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Monday, September 29, 2003

GOVERNMENT SPENDING TAXPAYERS MONEY ON PR FOR NUCLEAR SITES

The Democrats this week revealed the Federal Government is spending $107,000 on public relations consultants to try and influence South Australians over the proposed national nuclear waste dump. Lyn Allison says the spending is a shameless use of public money for the cynical political purpose of manipulating public opinion. Government moves to increase penalties and make new offences for activities around nuclear facilities is an undisguised bid to silence whistleblowers. Whistleblowers have been vital in getting out the truth about uranium mines and the nuclear industry generally and the new laws and penalties are less likely to target real security risks than protesters and people who are protecting Australians from nuclear exposure and accident.

Press Releases:
http://www.democrats.org.au/news/index.htm?press_id=2957
http://www.democrats.org.au/news/index.htm?press_id=2962

Stop the War Digest 

The following is a list of activities, articles and websites regarding opposition to the war in Iraq and its subsequent occupation by US-led forces. This digest will be published about once a week, however urgent actions and other important info will be sent out as necessary.

If you have an action, meeting, article, link, etc. you would like to publicise/share with the group via this e-list, please forward it to stop_the_war@yahoogroups.com

=== Upcoming actions ===

Trial of David Burgess and Will Saunders for their painting of ?No War? on
the sails of the Opera House earlier this year
Solidarity action Monday 29 September ? Wednesday 1 October, Sydney
District Court, Downing Centre, cnr Elizabeth and Liverpool St, Sydney,
9:30am

Rally to Stop Bush
Meet 5pm, Town Hall steps, Sydney on the day George Bush arrives in Sydney
(any day from 21 October)
Organised by the Stop the War Coalition
For more info contact: Brian (0425-347-634), Nick (0409-762-081), Rihab
(0405-760-929), or Bashir (0413-859-069)
http://www.stopdubya.org

=== Upcoming conferences, forums, meetings, etc. ===

Stop the War Coalition meeting
Monday 29 September, 7pm, 3rd floor, Spanish Club, Liverpool St, Sydney
(next to Three Wise Monkeys pub, George St)
Come along to help organise the massive protests to greet George Bush when
he arrives in Australia in October
For more info contact: Brian (0425-347-634), Nick (0409-762-081), Rihab
(0405-760-929), or Bashir (0413-859-069)
http://www.stopdubya.org

Gilmore Peace Group is holding a festival of ideas: "Fear or Change: Australia after Iraq"
Sunday 19 October, 10am-4pm, Bomaderry Bowling Club
Topics for discussion include: Palestine, terrorism, Australian democracy
Speakers include: Andrew Wilkie (former senior intelligence officer, ONA), Bruce Haigh (former Australian diplomat), James Dunn (former consul to East Timor), John Minns (lecturer in social science, Wollongong University)
Rego: $10/$6
For more info contact Chris Nobel (02-4465-1285) or Megal Pikett (02-4464-1652)

=== Stop the War actions from around the world ===

US Committee to End the Occupation of Iraq
Petition to Congress to stop the funding of the US occupation
http://endocciraq.org

=== Other interesting stuff ===

Photos and graphics available at
http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/stop_the_war/files

Northern Beaches Peace Group has changed its name to ?Manly for Peace?
Contact: manlyforpeace@yahoogroups.com,
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/manlyforpeace

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Bush_Is_A_STINKING_LIAR

Any suggestions, complaints, etc. re this digest should be sent to anna@puzzling.org

BEYOND the POLITICS OF FEAR 

A Refugee Action Coalition forum with Scott Poynting (UWS)

terrorism - queue jumpers - not like us - border protection - be alert and alarmed - australian values - bin laden in the suburbs - illegals - youth gangs - clash of civilisations - permanent war

Scott Poynting is Senior Lecturer in Sociology of Education at University of Western Sydney. He is co-author of 'Cultures of Schooling' and 'Kebabs, Kids, Cops and Crime'. He will trace the way the politics of fear and racialised division has become a mainstream discourse in recent years under the Howard - Ruddock (and Carr) governments.

All welcome to participate in a discussion of how to move beyond the politics of fear

WHEN & WHERE: Monday 29 September, 6-8pm at Teachers House, Level 1, 23-33 Mary St, Surry Hills (between Albion and Reservoir streets)

Entry by donation

for more information see www.racnsw.org

Stop Bush 

Come to a rally to protest at George W. Bush's visit to Australia.
Let him know he is not wanted.
When: the day Bush arrives (possibly Oct.21-22)!
Time: 5pm
Where: Sydney Town Hall
1. Senate Inquiry public hearing into GATS/US FTA and demo in Canberra, 2nd October.
2. Free to be Australian FTA public meeting, Sydney, 6th October.
3. PROTEST the FTA in CANBERRA, it's crunchtime!! 27th October at the FTA negotiations.
4. A speech given in parliament by Kerry Nettle on the collapse of the WTO talks.
5. A Greens motion passed by the Senate calling for the removal of water from GATS.

- - - - - - --

Kerry Nettle is one of the senators taking part in this Inquiry. Make sure you get along to the hearing and demonstration call 02 6247 6305 or email act@greens.org.au for details of the protest.

Senate Foreign Affairs Defence & Trade References Committee

GATS/ US FTA Inquiry – Hearing Thursday 2 October - Canberra

A reminder that the Committee will be holding a public hearing on Thursday 2 October in Canberra, in committee room 2S1. This will be the final hearing for the GATS/ US FTA inquiry, and DFAT is the only witness.

A draft program is attached. If you haven’t already let us know, please advise as soon as possible whether or not you can attend this hearing. Please call if you have any queries.

