Monthly Archives: November 2010

Refugees – Morrison lowpoint at the Lowy

Morrison’s proposition at the LOWY demonstrated a total ignorance of the realities of the refugee situation and Australia’s responsibility- but then what’s new.

Morrison proposed sending Afghans back to border camps in Pakistan and Iran.

Firstly why does he think that they are here and not bunked up in Iran and Afghanistan with their families? Maybe he does not think and my expectations are set too high. The evidence from Afghan Hazaras is that they are not safe in either of these countries where they can be shot and killed on the streets of Quetta or picked up and transported to the Afghan border in Iran and handed over to their Pashtun persecutors. That is why they are here.

Secondly Australia has no capacity to send anyone back to Iran unless they agree in writing. In spite of all efforts Australia has been unable to broker a deal with Iran on this score which Ruddock found out to his embarrassment when he promised Iran all sorts of goodies back in 2004 in return for Iran taking back Iranians from Baxter only to have Iran renege.

The Iranian government is expelling and transporting Afghanis so why would they take them from Australia. You would think that Ruddock would give his colleague some background to this. Perhaps he did not think that it was necessary since refugee politics is so toxic that anything can be said as long as it demonizes and denies refugees.

As for Pakistan- the Australian government was unable to get permission to send the body of the man who died in Curtin this year. He was an Afghan Hazara whose family live in “a border camp” Quetta in Pakistan. With all the pressure Australia could bring to bear they failed to even repatriate a dead Afghan man. The Pakistani government flatly refused.
Surely indicative of difficulty in repatriating hundreds of live people.

As for the headline below- it is confusing as THE AUSTRALIAN headlines often are bearing no relevance to the article they head.

My reading of the article is that Morrison wants to send boatpeople to Pakistan and Afghanistan but wants to TAKE refugees from ” Central Asia”.

Central Asia comprises the stans- Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan not necessarily including Afghanistan.
I guess the important thing for Morrison and the Australian is that the libs are ripping into boat people- does not really matter what they say or if it makes sense.

Liberals propose sending refugees back to Central Asia for processing

  • Paul Maley, National security correspondent
  • From: The Australian
  • December 01, 2010 12:00AM

Afghan asylum-seekers who arrive in Australia by boat would be returned to Central Asia for processing under a proposal from the opposition.

Uncle Sugar – articles about the wars of terror

Some articles about the wars of terror.

Thanks to Stephen Fugate for compiling these.

In the Koreas Five Possible Ways to War.doc

US diplomatic offensive tightens strategic encirclement of China.doc

Killing Reconciliation.doc

All War All the Time.doc

The War in Afghanistan is Not about Afghanistan.doc

Invader of Iraq gets top job at Uni (part 2)

Ciaron O’Reilly asked me to go along to the protest at St Stephens Cathedral in Brisbane last Sunday, 26 November 2010.

He asked me to shoot some video and put it up on the BushTelegraph. At Ciaron’s request Tony Robertson (aka ‘culture boy’ on YouTube) also shot some video of the protest outside St Stephens cathedral..

Apologies for the sound in the interviews with Jim Dowling and Sean O’Reilly.

I was last inside St Stephens when the Americans were escalating the war in Vietnam in the mid 1960s. Mass was said in Latin back then.

I was taken there by my Dad. My father was asked after mass by the priest to take a homeless man to find his lost sister. My dad carried out the priest’s request but it took us many hours to find his sister’s address,  driving around Sandgate, Redcliffe and Scarborough — a long way from St Stephens, especially in the crappy car that Dad drove. I remember how mad with worry our mum was when we got home after dark. We lived on a farm in Moggill on the outskirts of Brisbane far from both Scarborough and St Stephens.

St Stephens was a very different church back then, less grandiose and more connected to the people. Last Sunday you could not hear let alone understand what the priest was saying.

But the catholic church had similar problems with war mongering back in the 1960s too.

There was open support for the Vietnam war by high profile Catholics like US President Kennedy, General Diem and Marshall Ky of South Vietnam.

I noticed a strong Vietnamese contingent at mass on Sunday.

However, unlike now, the leader of the Labor party at the time, Arthur Caldwell, a devout Catholic, refused to support the war in Vietnam.

