Monthly Archives: March 2008

Fossil Fools Day

fossil fools day

International day of action on climate change


Gather 330pm @ Cathedral Square, Cnr Ann & Wharf Sts, City

Tour of the “Fossil Fools” begins 4pm
(Optional: dress as clowns to mock some of the world’s biggest fossil fools!)

Demand action on climate change – renewables not nuclear or ‘clean coal’

Supported by NUSA; Australian Student Enviro Network; Resistance; Friends of the Earth; Aust Youth Climate Coalition; Rising Tide

Ph: 0401 234 610, 3846 5793, Email:

Brisbane Activist Centre, 74b Wickham St, Fortitude Valley

Home of Socialist Alliance, Green Left Weekly, Resistance + books, badges, t-shirts, more!

Ph: (07) 3831 2644 Mob: 0410 629 088 Email: Web:

Howard is history! Now let’s stand up for our rights



3.30pm, 31 March 2008 Jagera Hall, 121 Cordelia St, South Brisbane (light afternoon tea) Express your views on how the Queensland Government is going to distribute the remaining $35million of the $55.4 million Indigenous Wages and Savings Reparation Scheme. 1. … Continue reading

Open Letter to Rudd on Palestine

1 April 2008

The Hon Kevin Rudd MP Prime Minister of Australia Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Prime Minister,

In just over one hundred days of your prime ministership, the government has achieved some astounding milestones very much welcomed by those who have benefited and by those who have waited a long time to see such changes. There are others who also would like to be included in your embrace of a more compassionate Australia and no doubt that will come in time as you continue to fulfil the promises you have made.

We always hoped that your government’s foreign policy would bring balance back to Australia’s position on Israel/Palestine, and notwithstanding your unprecedented motion in our parliament honouring Israel’s independence, we believe that that balance can be effected by also recognising the suffering of the Palestinian people.

You referred to the event honouring Israel’s independence as celebrating an “important occasion together”. For Israel, it is a celebration: after the tragedy of the Holocaust that is to be expected. But as someone who knows the history of Israel’s creation, you could not ignore another tragedy that has been visited upon the indigenous people of that land, the Palestinians. Theirs has been a continuous narrative of dispossession, displacement, exile and occupation – now well-documented in the historical record – and which has found no relief, despite solid international consensus on their inalienable national rights.

The similarity between the grievous losses suffered by our own indigenous Aborigines and the Palestinians is not fanciful. Both peoples have been the hapless victims of colonialism that has robbed them of their land and dignity and seen them treated as misfits or somehow sub-human. Your recent apology to the Aboriginal people was a moving moment in our history and we all shared in that gladly. It showed the possibility of reconciliation and a constructive way forward and sets an outstanding example to other nations which share a similar colonial history. In the case of Israel, this is even more urgent because the “Catastrophe” (al-Nakba) of Palestinian dispossession has been ongoing for 60 years and is intensifying.

You referred in your motion to a vision of an independent and economically viable Palestinian state. Palestinians have that vision too, but each day they have seen that vision become an impossible dream. The reason is indisputable: Israel’s illegal settlement building inside the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem has been continuing uninterrupted throughout the years of peace negotiations and in violation of international law and United Nations resolutions. Without calling for an immediate cessation of settlement building, there will soon be nothing left of that vision.

You spoke about Israel’s right to  exist within secure and internationally recognised borders and no one disputes that. But, the Palestinians must also be able to feel secure. Under Israel’s occupation and without liberty, the Palestinians have no security and no borders to call their own. So, it is perfectly legitimate for the Palestinians to ask – on how much of the land does Israel want to exist and how much more do the Palestinians have to suffer?

You are optimistic about the peace talks since Annapolis, but in recent days, that optimism is not shared by the Israeli Government or the Palestinian Authority. There is a reason for that too. Israel has reneged on the agreements brokered in those talks by taking unilateral steps to create new facts on the ground accompanied by an increasingly arbitrary and disproportionate use of military force against the civilian population. This has incited reprisals leading to the inevitable cycle of violence. Israel’s acts have not only substantially increased the suffering of the Palestinians, but are also giving greater credence to reports of “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing”. In fact, men of peace like Nobel prize winners Archbishop Tutu and former US president Jimmy Carter have publicly stated that Israel has institutionalised an apartheid regime in Palestine. From experience, we know that such acts will eventually become hard for the international community to ignore.

We want to share your objectives, hopes and visions in the pursuit of peace for both peoples, but without recognising the suffering of the Palestinians and also respecting their inalienable rights, those aspirations will not be realised. An acknowledgement of the immense loss borne by all Palestinians would be a first step to bringing some balance into the 60-year-linked narratives of both peoples – a balance that has, until recent times, always stood Australia in good stead internationally.

Unfortunately, there has been a disturbing trend amongst Western politicians and commentators, to reduce the Palestinian struggle for freedom and independence to gratuitous violence and terrorism under the umbrella of radical Islam. From this, an erroneous belief has emerged that any statement sympathetic to the Palestinians will encourage or reward violence. Like most human beings though, Palestinians only want some compassion for their plight and a world willing to intervene on their behalf. Stripping them of their dignity is also stripping them of any hope for a better future.

With your government, there is an opportunity for Australia to be inclusive of its Palestinian constituents as well as its Jewish constituency and to redress the balance that has long been missing in our position on Israel/Palestine. That would not only be fair, but a way of giving back hope to a people too long marginalised. You have already demonstrated such leadership with our own indigenous people when some deemed it politic to do otherwise.

We believe that you could lead the way for others by moving a bi-partisan motion on 14 May that would acknowledge the enduring narrative of indigenous Palestinians and the suffering that has been visited on them over the past 60 years; that would acknowledge their courageous journey in their struggle for the right to exist in their own land; that would support the right of Palestinians to seek self-determination, national independence and sovereignty in a free Palestinian state within the 1967 borders; and that would commit Australia to working with international initiatives for a just peace for both peoples.