<>
Thanks very much
Andrea McAuliffe, Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee
Ph 02 6277 3868 Fax 02 6277 5818
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Free to be Australian Public Meeting - campaigning for the removal of Australian cultural industries from the AUS FTA.
It is crunchtime for the Free to be Australian campaign. The disturbing word on the street is that the government is going to cave in on previous commitments and consider a proposal on standstill on local content rules in the FTA. So we need to make a bit of noise before they do, rumoured to be either 7 or 13 October.

We will be holding a rally at the Studio at Sydney Opera House on Monday 6 October at 11am - Confirmed speakers so far include Geoff Morell, Simon Burke, Margo Kingston and Quentin Dempster.

Please come along and bring everyone you can think of, it is a serious issue - but we can promise that the rally will be a bit of fun as well.

All the best
Suzanne Culph, Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, 0421 802 552
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Rally against the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement!
US and Australian negotiators start the next round of FTA negotiations in Canberra on the 27th of October.
They need to know that Australians do not want a FTA which threatens or undermines the PBS, local content rules for film and television, quarantine rules and our right to say no to GE food and crops.
We say NO to any agreement which reduces the capacity of government to regulate and gives greater rights to multinational corporations.

Speakers will include: Greens Senator Kerry Nettle, Doug Cameron (National Secretary AMWU), Speakers from The Democrats and The ALP

When: Mon Oct 27 - 12:30PM
Where: Parliament House, Canberra.
How to get there: Book now to assure your seat on the bus, only $25 return, Sydney-Canberra round trip!! To book a seat or to register for carpooling for the day contact George on 0412 704 426 or democanberra@yahoo.com.au

- - - - - - - - - - -- - -

17 September 2003

MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE: World Trade Organisation

Senator NETTLE (New South Wales) (5.25 p.m.) —The collapse of the WTO talks in Cancun, Mexico, has highlighted many issues and many strategies within international trade. One of the things that came out of Cancun, which others have talked about, was a historic alliance formed between developing countries, the G22, that stood up to the interests of primarily the United States and the European Union in trade talks. A somewhat similar situation, but less formalised, occurred in relation to the WTO talks in Seattle, where developing countries came together and, as a result, the international trade talks were stalled, trade talks that were being driven by the interests of the most developed countries and particularly the world's four largest trading countries.

There were two main issues discussed in Cancun in Mexico. One of those related to agricultural subsidies. The G22 in particular stood up to the European Union and the United States in relation to the agricultural subsidies paid by these developed countries to their farmers. The collapse of the WTO talks has also placed renewed focus on the free trade agreement negotiations taking place between Australia and the United States. The issue of agricultural subsidies in international trade can only be discussed in multilateral trade negotiations. The issue cannot be discussed in a bilateral negotiation like the free trade agreement between Australia and the United States.

The Greens believe that the government has misled Australian farmers to believe that there will be significant wins in agricultural exports to come from the free trade agreement negotiations with the United States. Even if the tariffs and the quotas that can be discussed in the FTA negotiations were to be reduced, which is unlikely given the US government's position in the recent Cancun talks, Australian farmers would still be up against continuing subsidies for US farmers.

Developing countries have long pointed to the unfair processes of the WTO negotiations that disadvantage developing countries. Some of these processes are: meetings occurring simultaneously when developing countries have only a few people in their delegations and are therefore not able to attend all meetings; meetings being held without simultaneous translations; documents being available only in English or not being available at all; and the start and end times of meetings not being advertised to all interested parties and not being adhered to. On these issues, as well as on other content issues of the WTO talks, developing countries have been supported in their cause by a plethora of non-government organisations.

During recent WTO talks, the ire of developing countries has been raised partly because of the arrogant attitude towards trade negotiations taken by the quad countries. The developing countries have joined with many supporters of fair trade found around the world to advocate for changes in WTO processes. Some of these are about the issues I just spoke about and are very reasonable changes. Community groups continue to advocate for a world trading regime that is based on fair trade, that is transparent and that respects international labour standards, human rights standards and environmental standards. There continues to be a debate about whether there can be a reform of the WTO or whether in fact another trade body needs to be implemented that operates on the principles of ecological sustainability and social and economic justice and does so transparently and with a commitment to peace.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
General Business Notice of Motion No. 568
Senator Nettle
Water out of GATS
8th September 2003
That the Senate:

(a) Notes that water has been historically mismanaged in Australia, one of the driest continents in the world, which has lead to the current crisis facing Australian rivers.

(b) Notes the importance of federal and state Government’s ability to regulate in the management of Australian water sources, to ensure that water is allocated fairly between rural and urban users and environmental flows.

(c) Calls on the Federal Government to:

(i) Instruct the Australian negotiators at the WTO Ministerial in Cancun, Mexico, this week to reject any pressure for Australia to enter into a GATS commitment to liberalising Australian water services.

(ii) In the GATS negotiations support the rights of the other countries, particularly developing countries, to protect their own sovereignty over their water supplies, management and distribution.

(iii) Uphold the right of all people, particularly those in developing countries, to free access to a plentiful supply of potable water.