Caldwell was opposed on the basis that it was a civil war between North and South Vietnam and had nothing to do with Australia. Arthur Caldwell was famous for his racist gibe ‘Two Wongs don’t make a white’. His opposition to the war was supported by a large section of the union movement that organised protest and industrial action.

Nonetheless that unjust war took the lives of millions of Vietnamese people in the same way that the war in Iraq has. Australia was divided over the war in Vietnam. many supported the US alliance. Things have changed lttle there.

Pictured here are some of the opponents of the war in Brisbane who some readers may recall.

They were meeting across town from St Stephens in Trades Hall organising a protest against the visit to Australia by the President of South Vietnam, Marshall Ky. This photo is taken from the Graham Garner Collection 1966, It was shot by Grahame during the controversial Ky visit to Brisbane and is published here with the permission of the Fryer Library at the University of Queensland.

The tall man in the centre is Alex McDonald the secretary (at that time) of the Queensland Trades and Labour Council. To his left is Hughie Hamilton from Building Workers Industrial Union. The woman on their right is the President of the Brisbane Housewives Association, Gabby Horan. The two younger men I don’t know. Of course the opponents of the war were called a nest of Communists by the Premier of Qld, Frank Nicklin.

Hughie and Alex were members of the Communist Party of Australia which had a principled opposition to the war in Vietnam.

Ian Curr
1 December 2010

‘All that’s left: what Labor should stand for’ – book launch

Comrades and friends,

Please find attached an invitation to the launch of ‘All that’s left: what Labor should stand for’ by Dr Nick Dyrenfurth. It will be held at the Avid Reader in West End on Monday 6 December 2010. All are welcome to attend.


Jason Stein



Mobile: 0413 133 587

Fabians – All That’s Left book launch – 6 December 2010.pdf

Which side are you on?

Come all of you good workers, good news to you I’ll tell
of how the good old union has come in here to dwell

Last Saturday Brisbane anti apartheid activists disrupted business at the Israeli “Seacret” Cosmetics stall at Chermside Shopping Centre, one of Brisbane’s busiest suburban centres.

The action was part of the global BDS movement to Boycott Israeli goods.

Continue reading

Awesome TurnStyle Benefit Show – Friday

To all enthusiasts and their friends, family and knock-a-bouts, TurnStyle is having a giggle(s) this Friday night.

Cos all the crew, collectives and projects are gathering momentum and by coming alone you can find out whats happening, whose doing it, how/if you want to be involved.

  • TurnStyle Collectives
  • Let It Bee
  • Strong Bearings Peddle
  • Eclectic Brews
  • Radical Library
  • Nourishing Growth (food)
  • Buttercup Mobility
  • SpinOuts (co-ordination)

And we got the goodies happening again – rad bands – home-brewed beer – coboven pizza.

Also open mic – words, song, theater etc.

Keen to rid some (little bit) of ya warm soft money – this is the gig to do it!

Downstairs at 10/12 Laura Street
Highgate Hill
3rd December
7pm till midnight

collective spirit
3255 0559

Australia is Israel on refugees

IN OUR FIGHT FOR DECENCY AND COMPASSION FOR REFUGEES – we do not stand alone – good folks everywhere are fighting against the global tide of selfishness and demonisation of refugees. See article Israel approves detention center for migrants

Sound familiar? – yes Israel planning to do the same as Julia Gillard.

Mind you, the Australia plan is to plant the detention facility in an effort to avoid responsibility.

Interesting use of language – Israeli government calls refugees “INFILTRATORS”- Australia labels refugees – “illegals”.

Whatever it takes to demonise and scare monger.

“CIVIL” society in Israel like “CIVIL” society in Australia are fighting to preserve human rights and respect for human beings against the barbarity of politicians, gross tabloid media, the selfish and the ignorant- gosh does that include everyone ‘cept us!!

Worth noting that they have 36,000 people seeking sanctuary last year – Australia has 6000 people arriving by boat and presenting them selves to the authorities this year.

Check this out for a sense of perspective – mind-blowing

(the map does seem to have Canberra in the wrong place from

See aricle from Israeli refugee rights advocate

“The idea as was published on the prime minister’s official website is to lock up all the refugees already living in Israel in this detention facility – and as we are talking about Eritreans and Sudanese, it is with no time limit.

