Jim McIlroy

GLW author Jim McIlroy

Re-nationalise Qantas to save jobs

"Qantas in crisis: 1000 jobs to go; Warning of $300 million loss; [federal transport minister Warren] Truss rules out aid," was the dramatic headline on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald on December 5.

The deep problems ailing Australia's national airline pose a clear choice between two options: allow the airline to battle on in the chaos of the international airline wars, or re-nationalise Qantas as a key part of a socially progressive and environmentally sustainable public transport policy.

Key Communist role in post-war unions detailed

Conflict In The Unions: The Communist Party of Australia, Politics & the Trade Union Movement, 1945-60
By Douglas Jordan
Resistance books, 2013
312 page, $30

Conflict In The Unions is an important new book examining the union activity of the Communist Party of Australia during a very turbulent time in Australian and world politics. The book looks at the period of 1945-'60, when the Cold War reached its height.

Forum discusses left governments in Latin America

"Never before in the history of Latin America have there been such a number of left-wing governments in power at the same time," Steve Ellner, a visiting fellow at the Australian National University and professor in economic history at the Eastern University in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, told a public forum in Sydney on November 9.

The forum was organised by the Latin America Social Forum (LASF) and also featured Sarah Motta, senior lecturer in politics at the University of Newcastle. Both speakers had edited editions of the journal Latin American Perspectives earlier this year.

Strike, picket continues at Bankstown university

Members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and supporters picketed the Bankstown campus of the University of Western Sydney (UWS) on October 30 during a half-day strike, as part of their campaign for a new enterprise bargaining agreement at UWS.

This followed a similar strike and picket of the university's Parramatta campus on October 23.

Perspectives from Latin American

About 50 people attended a Latin American forum and cultural night at the Spanish Centre in Brisbane on November 2 to hear a panel of speakers discuss various aspects of Latin American politics and history. The forum was co-sponsored by Australian Solidarity with Latin America in Brisbane and the Sydney-based Latin American Social Forum.

Talks focused on issues in five countries of the continent: El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay. Links to Australia were also highlighted in some presentations.

Sydney uni academics reject Israeli complaint

"We are here today,” Professor Stuart Rees told a media conference at Queens Square on October 30, “to express our outrage that a so-called independent law centre from Israel could attempt to stamp out freedom of speech in Australia.”

"We call on the mainstream media to take an objective stand on the issue of Palestinian human rights.”

The gathering concerned the move by Shurat HaDin, an Israeli-based law centre, to file a case in the Federal Court against Professor Jake Lynch of the University of Sydney's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.

Firefighters slam cuts, demand climate action

The NSW Fire Brigade Employees Union (FBEU) is campaigning to reverse cuts to the state fire services budget by the Liberal state government.

Under the theme, "Stop Fire Station Cuts and Closures," the FBEU is circulating an open letter to NSW Liberal Premier Barry O'Farrell stating: "As NSW faces devastating bushfires — the worst since 1968 — your closures and cuts to fire stations puts lives at risk when we most need protection.

NTEU staff strike, picket at UWS Parramatta

National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members at the University of Western Sydney, Parramatta South campus, staged a half-day strike and picket at the university on October 23.

Staff picketed the main entrance to the campus and persuaded many vehicles trying to enter the university to turn away, despite harassment by security guards.

Liberal politician ‘incited violence’

Members of the Chilean community and other Latin American supporters rallied outside NSW parliament on October 23 to protest against Liberal Upper House whip Peter Phelps, who has praised Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet as a "hero."

Protesters are demanding an apology from Phelps and disciplinary action against him from Premier Barry O'Farrell.

Phelps made a speech to parliament on September 11, the 40th anniversary of the military coup that overthrew elected socialist president Salvador Allende in 1973. Phelps described Pinochet as a "morally courageous man”.

Sydney residents oppose WestConnex toll road plan

More than 100 residents of Sydney's inner western suburbs attended a public meeting at Leichhardt Town Hall on October 10 to oppose the NSW Liberal government's plan to build the WestConnex toll road.

The road would link the M4 motorway to Sydney Airport. The $10-15 billion project would involve a 33-kilometre toll road to extend the M4 from Strathfield to Mascot Airport and Port Botany, and duplicate the M5 East and M6 tollways.

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