(iv) Recognise the global scarcity of water, and particularly clean drinking water, as a serious threat to the health and wellbeing of people, particularly in developing countries, and to support the initiatives of the WHO, UNEP, and UNCTAD, to improve sustainable water conservation and accessibility.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Law, Power and Change Conference: Oct 4th-6th UTSA National Conference of the Progressive Law Students 

A National Conference of the Progressive Law Students Network
Oct 4th - 6th
University of Technology, Sydney (Haymarket Building B).
http://jump.to/lawpowerandchange

Hi,

The "Law, Power, and Change" conference is only 2 weeks away! The conference opens on 4th Oct at 5pm with a forum on "Shrinking Democracy" with Andrew Wilkie (former senior Intelligence Analyst who resigned in opposition to the war in Iraq); Stephen Hopper, (who represents Mamdouh Habib, detained in Guantanamo Bay); and Michael Head, (an expert in refugee and administrative law at UWS). Our other keynote speakers include: Senator Kerry Nettle, (Greens); Chris Cunneen (Criminology, University of Sydney); Tim Anderson
(Political Economy, University of Sydney); Ron Callus (Australia Centre for Industrial Relations Research and
Training); Rosemary Gillespie (international human rights lawyer, and 'human shield' in Iraq); Dr Mary Crock (Law, University of Sydney); Elizabeth Biok (International Commission of Jurists); Ray Jackson (Indigenous Social
Justice Association), plus many others. Please see below for the latest agenda, including details about our keynote speakers and workshops.

This conference is open to all, and is most definitely not limited to lawyers or law students. We encourage people from community and student organisations, activist collectives, campaign groups, NGOs, students from other disciplines, and anyone else who is interested to participate.

To register, send your name, email address, affiliation/university (where appropriate) as well as an indication of which days you wish to attend to plsnconference@yahoo.com.au. There is no conference registration fee, but participants will be asked for a donation at the door to cover costs.

Please see the end of this message for more information about the conference, including the workshops, location, childcare, and accomodation. For more information, please visit our website: http://jump.to/lawpowerandchange

We have leaflets and posters available to publicise the conference - please contact me if you would like us to send you material.
DEMONSTRATORS TELL RUDDOCK, MINISTER OF LIES AND DEPORTATIONS, "IT'S TIME TO GO"

Hundreds of protesters will converge on the Sydney Convention Centre in
Darling Harbour, Monday evening, 22 September, to tell the Immigration
Minister, Philip Ruddock that "It's time to go."

Friends of Philip Ruddock have called a gala event in Darling Harbour to
celebrate 30 years of Philip Ruddock's parliamentary career.

"We are determined to put a dampener on the celebration," said Ian Rintoul,
spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

"The celebration is the height of poor taste and demonstrates the complete
contempt that Philip Ruddock has for refugees, asylum seekers and the
Australian public. While the minister celebrates in Darling Harbour, Iranian

asylum seekers face forcible deportations. Thousands of refugees still face
a future of insecurity on temporary protection visas. Hundreds of children
remain behind razor wire."

"There is nothing to celebrate. He is a minister of lies and deportations.
The minister's office is mired in scandals over cash-for-visas and his very
selective use of ministerial discretion to grant visas. It was the
immigration minister that before the last election pushed the lie of
refugees throwing their children overboard."

"Having once been a critic of Pauline Hanson racist policies, the minister
now ruthlessly enforces laws that enshrine One Nation policies in regard to
refugees."

"Most ministers for immigration would seek to measure their success in
office by the advances of a tolerant and multi-cultural society under Philip

Ruddock they have gone backwards. His years as immigration minister are
scarred by has a notorious record of lies and vilification of those that he
is meant to protect."

"He has presided over an unprecedented decline of Australia's international
standing on human rights which has been condemned in a number of
international forums including the United Nations."

"Philip Ruddock has the distinction of being the only immigration minister
to found by the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission to
have violated the human rights of a juvenile asylum seeker, " continued
Rintoul.

"The minister for immigration represents the nasty face of a particularly
divisive government. Seven years as immigration minister is seven years too
long."

The anti-Ruddock protesters will assemble at 5.30 at Town Hall, Monday 22
September before marching at 6.00pm to the Ruddock reception at the Sydney
Convention Centre in Darling Harbour. A number of speakers will address a
rally to be held outside the convention centre.

For more information, contact Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul on 0417
275 713

Friday, September 19, 2003

1. FAIRWEAR: SNAP ACTION: 20th September Manly Beach

North Sails Wipes out workers rights!
Fair Wear will be participating in an international action against North Sails on the 20th September, 1pm at Manly beach in solidarity with workers in Sri Lanka who were dismissed as a result of collective action. We will be handing out info, building a sandcastle and taking a banner so if you'd like to come along please RSVP on 0403 128 013. (This a ction is a combined activity of NikeWatch, Fair Wear and NUS State Womens Dept)

http://www.cleanclothes.org/urgent/03-03-05.htm

2. WEEK OF ACTION TO SAVE HIGHER EDUCATION AND UWS, THE UNIVERSITY for WORKING CLASS STUDENTS

Join the next stage of the campaign to defeat the Howard Government’s proposed changes to higher education.

Week of Action Mon 22nd – Thu 25th September

The proposed changes arising from the Nelson review would attempt to use $468 million in funding to bribe universities to force staff onto AWAs and reduce staff and student representation on University governing bodies, double the number of full fee paying places, introduce VSU, and allow Universities to charge students up to 30% per cent extra in student fees in a manner cynically designed to shift the blame for the increases from the Howard government and onto cash starved universities.

The proposed funding model would adversely affect the University of Western Sydney, with UWS standing to be up to $33 million worse off as a result of the changes.

Next Monday the Senate Inquiry into Higher Education funding is holding a public hearing at the Parramatta Campus of UWS. The NTEU and the Tertiary Education Alliance invite supporters to a rally outside the hearing.

Assemble 12 noon Monday 22nd September near the chimney stack on UWS Parramatta Campus (entry Victoria Road Rydalmere).

Speakers: Carolyn Allport, NTEU National President; Daniel Kyriacou, NUS National President

Further to this, the UWS Branch of the NTEU has voted to stop work for one hour at the different campuses next week and hold demonstrations along with students, other unionists and members of the community outside the offices of the local Liberal MPs to remind them of the effect their Government’s higher education package will have on their constituents.