The plan is that refugees wont be allowed to work anymore and have to stay at the facility.

And indeed what was stamped on their visa’s lately is – ‘this is not a working permit’.

The term infiltrators indeed is outrageous and it is unbelievable the media uses the term too without thinking twice. What to do – I thought perhaps of a some sort of an organized petition to Israeli embassies which may help, perhaps the Jewish community can assist here, I am trying now to contact anyone I can abroad to see if there is something – some pressure – which can be put together also from the outside.”

I’ll send more details when I have them.

The constitution

hoeroa, thank you my brother for your words of action and i apologise for my late reply.

your thoughts are prescient to the constitution discussion but especially your knowledge of the major pitfalls of designated parliamentary seats.

it is great that we are given a maori view on our continuing struggles here for sovereignty, treaties and social justice

i find also your analysis of the racist rantings of gary johns to be spot on.

yours in solidarity


Ray Tena koe! [Greetings to you]

As the direct nephew of the Aotearoa [NZ], now retired Maori Land Court Judge, Hoeroa Bailey Marumaru, I observe your comments identified in the following, of significant wisdom, as opposed to those you refer to.

It is my responsibility to acknowledge, my comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my Uncle.

[1] “the wording to be added to the body of the constitution is, to my mind, has already been done for us. any added words must fully reflect, both in the spirit and the actual wording, that the federal government and the people of australia, regardless of colour,race, religion, etc. is all in the un declaration of indigenous peoples. that declaration will cover all contingencies and will only be opposed by johns, bolt and the rest of their ilk.”

As an observer, I wholeheartedly concur, if it is acceptable for Australia to sign this UN declaration, why would it not be acceptable as appropriate for the Australian constitution?

[2] “one thing i do not wish to see in the constitution is designated parliamentary seats. self-determination will take care of that.”

I concur with observation of this comment further, as someone belonging to a neighbouring indigenous people, whom has witnessed the pernicious and venal political tactic of ‘wedge politics’ utilised to disenfranchise the representative integrity, lawful rights, and interests, of those indigenous peoples represented by their appointed indigenous parliamentary representatives, by adversarial policy agenda, concordant with generation of the lobbying of base racist conflagration within the electorate and community, by vested interests.

[3] “Perhaps section 51. xxvi, “The people of any race, for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws”, should remain, although the suggestion by Mick Gooda, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, that this power has been used to discriminate against Aboriginal people is laughable.”

That Mr Johns may possibly conceive this article of the Australian constitution is “laughable” referenced to its recorded demonstration of discriminatory powers, is incredulous of even pretension to reasoned judgement, as is corresponding observation of its abject failure to accord and reconcile with those UN conventions Australia is a signatory to, such as the UN Declaration of Indigenous Peoples you refer to.

It is significant further, of observation of its inclusion of the Maori, demonstrating its intended agenda against the rights of both our indigenous peoples, as a “broad brush” venal policy, for expedition of the historically recorded extortion perpetrated against both our peoples, to disenfranchise them of their lawful rights and possessions by stealth.

[4] “The trouble is, Aboriginal culture, in any sense in which the original inhabitants practised it, is long gone. Elements of the original that remain, such as polygamy and underage sex, are illegal or, in the case of sorcery, re-emerging around places such as Yuendumu and Groote Island, is just plain evil.”

This comment comprehensively defies even basic common sense. For if as Mr Johns contends, “

Aboriginal culture, in any sense in which the original inhabitants practised it, is long gone,” how could that “evil” he further contends associated with it, possibly re-emerge or be observed remnant as any meaningful or substantial associated product and entity? [Re: “the original that remain, such
as polygamy and underage sex, are illegal or, in the case of sorcery,
re-emerging around places such as Yuendumu and Groote Island, is just plain

Mr Johns therefore, comprehensively demonstrates his agenda as racist, according to that malevolent intent such pernicious agenda is known to demonstrate.

Ehoa! Ka kite! Kia u!

[My friend Keep well Be strong]

Tena koutou katoa!

[Greetings to you all]

Hoeroa Robert Marumaru

ray jackson
indigenous social justice association

Aboriginal Rights Coalition ARC/ campus group meeting

Hi all,

There will be an organising meeting of the Aboriginal Rights Coalition and associated campus groups this Wed evening (1st Dec) from 6pm to 8pm in Window Bay Area 4 at the THE EDGE.