There is support for such a motion amongst Australians. Voices are being raised in defence of Palestine from many unexpected quarters. The latest has come from the National Council of Churches in Australia and without taking anything away from Israel’s accepted and legitimate aspirations, it “affirms the right of the people of Palestine to be freed from more than 40 years of military occupation by Israel, to live within secure internationally-recognised borders without harassment or violence perpetrated by any state or by any others, and to determine democratically their own future.”

It is indeed a humanitarian cause that has benefited from the relief pledged by your government and others, especially to those who are suffering the worst excesses under siege in Gaza. But there also has to be a political solution, and until that is resolved, Australia can play its part by taking an even-handed approach that offends neither one side nor the other while cooperating with international efforts seeking a just and peaceful resolution to the conflict.

We hope that you will consider favourably a motion on 14 May to coincide with the Palestinian al-Nakba, a day that weighs sorrowfully and painfully in the hearts and minds of some 12 million Palestinians around the world.

Yours sincerely,

[signed] [signed] on behalf of all participating organisations

PARTICIPATING ORGANISATIONS: Australian Friends of Palestine (SA) Australian Friends of Palestine (WA) Australians for Palestine (VIC) Women for Palestine (VIC) Queensland Palestinian Solidarity Campaign Palestinian and Jewish Unity (QLD)

foco nuevo – the sounds of our town

foco nuevo



26 Horan Street, West End
Friday 28th March
8.00 p.m.

$8 / $5 concession

Light meals available

We invite you to come along to our latest performance project, Foco Nuevo. This regular music event will be held on the last Friday of each month and will feature a diversity of Brisbane singer-songwriters and musicians. We’ve just returned from our fourth trip to Cuba and are keen to draw on our experiences and integrate them into this new project.

Foco Nuevo is a reference to Brisbane’s FOCO Club, a lively and alternative performance space which ran on a weekly basis during the late 1960s. The mix of music and social issues has given a particular character to Brisbane music over several decades, and has never been far from the inspiration for our songs. Combined with our long association with Latin American music, Foco Nuevo aims to contribute to this current of artistic activity.

For this month’s Foco Nuevo, we will be joined by Phil Monsour and Sonderlinge. Phil Monsour, with his powerful songs explores the themes of conflict in the Middle East. Sonderlinge, a world music a cappella group will be singing Bulgarian, Georgian and South African songs.

Hope to see you there,

Lachlan and Sue

BYO – Ahimsa’s application for a liquor licence is still pending!

Longshore Workers Strike against Iraq War

ILWU call for walkout in protest of US war in Iraq

17 March 2008

By MUA news –

US West Coast longshore workers plan protest against imperialist war in Iraq, Afghanistan on May 1

The International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) has announced the 40,000-plus members of its 60 locals in California, Washington and Oregon will walk off the job for eight hours on May 1 to protest the US-led war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The ILWU, he said, would also be calling for “wider international action” in support of the walkout with letters going to both the International Transport Workers Federation and the International Dockworkers Council in Barcelona, Spain.

“We’re writing to inform you of this action … to honour labor history and express support for the troops by bringing them home safely,” Bob McEllrath, ILWU wrote, adding that the ILWU action “will send a message to Washington.”

Employers and port authorities at 29 sea ports from San Diego to Seattle have been notified with the work stoppage scheduled for the day shift.

The ILWU International Executive Board recently endorsed Democrat Barack Obama, citing his opposition to the war in Iraq as one of the key factors in the union’s decision to call for the work stoppage.

“If we can do something so dramatic as to shut down the ports on the West Coast, I think people will realize how important” opposition to the war is, said Jack Heyman, an executive board member of San Francisco’s ILWU Local 10, and a prominent antiwar activist. In 2003, Heyman and about a dozen other war protesters were arrested outside Oakland shipping facilities.

Quoted by several Bay Area media outlets, Heyman said, “The ILWU has had a legacy of opposing US imperialist wars like the one in Iraq, while supporting struggles internationally like the anti-apartheid struggle and the Cuban revolution.”

A number of organizations including The Internationalist Group-League for the Fourth International, a New York-based Marxist activist group, have voiced their support for the ILWU action.

Announcement of the May 1 walkout comes just days before contract negotiations are scheduled to start between the dock worker’s union and the San Francisco-based Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).

The MUA sent a delegation to the US last contract negotiations in 2002, after employers locked out the ILWU and shut down all activity at ports along the entire US West Coast for 10 days.

A film “In the Eye of the Storm” has been made about the dispute and will be playing during the upcoming National Conference.

For further information

Contact: Maritime Union of Australia

Phone: +61 2 9267 9134

Fax: +61 2 9261 3481



Climate Change | Social Change

Climate Change | Social Change

A conference to strengthen radical social action to stop climate change

April 11-13, 2008, Sydney, Australia

Redfern Community Centre, 29 Hugo St, Redfern, day sessions Friday April 11;

Sydney Girls High School, Anzac Pde, Surry Hills, Friday night, April 11 – Sunday April 13

AGENDA: major sessions

(Concurrent workshop agenda to be advised)

Friday 11th April

Redfern Community Centre

10 – 10.30 am conference registration

10.30 am – 12 noon Indigenous communities, climate change and the struggle for country

Sam Watson, Biri Gubba, Munnejarl man from the Brisbane Murri community; activist since high school.

Pat Eatock, Kairie community elder, Aboriginal Rights Coalition, Sydney, secretary National Aboriginal Alliance

12 noon – 1pm Lunch break

1 – 2.30 pm Nuclear is still not the answer

Jim Green, FoE anti-nuclear campaigner

Wenny Theresia, Sydney Nuclear Free Coalition

2.45 – 4.15pm Concurrent workshops

Sydney Girls High School

6 for 6.30pm Public meeting

Climate change and its social roots

John Bellamy Foster, editor of Monthly Review; author of Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature

Patrick Bond, University of KwaZulu-Natal; editor of Climate Change, Carbon Trading and Civil Society

David Spratt, Carbon Equity, co-author Climate Code Red
James Goodman
, social researcher, University of Technology in Sydney

Saturday 12th April SGHS

8.30 – 9.15 am Registration

9.15 am Welcome to country & conference opening

9.30 – 11am Plenary

Climate change solutions: what role for the market?

