The Australian Manufacturing Workers Unions Western Australian branch has been organising Filipino workers employed in WA on section 457 visas. Joel Asphar, the AMWU organiser responsible for this work, told Green Left Weekly that the campaign to recruit and organise these workers was not something we decided to do. It was out of necessity. I was responsible for the workshops south of the Swan river and there were 550 Filipino workers on 457 visas.
Despite the media fanfare, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, held in Sydney on September 8 and 9, achieved next to nothing in combating global warming.
A motion moved by Australian Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett calling on the government to support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous people was voted down in the Senate on September 10. This comes at a time when the Northern Territory intervention by the Howard Government has started to put boots on the ground in the NT, with few results reported from the mainstream media and serious criticism from Aboriginal and human rights groups.
I think all these unfair tribunals and all this unfairness have to be removed, Derek Belan, NSW state secretary of the National Union of Workers, told Green Left Weekly in response to Labors release of its Forward with Fairness Policy Implementation Plan in late August. If Labor is elected, people are voting that they dont want this stuff. There is a mandate to remove it. People are aware what this stuff means and people want it removed and Labor has to listen.
Green Left Weeklys Graham Matthews asked a number of protesters at the Stop Bush rally in Sydney what motivated them to take part.
Mission accomplished!, boasted NSW Premier Morris Iemma at the end of one of the most aggressive policing operations in Australia for many years. The last public official to use that phrase was US President George Bush, who had just invaded Iraq. Did Iemma mean to link the thousands of protesters in Sydney with the enemy population of Iraq?
Alex Bainbridge, chairing the Stop Bush/Make Howard History anti-APEC rally told the massing crowd that there were at least 10,000 people gathered at 11am at Sydney’s Town Hall. Despite an intensive campaign aimed at keeping people away, and provocative policing on the day, up to 15,000 people come out on September 8, asserting their right to protest against US President George Bush and Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
The Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP), a Marxist tendency in the Socialist Alliance, is now calling for the immediate withdrawal of the Australian troops from East Timor. A meeting of the DSP National Committee resolved to investigate the prospects for building a public campaign around this demand. Peter Boyle, the DSPs national secretary, explained the reasons for this decision to Green Left Weekly
On August 23, NSW education minister John Della Bosca announced the state Labor governments intention to close Macquarie Boys Technology High School in Parramatta by 2009. The school occupies a large site near Parramatta.
Protesters defiance of the APEC security crackdown was clear from early on the morning of September 8 when the NSW police drove their shiny new $600,000 black water cannon, with sirens blazing, past us at Sydney Town Hall. We whistled, gave it the finger, and continued preparing for the biggest anti-war protest in Sydney in more than a year.