Analysis

The following letter was sent by Green Left Weekly on May 16 to the editor of the Australia/Israel Review, the journal of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council.

If watching the ABC TV’s drama Bastard Boys is the only information that you have about the Maritime Union of Australia lockout of 1998, then you would probably conclude that the dispute was won by the brilliant tactical skills of Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) secretary Greg Combet and former Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) national secretary John Coombes, and the legal talents of union lawyers.

As Green Left Weekly goes to print David Hicks is on his way back to Australia — to Yalata prison in South Australia. But Lady Justice is sailing off in the other direction.

While there are treatments to slow the progression of AIDS, adding decades to sufferers’ lives, access to them is a case study in the vast gap between rich and poor nations. Few deny that HIV/AIDS is a massive health crisis. What is now clear is that it is also a social one, exacerbated by the contradictions of a world dominated by the wealthy minority of First World countries.

Treasurer Peter Costello's May 8 federal budget was aimed at investing in the future of big business. It cements the government's privatisation agenda, further running down already neglected public services and throwing money at private-profit alternatives. It fails to even begin to address global warming, and contains a further major hike in military spending. At the same time, the government feathered its re-election bid with a rash of small to middling tax cuts.

I held such hope for the Sydney Coroner's inquest into the death of Brian Peters, one of the Balibo Five in East Timor in 1975, because we were promised an open court. But now the rules have been changed to allow vital evidence to be given "in camera", which gives Commonwealth bureaucrats the opportunity to censor that evidence.

Women’s unqualified right to control our own bodies remains a critical question for feminists. An unwanted pregnancy can have a massive impact on all aspects of a woman’s life — her financial situation, employment, mental and physical health, and relationships.

On May 5, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its final working group report, the third in a series, as a part of its Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), aimed at evaluating global warming. The IPCC published its first assessment report in 1990, a supplementary report in 1992, a second assessment report in 1995, and a third in 2001.

Ali Humanyun, a Pakistani queer refugee seeking asylum in Australia, has been incarcerated inside the Villawood detention centre for two years and four months. He was refused a Protection (Class XA) Visa in May 2006 and rejected by the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) in October. Humanyun was not granted legal aid for a Federal Magistrates Court appearance, and so the RRT’s decision was upheld on February 19.

A high-speed rail network powered by 100% renewables would eliminate greenhouse gas emissions produced by long-distance air travel in eastern Australia. Based on a rapid implementation of the French TGV system, Matthew Wright from Beyond Zero Emissions, wants Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane to be linked in this visionary project.

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