Analysis

The ABC’s 7.30 Report on June 11 reported that 200 miners at BHP Billiton’s 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 government’s 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.
In recent years there’s been a concerted campaign by right-wing Vietnamese exiles around the world to resurrect the defunct flag of the old Saigon regime.
The public gallery of the Northern Territory Supreme Court erupted into applause on June 15 when Justice Sally Thomas handed down the sentences for the “Pine Gap Four” — Christians Against All Terrorism members Bryan Law, Jim Dowling, Adele Goldie and Donna Mulhearn — who had the previous day been found guilty of 14 charges under the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act of 1952.
It has become clear in recent weeks the extent to which the NSW and federal governments want to block protests at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Sydney in September.
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.
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.
Tasmanians from all walks of life are up in arms about Gunns’ proposal to build one of the largest pulp mills in the world in the Tamar Valley, near Launceston.
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”.

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