Analysis

Jasmine Ali was found not guilty on June 26 on charges relating to her involvement in a February 22 protest against US Vice-President Dick Cheney. The same day that she appeared before the court, the NSW government’s APEC Meeting (Policing Powers) Bill passed unamended through the NSW upper house. Ali was the second of two Cheney protesters to win court cases. There are six more trials to take place.

During the last year the global warming debate has reached a turning point. Due to the media hype surrounding Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth, followed by a new assessment by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the climate sceptics have suffered a major defeat.

The good news is that Australian politicians and corporations are finally recognising that there is an environmental crisis. The bad news is that the “solutions” being promoted by the establishment define what is realistic for capitalism, so the “need” for big business to remain profitable sets the parameters of what is “possible”.

Two of the world’s worst climate vandals — US President George Bush and PM John Howard — are preparing their lofty green rhetoric in the lead-up to the so-called “climate change” Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Sydney in September.

PM John Howard’s decision to “take control” of 60 to 70 Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory began to be implemented on June 27 when the first Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers flew into the Aboriginal township of Mutitjulu, near Uluru. The police officers were met by a large community delegation demanding answers.

Dr Gary MacLennan, a long-time socialist activist and lecturer in creative industries at the Queensland University of Technology, was suspended for six months without pay on June 6. He, along with a colleague, Dr John Hookham, was charged with misconduct following the publication of an article in the Australian that criticised a PhD film project that mocked the disabled. Students and staff launched a support campaign for the two suspended lecturers which has linked up with a struggle against QUT’s decision to close down the school of humanities and human services.

Leaders of the Mutitjulu community have questioned the need for a military occupation of their small community. Below is an abridged version of their June 27 statement.

One of the major issues on which the next federal election will be fought is Work Choices, the “revolutionary” new workplace relations system the Howard government is taking credit for. Yet it was invented by the taxi industry mafia decades ago. It is called the bailee-bailor agreement and we cabbies — mugs that we are — have put up with it with barely a whimper.

Aboriginal activist and legal director of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre Michael Mansell has questioned whether PM John Howard is accurately reading the report he claims motivated his new push into Aboriginal communities. The following is abridged from a June 25 press statement issued by Mansell.

I hope that when Kevin Rudd speaks of zero tolerance on lawlessness he means that bosses who kill workers with unsafe work practices will be jailed, and workers who have had their entitlements stripped away by employers, with the backing of the Howard government, will see justice.

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