Australian News

Under a scheme about to be rolled out by the Rudd government, Aboriginal communities living in remote parts of Australia will be forced to bargain for access to public housing by surrendering control of their land for at least 40 years.

US imperialism’s war of terror and solidarity with Palestine will be big features of the World at a Crossroads conference to be held in Sydney from April 10-12.

Five hundred women marched in Sydney on March 7 to celebrate International Women's Day. Speakers demanded six months' paid maternity leave for all women; free, safe abortion on demand and free, quality child care. Other speakers urged women to fight

Maintenance workers at the Foster’s Abbotsford plant voted on March 3 to accept redundancy packages from the company.

On February 20, more than 200 workers were fired without pay from the Lavington-based Drivetrain automotive parts factory in Albury, New South Wales, as the company entered receivership.

A March 2 open letter to minister for climate change Penny Wong has described the federal government’s climate policy as “completely out of step with both current climate science and targets in other developed countries”. The open letter was endorsed by 65 climate action groups (CAGs).

As the Western Australian Coalition government slashes the state budget, vital community services for refugees are feared to be among the first to go.

Government ministers have called on private employers not to sack staff in response to the economic crisis (a call that the company bosses have predictably ignored). Yet the government has been sacking its own workers.

When the federal industry minister Kim Carr announced the ALP government would give the car industry $6.2 billion in taxpayers’ money in November, he declared that it amounted to a “new beginning”.

Deputy PM Julia Gillard’s outspoken support for Israel’s attack on Gaza earlier this year prompted angry criticism from many, including from inside her own party.

Two hundred workers and supporters protested outside the Pacific Brands factory in Wentworthville, Western Sydney on March 6 in response to the clothing company’s plans to slash 1850 jobs around the country.

Supporters of Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution gathered at the Queensberry Hotel on February 21 to celebrate 10 years of the revolution and the “yes” vote in the February 15 referendum. The referendum removed the constitutional barrier to President Hugo Chavez seeking re-election.

While two student unions have recently passed motions in solidarity with Palestinians, ALP students withheld quorum at a Sydney university Student Representative Council meeting set to vote on a similar motion on February 18.

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union has been blockading the site of the new children’s hospital construction project in Parkville. The blockade is a response to the sacking of Joe Angelino, a shop steward who is also a health and safety representative.

Inspired by the January 31-February 3 national Climate Action Summit in Canberra, on February 21 WA activists formed the Coalition for a Safe Climate.

The only hope for stopping climate change is the political movement fostered by the recent Climate Action Summit and the groups forming all over the country, according to author Clive Hamilton at a February 25 meeting at the University of Western Australia.

The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) is locked in dispute with rogue electrical contractor company John Goss, which is pushing a non-union agreement that locks in a four-year wage freeze for apprentices, offers only an 8% pay rise over four years to tradespeople, and tears up the 36-hour working week calendar.

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) has accused the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) of bullying tactics and using its coercive powers to attack press freedom, in a statement released on February 27.

The militant actions of the South African dock workers who refused to offload goods from Israeli ships during the Gaza massacre was an important boost for the international solidarity movement.

On February 12, Foster’s Australia announced its decision to axe 115 maintenance jobs from its Abbotsford plant in Melbourne, where it makes a large proportion of its beer products, including Victoria Bitter and Carlton Draught.

At National Tertiary Education Union meetings on February 23 and 24, Victoria University staff voted to take rolling strike action across all VU campuses.

Pacific Brands — manufacturer of Bonds, Yakka, King Gee and other clothing brands — has decided to close a number of smaller brands and restructure its business, with the slashing of 1850 jobs over the next 18 months across Australia.

SYDNEY— After a week of morning community assemblies at Circular Quay, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has won a collective agreement with the private operators of the new fast ferry service to Manly.

“The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) plans to shed thousands of full-time jobs and drastically increase outsourcing in areas including debt collection, tax refund management and business activity statements as part of a new efficiency drive”, according to the February 13 Australian Financial Review.

Telstra workers, members of the Communications Plumbing and Electrical Union and the Community and Public Sector Union, took 24-hour strike actions nationally (except Victoria on account of the recent bushfire tragedy) on February 9.

One month after 400 people entered an Upper Florentine “exclusion zone” to protest against the logging of old-growth forests in Tasmania on January 18, charges of trespass have been laid against 11 people.

Resistance members set up an ‘Israeli military checkpoint’ outside Flinders Street train station to call on the state government to not renew Connex’s contract to run Melbourne’s train system.

In minutes released of its February 17 board meeting, the Reserve Bank of Australia flags that its cuts to official interest rates may slow. It seems that the financial gurus at the RBA are unhappy that their cuts to interest rates (passed on only in part by the banks to home-buyers, and even less to credit-card debtors), have failed to stimulate enough spending.

“One quarter of a million people are trapped between a concentration camp and a war zone”, said Nish Vivekananthan, a young Tamil speaking on the current situation in Sri Lanka, at a public meeting on February 19 in Footscray.

On February 13, more than 100 people rallied outside the Moorabool Street 7-Eleven in the heart of Geelong, Victoria.

Such is the outrage caused by Israel’s latest attack on Gaza in December-January that even some local governments in New South Wales have passed, or are considering, motions condemning the attack and calling on the Australian government to ban the sale of any military material to Israel.

One hundred people marched through Redfern on February 14 to mark the fifth anniversary of the death of a young local Aboriginal man, TJ Hickey.

Hickey was impaled on a fence, allegedly as a result of a police vehicle chasing him and ramming his

Sixty women gathered outside the Tasmanian parliament on February 13 — the day before Valentines Day — to urge Premier David Bartlett to not "tear the heart out of Tasmania".

The women invited Bartlett on a "Valentines Day date" to the

The ACT Legislative Assembly debated draconian anti-bill posting legislation on February 11. The legislation was introduced by the ALP.

The proposal penalties for putting up posters would be $10,000 for individuals — including event organisers

Thirty-five people packed into the Activist Centre on February 13 to hear Dr Brian Seneviratne speak on the present situation in the Tamil regions of Sri Lanka. The meeting was hosted by the Socialist Alliance.

Seneviratne, who was born into the

Twenty people attended a meeting to discuss the need for greater solidarity with Palestine on February 11.

The meeting, organised by the Socialist Alliance, featured Abe Quadan, a Council member of the Centre of Peace and Conflict Studies at the

— In late following the riots on Palm Island after death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee in 2004. Wotton was charged under anti-rioting legislation.

Sydney's inner-west Film Fanatics has made an appeal to Queensland's governor Penelope Wensley

As soon as the devastation of the Victorian bushfires became known, unions began organising to help bushfire victims.

Although the parish priest of St Mary’s Catholic Church in South Brisbane, Father Peter Kennedy, was summarily sacked on February 6, the parish’s 1000-strong congregation has vowed to defy the order and support their much-loved priest.

Mike Crook says he became radicalised by seeing the way construction and mining companies treated their workforce, especially in regard to on-the-job safety.

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