Dave Riley

In a new initiative for a political party in Australia, the Socialist Alliance is using the web to open up the organisation of its federal election campaign. Mainstream parties have generated a lot of media attention with their self-promotion on YouTube, MySpace and Facebook, but the alliance is enabling open access to the way its campaign is run.

Queensland Murris (Indigenous Australians) and their supporters marched on the state parliament on October 10. In a protest called to coincide with the first sitting day of the newly elected Labor government, the 600 demonstrators confronted Premier Peter Beattie with the demand that senior sergeant Chris Hurley be sacked.

Over 70% of long-day childcare services in Australia are delivered by business, according to Professor Deborah Brennan of the University of NSW’s Social Policy Research Centre, writing in the February 29 Melbourne Age.

The report handed down by Queensland deputy coroner Christine Clements on September 27 found that Palm Islander Mulrunji not only died in police custody on November 19, 2004, but died at the hands of the arresting police officer.

The recent collapse in ABC Learning Centres’ share price generated a media frenzy. Director Eddy Groves was reputed to have lost $45 million in just two hours of trading. For a time it looked like many centres would close their doors.

Australia has the most concentrated media ownership in the Western world. Nonetheless, the new media bill passed by the Senate on October 12 will further relax ownership regulation and allow the media barons to operate in two out of three media sectors — print, radio and television.

For Margarita Windisch, an anti-war leader and one of the organisers of the G20 protests in Melbourne, the “Hey, vote for us! We’ll sort it all out!” attitude of the two major parties is not only condescending, it is increasingly falling on deaf ears. This is because the major parties have not, and cannot, “sort it” to meet people’s needs, she said.

Australian unionists have a wealth of experiences to draw on in the fight against the Howard government’s Work Choices legislation. Lessons can be drawn not just from the historic victories and defeats of the union movement in this country, but also from the experiences of working-class struggles in other countries.

Government and business representatives attending a Work Choices seminar at the Hotel Grand Chancellor on November 21 were met by protesters who described the meeting as a discussion about “exploiting workers, destroying unions and sacking people at will”.

Last September, Queensland’s acting state coroner Christine Clements ruled that Senior Sergeant Christopher Hurley, a police officer working on the Palm Island Aboriginal community, had caused the death of Aboriginal man Mulrunji while in his custody


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