Patrick Bond

Sylvia Hale, Greens NSW MLC

            Stuart Rosewarne, co-editor of Journal of Australian Political Economy, and Capitalism, Nature, Socialism

Nelson Davila, Venezuelan Chargé d’Affaires, tbc

11.15am – 12.45 pm Major workshop

Protecting jobs and the environment

Tim Gooden, Geelong Trades and Labour Council

Ben Courtice, AMWU environment group

Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth Melbourne

Steve Phillips, Rising Tide

Chris Cain, Maritime Union of Australia, tbc

12.45 – 1.45 pm Lunch break

1.45 – 3.15 pm Plenary

Ecology, capitalism and socialism

John Bellamy Foster

3.30 – 5pm Major workshop

Cuba: reducing reliance on fossil fuels

Roberto Perez, Cuban permaculturalist, featured in The Power of Community: how Cuba survived peak oil

6pm Dinner

Keynote address

Sustainability – the Cuban experience

Roberto Perez

Sunday 13th April

9 – 10.30 am Plenary

Transitions to sustainability

Mark Diesendorf, Institute of Environmental Studies, University of NSW
            Adrian Whitehead, Zero Emission Network

            Stephanie Long, FoE Australia’s international climate justice spokesperson

Roberto Perez

10.45 am – 12.15pm Major workshop

Sustainable energy solutions

Mark Diesendorf

12.15 – 1.15 pm Lunch break

1.15 – 2.45 pm Major workshop

Radicalising the Australian climate change movement

Simon Cunich, Resistance

Vanessa Bowden, Climate camp

Mel Barnes, Students Against the Pulp Mill

Ben Courtice, World Environment Day, Melbourne

3 – 4.45 pm Plenary & resolutions

Strategies for winning

John Bellamy Foster

Dick Nichols, author Capitalism, Nature and Socialism

John Rice, Adelaide Ecosocialist Network

Patrick Bond

4.45 – 5pm Conference close

Download the registration form from
Please note you can pay by direct deposit (account details on the form), cash, cheque or credit card.

Brisbane Activist Centre, 74b Wickham St, Fortitude Valley

Home of Socialist Alliance, Green Left Weekly, Resistance + books, badges, t-shirts, more!

Ph: (07) 3831 2644 Mob: 0410 629 088 Email: Web:

Howard is history! Now let’s stand up for our rights


The Secret War

secret warJonathan Richards



The Secret War tells the story of organised racial violence and lawful mass murder on the Queensland frontier.

For many Indigenous people, white colonisation arrived with the armed men of the Native Police: a brutal force that operated on the 19th-century frontier, killing large numbers of Indigenous men, women and children.

Historian Jonathan Richards has spent ten years researching this contentious subject, picking his way through secrecy, misinformation and supposed ‘lost files’ to uncover and publish the truth. In this first full-length comprehensive study of the Native Police in Queensland, he argues that they were a key part of a ‘divide and rule’ colonising tactic and that the force’s actions were given the implicit approval of the government and public servants, and that their killings were covered up.

The Secret War is an authoritative and groundbreaking contribution to our country’s white settlement history.

Wednesday 19 March, 6.00 for 6.30pm
Avid Reader Bookshop
193 Boundary Street, West End

M.C.- Professor Anna Haebich, Griffith University

Keynote – Professor Henry Reynolds,

Easter Resistance Activist Weekend

“Unfuck The World!” Resistance Activist Weekend
An inspiring weekend (Easter Fri + Sat) of workshops, talks, discussions, food and fun
* Friday March 21 (Easter holiday) from 12:30pm-6pm, then film night, all @ Brisbane Activist Centre, 74B Wickham St, Fortitude Valley (in Metro Central building)
* Saturday March 22, cars leave Brisbane from 9am to head to the Sunshine Coast

Friday March 21 – lunch from 12noon
12:30pm: Revolution: How can we transform a world in crisis?
From Iraq to Palestine, from economic crisis to the question of the survival of humanity and our planet….the need for change is urgent.
But not every country is going down the road of exploitation, war and racism… are Venezuela, Cuba, and Bolivia empowering the poor, and what are the lessons for Australia?
2:30pm: 160 years of the Communist Manifesto – how relevent is Marx today?
160 years ago, the most famous revolutionary thesis of Marx and Engels analysed a brutal profit-first, capitalist system. In 2008, the world is
even more divided between the tiny few corporate rich, and the billions of ‘wage slaves’. Moreover, the world is also divided into 80% who live
in attrocious 3rd-world conditions, and the 20% of us living in the exploiter countries that feed off 3rd-world labour and resources.
4:30pm: Feminism & Socialism – liberation in the 21st century
How is the struggle for women’s liberation linked to the struggle for the liberation of humanity as a whole?
+ short hands on sessions Art Resistance sessions through the day
6:30pm: Cheap yummy dinner
7pm: Feminist film screening (Donation entry $6/3)
North Country (Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sissy Spacek)
A powerhouse film based on the true story of the first major sexual harrassment case in the United States – Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines. A single mother endures terrible abuse in a male-dominated industry and takes a stand for all women.
Saturday March 22 – Sunshine Coast
9am: Depart from Brisbane for street campaigning at spots on the Sunshine Coast (Maleny, Eumundi markets, Caloundra + more) – transport provided
12:30pm Lunch by the beach then discussions:
* Youth culture today – rebels with a cause?
Is “Gen Y” a symbol of social decay, or ridiculous label to scapegoat young people for Capitalism’s problems? What young people have to rebel against today, and how to take our culture back!
* The struggle for socialism in Australia today
Think we need to take this planet back? How can we move from today’s corporatised Australia to a socially just, environmentally-

sustainable society?
3pm – finish up with a swim or relax on the coast before heading back to Brisbane!
Hope everyone can make it! If you’re interested in hitting the coast on Saturday, please give us a call to get a space in a car!  (0401 234 610 or 3831 2644)

Brisbane Activist Centre, 74b Wickham St, Fortitude Valley

Home of Socialist Alliance, Green Left Weekly, Resistance + books, badges, t-shirts, more!