Details of Protest Rallies:

Tuesday 23 September
Ross Cameron MP's office, 110 George Street, Parramatta, starting at 12.30pm

Wednesday 24 September
Pat Farmer MP's office, 300 Queen Street, Campbelltown, starting 12.30pm

Thursday 25 September
Jackie Kelly MP's office, Cnr Woodriff and Tindale Streets, Penrith, starting 12.30pm

Please come along and forward this message to people you know in the area.

Enquiries: Feargus Manning, NTEU, 0411 022 886, nteu@uws.edu.au

3. COMMUNITY FORUM ON TAFE FEES AND RESTRUCTURE

Come to the NSW Teachers Federation and NSW Labor Council’s
Community Education Forum
Petersham Town Hall
10am – 12 Tuesday September 23
(light refreshments provided)

TAFE Fees still going ahead: The facts are:

· Not all disadvantaged people receive social security and won’t get a fee exemption
· Most Outreach / literacy students are low income earners or in casualised work
· More than half of TAFE access students will still have to pay course fees because they are not on Centrelink payments

· Access courses in TAFE NSW are not about individuals on social security; they are about improving access to education for all disadvantaged people and strengthening communities.

· Low enrolments will mean courses won’t run due to low numbers
· Students with disabilities and basic education students will pay for extra support
· Volunteer literacy tutors will have to pay to volunteer
· Some TAFE courses will cost up to 300% more in 2004

For more information go to the website: http://www.tertiaryeducationalliance.com

4. FREE TO BE AUSTRALIAN: Rally 6 October

Here's some info on our Free to be Australian rally at the Studio at the Sydney Opera House on 6 October at 11am.
WHEN: Monday 6 October (Monday of a long weekend)
TIME: 11am
WHERE: Studio at Sydney Opera House

It is crunchtime for the Free to be Australian campaign. The disturbing word on the street is that the government is going to cave in on previous commitments and consider a proposal on standstill. So we need to make a bit of noise before they do, rumoured to be either 7 or 13 October.

We will be holding a rally at the Studio at Sydney Opera House on Monday 6 October at 11am - make room on your dance cards this one's important! This is the Monday of a long weekend in Sydney. Confirmed speakers so far include Geoff Morell, Simon Burke, Margo Kingston and Quentin Dempster.

Please come along and bring everyone you can think of, it is a serious issue - but we can promise that the rally will be a bit of fun as well.

For more information contact: Suzanne Culph, Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, 0421 802 552

5. WE’RE BEING BUSHWACKED: Give George the Welcome he Deserves – Sun Oct 19, national day of ridicule.

Muster at Prince Alfred Park (walk south from Central down Chalmers St)

Sunday 19th October, 2-4pm

Comics, music, world’s first protest “line dance. Creative Ridicule competition – rewards for best placard and best display. Costume competition, come as the best red-necked Texan!

Organised by the Sydney Peace and Justice Coalition, more info call Hannah 0418 668 098, info@nswpeace.org

http//:www.nswpeace.org

Pick up leaflets and posters from Labor Council of NSW Offices from next Wednesday 23rd September.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Bush Visit!! 

Check out the new website:

http://www.stopdubya.org/

It has info about planned actions when Bush visits next month. It will be a useful tool to keep updated if you plan to rally. Check it out now if you are interested in joining the planning meetings. There is also a lot of useful info and links.

Week of Action at UWS - rally outside Jackie Kelly's office 

Join the next stage of the campaign to defeat the Howard Government's proposed changes to higher education.

Week of Action Mon 22nd - Thu 25th September

The proposed changes arising from the Nelson review would attempt to use $468 million in funding to bribe universities to force staff onto AWAs and reduce staff and student representation on University governing bodies, double the number of full fee paying places, introduce VSU, and allow Universities to charge students up to 30% per cent extra in student fees in
a manner cynically designed to shift the blame for the increases from the Howard government and onto cash starved universities.

The proposed funding model would adversely affect the University of Western Sydney, with UWS standing to be up to $33 million worse off as a result of the changes.

Next Monday the Senate Inquiry into Higher Education funding is holding a public hearing at the Parramatta Campus of UWS. The Tertiary Education Alliance invite supporters to a rally outside the hearing.

Assemble 12 noon Monday 22nd September near the chimney stack on UWS Parramatta Campus (entry Victoria Road Rydalmere).
Speakers: Carolyn Allport, NTEU National President; Daniel Kyriacou, NUS
National President

Further to this, the UWS Branch of the National Tertiary Education Union has voted to stop work for one hour at the different campuses next week and hold demonstrations along with students, other unionists and members of the
community outside the offices of the local Liberal MPs to remind them of the effect their Government's higher education package will have on their constituents.

Details of Protest Rallies:

Tuesday 23 September
Ross Cameron MP's office, 110 George Street, Parramatta, starting at 12.30pm

Wednesday 24 September
Pat Farmer MP's office, 300 Queen Street, Campbelltown, starting 12.30pm

Thursday 25 September
Jackie Kelly MP's office, Cnr Woodriff and Tindale Streets, Penrith,
starting 12.30pm

Please come along and forward this message to people you know in the area.

Enquiries: Paul Doughty, 0418 290 945, paul.doughty@nsw.nteu.org.au
Feargus Manning, 0411 022 886, nteu@uws.edu.au.

Australians denied justice at the hands of USA 

The Canterbury Bankstown Peace Group announces a public forum calling for justice for David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, the two Australians held imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, by the US Government.