THE EDGE is on the river bank between the State Library and the Victoria Bridge (Melbourne Street).

We will be discussing initiatives we might want to take over the next period and more.


another lost brother at the hands of a gun happy police force.

by ray jackson
[Editors note: Ray writes regularly on matters of social justice and his comment here concern ‘Investigation into the death in custody of an Aboriginal man’. Ray is president of the indigenous social justice association.]

perhaps, as someone previously stated, this is to take the heat out of the taser abuse discussions that have been ongoing around australia by community legal services, police watch groups and others. all i say is that when dealing with the national police forces then anything is possible.

the excuse that nothing else worked so they, the police, had no choice but to shoot him. details are still very sparse but what the investigation must consider if the use of ‘special mental health teams’, as used in other countries would have made a positive difference. it is of little use to attempt to train new recruits in this area, this is a specialist area and covers several levels of psychological expertise that takes years of training. if the cops are serious then this is one, and only one, solution that they must look at.

i totally agree with bev manson and others behind this statement that there must be a full and open enquiry but again we must recognise, but never accept, that we will have cops investigating cops. and that will only lead to a cover-up of the true involvement of the cops in this shooting.

the cops using their ‘authority’ to salt the media with more positive spin is an age-old practice and is used every time to dissuade the public, and ultimately the coroner involved in the upcoming inquest, that the cops are innocent of everything.

coroners do read newspapers, listen to radio and watch television news and thus a subliminal message is planted. the case will not be looked at for at least 18-24 months but the seeds are planted.

if the family or witnesses were to do the same, we would be castigated. over the years i have been told that i have spoken out of turn when i have made my views known before an inquest is held. so to must the police be called to account, by their own commissioner, the police minister or the coroner. all must fall under the sub judice laws.

don’t hold your breath for justice though.

we extend our condolences to the mason family, to his community and his friends. he will now walk his land in peace.



29th November 2010

Investigation into the death in custody of an Aboriginal man

Police must ensure that its investigation into the death in custody of an Aboriginal man in northwestern New South Wales is fully transparent, the chairwoman of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council has warned.

44-year-old Aboriginal man Mark Mason died earlier this month after he was shot by a police officer in an altercation at Collarenebri.
Police claim they had “no other option” but to shoot Mr Mason, saying previous attempts to subdue him using capsicum spray and a Taser had failed.
But NSWALC chairwoman Bev Manton says police should wait until the investigation has been completed before making public statements based on assumptions.

“There have already been several premature media statements made by police before the facts have been fully correlated and the investigation completed.” Ms Manton said.

“One of these claims has been the conclusion that the police had exhausted all other options.

“I find it difficult to believe police would be so forthcoming in making these sorts of statements if it hadn’t been one of their own involved.

“I hope instead that the police will wait until a full, clear and transparent investigation has taken place before making claims like these.”

Mrs Manton says Mr Mason’s death has spurred fear and distrust within the community, who will tomorrow bury a son.

“The community is already reeling from this death, not only is there an obvious sense of loss, but also a large amount of trepidation,” Mrs Manton said.

“Of course, I welcome police attempts to meet with community and elders to help them deal with this.

“But Aboriginal communities in particular have a dark history of deaths in custodies, and past cases of police investigating police have lowered our confidence in their abilities to provide a fair investigation.

“We do not want a repeat of the Palm Island tragedy, where the community has yet to receive closure over the death in custody of Marungi Doomadgee.

“I hope this will not be replicated, and that Mr Mason’s family and friends receive an answer for this tragedy.

“I call on the NSW police to assure that it conducts a proper investigation into this death.

“I also call for them to refrain from making any assumptions until the investigation comes to a close.”

Mrs Manton also sent her best wishes to Mr Mason’s family and friends. His funeral will be held tomorrow at Walgett.

Media contact:
Chris Munro – 0438 760 242
ray jackson
indigenous social justice association


Clive Palmer’s Christmas Present

Clive Palmer’s Christmas Present
Ross Gwyther, November 2010

“..The seed ye sow, another reaps;
The wealth ye find, another keeps..”
(Shelley’s Song to the Men of England)

You may have been struck by the news in November that millionaire businessman Clive Palmer bought some of his workers a Mercedes for Christmas!

