Analysis

On October 31, Victorian planning minister Justin Madden released a report that gave the environmental green light for the dredging of Port Phillip Bay. Channel deepening, which is tied to port expansion, is essential according to the Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) because of the bay’s shallowness. Opponents argue that the risks are too great and that alternatives exist, but the Labor state government has made it clear that it wants the project to proceed.
Almost 90 Western Australian construction workers are due to suffer fines of up to $22,000 each on November 5, after admitting at an October 24 court hearing to taking “unlawful” industrial action in February last year. The workers’ “crime” was to take part in a 400-person strong strike in February 2006 on the city tunnel section of the Perth-Mandurah rail line to demand the reinstatement of their elected health and safety union representative Peter Ballard, who had been sacked by building company Leighton-Kumagai for insisting on maintaining safe working conditions.
On October 21, the day of the “great debate”, Labor leader Kevin Rudd announced Labor’s latest policy to help “working families”. He promised, if elected, to increase the federal government rebate on child care costs from 30% to 50% and to pay the rebate quarterly rather than annually. This promise stands alongside Labor’s pledge to allocate $2.5 billion dollars to allow “working families” to claim 50% of educational costs up to $750 per year for primary school kids, or $1500 for high schoolers. And of course, let’s not forget the “education revolution”.
Guy Pearse — the speechwriter for the federal Coalition environment minister from 1997 to 2000 who blew the whistle last year on the Howard government’s use of Australia’s biggest polluters to write its greenhouse gas emissions policy — visited Melbourne on October 24 as part of an east-coast speaking tour.
In the lead-up to the federal election, your guide to what’s really happening behind the spin of the official campaign.
Anti-war activists have again called for the Australian troops to get out of Afghanistan as a second Australian soldier this month was killed there.
If you’ve sat in front a TV in the past few weeks, you’ll have seen the message: Australians need to get “climate clever” just like the Howard government, which, we’re told, is encouraging and funding new, environmentally friendly technologies such as “clean coal”. In fact, we’re led to believe, the government has put some $3.5 billion in recent years into new methods for combatting climate change.
The infamous “worm” responded positively to PM John Howard’s climate change announcements during Channel Nine’s telecast of “The Great Debate” between Howard and ALP leader Kevin Rudd on October 21.
A call for socialist ideas Speaking at the launch of Socialist Alliance candidate Jim McIlroy’s campaign for the federal seat of Griffith, held by ALP leader Kevin Rudd, veteran socialist and university lecturer Gary MacLennan called for the continuation of the struggle for socialist ideas.
A landmark Federal Court hearing for 96 Western Australian construction workers that begins on October 24 is the most dramatic demonstration yet of the impact of the Howard government’s draconian IR laws.

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