Justice for Hicks and Habib will be held at 6pm Saturday 20 September, at the Trades Hall Auditorium, 4 Goulburn St, Sydney Mamdouh Habib was captured in Pakistan in the beginning of October 2001. David Hicks was captured in Afghanistan in December 2001. Both men have been held prisoners by the US government and declared ‘enemy combatants’, a term never before used in international law. Their legal status is far from clear, and their health condition is unknown.
Spokesperson, Marlene Obeid, says "Hicks and Habib will not receive a fair trial while held in military custody. They are held in small cages, without access to lawyers, and are denied basic rights guaranteed under the Geneva Convention."
According to the President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Cameron Murphy, "our government’s conduct in this matter is inexcusable, and sometimes barely distinguishable from what you would expect of the terrorists we are fighting. The decision by the Howard Government to ignore the violation of the basic rights of at least two Australians is unprecedented and it leaves serious doubts about the prospects of government assistance for any citizen who is illegally detained while abroad."
"If Hicks and Habib are supposed to have committed a crime then they should be returned to Australia, charged, and tried before an Australian court" Mr Murphy added.
Many groups have endorsed this forum to express outrage at the government’s decision to sit on its hands and are supporting the campaign for justice.

When: 6pm Saturday 20 September
Where: Trades Hall Auditorium, 4 Goulburn St, City (near Town Hall station).

Speakers include: Terry Hicks, David Hicks’ father; Steven Hopper, Mamdouh Habib’s solicitor; Maha Habib, Mamdouh’s wife; Cameron Murphy, President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties; and Dr Tim Anderson, civil rights campaigner.

For further information please contact Marlene Obeid on 0401 758 871 or at

A Canterbury Bankstown Peace Group and Actively Radical TV Event.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Parramatta Meeting 

A JUST AUSTRALIA

Invites you to join us at a public meeting with:
Ian Chappell
Hanifa Deen
Howard Glenn
Plus special guest performance by Tim Freedman from The Whitlams

Come along to hear why Ian Chappell and our other speakers have joined A Just Australia in its campaign for just refugee programs in Australia.

You will also have the opportunity to hear first hand stories from refugees and asylum seekers in the local community and their hopes for their lives in Australia.

When: Thursday 18th September at 7.30pm
Where: Riverside Theatre, Cnr Church & Market Sts Parramatta

The evening is free and no bookings are required but we will be asking for donations and explaining how you can support our work on a long-term basis.
[1] Ruddock's party this coming Monday (22nd Sept)

Those of you coming along to protest at Ruddock's 30 years in parliament
party next Monday should know that Mr and Mrs Howard will be joining the
celebration

Remember, we are gathering from 5.30-6pm at Town Hall, then marching to the
Convention Centre at Darling Harbour - please bring signs and anything else
which explains our message to the people who will see us

[2] BEYOND the POLITICS OF FEAR

A Refugee Action Coalition forum with Scott Poynting (UWS) and Ian Rintoul
(RAC)

terrorism - queue jumpers - not like us - border protection - be alert and
alarmed - australian values - bin laden in the suburbs - illegals - youth
gangs - clash of civilisations - permanent war . . .

Scott Poynting is Senior Lecturer in Sociology of Education at University of
Western Sydney. He is co-author of 'Cultures of Schooling' and 'Kebabs,
Kids, Cops and Crime'. He will trace the way the politics of fear and
racialised division has become a mainstream discourse in recent years under
the Howard - Ruddock (and Carr) governments.

Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition will examine how at the same
time racism has been used to depersonalise asylum seekers, the government
has happpily utilised this refugee fear to distract the electorate from its
wider political agenda.

All welcome to participate in a discussion of how to move beyond the
politics of fear

WHEN & WHERE: Monday 29 September, 6-8pm at Teachers House, Level 1, 23-33
Mary St, Surry Hills (between Albion and Reservoir streets)

Entry by donation

for more information call Ian on 0417-275713 or see www.racnsw.org

Monday, September 15, 2003

Bush can expect a hot welcome 

September 15, 2003

The coming visit of the US President will be a lightning rod for the anti-war protesters, writes Anne Summers.

The last time a US president visited Australia there were tears. This time, unfortunately, there is more likely to be tear gas.

George Bush will drop in on us in late October for as long as 24 hours on his way home from an APEC meeting in Bangkok. The word is that he wants to "thank us" for our involvement in one of the smallest clubs in military history, the "coalition of the willing" that invaded Iraq in March.

Although he comes at the invitation of John Howard, the Prime Minister must be rueing the day he pressed for the visit because Bush's presence is likely to trigger anti-US demonstrations of a kind we have not seen since October 1966 when president Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) became the first US president to visit Australia.

That trip was also to thank us for being part of in an unpopular US war - Vietnam - and produced the Sydney street sitdown by protesters that led the premier, Robert Askin, sitting beside LBJ in the limousine, to utter his infamous remark: "Drive over the bastards."

* read the rest at http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/09/14/1063478067424.html

Upcomming events!!! 

PUBLIC EDUCATION – TEACHER’S FEDERATION STRIKE – 17th September

Join the Teachers to fight for quality public education
The Teachers Federation are taking industrial action on September 17 to:
support the Federation's salary claim; protest the joint State Governments' approach to teacher salaries, and ensure that the NSW Government fully funds any increase in teacher salaries by State Treasury and NOT from the Education Budget. The main focus of the 24-hour stoppage on September 17 will be a major rally in Sydney and in major regional centres around NSW. These rallies are currently being arranged by our Country Organisers.

SYDNEY RALLY
WHEN: Assemble from 10.30
WHERE: Hyde Park North, marching to State Parliament

WOMEN IN EDUATION: CLARE BURTON LECTURE – 16th September

The Sydney "edition" of Clare Burton Lecture, hosted by the University of Technology, Sydney will be held a bit earlier this year on Tuesday 16 September 6.00 pm, at the Training Room, Level 6, Building 10, Jones St, Broadway.

This year's lecturer is Dr Louise Morley, Director of the Centre for Higher Education Studies at the University of London Institute of Education.