What a turnaround for the books. This slightly overweight and usually dishevelled capitalist who disdains the trappings of the suited corporate world treats his employees so handsomely. Or does he?

The story was told in the Australian on November 20th. Palmer’s nickel processing factory north of Townsville had netted him $200 million this year. In return he paid for a holiday to Fiji for each of the 750 workers at the plant. As well as this, he bought for the 50 most valued workers a $50,000 Mercedes Benz. Quite a Christmas present – or so our national rag would have us believe.

In reality what Clive did, was to give back to these workers a little of the money they had made for him. It takes only a minute to work this out for yourself.

$200 million profit created by 800 workers – that amounts to $250,000 profit created by each worker on average. This is after the cost of the raw material (nickel) and the other processing materials. It is after the cost of the electricity to make the plant operate. It is after the cost of renting or buying the factory. It is after the cost of paying each worker their annual wage.

Where did all the money – the costs of the raw materials and power and wages, as well as the $200 million profits come from? Well a moment’s thought answers the question. It came from the added value which the work of those workers created – they took nickel ore, and turned it into ingots of nickel. Each worker- whether they pulled the furnace, fixed the electric cabling, added up the company’s books, or designed the marketing brochures for selling the nickel – all were essential to this transformation of rocks into metal that could be sold to the world.
In other words it was their labour which transformed those rocks – and created the extra value which ingots of nickel have over dusty rocks from the centre of Australia.

Palmers “magnanimous” action puts him in the long tradition of the philanthropists of capital – the Carnegies and Rockerfellers. In the short run their actions endear them to the working class. They are portrayed as kind and generous, rather than as robber barons.

In the long run we can only thank them for exposing the reality of capitalism. Their actions show up in stark reality the full extent to which they exploit those who work for them. They provide a nice lesson in what surplus value really means – or as George Bernard Shaw said, “behind every great fortune, there is a great crime”
Ross Gwyther (PhD) works in Brisbane as an organiser with the National Tertiary Education Union, after an earlier career of more than 20 years as a research geophysicist specialising in earthquake studies. His interests centre around strategies for labour movement renewal and union organisation, and the intersection of these with community movements around ecological and peace issues.

Boycott Seacret! Boycott Apartheid Israel!

Ten activists from the Friends of Palestine WA staged an action outside the Seacret booth at Carousel shopping centre in Perth on November 27.

This action was part of the international “boycott, divestment and sanctions” campaign against Apartheid Israel.

Seacret is a cosmetics company that sources its product from the Dead Sea in occupied Palestine.

The company is “profiteering from resources in the land stolen by Israel, while Palestinians are denied their traditional sustainable agricultural output and any share of the water resources from the Jordan River or the coastal aquifers” according to a leaflet handed out by the activists.

Participants surrounded the Seacret booth with signs including “Seacret breaks international law by profiting from occupation”.

The use of minerals from occupied Palestinian land is in clear violation of the fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits exploitation of resources by an occupying power.

One passerby joined the protest and held a banner and many others, including some nearby shopkeepers gave supportive comments as they observed the action.

The action was spirited and passionate and at all times peaceful. Activists left after 40 minutes.


Virginia Woolf and the Nature of the Human

Farewell Comrade Max Watts

Farewell Comrade Max Watts (1928-2010)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

By Peter Boyle, Sydney

Max Watts. Photo: Vivienne Porzolt

Max Watts, a well-known personality on the left in Australia, particularly in Sydney, died on November 23.

Max was a left-wing freelance journalist, an occasional contributor to Green Left Weekly and its discussion e-list, and a solidarity activist with many national liberation struggles, including in Palestine, Kanaky, West Papua and Bougainville.

In the 1960s, he was a central activist in Europe working with soldier resistance to the Vietnam War within the US armed forces. Resistance inside the army (RITA) was one of his great political passions.

Max was an extravagant personality and some people may have found him difficult at times, but he was someone always firmly on the left and on the side of all struggles against oppression and exploitation. You could count on that, and he will be remembered by many comrades in the broad left movement.

Max shook his head at the persistent tendency of the left to be over-factionalised and divisive, but he was quick to work alongside those who took up serious struggle. An eagerness to understand and show solidarity with new forces in motion in any country was one of his characteristics.