Ph: (07) 3831 2644 Mob: 0410 629 088 Email: Web:

Howard is history! Now let’s stand up for our rights


Peace Convergence

Dear Friends

It is with great joy that we share the news from last month of the Pine Gap 4 acquittal. A true victory amongst our many glorious defeats! If you haven’t read or heard the news visit
This is a significant win as it sets a precedent for how the act under which they were charged (Defence Special Undertakings Act) can be applied, effectively preventing its use against those who participate in peaceful nonviolent direct action at Pine Gap. Our congratulations to Donna, Adele, Jim and Brian.
The Pine Gap 4 are now inviting others to join them for further resistance at Pine Gap this April on ANZAC day. Visit for more details.
Shoalwater arrestees go to court this month. Court cases are scheduled for 20th and 27th March. Send messages of solidarity and support to (we will pass them on). Read press release below.

This is an important time to be challenging our relationship with the United States having just marked the fifth year of war in Iraq. Recently President Bush vetoed legislation that would ban the CIA from using harsh interrogation methods such as waterboarding (a method that simulates drowning) to break suspected terrorists. The Chamorro people hold concerns that the US military buildup will accelerate the destruction of their culture – 17,000 US marines will be moving to Guam beginning in 2012.
an aerial view of futenma in okinawa
An aerial view of the Futenma U.S. Marine Base in Futenma City, Okinawa prefecture, Japan, taken on July 27, 2006. The Marines plan to move 17,000 personnel and dependents to Guam from Okinawa beginning in 2012, boosting the island’s population by 10 percent. House prices have risen 70 percent since 2003 on expectations of increased demand.

The Peace Convergence Team
What YOU can do!
Read Press Release:
21 people were arrested during the Peace Convergence at Shoalwater Bay in June 2007. These people were arrested for peaceful acts of civil disobedience against the Talisman Sabre war games held at Shaolwater Bay. A number of them will be appearing in the Yeppoon and Rockhampton Courts in the next two months. People will be travelling from as far as Melbourne to attend court.
These Court proceedings can be an opportunity to bring attention to the use of Shoalwater Bay for the Talisman Sabre war games.
It is also an opportunity for locals and those appearing in court to catch up and make contact for the Peace Convergence at Shoalwater Bay in 2009.
If you can attend any of the following court proceedings that would be great. If you can arrive a half hour before court to hold banners, leaflet, run a stall etc…it would be much appreciated.
March 20 – 10 am Court 1 Yeppoon Magistrates Court
Emma Brindal and Paul Hood from Brisbane
Commonwealth Trespass charge – Charged with entering the Shoalwater Bay Training Area at the Byfield gate. The prosecution states that they sat down and refused to move from the area.
Contact: Emma Brindal 0411 084 727
MARCH 27 – 9:30 am Court 1 Yeppoon Magistrates Court
June Norman from Brisbane, Rod Castle, Wayne Reed and Neels Jack from Malany in Queensland and Kerry Priest and Kirsty from Melbourne.
Commonwealth Trespass – The prosecution states that the above people entered the Shoalwater Bay Training Area and camped out inside the area for four days during the Talisman Sabre war games.
Contact: June Norman 33140306 / 0438 169 414

For the remaining court appearences a reminder will be sent out in April with court times and further details.

APRIL 24 – Yeppoon Magistrates Court
The Samuel Hill 5, Sarah Williams, Simon Reeves, Krystal Spencer and Simon Moyle from Melbourne.
Commonwealth Trespass – The prosecution states that the group entered the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area, and walked openly down the middle of the Samuel Hill Airstrip inside the base.

Write to the US ambassador in Australia regarding the approval of the waterboarding technique. See sample letter below:

American Embassy
Moonah Place
Yarralumla, ACT 2600

Dear Ambassador McCallum,
On March 8, 2008 President Bush became the first US president to use the veto power to preserve the right to torture. We would be grateful if you could forward us details and specifications of the waterboarding torture technique so that we may offer the Australian public and media the opportunity to experience this first hand and to decide whether or not this contravenes the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
As allies of the US we have a right to be guaranteed by the US government that no suspected or actual enemy combatant or suspected or actual terrorist faces “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” when captured by Australian military forces and delivered directly to US military custody or to US military custody via NATO forces. We are acutely aware of what happened at Abu Ghraib and the role that Fort Huachuca, Arizona, for example, plays in teaching degradation and torture techniques ( an excellent reference is: McCoy, Alfred W. A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation From the Cold War to the War on Terror , Metropolitan Books, New York, 2006).
Yours sincerely
Don’t forget:

  • Shoalwater Arrestees in court April 24.
  • Hiroshima Day August 6 & Nagasaki Day August 9.
  • International Day of Peace September 21.
  • Asia Pacific Defence Security Exhibition in Adelaide this November 11-13.
  • Talisman Sabre July 6-26 2009

peace convergence

More Jail for anti-war activists

*Presentencing Press Release and messages of solidarity posted…
http://www.indymedi 86734

Fr. Martin Newell was sentenced at Stratford Magistrates Court Tuesday (18/3/07) to five days jail, he was immediately taken into custody.  Sentencing on Zelda Jeffers has been postponed until next week.  Zelda is a former “Shannon Banshee”, 6 years a nurse in Nicaragua (where she also worked on Ken Loach’s “Carla’s Song”) and 2 years a nurse with an indigenous tribe on the Amazon. Zelda made it clear to the court that she refuses to pay fine, or contribute in any way to those who profit from the arms fair.  The court said it could not take her pension but could take her to the High Court to get her bank details.  The court postponed sentencing on Zelda for a week.

Sentencing arises out of the Feb 15th. conviction
http://www.indymedi en/2008/02/ 391777.html
for nonviolent resistance at 2007 London Arms & report of action
http://www.indymedi en/2007/09/ 380866.html

Zelda Jeffers and Fr. Martin Newell live and work at the London Catholic Worker which offers shelter and hospitality to refugees fleeing wars fueled by the arms trade.  They also run a cheap local cafe/social centre in Dalston and a free Sunday soup kitichen for the homeless in Hackney.