The lectures will be based on her research on gender and higher education, with particular reference to Commonwealth universities. Dr Morley will be raising issues about women's participation in higher education as students and academics in a variety of national locations.

JUSTICE FOR HICKS AND HABIB – 20th September

The Canterbury-Bankstown Peace Group and Actively Radical TV would like to invite you to a Public Forum on David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, two Australians imprisoned for over 21 months at Guantanamo Bay. David and Mamdouh have not yet been charged, are held in inhumane condititions; subjected to daily interrogations, and have been denied their own legal representation and access to their families. Come and listen to a panel of legal experts and civil rights campaigners at the Public Forum:

6pm Saturday
20 September 2003,
Auditorium, Sydney Trades Hall
4 Goulburn St (pass Sussex St), Sydney.

Guest speakers for the evening: Terry Hicks, David's father; Stephen Hopper, Mamdouh's solicitor; Maha Habib, Mamdouh's wife; Dr Tim Anderson, civil rights campaigner; and Cameron Murphy, President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties.

Admission by donation.

Please support us by publicising this event broadly among your network. For more information please access Indymedia's Active Sydney; http://www.nswccl.org and http://www.fairgofordavid.org

Regards,
Marlene Obeid (0401 758 871) Forum Coordinator
Canterbury-Bankstown Peace Group


ReconciliACTION CONFERENCE – 26-27th September

The ReconciliACTION Network would like to invite you to our upcoming conference "Youth Rebuilding the Rights Agenda", to be held in Sydney from Fri 26th September to Saturday 27th September.

Attached is an invitation, with some more details about the conference, a registration form and a funding info pack.

If you've got any questions, or want to get involved in organising the conference, let me know. You can reach me on this email, or by ph on 0405 048 718, or on 9555 6138 (Wed, Thurs and Fri afternoon)
Boy of 17, shot by Israeli soldiers, left bleeding overnight to die
September 8, 2003

The bullet ridden corpse of Mohammad Abdullah Abu al-Husni, was found yesterday morning near the town of Jabaliya, where he lived in Gaza.

According to local medical sources, 17 year old Mohammad was shot several times in his legs on Saturday evening, while walking past an Israeli military post in Gaza. As he lay on the ground Mohammad used his mobile phone to call an ambulance, however, Israeli soldiers held back the ambulance, preventing the medics from attending the boy.

As he lay on the ground, emergency medical staff tried to communicate by phone how best to attend his own injuries, but each time Muhammad attempted to move soldiers in the nearby military post shot again at his legs.

The boy was left lying on the ground unattended throughout Saturday night, and was dead by the time medics were able to reach him on Sunday morning. The local Palestinians who found him reported a body riddled with bullets, Mohammad obviously having received live ammunition to his, head, neck and stomach during the night.

The cold blooded murder of this 17 year old boy is the four hundred and eighty third killing of a Palestinian child since the beginning of the Intifada. 470 Palestinian children have died at the hands of Israeli Soldiers, 315 as a result of being shot at with live ammunition.

For more information contact: The Palestine Monitor
+972 (0)2 298 5372 or +972 (0)59 387 087
http://www.palestinemonitor.org/updates/left_to_die.htm
http://www.palestinemonitor.org

RESUME 

GEORGE W. BUSH
The White House, USA

PAST WORK EXPERIENCE:
* I ran for Congress and lost.
* I produced a Hollywood slasher B movie.
* I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas; company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.
* I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took and used taxpayer money. Biggest move: Traded Sammy Sosa to the Chicago Cubs.
* With my father's help (and his name) was elected Governor of Texas.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
* I changed pollution laws for power and oil companies and made Texas the most polluted state in the Union.
* I replaced Los Angeles with Houston as the most smog-ridden city in America.
* I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas government to the tune of billions in borrowed money.
* I set the record for most executions by any Governor in American history.
* I became president after losing the popular vote by over 500,000 votes, with the help of my father's appointments to the Supreme Court.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS PRESIDENT:
* I attacked two countries.
* I spent the surplus and bankrupted the treasury.
* I shattered the record for the biggest annual deficit in history.
* I set the economic record for the most private bankruptcies filed in any 12 month period.
* I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the stock market.
* I am the first president in decades to execute a federal prisoner.
* I am the first president in US history to enter office with a criminal record.
* In my first year in office I set the all-time record for most days on vacation by any president in US history.
* After taking the entire month of August off for vacation, I presided over the worst security failure in US history.
* I set the record for more campaign fund-raising trips than any other president in US history.
* In my first two years in office over 3 million Americans lost their jobs.
* I cut unemployment benefits for more out-of-work Americans than any president in US history.
* I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.
* I appointed more convicted criminals to administration positions than any president in US history.
* I set the record for the least amount of press conferences than any president since the advent of television.
* I signed more laws and executive orders amending the Constitution than any president in US history.
* I presided over the biggest energy crises in US history and refused to intervene when corruption was revealed.
* I presided over the highest gasoline prices in US history and refused to use the national reserves as past presidents have.
* I cut healthcare benefits for war veterans.
* I set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously take to the streets to protest me (15 million people), shattering the record for protests against any person in the history of mankind.
* I dissolved more international treaties than any president in US history.
* My presidency is the most secretive and unaccountable of any in US history.
* Members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in US history. (The 'poorest' multimillionaire, Condoleeza Rice has a Chevron oil tanker named after her).
* I am the first president in US history to have all 50 states of the Union simultaneously go bankrupt.
* I presided over the biggest corporate stock market fraud of any market in any country in the history of the world.
* I am the first president in US history to order a US attack and military occupation of a sovereign nation, and I did so against the will of the United Nations and the world community.
* I created the largest government department bureaucracy in the history of the United States.
* I set the all-time record for biggest annual budget spending increases, more than any president in US history.
* I am the first president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the human rights commission.
* I am the first president in US history to have the United Nations remove the US from the elections monitoring board.
* I removed more checks and balances, and have the least amount of con-gressional oversight than any presidential administration in US history.
* I rendered the entire United Nations irrelevant.
* I withdrew from the World Court of Law.
* I refused to allow inspectors access to US prisoners of war and by default no longer abide by the Geneva Conventions.
* I am the first president in US history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 US elections).
* I am the all-time US (and world) record holder for most corporate campaign donations. My biggest lifetime campaign contributor, who is also one of my best friends, presided over one of the largest corporate bankruptcy frauds in world history (Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron Corporation).
* I spent more money on polls and focus groups than any president in US history.
* I am the first president to run and hide when the US came under attack (and then lied saying the enemy had the code to Air Force 1)
* I am the first US president to establish a secret shadow government.
* I took the biggest world sympathy for the US after 9/11, and in less than a year made the US the most resented country in the world (possibly the biggest diplomatic failure in US and world history).
* I, with a policy of 'disengagement' created the most hostile Israeli-Palestine relations in at least 30 years.
* I am the first US president in history to have a majority of the people of Europe(71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and stability.
* I am the first US president in history to have the people of South Korea more threatened by the US than their immediate neighbor, North Korea.
* I changed US policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.
* I set all-time record for number of administration appointees who violated US law by not selling huge investments in corporations bidding for government contracts.
* I failed to fulfill my pledge to get Osama Bin Laden 'dead or alive'.
* I failed to capture the anthrax killer who tried to murder the leaders of our country at the United States Capitol building.
* After 18 months I have no leads and zero suspects.
* In the 18 months following the 9/11 attacks, I have successfully prevented any public investigation into the biggest security failure in the history of the United States.
* I removed more freedoms and civil liberties for Americans than any other president in US history.
* In a little over two years I created the most divided country in decades, possibly the most divided the US has ever been since the civil war.
* I entered office with the strongest economy in US history and in less than two years turned every single economic category heading straight down.