Max passed away in Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital from kidney and heart failure. He was with close friends Rosie, Lydia, Vivienne and Barbara at the time and passed peacefully.

I managed to say goodbye to him in hospital a few days before he died. He was quite feisty then — though somewhat confused and disoriented, probably due to medication.

After about an hour, my attempts to get him to stay in his bed earned me the following last words: “Boyle, your visiting time is up!” It was classic Max.

Max will be formally farewelled in Sydney on December 1 at 11.30am at Camellia Chapel, Macquarie Park Crematorium, Plassey Road, North Ryde.

Phone 0411 366 295 for more details.

It is requested that flowers not be sent to the funeral. Instead, if you would like to do something to commemorate Max, it is suggested that you contribute to the management of the archive that has been established in Amsterdam at the International Institute for Social History. This comprises Max’s enormous store of papers in relation to RITA.

The account names is: Foundation International Institute for Social History; Amsterdam, Netherlands; ABN AMRO Bank; IBAN NL58ABNA0548517347; BIC ABNANL2A

It is essential to reference to “Max Watts Archives”.

Friends of Max have set up a Facebook group. To leave messages, photos or other material, go to and search for “Remembering Max Watts”.

Last meeting of the 17 Group for 2010 on Wed 1st of December

Next meeting of the 17 Group on this coming Wednesday the 1st of December at 7pm in unit 6 at 20 Drury St, West End, and a sort of break-up party for the 2010 series. The speaker will be activist Coral Wynter, just returned after six months in Venezuela, speaking on the problems and difficulties currently facing the ongoing “Bolivarian Revolution” and its popular power process. There will be up-to-date photos projected.

“The Venezuelan Revolution continues to make progress, in the face of constant challenges, and some setbacks,” explains Coral Wynter, a well-known Latin America solidarity activist who recently returned to Brisbane after six months living and working in the Venezuelan capital Caracas. Her talk will examine the development of the Bolivarian Revolution, which has transformed the face of Venezuela, under the leadership of socialist President Hugo Chavez, over the past 10 years.

Wynter will describe some of the practical problems facing the government in the area of public health and tertiary education, and the difficulties posed by the constant propaganda onslaught waged by the right-wing media, both in Venezuela and abroad. It was these kinds of distortions and attacks, together with real issues of bureaucracy and corruption, which contributed to the mixed results gained by pro-Chavez United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) candidates in the September National Assembly elections, she said.

While the PSUV won a majority of NA seats, it failed to gain a two-thirds majority, which would facilitate passing crucial new laws proposed by the president. Nevertheless, the government is still pushing ahead with important measures and steps to strengthen the popular power process central to the Bolivarian Revolution.

“These problems confronting the revolution serve to emphasise the objective difficulties facing any social transformation, especially in a Third World country, under imperialist attack and de-stabilisation,” Wynter says. “But you can daily see the spirit and determination of the Venezuelan people to ensure that there will be ‘No return to the past.'”

Wynter’s talk will be accompanied by a photo presentation, illustrating some aspects of the popular struggle toward social transformation, which is a leading force against US and Western domination in Latin America and around the world today.

Leon is of course alleged, in some sense or other, to be a breakup party specialist, but remember that he is also “the kind of smartie.etc.” that people get worried about, so once again, who knows? But come yourself and discuss the dialectic and how it may or may not be heading towards a synthesis. Drink and eat while doing it. Your parents and other representatives of the superego would approve of your attendance.

Dan O’Neill

2010 Vic election: Greens lack class base

The Labor loss in the Victorian state election over the weekend (27-29 November 2010) provides a opportunity for the Left to re-think its attitudes and/or relationship with the Greens.

The media have been inflating the influence of the Greens lately. This is because the Greens did well in the Federal election. However much has been exaggerated. OK Adam Bandt won Lindsay Tanner’s old seat of Melbourne. But Tanner, on of the gang of four and finance minister had resigned i.e. Bandt was not contesting the seat against a sitting member. Also Bandt had union connections that helped his campaign, he was not the run of the mill Green candidate.

The biggest problem for the Greens is that they do not have a class base.

But the ALP now have the same problem – 2/3 of all workers have never been members of a union.

The ALP has suffered as a result because the unions were their link to ordinary workers. And a few unions now question that relationship.

