march of more than 25,000 striking...

One year after workers occupied the Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight in protest at the company’s decision to cease production, a new organisation, Sureblades set up by former Vestas employees has risen from the ashes. It is due to start making blades within two months just yards...

“It is not just posturing towards Iran, the US has massively increased its presence in Latin America”, Nelson Davila, Venezuelan ambassador to Australia told a July 14 forum. The gathering was part of the “Underground Talk” series at the New International Bookshop at Melbourne Trades Hall....

Police raided and shut down electricity unions across Iraq in mid-July, carrying out an order from the electricity minister that could have been lifted from Saddam Hussein’s rule book.

The order prohibits “all trade union activities at the ministry and its departments and sites” and...

On August 7, Alvaro Uribe will complete his reign as president of Colombia — eight years of spectacular government criminality and corruption, even by Colombian standards. A brief review of just his second term illustrates this.

The Washington Post reported on November 18, 2006...

The recent diplomatic manoeuvres by the US and Colombian governments against Venezuela have put the region on red alert.

There are a clear warning signs that US imperialism has stepped up its plans to overthrow the revolutionary government of Venezuela through military means, as support...

Just hours before coming into effect on July 29, Arizona’s anti-immigrant law SB 1070 had some of its provisions overruled by federal district judge Susan Bolton.

The overruled provisions include:

• The obligation for police officers to determine the immigration status of...

The judge entrusted by Colombia’s Constitutional Court to investigate the legality of an agreement to hand over seven military bases to the US military has deemed the pact unconstitutional because it was not approved by Congress.

The report was handed down by Judge Jorge Ivan Palacio on...

Trade unionists from more than 30 countries met in Caracas for the Third Union Encounter of Our Americas also expressed their support for Venezuela and willingness to mobilise to stop any possible aggression.

“In the face of any attempt by Colombia or any other country, to obstruct the...

Why are the British and US governments saying the leak of military documents about Afghanistan has "put our soldiers at risk"? It's us who have been kept hidden from this information, not the Taliban. For example, many of the revelations are previously hidden details of civilian casualties, but...

On July 29, the leaders of the 12 countries belonging to the Union of the Southern Nations (Unasur) held an emergency meeting in Quito, Ecuador, to discuss the crisis between Venezuela and Colombia.

This was due to the actions of the Colombian ambassador to the Organisation of American...

“If the people keep identifying democracy as a system that is worst [sic] than the Taliban government, the people will support the anti-coalition forces and the security condition will degenerate”, an unnamed member of the Paktya provincial council is quoted in one of 75,000 classified US...

On July 12, six months to the day after January's earthquake, the Haitian government held a ceremony behind the crumbled National Palace.

Before assembled dignitaries from embassies, NGOs, and Haiti’s elite, President Rene Preval and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive draped medals of...

Internationally recognised legal standards are being flagrantly ignored in the treatment of political prisoners from the pro-democracy Red Shirt movement. The prisoners have been detained by the Abhisit Vejjajiva military government since the bloody crackdown against unarmed demonstrators in May...

Early on July 27, Israeli bulldozers, flanked by helicopters and throngs of police, demolished the entire Bedouin village of al Araqib in the northern Negev desert. Despite having land rights cases pending in the court system, hundreds of al Araqib villagers were instantly made homeless a month...

Canwest News Service reported on July 6 that the Canadian parliament’s Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development had, at a secret June 17 meeting, abruptly cancelled a big report on the Alberta tar sands oil mining project and its impacts on water. The parliamentarians even...

Analysis

· Indigenous juveniles aged 10-17 were 28 times as likely as non-Indigenous juveniles to have been detained. Adults are 13 times more likely.
· The infant mortality rate for Indigenous Australians is 9.7 per 1000 live births compared with 4.4 per 1000 live births for non-Indigenous...

