912

GLW issue number 912

Campaign launched for unions’ right to strike

Len Cooper, the secretary of the Victorian Telecommunications Division of the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union, wrote to Victorian unions last August inviting them to take part in a discussion “aimed at leading to the formation of a campaign on the right to strike”.

The Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) endorsed the campaign as a sub-committee of the hall on February 10. It committed to back a motion on the right to strike at the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) national congress, which takes place in Sydney in May.

Adnar ends hunger strike as Israel backs down, fresh prisoner rights' struggles break out

Amnesty International has called on Israel to immediately release Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, who has been held since December without charge under Israel's infamous policy of “administrative detention”.

The call came after Adnan, near death, ended a 66-day hunger strike when Israel signed a deal on February 22 agreeing to release the 33-year-old father of two by April 17.

Nyoongar Tent Embassy enters third week

Despite heavy police intimidation and media racism, the Nyoongar Tent Embassy at Matagarup, otherwise known as Heirisson Island in Perth, is still standing strong.

The Tent Embassy was founded by local Aboriginal people to voice dissent against a proposed deal with the state government that would include giving up native title rights.

The embassy is also about asserting Aboriginal sovereignty. Embassy participant Iva Hayward-Jackson told  Green Left Weekly  the embassy is about asserting Nyoongar sovereignty and protecting sacredness of Aboriginal culture.

Syria, Yemen uprisings yield different Western responses

The US response to the uprisings in the Arab world remains deeply hypocritical.

“It is time to stop the killing of Syrian citizens by their own government,” US President Barack Obama said at a February 24 meeting in Tunis of the representatives of 60 countries, led by the Western powers and their Arab allies.

The group cynically called itself the “Friends of Syria”.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took the opportunity to lash out at the US’s main global competitors, Russia and China.

Spain’s ‘Work Choices Super’ at a glance

How will Spain’s new labour "reform" — announced on February 10 by employment and social security minister Fátima Báñez and already in force as a royal decree before adoption by parliament—affect Spain’s workers and unemployed?

First, imagine the essence of 30 years of Australian anti-worker and anti-union law — from Hawke’s Accord through Keating’s enterprise bargaining and Howard’s Workplace Relations Act to Work Choices and the Fair Work Act — but all rolled into one bill.

Venezuela: Opposition’s little man 'the candidate of imperialism'

“The confrontation here isn’t between Chavez and this little man, it’s the bourgeoisie against the people, the empire against the country”, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on February 16.

Chavez was referring to his newly-nominated presidential opponent, Henrique Capriles Radonski. He was pointing to the class battle that lies behind the looming presidential elections scheduled for October 7.

Tas. refugee advocates debate Pontville centre closure

Immigration minister Chris Bowen has decided to close the Pontville refugee detention centre in Tasmania by March 1. The move is in keeping with the government’s original plan to operate the centre for only six months.

Last month, about 150 asylum seekers held in Pontville started a hunger strike to demand they be released into the community. At least three were hospitalised.

On February 16, Unions Tasmania secretary Kevin Harkins released a statement calling on Tasmanian’s to rally on February 25 to keep the detention centre open.

Sudan: Police crack down on university students

In the early hours of February 17, about 1000 police and National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) officers conducted a violent raid of Khartoum University’s student dormitories, arresting more than 300 students.

Most were released later that day. Two students are missing, suspected kidnapped by the NISS. Some of the arrested students told a Sudan Human Rights Monitor press conference that police had used racist verbal abuse against students and many were beaten.

Snap rally condemns O’Farrell’s nuclear backflip

A snap rally was held outside NSW parliament house on February 22 to protest a bill proposed by Premier Barry O’Farrell to lift the 26-year moratorium on uranium exploration in NSW. The Nature Conservation Council and Beyond Nuclear Initiative organised the rally.

The moratorium on nuclear exploration in NSW began as a bipartisan agreement between Liberal and Labor parties after an investigation found that the effects of mining would be too dangerous.

People power is winning the battle for equal marriage

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said marriage equality was "inevitable" when she met with three same-sex couples on February 21 during a dinner organised by GetUp! The admission came despite her own opposition to equal marriage.

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