Martin Newell was a member of the Jubilee Ploughsares 2000 group that disarmed a nuclear convoy vehicle at RAF Wittering
http://www.plowshar esactions. org/webpages/ jubilee_ploughsh ares_2000. htm

The London Times on Martin Newell “Following Jesus in Love and Anarchy” http://www.timesonl tol/comment/ faith/article346 1731.ece

Presentencing Press Release and messages of solidarity posted…
http://www.indymedi 86734

For more information contact Ciaron in England
ciaronx@yahoo. com
Ph. Landline  0207 249 0041
Mobile 0795 029 0857

Ciaron O’Reilly
London Catholic Worker
16 De Beauvoir Rd,
De Beauvoir Town
London N1 5SU
Landline 0207 249 0041
From Overseas 0044 207 249 0041
Mobile Calls & Text 0795 029 0857
From Overseas +44 795 029 0857
“The poor tell us who we are,
The prophets tell us who we could be,
So we hide the poor,
And kill the prophets.”
Phil Berrigan

What is to be done?

workersclubAn exploration of the current political economy of Australia.
What are the big issues that impact on this—climate change,
labour politics, interest rates, inflation etc?

What policies should the labour movement advocate?

How do we move beyond academic discussion?

Two Perspectives:

John Quiggin
Federation Fellow in Economics, Qld Uni
Howard Guille
Lecturer in Political Economy, QUT and
former Qld Secretary, National Tertiary Education Union
Chaired by Beth Mohle, Assistant Secretary, Qld Nurses Union
Thursday 13 March

Paddington Workers Centre

Cnr Given Tce & Latrobe St.
Drinks and refreshments available.
Gold Coin donation
An initiative of WorkLife

For more information contact Maggie May 0430 539 653 or Ross Gwyther 3366 5318
or see website:



Rudd’s Razor – Disabling the Disabled

by Brian Laver, Institute for Social Ecology
pictured at left providing advice to Fidel Castro)
Laver and Fidel

Well now we know.

The apology is over and the feel good times have come to an end.

All pretty quickly too.

Rudd has let us all know the meaning of “fiscal conservative”.

He is going to reduce the ability of some in the community to spend in the hope that will bring down demand and that will lower inflation.

So where did Rudd – the good Christian and fiscal conservative make his first cut?

He could have had a go at the wealthy – the new millionaires.

After all there are more of them around these glorious days.

But no our Kevin, who is here to help, decided he would take the really tough decision and he would first of all not have a go at the rich but at those who care for the disabled, and then just when you thought it safe to come out of hiding he announced that he would have a go at that other group of high rollers and big spenders – the pensioners.

There was of course a reaction and Rudd’s nerve seemed to crack.

He told us that there was no way in God’s earth he would leave the pensioners in the lurch.

How sweet of Kevin to bring god into it all.

Is he the first Australian politician to mention God?

But didn’t anyone tell him the truth that the pensioners were already in the damned lurch?

Has he spent so much time with his multi millionaire wife that he has forgotten that pensioners in Australia are already poor??

Of course Rudd does not know about the poor.

He is a mandarin and has no idea how normal people live. He is simply doing what he has always done.

Administer the system so the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

That’s what being a fiscal conservative means. It is what he did when he ran the Godd (Goss) government from 1990 – 1996.

If you want to understand what a Rudd government will be like just look at the Goss govt. It was full of arrogant ruthless heartless alpha males.

Rudd has already sent for his old mate and fellow mandarin from the Goss days, Glyn Davies, to help him muck things up in Canberra.

Now all Rudd has to do is to send for Peter Coaldrake the Vice Chancellor of the Queensland Institute of Technology and put him in charge of the public sector in Canberra and we will have the full catastrophe.

In technicolour this time.

What is to be done?

workersclubAn exploration of the current political economy of Australia.
What are the big issues that impact on this—climate change,
labour politics, interest rates, inflation etc?

What policies should the labour movement advocate?

How do we move beyond academic discussion?

Two Perspectives:

John Quiggin
Federation Fellow in Economics, Qld Uni
Howard Guille
Lecturer in Political Economy, QUT and
former Qld Secretary, National Tertiary Education Union
Chaired by Beth Mohle, Assistant Secretary, Qld Nurses Union
Thursday 13 March

Paddington Workers Centre

Cnr Given Tce & Latrobe St.
Drinks and refreshments available.
Gold Coin donation
An initiative of WorkLife

For more information contact Maggie May 0430 539 653 or Ross Gwyther 3366 5318
or see website:


Click on the button below to hear interviews of Sam Watson, and people from the Stolen Generation about Sorry Day. Or visit Murri Blog



1.30pm SUNDAY 16 MARCH 2008




  • NATO has joined the US Preemptive Nuclear Doctrine*/

  • More nuclear powers have declared themselves willing to use their weapons in pre-emptive strikes against nuclear and non-nuclear countries


contact : Joan Shears ph 3855 9497

supported by WILPF Womens International League for Peace and Freedom
Qld, Stop the War Coalition*


The Peace Rally on Palm Sunday is very early this year – March16 – and
we have an exciting and interesting program organised for Queens Park to
be followed by a Peace March through the city.


Sam Watson, Aboriginal Leader and Activist will speak about the long
overdue Apology to the Stolen Children, what it means for all
Australians now and in the future

Veevek Thankey, member of the Qld MAPW Medical Association for
Prevention of War Cttee Nuclear Free Australia, Australia and a
Nuclear Weapons Convention, a new international Campaign to Abolish
Nuclear Weapons (Veevek is a medical student from Canada,is studying in
Australia and is the International Student Representative for students

Pauline Rigby, DUSK Depleted Uranium- Silent Killer/ <> Public Health –
Health risks presented to the Australian population from the use of
uranium weapons at home and abroad; and measures required for protecting
civilians and service personnel from radioactive contamination

Hamish Chitts, Australian Veteran convenor of “Stand Fast”/ “Stand
Fast” is a newly formed group of Veterans and former military personnel
who oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Adele Goldie, Christians Against ALL Terrorism and member of the Pine
Gap4 /On December 9 2005 a ‘Citizen’s Inspection’ by the Pine Gap4 took
place causing Pine Gap to go into shut down for five hours. They were
arrested, convicted but refused to pay the fines. In February this year, they were acquitted.