RECORDS AND REFERENCES:
* I have at least one conviction for drunk driving in Maine (Texas driving record has been erased and is not available).
* I was AWOL from the National Guard and deserted the military during a time of war.
* I refused to take a drug test or even answer any questions about drug use.
* All records of my tenure as governor of Texas have been spirited away to my father's library, sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
* All records of any SEC investigations into my insider trading or bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
* All minutes of meetings for any public corporation where I served on the board are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
* Any records or minutes from meetings I (or my VP) attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.
* For personal references please speak to my daddy or uncle James Baker (They can be reached at their offices of the Carlyle Group--global arms dealer)

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Bush Visit to Australia 

Muster at Prince Alfred Park (walk south from Central down Chalmers St)
Sunday 19th October
2-4pm

"Creative Ridicule" competition. 'Rewards for best placard ($100) and best display

Speakers and entertainment

Say "NO" to Bush's visit!

Organised by the Sydney Peace and Justice Coalition
More info: Hannah 0418 668098

Medicare Birthday 

The Save Medicare Alliance invites you to celebrate Medicare's 20th Birthday

When: Wednesday October 1
Where: Outside John Howard’s Office, 240 Victoria Rd Gladesville or in your office with a Birthday Cake at a Medicare Morning Tea
Time: 1pm
Why: Because if we don’t stand up for Medicare now it may not reach its 21st Birthday.


For more information contact the Save Medicare Alliance, an alliance of unions, consumer, health, community, religous and student organisations c/o Combined Pensioners on (02) 9281 3588. Download leaflets and mateirals from the website, www.labor.net.au and click on “save medicare” on the right hand side.

To get to Gladesville by Bus, you can catch a bus from the QVB in the city,either the the 507 Buts at 12:13, L20 Bus at 12:18, the 518 bus at 12:23 the 515 bus at 12:33.

HAVE A MEDICARE MORNING TEA AT WORK ON OCT 1
Unions are encouraging workers to bring a birthday cake into work to celebrate Medicare’s Birthday. Making sure people know about the Government’s proposed changes to bulk billing is very important. The more people who are aware of the importance of Medicare and the threats posed by the Government the healthier Medicare will be. Tell us if your celebrating by emailing activist@labor.org.au (at the Labor Council). If you want some more leaflets or information go to the Save Medicare Alliance website at www.labor.net.au and click on “save medicare” or call us at Labor Council on (02) 9264 1691. Become a Medicare Activist: join the Labor Council Activist Register by registering at www.labor.net.au/activist and click on “health.”

COME TO THE MEDICARE LEAFLETING BLITZ IN PARRAMATTA ON SAT 27th SEPTEMBER
The Federal Member for Parramatta is a big supporter of stripping back bulk-billing for all. The Save Medicare Alliance is going to leaflet the community of Parramatta on Sat 27th to show how his views are inconsistent with the needs of his community. Meet at the Parramatta Town Hall (at Church St Mall) at 10am. For more information call Shane O’Brien on 0418 227 977 or Bruce Childs on 0412 803 457.

TO SUPPORT THE SAVE MEDICARE CAMPAIGN:
· Find out about the Save Medicare Alliance and its campaign, go to www.labor.net.au and click on “Save Medicare.
· Become a Medicare Activist, join the union activist register at www.labor.net.au/activist and click on “health.”
· If you want to receive updates about the campaign, join the announcement list by emailing samemedicare_announce-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
· Become a Medicare activist at work, photocopy this leaflet and hand it around, circulate a petition, pass motions in your union.
· Raise the issue in local community groups you are involved in, such as political parties, religious groups, put up a Medicare poster in your local club or library.
· Become a local Medicare activist, use the website or call the Alliance to find out about local Medicare Activist groups in your area.