There is little doubt who the Liberals represent especially with a toff like Baillieu as leader.

OK, the Liberals worked out the counter to the ‘Wilke factor’ by preferencing Labor before the Greens – not that this was hard to figure out. This tactic by the Liberals may turn out to be too smart. Used elsewhere it could backfire politically i.e. voters need not cast a preference vote in Qld.

Looking at the seat of Melbourne – Brian Walters, a lawyer, was the candidate for the Greens against Labor’s education minister, Bronwyn Pike (pictured here in the Age). The results show that this was the best chance for the Greens to win a seat. But predictions of Bronwyn Pike’s demise were premature. Unlike Bandt’s victory in the federal seat of Melbourne, the fight for the state seat was a tougher contest. Pike was a sitting member with a group of people around her ready to go to the barricades against Brian Walters for the  Greens.

However, a better grassroots campaigner would have done better than Brian Walters, the Greens lack real organisational ability on the ground. This was highlighted when a former Labor candidate ran for the Greens and expressed concern for their lack of organisation and simplistic policy on decommissioning the Loy Yang power station.

A candidate with greater practical knowledge of economics and involvement in social justice issues may have done better than Walters – but it was still a tough ask for a party that does not even elect its leader, Bob Brown.

Brian Walters, a human rights lawyer, may do well in a courtroom but where does that get him in an election?

Walters lacked media experience and this showed on TV and radio.

Also, ordinary people are wary of lawyers.

Have a look at the results – the Greens did better in Melbourne than in Brunswick.

True, they did not have to contend with splitting their vote with the popular independent, Phil Cleary.[Cleary won the federal
seat of Wills off Labor when Bob Hawke retired.]

Candidate                  Party                      1st pref votes      % of total formal votes

PIKE, Bronwyn         ALP                              9106                         37.15%
LAZZARI, Peter (whistleblower on health) 150                                0.61%
FENSOM, Maxine                                              84                                 0.34%
MARTIN, Luke         Liberal                           6791                          27.71%
WALTERS, Brian      Greens                          7572                           30.89%
KILLEN, Rory Sex Party                                  660                            2.69%
PERKINS, John L. (Secular Party)                   148                           0.60%
Two party Preferred vote Candidate          Party    Preferred votes % Preferred votes
PIKE, Bronwyn ALP                                        14198                         57.93%
WALTERS, Brian Greens                                 10311                         42.07%

All elections are a huge effort and there is the risk that a social justice candidate would not win (politically speaking).

That’s my wrap. How the Greens faired will be a discussion point for some time but these are my early thoughts. Any thoughts or other comment would be appreciated.

Ian Curr
November 2010


Our Generation: A rollercoaster journey into the heart of the Northern Territory Intervent, a hidden shame that is pushing the world’s oldest living culture to the edge.

‘No War’ meeting

Hello all

There will be an organising meeting on Sunday Dec 5, 1-3 pm in rm 4D State Library of Qld SLQ to discuss building a campaign against the US led occupation of Afghanistan.

Enter the main part of the library at the security counter opposite the Bookshop and take the lift to Level 4.

The John Oxley library is on the same floor.

The room seats 14 people comfortably. It is best to take bus or train to the Cultural Centre however parking can be found in the streets that run off Peel Street. Parking at the library costs $15.

The map reference for the State Library is  —

View Large Map

Hope to see you there



‘Article 14’ – right to asylum for refugees

On this night like any other night Maybe raining maybe clear In a world exploding is any heart open Can you hear us Can you hear — from ‘Article 14’ little secrets (c) apra tony mockeridge. Thanks to Tony Mockeridge … Continue reading

Invader of Iraq gets top job at Uni


“The works of mercy are the opposite of the works of war, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, nursing the sick, visiting the prisoner. But we are destroying crops, setting fire to entire villages and to the people in them. We are not performing the works of mercy but the works of war. – Dorothy Day, founder Catholic Worker Movement Continue reading

The fighting spirit of Eureka lives today – 3 December anniversary

Continue reading

Support the union at UNSW and Macquarie

To all NTEU Members
Support Your Colleagues at UNSW and Macquarie
An Urgent Message from the NTEU General Secretary

Dear Friend,

Around 150 NTEU members have imposed bans on the transmission of examination results at the University of New South Wales and Macquarie University. NTEU Branch negotiators have spent more than two years trying to secure Collective Agreements which guarantee competitive pay rises, job security, reductions in contract and casual employment and the restoration of employment standards stripped away by the Howard Governments Higher Education Workplace Relations Requirements (HEWRRs) and WorkChoices. Continue reading

Foco Nuevo in December


Friday Dec 3
8.00 p.m.

