Comment and Analysis

In early September, the NSW carbon trading scheme collapsed. Conspicuously absent from mainstream media coverage of this event, however, was any attempt to analyse the inherent problems of relying on market mechanisms to solve the global problem of climate change.

Having previously written a critique of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict which examined it’s “democratic” associations (GLW #722), I was amazed to discover that Professor Stephen Zunes presently serves as the chair of their board of academic advisors. Amazed because this information was news to me as the ICNC’s academic advisors are not available on its website, and also that a progressive academic like Zunes would become associated with the ICNC.

In an interview with the Australian Financial Review on September 17, Jeff Lawrence, the new secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), said that under a Rudd Labor government, unions would seek to engage constructively with businesses and employer groups. “There won’t be any targeting of employers who have used AWAs [individual contracts] … I specifically rule that out”, he said.

A damning report on the impact of Work Choices on workers in the retail and hospitality industries in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria — Lowering the Standards, released on September 13 — documents how quickly employers have acted to legally strip wages and conditions of workers in these sectors, even though the government claims many of these conditions are “protected by law”.

On September 8, Tim Gooden spoke to Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Sydney branch secretary Warren Smith for the Geelong Trades Hall’s Union Air community radio program. The interview took place at the protest that day against the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and US President George Bush.

This statement was issued by Sam Watson, leading Indigenous activist and Socialist Alliance Senate candidate for Queensland. To sign or comment of the statement, or to view what others have said, visit .

The Socialist Alliance’s new Welfare Rights Charter was launched on September 14 to an enthusiastic audience at the Southport Community Centre.

An inconvenient truth

"America's elder statesman of finance, Alan Greenspan, has shaken the White House by declaring that the prime motive for the war in Iraq was oil. In his long-awaited memoir, to be published tomorrow, Greenspan, a Republican

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union’s Western Australian branch has been organising Filipino workers employed in WA on section 457 visas. Joel Asphar, the AMWU organiser responsible for this work, told Green Left Weekly that “the campaign to recruit and organise these workers was not something we decided to do. It was out of necessity. I was responsible for the workshops south of the Swan river and there were 550 Filipino workers on 457 visas.”

Following a meeting in Alice Springs on September 12-14, attended by some 100 Aboriginal people from across Australia, a new, independent political body for Aboriginal Australians is being established, the National Aboriginal Alliance.

That opinion poll results, released on September 18, showing the Howard government trailing the ALP opposition by 10% were widely reported as good news for the federal government is an indication of the dire straits that the Liberal-National Coalition is in. While these figures do represent a comeback from those of the previous week, which had the Coalition 18% behind the ALP, the government has consistently been more than 10% behind the opposition all year.

Independent journalist and film-maker John Pilger has just released a new film, The War on Democracy. Set in Latin America and the US, the film outlines the US-led destruction of democracy in successive Latin American countries since the 1950s and the significant reversal of that tide today. The film includes an exclusive interview with Venezuela’s socialist President Hugo Chavez. Green Left Weekly’s Emma Murphy spoke to Pilger about the issues raised in the film.

In early August, NSW Premier Morris Iemma announced plans to build a new gas-fired baseload power station. He proudly stated that this power station would have lower emissions than the coal-fired alternative.

“I think all these unfair tribunals and all this unfairness have to be removed”, Derek Belan, NSW state secretary of the National Union of Workers, told Green Left Weekly in response to Labor’s release of its Forward with Fairness Policy Implementation Plan in late August. “If Labor is elected, people are voting that they don’t want this stuff. There is a mandate to remove it. People are aware what this stuff means and people want it removed and Labor has to listen.”

A motion moved by Australian Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett calling on the government to support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous people was voted down in the Senate on September 10. This comes at a time when the Northern Territory intervention by the Howard Government has started to put “boots on the ground” in the NT, with few results reported from the mainstream media and serious criticism from Aboriginal and human rights groups.

Despite the media fanfare, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, held in Sydney on September 8 and 9, achieved next to nothing in combating global warming.

The following statement was issued by Beyond Zero Emissions on September 7.

Protesters’ defiance of the APEC security crackdown was clear from early on the morning of September 8 when the NSW police drove their shiny new $600,000 black water cannon, with sirens blazing, past us at Sydney Town Hall. We whistled, gave it the finger, and continued preparing for the biggest anti-war protest in Sydney in more than a year.

On August 23, NSW education minister John Della Bosca announced the state Labor government’s intention to close Macquarie Boys Technology High School in Parramatta by 2009. The school occupies a large site near Parramatta.

The Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP), a Marxist tendency in the Socialist Alliance, is now calling for the immediate withdrawal of the Australian troops from East Timor. A meeting of the DSP National Committee resolved to investigate the prospects for building a public campaign around this demand. Peter Boyle, the DSP’s national secretary, explained the reasons for this decision to Green Left Weekly

Alex Bainbridge, chairing the Stop Bush/Make Howard History anti-APEC rally told the massing crowd that there were at least 10,000 people gathered at 11am at Sydney’s Town Hall. Despite an intensive campaign aimed at keeping people away, and provocative policing on the day, up to 15,000 people come out on September 8, asserting their right to protest against US President George Bush and Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

“Mission accomplished!”, boasted NSW Premier Morris Iemma at the end of one of the most aggressive policing operations in Australia for many years. The last public official to use that phrase was US President George Bush, who had just invaded Iraq. Did Iemma mean to link the thousands of protesters in Sydney with the enemy population of Iraq?

Green Left Weekly’s Graham Matthews asked a number of protesters at the Stop Bush rally in Sydney what motivated them to take part.

The following speech was delivered by Pip Hinman, a member of Sydney’s Stop the War Coalition and the Socialist Alliance, to the September 8 “Stop Bush” protest in Sydney.

Established in December 2001, the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) was set up with the stated aim of regulating and promoting the teaching profession in Victoria.

Three-metre high security fences, heart-stopping tasers, a bone-smashing water cannon, mobile prison buses and — perhaps most disturbing of all — the threat of automatic incarceration for randomly abducted protesters? Welcome to the growing international phenomenon of “population control”. The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum is in Sydney, and NSW security chiefs are telling you to follow orders, shut up and stay away. Prison cells are ready and waiting if you fail to heed the warning.

Sydney is to be shut down in the lead-up to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit from September 2. US warmonger-in-chief George Bush will be attending amid an unprecedented amount of money and effort being spent on security.

Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union (TCFUA) Victorian secretary Michele O’Neil was so furious when she heard the Labor Party’s reworking of its industrial relations policy that she penned an open letter to Labor leader Kevin Rudd and deputy leader Julia Gillard in protest [see page 8].

Michael Barker’s reply (“Promoting ’democracy’ through civil disobedience”, GLW #722) to a letter-to-the-editor by Jack DuVall (GLW #718, online edition) contains some serious factual errors and misleading comments regarding the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), for which I serve as chair of the board of academic advisers.

A leaked document outlining PM John Howard’s climate action plan for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit — to be held in Sydney on September 8 and 9 — once again confirms the Coalition’s dangerously cavalier approach to global warming.

The following open letter to federal ALP leader Kevin Rudd and ALP industrial relations spokesperson Julia Gillard was issue on August 29 by Michele O’Neil, national assistant secretary of the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA).

Victorian Trades Hall Council secretary Brian Boyd spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Sue Bolton on August 20 about some Victorian unions’ plans for another mass mobilisation against the Work Choices legislation.

In a desperate attempt to justify the criminal and disastrous US war of occupation in Iraq, President George Bush has chosen to wrestle the ghost of the US defeat in the Vietnam War.

The National Business Action Fund Limited, a collection of some of the largest business peak groups in Australia (including the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the Business Council of Australia (BCA)), launched a series of ads earlier this month, aimed at scaring voters away from supporting parties that did not support the
Coalition’s IR “reforms”.

Radio shock jock Alan Jones has done it again: he’s inciting the police to violently repress peaceful protesters who want to rally when US President George Bush comes to Sydney for APEC.

Thousands of people will gather at Sydney Town Hall on September 8 in what is expected to be the largest protest demonstration during the coming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

The fight over Gunns Ltd’s proposed pulp mill, which has now moved to the national stage, is so contentious because it will determine the future of Tasmania. If this mill is allowed to be built, the logging of native forests in Tasmania will be massively expanded and an investment of this size would lock Tasmania into the logging industry for decades to come.

Health was thrown into the pre-election spotlight on August 1 when PM John Howard stepped in to rescue Mersey Hospital in Tasmania from financial difficulties. In a mantra with some similarities to that used to justify the takeover of Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, Howard blamed an inefficient state government for its inability to solve the crisis.

In a move that blatantly undermines the cause of nuclear weapon non-proliferation, on PM John Howard announced on August 17 that Canberra had reached an “in principle” agreement with New Delhi to sell uranium to India, one of only three states in the world — along with Pakistan and Israel — that have not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Working with Aunty Mary Davis, who died at the age of 67 on August 12, was working with a powerful fire, determined to rip through prejudice and create justice. “She was always at the forefront of anything, with government and non-government agencies, organisations, the community”, says Aunty Mary’s son, Richard.

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