Analysis

Greens leader Senator Bob Brown has called on the new Rudd Labor government to scrap the pulp mill that has been approved to be built in northern Tasmania. Brown has pointed to the strong Greens vote that helped the ALP regain all lower house seats in Tasmania as a mandate to stop the mill.
On November 16, NSW deputy coroner Dorelle Pinch ruled that five journalists from Australia’s Seven and Ten commercial TV networks who died in the East Timorese town of Balibo on October 16, 1975, were not killed by crossfire (which is what Australian authorities have previously maintained) but were deliberately murdered by invading Indonesian forces, on orders from above in what Pinch ruled to be a “war crime”.
The first round of official talks to negotiate a global climate change agreement to follow on from the Kyoto Protocol in 2012 will be held in Bali, Indonesia, on December 3-14. Representatives of 130 countries will attend, ostensibly to begin a two-year negotiating process.
Despite opposition from farmers and consumers, big-business biotech companies scored a major victory on November 27 when both the New South Wales and Victorian governments gave the green light to the commercial cultivation of genetically modified food crops. This opens the gate for pro-GM groups to lobby other states which have not yet agreed to commercial production of GM crops.
Kevin Rudd’s election provides an opportunity for Australia and Aboriginal people to repair the damage caused by the Howard years. Rudd’s intention to apologise to the Stolen Generations already indicates a positive change of national policy towards Aboriginal people and should he remove the NT emergency laws, Aboriginal reconciliation will be further enhanced.
“Now that Labor has decisively won the federal election, it is urgent that Australian troops be withdrawn from Iraq as soon as possible”, Jim McIlroy, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Kevin Rudd’s seat of Griffith, said after the announcement that Labor had defeated the Howard government. McIlroy also called for an end to Australian support for the war in Afghanistan. “All Australian forces should be brought home by Christmas.
“It’s time for a new page to be written in our nation’s history” — Prime Minister-elect Kevin Rudd, November 24.
The first negotiations between the state government and Victorian teachers following a 10,000 strong November 21 stop-work meeting bore no fruit according to a November 30 press release by the Australian Education Union’s (AEU) Victorian branch.
The November 24 rout of the Howard government owed much to the work of the organised labour movement. Of the marginal Coalition seats targeted by the Your Rights at Work (YRAW) campaign, 20 of 24 have fallen to Labor (including John Howard’s own seat of Bennelong); the other four remain in doubt. Most of those who voted for Labor did so believing that Labor would abolish Work Choices, as promised by Kevin Rudd on October 14, the official start to the election campaign. Yet Labor’s industrial relations policy — Forward with Fairness — promises only minimal changes, replacing the Coalition’s legislation with “Work Choices Lite”.
Prime Minister-elect Kevin Rudd’s phone call with US President George Bush on November 25, the day after the election, was a reminder about the incoming Labor government’s commitment to the Australia-US military alliance. The government may have changed, but Canberra’s commitment to Australia’s participation in foreign wars and occupations hasn’t.

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