Australian News

GLW Issue 774

The Rudd government is proposing to make funding for vocational training “contestable”, the Sydney Morning Herald revealed on October 29. The proposal, effectively a privatisation of TAFE colleges, was drafted by state and federal bureaucrats and will be discussed at the November 17 Council of Australian Governments meeting.

The Sydney Stop the War Coalition has described the US people’s rejection of President George Bush’s war policies and the election of Barack Obama as “historic”.

Activists have planned a civil disobedience action in response to anti-democratic moves by the City of Sydney to crack down on bill posters. From November 10, putting up posters on street poles could result in fines ranging from $320 to $1500 per poster.

The Rudd government, elected to office promising to repeal the Howard government’s unpopular student unionism (VSU) legislation, is planning to introduce a voluntary $250 “student levy” in early 2009.

Pat Dodson, a Yawuru man from Broome, Western Australia, used his Sydney Peace Prize acceptance speech on November 5 to slam the Northern Territory intervention. He described it as a “crude, racist and poorly considered policy”.

On November 7, rallies in support of Lex Wotton took place around the country as Wotton was sentenced in Townsville to six years’ prison for “riot with destruction”.

GLW Issue 773

A crowd of 1000 people marched through the Perth CBD to Parliament House on October 30 to tell the Western Australian government to keep the state GMO (genetically modified organism)-free.

On October 30, 100 people attended a public forum and film screening of My Daughter the Terrorist, at the University of Melbourne.

Aboriginal rock art found on Western Australia’s Burrup Peninsula is in danger of destruction. Friends of Australian Rock Art (FARA) released photographs showing the full extent of damage for the first time on October 25.

On October 26, part of the roof of a multi-story Canberra building collapsed. The building is under construction in the city centre.

Victoria’s three largest community water campaign groups have united to campaign for sustainable alternatives to the state government’s new water infrastructure projects.

More than 1000 protesters crammed into the entrance of Flinders Street Station on October 26 for the Community Rally for Sustainable Public Transport, and to oppose the Victorian state government’s planned East-West road tunnel and extensions. These would result in massive destruction of homes and shift more trucks and commuter traffic into the suburbs.

On October 31, 50 people gathered outside the offices of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations to protest against the powers of the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Speakers at the action, organised by

Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union official Noel Washington appeared at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on October 31. He is charged with refusing to be forcefully interrogated by the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Two

Around the country on October 31, the annual Reclaim the Night (RTN) protests took place, demanding an end to violence against women. In Lismore, 200 women and children marched through the streets before rallying, along with male supporters, to hear activists and community leaders speak out
against violence.

People reading the October 22 Age were alarmed to discover that the Victorian Labor government had proposed legislation banning local councillors from voting on issues if they had made a submission relating to that issue, such as local development or planning changes.

Treasury modelling on the impacts of the federal Labor government’s proposed Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) was released on October 30.

On November 1, rallies took place in eastern states in response to the conviction of Lex Wotton, who has been charged with “riot with destruction” (see article on page 3).

GLW Issue 772

Around 60 Cuba solidarity activists gathered outside the United States consulate in the CBD on October 25.

Activists in Cairns have stepped up their blockade actions in the last two weeks to stop the partial demolition of the Cairns Yacht Club building and its removal from its site beside Trinity Inlet.

Train drivers working in Rio Tinto’s Pilbara iron ore division escalated their campaign for a union collective agreement by holding two consecutive 12-hour stoppages starting at midday on October 22.

The following statement was issued by the Intervention Rollback Action Group, Alice Springs, on October 11.

TAFE teachers have been rallying outside ALP state politicians offices in their campaign for a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA).

Friends of Felton (FoF) organised two very successful film and information evenings in Pittsworth and Toowoomba on October 1 and 2. One hundred and ninety people attended, including several councillors.

Save Our Gulf Coalition (SOGC), Adelaide Hills Climate Action Group, Eco-socialist Convergence, the 3D Environment Show, the Young Greens, the Socialist Alliance, the Wilderness Society and the Conservation Council were just some of the groups represented at the inaugural meeting of the Climate Emergency Action Network (CLEAN) in Adelaide on October 23.

Aboriginal activist Sam Watson has called for major rallies in cities across Australia in response to Palm Island Aboriginal man Lex Wotton being found guilty on October 24 of “rioting with destruction”.

More than 100 people gathered at the Woodville Town Hall on October 14 to hear speakers opposed to the proposed Cheltenham Park Racecourse redevelopment.

In the October 18 ACT Legislative Assembly elections the ALP suffered a massive 9.4% swing against it. The Greens picked up more than 6% of that swing and have increased their seats in the 17-member assembly from one to at least three.

New legislation granting parenting rights to same-sex couples was passed in the Senate in October 16. The legislation grants legal recognition to children of same-sex parents born through IVF or surrogacy.

The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) — the secretive body formed by the Howard government in 2005 to police the construction industry — has ratcheted up the use of its compliance powers in the last six months, workplaceexpress.com.au reported on October 20.