Soubhi Iskander is a Socialist Alliance Senate candidate for NSW in the 2010 federal elections. He was born in Sudan and has been a socialist for more than half a century. Despite being jailed and tortured, he remains a committed and active socialist and now is the editor of Green Left...

This federal election both Labor and the Coalition have failed to present any serious policies to address climate change. The Greens on the other hand have a plan to cut emissions, but does it go far enough?

The Coalition’s Tony Abbott rose to the leadership with the backing of a...

The family of Aboriginal elder Mr Ward, who died in the back of a prison transfer van in January 2008, will receive $3.2 million from the WA government. It is in addition to the $200,000 interim payment previously given to the Ward family.

The payment comes in the wake of escalating...

A group of sixty refugee rights activists visited the Villawood Detention Centre on July 25 to take part in a planned soccer match and BBQ with refugees. It was organised by Socialist Alliance and Greens members and supported by the Construction Forestry, Energy and Mining Union (CFMEU) and...

Mortgage rates, we are told, are at historical lows. And yet, according to The experience of Mortgage Distress in Western Sydney report released in June by the University of Western Sydney, some mortgage holders are finding it so hard to pay, they are reduced to eating nothing but rice...

A prolonged industrial dispute is continuing at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) as a result of the ongoing refusal of vice-chancellor Fred Hilmer to bargain in good faith with the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) over staff concerns about pay and conditions — especially job...

On July 25, climate change minister Penny Wong, Australia’s first openly queer government minister, came out against equal marriage rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people.

“On the issue of marriage I think the reality is there is a cultural, religious...

During the lead-up to the federal election, there has been almost total silence on Aboriginal rights and the Northern Territory intervention.

Aboriginal communities and towns across the NT have suffered three years of income quarantining, compulsory leases over land and housing, a...

What do right-wing columnist Gerard Henderson and Australian Workers’ Union national secretary and ALP factional player Paul Howes have in common? A visceral hatred of Greens and socialists.

As the already widespread disillusion with politics-as-usual deepens, the Greens have a chance of...

Prime Minister Julia Gillard seems determined to avoid the facts on asylum seeker issues. In her address to the Lowy Institute on July 6, she claimed an updated United Nations report “confirmed the improved human rights and security situation in Sri Lanka and that displaced people continue to...

The First Nations Political Party (FNPP) is a new party contesting the upcoming federal election. The party will contest two lower house seat a and field a four-person senate ticket in WA. It will also run a senate candidate and content a lower house seat in the Northern Territory.

...

Resistance!

The University of New South Wales' management could face more student protests if it refuses to budge on key issues, the president of the Student Representative Council has told Green Left Weekly.

Osman Faruqi told GLW that management’s decision to stand down about 80 staff had...

After spending over two weeks on the road together, students and activists onboard the New South Wales “Indigenous Solidarity Ride” stopped at Olympic Dam on July 15 to protest against a proposed uranium mine expansion.

The bus riders travelled through rural NSW and South Australia to...

Culture

Wander through the labyrinthine lanes from Chippendale to Marrickville, and it will strike you: Sydney has been hit with a tidal wave of new art galleries.

Galleries like MOP in Chippendale, At The Vanishing Point on south King St and First Draft in Surry Hills are among a new generation...

“Yes, the notable features with iPhone 4 — both the device and the iOS4 — are mostly tweaks”, said a June 22 review on the popular site BoingBoing.net. “But what tweaks they are.”

In the interests of full disclosure, I’ll admit I have no idea what “iOS4” means. But my eye was caught by...

These poems by Iranian poet Mohsen Soltany Zand mark the chasm that has opened around and within us.

A century ago, the war poems of World War I conveyed the futility and horrors of war. By doing so, they expressed a clinging to life.

For instance, Italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti...

Fighting Fund

No one won the so-called Leaders’ Debate on July 27 — not even the “worms”. It was no debate at all, and showed that people and the environment will lose with either the ALP or the Coalition in government.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott hasn’t convincingly shed his climate change...