Kurilpa Hall
174 Boundary Street
West End Continue reading


Stop Mining Straddie

To North Stradbroke Island Vision Team c/- Tim Ellis Department of Environment and Resource Management GPO Box 2454 Brisbane QLD 4001 § cc the Premier: To whom it may concern,

Spectre of Death Haunts Land Warfare Conference

Spectre of Death Haunts Land Warfare Conference .. And Us All

Its been a tough week for the peace movement the little one in my head, anyhow. Continue reading

Direct Action Cinema: South of the Border (Oliver Stone), November 26

This Friday!, Don’t miss out, tell your friends…….

Direct Action Cinema presents:

South of the Border
There’s a revolution underway in South America, but most of the world doesn’t know it. Continue reading

Alistair Hulett 1951-2010: The Politics and the Poetry

Saturday 27 November 2010
Into the Music – ABC Radio National
5.00pm, repeat Friday, 3.00pm

Thanks Maggie


“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph” Haile Selassie

(note: this quote is admirable, but not the politics of he that quoted – m)

ABCC law broken by mass action

Congrats ark tribe

there are too few comrades
With sufficient zeal & will
whence face to face
with an unyielding
ruling class obduracy

as well as turn a challenge
on its head & upset
their all too suggestive
Fashioned status quo
Power-over fashion
Jim Sharp

Leaving the court, Mr Tribe pumped the air with his fist and vowed to fight for other workers if they faced charges under the laws.

“Australians, regular working Australians can feel proud, we got them,” he said.

An old comrade wrote:

“but this boozh-wah- law will stand until ‘we the working class break it by mass action”

More reports below


Ark Tribe, Not Guilty

Dear Supporter,

At 9:57 am, in Room 21 of Adelaide Magistrates Court, Ark Tribe was found not guilty.

Ark sat in front of the magistrate accompanied by his lawyer Stephen Dolphin, union representative and his family.

The packed court room was filled with media, Ark’s mates who work on site with him and supporters. People were spilling out into the hallway.

Outside over 5000 supporters filled Victoria Square, from the park to the court steps to show their support for Ark.

You can send a message of thanks to Ark and congratulate him on his freedom.

Without Ark these laws would never have been tested.

Before he went into the court room this morning, we presented Ark with over 2500 messages of support from you.

The Government must now recognise the Australian Building and Construction Commission to be a shambles and move to abolish it once and for all.

The controversial ABCC has the power to coerce construction workers into secret interviews without legal representation of their choice – powers that exceed even those of ASIO.

For allegedly failing to comply with the interview process Ark was dragged through the courts for 18 months. poll

This is a historic day in our campaign to get rid of the ABCC and the laws that underpin it. Your support for Rights on Site has helped us get here.

We have to make sure no other worker is hauled through the courts for not attending a hearing with the ABCC. And we won’t stop until the laws that underpin the ABCC have been abolished.

Dave Noonan and the Rights on Site team

P.S. are running and online poll asking if readers think this to be a significant moment for the union movement. Nearly half the people are saying it changes nothing.

Make your views heard – click the link and give your vote. We know democratic freedom has been upheld today.


Magistrate David Whittle’s complete judgement document, on his landmark decision for finding Ark Tribe not guilty

Socialist speaks out for Koori school

The struggle is long but hope is longer

Socialist candidate speaks out for
local Koori school

Premier John Brumby is undermining the future of Koori students in his own electorate, according to a Socialist Alliance candidate for this months state election.
Trent Hawkins, who is running in the lower house seat of Brunswick, has condemned the state governments decision to acquisition land, without consultation, from the local Indigenous controlled Ballerrt Mooroop College, for the purpose of building a new Glenroy Specialist School. Continue reading


the law council of australia recently sent out the attached draft constitutional reform document to allow proper discussions to be held by the people of good will rather than just hear from the usual parrots from the right-wing think-tank’s.