The Combined Unions Choir will open the program.

The Stop the War collective is a group of people who regularly meet in the interests of organising against the war on Iraq. Members of Stop the War do not support ideas or comments that are in anyway sexist, racist or homophobic, and ACTIVELY seeks to create an organising space that is easy to participate in for all people who oppose the war on Iraq.

It’s Time 6

by Bernie Neville


The Price’s and Incomes Accord of Hawke and Keating by any other name would still smell the same, like a dead skunk in the middle of the road, it was the Accord which saw a sharp decline in real wages and it was the Hawke government that oversaw the privatisation of Qantas and the Commonwealth Bank. Now Rudd and his little mate NSW-ALP Premier Iemma want to privatise the electricity industry in that state. Not one word of criticism by union officials of Rudd who gave his blessing to the sell off. At a Sydney meeting of unions in the second week of February Rudd was reported to have said that his little mate “Premier Iemma had his full support for the sale of the states electricity industry.”


The CFMEU construction chief Dave Noonan said on the 19th of February that the watch dog ABCC put in place by the government of John Howard treats workers like “second class citizens”. CFMEU leader Kevin Reynolds said that the fight would be taken up to the ABCC. “It will come to a head” he said. “Workers are getting sick to death of not been able to take action over their conditions.” Dave Noonan said.” These are not Labor law’s, they are John Howard’s law.” Sorry Dave – they are now Rudd’s law and his deputy Julia Gillard will see that they are carried out. She said she will keep the tough cop on the beat and show zero tolerance, she also said she will come down on you like a ton of bricks. Should any of your workers step out of line, she will have no shortage of bricks in the building industry.

When construction workers in Western Australia stopped work at the Mandurah railway site they copped a $10,000 dollar fine, and what was the response of the ACTU? Sharon Burrow said “we will stand by the workers and their families and help them with their legal costs and fines.” Not good enough – refuse to pay the fines and take the fight back to the shop floor and if this means conflict with the Rudd government so be it.


Teachers in Victoria submitted a claim for a 30% wage increase over the next three years the Premier of that state John Brumby has offered them a pay rise of 3.25% over a three year period which would not even keep pace with inflation. This is a state which pays their senior teachers less than every other state in Australia. Teachers in Victoria also have the worst working conditions and greater work loads. It’s time for the ALP both state and federal to drop the threats of legal action and loosen the purse strings.

Bernie Neville.

Honorary member of the ETU

Phone 07-3300-1405 04 374-397 54

E-Petition calling for a water fluoridation referendum

Please Support the E-Petition calling for a  water fluoridation referendum  in Queensland.

Help fight forced water fluoridation by signing the E-Petition on the Queenland Parliament website ; please click on link below ( or paste into browser if not live )

The petition reads:“Queensland residents draws to the attention of the House the high level of public concern in relation to mandatory Queensland’s potable water supplies.

Your petitioners, therefore, request the House to give the people of Queensland the opportunity for an informed choice by referendum on mandatory fluoridation, to be held prior to the debate on the bill.”

Whilst this is not everything we would want, because a lost referendum can force people to consume fluoride against their will, it is the best opportunity to tell the Government how we feel. It is also an opportunity for people who believe in the rights of others to have a free choice, to also have their say, by supporting this petition.

The Principal Petitioner is Denis Connolly, 11 Dawson Road, Gladstone, Qld. 4680 and it will be sponsored into the Queensland Parliament by Independent member – Liz Cunningham MP.

This is very important – Please sign the petition NOW. Note:  The closing date is 21st March.  If you are against Water fluoridation, add your signature now.


There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

Social Alternatives – 30 years old


Native Title: the parliamentary road to change is a spiny ant eater

The following speech on Native Title was delivered by the Attorney General a few days ago. I have highlighted passages which I think are significant and which should be given particular attention. This does not mean that I have the same opinion as the Attorney General about the way forward, but it does show some willingness to improve the system.

Les Malezer


Negotiating Native Title Forum Lawson Ballroom,

Level 2, The Novotel Brisbane 200 Creek St, Brisbane

9.10am, 29 February 2008


1. Just under two weeks ago, in the Australian Parliament, our Prime Minister said ‘sorry’.

2. He said ‘sorry’ for the past mistreatment of Indigenous people – particularly the stolen generation.

3. He apologised for the pain and suffering caused to them, and to their families – and the indignity and degradation inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture.

4. However, he also talked of the importance of moving forwards together, of forging new relationships, new partnerships.

5. I believe native title has a crucial role to play in forging this new relationship. Just as an apology recognises and acknowledges the past hurt caused by the removal of children, through native title we acknowledge Indigenous peoples ongoing relationship with the land. To bury native title in a unnecessary complexity is an affront to that heritage. In short, native title is but one way of recognising Indigenous peoples’ connection to land.

Where indigenous people have lost their native title by removal or through the passage of time, we should be able to find a way to recognise their relationship with land. In summary, we need to move away from technical legal arguments about the existence of native title.

6. In my short period as Attorney-General I have spent some time trying to get on top of native title. I have not yet succeeded. But I have discovered four things:

• native title is highly technical and complex;

• native title nonetheless has great potential – both symbolic and practical;

• we have a long way to go before we realise the full potential native title can bring.

• nonetheless, there are some excellent examples of how to achieve real outcomes.

7. The other thing to keep in mind is that native title is important but it is far from a complete answer to addressing the rights of all indigenous Australians.

This recognised in the Preamble of the Act, which states in part; “It is also important to recognise that many Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, because they have been dispossessed of their traditional lands will be unable to assert native title rights and interests….”

8. In that context it should not be overlooked, for instance, that members of the stolen generation – and their descendants have by third party intervention may have been deprived of their historial connection to their traditional land.

