The NSW government is planning to give police extraordinary powers of arrest and detention around the time of the APEC summit in Sydney in September. Activists planning the protest when US President George Bush is in town say the new powers are about intimidation, not public safety.
Since community opposition stopped plans for a national nuclear waste dump in South Australia, John Howard seems determined to now go for a site in the Northern Territory despite promising not to and opposition from Indigenous custodians.
The ABCs 7.30 Report on June 11 reported that 200 miners at BHP Billitons iron ore mine at Mount Newman in Western Australia had signed a petition complaining about an atmosphere of intimidation and victimisation of workers on individual agreements (AWAs). The workers petition complained that management was forcing them to work in unsafe conditions and warned that a serious accident was likely.
The Howard governments so-called fairness test for all new workplace agreements (individual contracts and collective agreements) is destined to become law, with Labor Party support, before the end of June. The legislation, which purports to guarantee fairness to workers who trade off their entitlement to penalty rates, overtime pay and holiday leave loading, passed through the House of Representatives on May 29.
Under pressure to prove his government has answers to the global warming crisis, on June 3 PM John Howard backed the corporate polluter-friendly recommendations of his Task Group on Emissions Trading, set up on December 10.
The Australian government has recently come under fire for the inefficiency of its overseas aid programs, particularly in the Asia Pacific. The June 4 Sydney Morning Herald reported that more and more aid destined for the region was being lost in administrative costs or dished out to private corporations in the name of “development”.
The trial of the “Pine Gap Four” in Alice Springs is continuing with the Crown lawyer arguing that the jury should not be determining the reasonableness of the activists’ actions. Michael Maurice QC argued that, “Engaging in activities to disrupt the implementation of public policy can never be reasonable”.
Global warming, workers rights and opposition to the Iraq war are key campaigns this year, a Socialist Alliance state conference on May 19 decided.
Green Left Weekly is committed to social justice and environmental sustainability, speaks out against capitalism, and sides with the marginalised and oppressed. But it is silent on the plight of the most oppressed group of all non-human animals, notably those exploited by the animal agriculture industry.
Having just visited Cuba — and as a former head of public health for the Perth east metropolitan region and former chairperson of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners — it was obvious to me that the 45-year US trade embargo against the island-state has seriously affected its ability to provide health services to its people.