Australian News

GLW Issue 795

On May 19, more than 37,000 state school teachers will stage a one-day strike against the Queensland government’s pay offer. The offer would keep Queensland’s teachers among the lowest paid in Australia.

Vision Australia announced on May 6 that it will slash more than 130 jobs. This includes cutting 90 jobs in Victoria and the closing of three regional offices.

As students across Australia sat the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests last week, the media reported NSW government plans to introduce league tables, comparing student performance across schools.

Palestinian supporters in Melbourne and Sydney rallied on March 15 to commemorate 61 years since the Palestinian Nakba — the day of the catastrophe.

Rallies across Australia are planned for May 23 to call for an end to the Sri Lankan government’s genocide against the Tamil people.

Protesters will again travel to Rockhampton to oppose the Talisman Sabre war games between the US and Australian military machines over July 10-13 — estimated to cost well over $100 million.

The statement below was read out at a May 16 rally in Melbourne, called to denounce the Sri Lankan government’s brutal war against the Tamils.

GLW Issue 794

Cityrail management began a staff review process on April 29 for staff working on the Illawarra line. The breakneck speed of the process so far has raised concerns among Cityrail workers that this is just another exercise in cost-cutting that will run down the already stretched rail network.

On May 5, Nelson Davila, charge d’affairs for the Venezuelan embassy in Australia, travelled to Newcastle for a day of discussion about the history and progress of the Bolivarian revolution.

News that millionaire developer and Fremantle Labor candidate Peter Tagliaferri has been a member of the “500 club” — a Liberal party fundraising group — has mired the Labor campaign in controversy in the final weeks of campaigning for the May 16 Fremantle by-election.

The following motion was passed by Students for Palestine (University of Western Sydney) on May 6.

Scuffles broke out in Parramatta mall on May 5 as police and Lord Mayor Tony Issa forcibly shut down a Tamil hunger strike protesting the Sri Lankan government’s genocide of the Tamil people.

On April 29, the steps of Victorian Parliament were filled with the stomping feet of angry protesters. They had marched through the city demanding public transport concession fares for international and postgraduate students.

GLW Issue 793

More than 300 people marched for May Day in Wollongong on May 2. The lead banner read: “People before Profits; Export CEOs not Jobs!”. There were many different union and community contingents.

More than 50 people gathered outside the Mercure Hotel in Hobart on April 30 where Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and state premiers met for the Council of Australian Governments forum.

Anti-desalination campaign group Watershed has called a protest for May 9 at the site of the proposed desalination plant in Wonthaggi, Victoria. The slogan of the protest will be, “If they build it, we all will pay!”

Despite the economic crisis, the Australian government has announced it will increase military spending by billions of dollars over the next 20 years.

SYDNEY— On April 24, more than 30 organisers and officials from the NSW Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) heard a presentation on the Palestinian resistance and the growing movement for boycotts, divestments from and sanctions against Israel (BDS). The presentation was given by activists from BDS Sydney and the Gaza Defence Committee.

The speech below was made by Darren Vanderkaay at a solidarity picnic on April 26 at Melbourne’s Yarraville Gardens. The picnic was hosted by the Western Suburbs Community and Unions Coalition. Darren is one of 39 workers unfairly sacked from the West Gate Bridge strengthening project by construction company John Holland.

Construction company John Holland and unions are locked in discussions to settle a nine-week-long industrial dispute.

GLW Issue 792

Greens candidate Adele Carles and Socialist Alliance candidate Sam Wainwright argued for cooperation among progressive candidates in election campaigns at an April 22 meeting. Both activists are contesting the May 16 Fremantle by-election.

The following article is based on an April 24 statement from Aboriginal activist Michael Anderson. A co-founder of the Aboriginal Embassy in Canberra and a leader of the Euhalyi Nation, Anderson has called on Aboriginal affairs minister Jenny Macklin to resign. He explains why here.

A 19-year-old Cairns woman faces up to 14 years in jail after being charged under Queensland’s abortion laws. It is the first time in more than 50 years such charges have been laid.

The Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Watch Committee is organising volunteers to travel to Kalgoorlie for the next stage of the Coronial Inquest into the January 2008 death of Warburton elder Mr Ward. The inquest reopens on May 11.

A public meeting on April 21 organised by the Beyond Nuclear Initiative and the Sydney Nuclear Free Coalition, at the University of Sydney, attracted 100 people.

Most of the world’s governments are quickly moving to shift the burden of the economic meltdown onto workers. However, on May 1, the revolutionary government of Venezuela will officially raise the minimum wage by 10%.

Four hundred Tamils and their supporters gathered in Melbourne on April 23 for an emergency protest. It was organised in response to the Sri Lankan government’s latest brutal military escalation in the north of the island.

GLW Issue 791

RailCorp NSW has announced that it intends carrying out a staff review at CityRail stations under provisions in the current enterprise bargaining agreement. This could mean massive job cuts, including up to 71 positions at Central station alone, according to the April 7 ABC Online.

The NSW government has decided to pour $5.1 million into the expansion of a rifle range in the state’s Southern Highlands, despite opposition from residents.

On April 18, the revolutionary and progressive governments of Latin America were waging a battle against the US at the Summit of the Americas. On the same day, Luis Bilbao, an active participant in the Venezuelan revolution, addressed a public meeting in Sydney on the topic of “Latin American integration at a crossroads”.