Analysis

In early August, NSW Premier Morris Iemma announced plans to build a new gas-fired baseload power station. He proudly stated that this power station would have lower emissions than the coal-fired alternative.
Independent journalist and film-maker John Pilger has just released a new film, The War on Democracy. Set in Latin America and the US, the film outlines the US-led destruction of democracy in successive Latin American countries since the 1950s and the significant reversal of that tide today. The film includes an exclusive interview with Venezuela’s socialist President Hugo Chavez. Green Left Weekly’s Emma Murphy spoke to Pilger about the issues raised in the film.
That opinion poll results, released on September 18, showing the Howard government trailing the ALP opposition by 10% were widely reported as good news for the federal government is an indication of the dire straits that the Liberal-National Coalition is in. While these figures do represent a comeback from those of the previous week, which had the Coalition 18% behind the ALP, the government has consistently been more than 10% behind the opposition all year.
Following a meeting in Alice Springs on September 12-14, attended by some 100 Aboriginal people from across Australia, a new, independent political body for Aboriginal Australians is being established, the National Aboriginal Alliance.
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 Labor’s release of its Forward with Fairness Policy Implementation Plan in late August. “If Labor is elected, people are voting that they don’t 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 Weekly’s 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.

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