9. The Rudd Labor Government is also committed to a new partnership with the indigenous community and closing the gap between Indigenous and non- Indigenous Australians. It is committed to halving the gap in literacy, numeracy, housing, infant mortality and employment outcomes and opportunities between Indigenous and non- Indigenous Australians.

10. Native title can play a role in this new partnership.

In short, native title is about more than just delivering symbolic recognition. It can and should have practical benefits as well. A native title system which delivers real outcomes in a timely and efficient way can provide Indigenous people with an important avenue of economic development. This is a key priority of the Rudd Labor Government. We have an obligation to past and future generations not to squander that opportunity.

11. Nearly 15 years ago the High Court found that Australia’s common law could recognise Indigenous peoples ongoing connection to the land. It recognised what courts in other common law countries had recognised up to 100 years before– that Indigenous people had a form of land ownership prior to white settlement.

12. The Native Title Act that followed was a cautious step forward. The Act sought a way through the complexities and uncertainties of common law claims. It struck a fine balance between allowing for the recognition of native title and validating other forms of land tenure. The heart of the Act was the principle that the recognition of Indigenous peoples’ ongoing connection with their land should be resolved by negotiation and mediation not litigation.

13. Regrettably that admirable intention of the Act has not been realised. Anecdotally, it seems all too often negotiations are characterised by the absence – rather than the presence – of “good faith”. All participants from government down can do much better. Much better in resolving native title claims.

Much better in creatively and innovatively using negotiations as a vehicle to achieve practical outcomes.

14. What caused this negative and often obstructive attitude to negotiation ? I think in some ways it was a reaction to the Mabo case itself. Some have painted the decision as the zenith of judicial activism. Both the meaning of the Mabo decision and the intent of the Native Title Act soon became casualties of a spiteful culture war. If the scaremongers were to be believed, backyards were at risk and an apartheid system was being created in the Australian outback.

15. As a result, native title was seen as a zero sum game.

It became strangled in litigation and arguments over technical provisions of a complex Act. An opportunity for reconciliation has all too often become an instrument of division.

16. But we must now have the opportunity to grasp the momentum created by the apology. It’s time to develop new attitudes and new ways of thinking and doing things. In this 15th anniversary of the Mabo decision, there has never been a more pressing need for a new way of thinking in relation to native title.

More to the point – there has been more opportunity to achieve outstanding outcomes.

17. But tinkering at the edges is not enough. Real progress will only come through a change of attitude on the part of all native title participants; whether it is the purists intoxicated by their expertise in an horrifically complicated system that – at times – they have aggravated. Whether it is governments that have obstructed the resolution of claims because of a belief that there are matters which can only be resolved by a court. Whether it be some claimant groups who unreasonably refused to accommodate legitimate claims by others. Whether it be some respondents who have all but persuaded themselves of fanciful arguments about potential prejudice.

18. Native title negotiations can present a real opportunity to facilitate the reconciliation process.

19. Last year’s determination at Noonkanbah consent determination in Western Australia was a case in point. In the 1970s that country was the scene of confrontation and protests. But thirty years later, through native title processes, the Aboriginal group, Government and other parties were able to come together and agree to recognise the Yungngora Peoples’s rights in the land.

20. Improving the way we consult and the relationships we forge along the way are two of the things that will characterise this Government’s approach to Indigenous affairs.

[The Way Forward]

21. We now have an incredible amount of knowledge and experience about what native title is, and what it isn’t.

And about the sadness of people dying before their peoples’ claims are determined.

22. We are all aware how complex native title can be. It has been graphically illustrated by a number of recent cases. In the case of the Rubibi claim, native title was described – with some justification – by the judge as being in a “state of gridlock”. In some cases, courts are being asked to resolve issues to which are not well suited to the winner takes-all judicial processes. It is a tragedy to see people dying before their peoples’ claims are resolved 23. However, the knowledge and positive experience that now exists the opportunity to improve outcomes.

24. To achieve this we must put aside old attitudes. And we must no longer expect our courts to resolve issues which should be dealt with by negotiation rather than litigation.

25. The Rudd Government is determined to see more, and better, outcomes delivered through native title processes.

26. Our objectives for the native title system are:

• where-ever possible, resolving land use and ownership issues through negotiation, because negotiation produces broader and better outcomes than litigation

• facilitating the negotiation of more, and better Indigenous Land Use Agreements and ensuring that traditional owners and their representatives are adequately resourced for this

• making native title an effective mechanism for providing economic development opportunities for Indigenous people;

• Avoiding unduly narrow and legalistic approaches to native title processes that can result in the further dispossession of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Above all, my objective is to ensure that native title is not seen as an end in itself.

[TheWay Forward]

27. I repeat it is not all gloom. There have been some truly inspiring outcomes. And it is a credit to those involved. I am committed to working constructively with my State and Territory counterparts to share ideas and lessons learned. With our collective experience in the native title system, we need to identify the policies and practices that work best, and learn from each others’ mistakes.

28. To this end I am pleased to announce that in July 2008 I will be participating in a Native Title Ministers’ Meeting that will for the first time bring together Ministers from like-minded governments around the country.

29. Through all Governments working together – through cooperative federalism – to find a new approach to resolving native title issues an enormous amount can be achieved.

30. On the issue of funding, Native Title Representative Bodies must have the resources they need to properly assist native title parties pursue timely and mutually beneficial native title outcomes.

31. Prescribed Bodies Corporate will also play an increasingly important role as greater numbers of claims are determined.

32. To make sure we are funding the system adequately into the future, my Department is currently coordinating a comprehensive review of Commonwealth native title funding to be completed by July 2008.

33. There is room for all parties to take a step back, and adopt a more flexible and willing approach to negotiations.

34. For example, the current approach in many native title claims is to start by considering connection.

However, problems arise because there aren’t enough experts, and there is no straightforward way to make them more readily available.

35. Where experts can be secured, reports are slow and costly.

36. Claims can become mired in competing arguments about connection to quite specific areas.

Effectively, we are trying to take an historic and geographic aerial snapshot in circumstances where there was no registrar of titles and certainly no GPS to determine boundaries.

37. We should consider finding a different starting point. Purists may be horrified at that suggestion; but I believe there can be benefits all round.

38. For instance the new starting point could involve taking an interest-based approach to claims.

It may involve starting with a consideration of tenure.

It may be having a connection process run in parallel with discussions about a range of outcomes, native title and non native title.

39. By sitting down at the start and discussing what interests they have and what outcomes they are seeking, parties may be more readily able to identify opportunities for the timely and satisfactory resolution of the claim.

40. This may be through a determination of native title, or it may be through non-native title outcomes.

It may be a combination of the two.

41. If native title pure and simple is the desired outcome, then connection evidence will still be required to determine the claim.

42. However, should connection not be made out, the parties can consider whether there are alternative agreements that can still be reached.

43. Similarly, early consideration of tenure may more readily identify where native title may continue to exist, and where it may have been extinguished.

44. It may assist in resolving overlaps, and identifying where connection evidence will be required.

Knowledge of the tenure in a claim may provide all parties with the opportunity to consider what kind of outcome is possible.

45. Importantly, being unable to meet the required standard for a determination of native title at a particular point in history does not mean those Indigenous people do not have strong relationships with the land and with each other.

46. But it does mean that claimants need to consider what other results they may be willing and able to achieve from a claim.

47. And Governments need to consider how they might meet those aspirations. For example, I am keen to work with Minister Macklin to explore how land ownership and management opportunities through the Indigenous Land Corporation can be more readily accessed as part of a negotiated outcome.

48. It may be possible to sit down and negotiate where Government can assist in developing comprehensive business plan.

49. Much can be achieved if parties are up front about what they really want and open-minded about finding creative solutions.

50. One successful example is the agreement negotiated in the Wotjobaluk case , between the native title claimants, the Victorian Government and a number of other respondent parties, including the Australian Government.

51. While the determination recognised native title rights over less than three percent of the original claim area in Western Victoria, the broader settlement package delivered a range of outcomes.

52. These included:

• recognising ties to traditional country,

• establishing a consultation process with traditional owners,

• cooperative land management arrangements and

• freehold title to parcels of land of cultural significance.

53. In taking this approach Victoria has recognised the broad opportunities native title processes can present, and that the experience people take from the process can make or break future relationships.

54. Native title – as a property right under Australian law – presents a real opportunity to Indigenous people to negotiate positive economic outcomes.

55. The Ord River Agreement in WA is an example where native title negotiations have resulted in millions of dollars being targeted at developing the capacity of local communities to engage in the local economy and benefit from future development.

56. In the Northern Territory, the Larrakia people have used native title processes to successfully negotiate a number of agreements with the Northern Territory Government.

57. From seed funding of $10,000, the Larrakia Development Corporation has developed 57 residential lots without any recourse to government assistance.

58. After private investment of $6.4 million in the project, the Corporation is debt free and has returned $250,000 in grants to the Larrakia people from its operations.

And one of the Corporations businesses, Larrakia Homes, has recently won a number of Housing Industry Awards.

59. These are just some of the examples of the benefits that can be achieved if all parties take a flexible, creative approach and seek to resolve a range of issues within the context of native title negotiations.

60. I would like to see more outcomes like these being achieved where native title rights are a basis for building sustainable long-term outcomes for communities. As I say, native title should not be seen as an end in itself.

61. Our collective experiences in negotiating native title matters should equip us all to take advantage of opportunities to secure broader and better land outcomes.

62. To ensure the Australian Government engages with other stakeholders in a constructive and transparent way, I will be consulting with my ministerial colleagues about principles the Government will follow when undertaking future act negotiations.


63. As in all areas of the law, there are, and will continue to be, outstanding questions in native title.

However, fifteen years of experience with the native title system should enable parties to accept that that an outcome does not have to be legally perfect to work in a practical sense. In particular, it is clear that in this area, there will sometimes not be clear cut legal answers or the court’s decision will not be entirely predictable. So unless participants want to risk an all or nothing legal throw of the dice, there must be a will on both sides to devise workable solutions.

64. Through parties focusing on their interests in claims, and how these might be met in practice, it should be possible for parties to negotiate more timely and satisfactory outcomes.

65. Native title is uniquely placed – to acknowledge traditional laws and customs, and the relationship between Indigenous people and the country they have lived on for thousands of years; and to provide opportunities to the present day native title holders and their communities.

66. More that fifteen years on from Mabo, the native title system presents all parties with an opportunity to generate real and lasting outcomes.

I would encourage all participants in the system to grasp those opportunities and ensure native title processes deliver real benefits for more Indigenous Australians.

67. If properly done right native title can help develop positive and enduring relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. There is no point for it to be a point of division.

68. Native title negotiations get people talking – people who might otherwise have had no reason to sit around a table together. They can be a vehicle for reconciliation and ongoing positive relationships.

69. Strong relationships are the cornerstone to long lasting and effectively implemented agreements – and to wider partnerships as we build a modern nation better equipped to meet the challenges of the future – for all Australians.


(approx 2,956 words)

Jagera Community Meeting



Lunchtime Community Meeting

All invited

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Time 12-00 noon -2-00pm.


At Jagera Arts, Musgrave Park


The purpose of the meeting is

To identify strategies for an organised and co-ordinated community approach that can bring about change




Members of the Aboriginal and Islander community are concerned about the increasing number of incidents of

*Excessive abuse of power by the Qld Police

*Overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Islander people in Qld prisons.

And implementation of the Royal Commission Recommendations into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.


Convened by

Les Malezer of FAIRA Aboriginal Corporation,

Bob Weatherall of The Centre for Indigenous Cultural Policy Shayne Duffey of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service have joined together to seek communities

Charmaine Tatten Indigenous Development and Directions

Further information contact Bob Weatherall 0429 091 452.



Close of Queensland parliament on 28 February 2008. And we were only seven Email said: “Intervention action Parliament house 10am Thursday” Pollies come on balcony to look down at 1,000 firefighters And we were only seven who have produced a … Continue reading