Stop Bush! Troops out of Iraq! Call to action 

Call to action against George Bush's visit to Australia

Sydney, Australia, 9 September 2003


George Bush is coming to Australia to promote his never-ending war and
free trade agenda.

The Sydney Stop the War Coalition calls for all organisations and
individuals who have stood against the US government's drive to war and
to global economic domination to protest Bush's visit.

George Bush will be visiting Canberra and Sydney immediately following
the APEC summit to be held on 21 October in Bangkok, Thailand.

The coalition of the killing 'Bush, Blair and Howard' waged an illegal
and immoral war on Iraq despite unprecedented global opposition and
protests.

The lies behind this war are now being exposed. Despite Bush's talk of
"liberation" the invasion of Iraq has become a war of occupation, with
US forces bogged down in ongoing battles with the Iraqi people. US
corporations have re-entered Iraq to carve up the spoils of war.

Bush is not content to stop at Afghanistan and Iraq. He is threatening
further nations, such as North Korea, Iran and Syria with military action.

In the wake of the war Prime Minister John Howard hopes to secure a Free
Trade Agreement with the United States. This will be his trophy for
supporting war on Iraq.

The FTA will "lock in" a neo-liberal agenda which gives corporations
greater rights. This bilateral deal is modelled on the North American
FTA where companies now have the right to sue governments for
introducing environmental, labour or other regulations. The FTA
threatens the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, quarantine laws, GM
labelling and public assets.

Bush's visit coincides with a round of trade negotiations planned for 27
October in Canberra.

For these reasons and many more we are saying enough! We demand an
immediate end to the occupation of Iraq and oppose the proposed FTA.

We call for those who mobilised against Howard and Bush in February to
do so again.

The Sydney Stop the War Coalition invites all concerned organisations to
attend an open meeting to coordinate the biggest possible mobilisation
on Monday September 15, 7pm, Level 3, Spanish Club, 88 Liverpool Street
(near the corner of George Street). We also urge other activists to
start planning now to mobilise from their cities and towns to come to
Sydney and/or Canberra.

Another world is possible. A world without war, where people come before
profit.

STOP BUSH
TROOPS OUT OF IRAQ
DERAIL THE FTA
ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE

Contact: Brian 0425-347-634; Nick 0409-762-929; Rihab 0405-760-929;
Bashir 0413-859-060

Refugee Issues 

There are two actions we you you can come to and/or alert others about in the next two weeks

[1] Keep the kids out of detention - Monday 15 September - Bakhtiari case in Family Court

The Bakhtiari children have been out of detention after they won an interim release order a few weeks ago. The final determination of their case starts in the Adelaide Family Court on Mon 15 September. There are national solidarity pickets of the Family Court at 12.30pm on that date.

If you can make it we will be leafleting passers by at the Family Court in Sydney from 12.30 to 1.30. The Family Court is on Goulburn St in the city, near the corner with Castlereagh St.

[2] Ruddock's 30 years in parliament - no reason to party! Monday 22 September

Just a reminder that Minister Ruddock supporters - the "Friends of Philip Ruddock" - have organised a party for their hero to celebrate 30 years in parliament and that we are taking the opportunity to protest his record of misery-making bureaucratic cruelty and divisive fear-mongering.

It will be great if we have a good turnout with lots of creative signs to maintain the pressure on the minister.

DETAILS: Monday 22 September, meet 5.30pm at Town Hall steps, city, to march to the venue (Darling Harbour)

AFTINET Bulletin 66, 10 September 2003 

www.aftinet.org.au

Contents
1. Joint Australian and US Unions' Statement on the U.S.- Australia Free
Trade Agreement
2. USFTA Local Government Resolution: take it to your council
3. Write to the ALP about its USFTA policy: sample letter below
4. Health Care At Risk: Seminar Sydney 20 September
5. ABC in Crisis Public Forum: Sydney 28 September

1. Joint Statement on the Proposed U.S. Australia Free Trade Agreement

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and the American Confederation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organisations (AFL CIO) issued the following joint statement on the Australia US Free Trade Agreement in August 2003.

Joint Statement on the Proposed U.S. Australia Free Trade Agreement
The ACTU and AFL CIO are united in the belief that increased trade can benefit workers only if it is governed by rules that protect workers' rights, the environment, and the right of governments to safeguard the public interest. Too often, trade agreements have instead protected corporate rights at the expense of workers and their communities. These trade agreements are routinely negotiated and administered in secret, denying the public the right to have informed input into the making of trade policy. The result is flawed trade agreements that fail to create robust, equitable growth and decent employment, and thus face widespread opposition by workers and their allies.

Unfortunately, by every indication the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) now being negotiated between Australia and the U.S. follows this failed free trade model. The ACTU and AFL CIO call upon their two governments to stake out a new path. Australia and the U.S. must use the current negotiations not to repeat the mistakes of the past, but to set a new standard for trade agreements by meeting each of the benchmarks outlined below.

Workers' Rights: The FTA must include meaningful and enforceable commitments to the core workers' rights outlined in the International
Labour Organisation (ILO) 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. These obligations must be in the core of the agreement,
and be subject to the same enforcement mechanisms as the agreement's commercial provisions. The ACTU and AFL CIO note that the current U.S.
proposal on labour standards only allows a party to initiate disputes over the other party's failure to enforce domestic labour standards in
order to achieve a trade advantage. No enforcement action is available if a party's labour laws are weakened or fall far short of international
standards. The U.S. proposal is completely inadequate. Notwithstanding the Australian government?s reluctance to accept any labour standards
clause, the ACTU and AFL CIO will not support an FTA that does not include the core ILO labour standards as an enforceable provision of the
agreement.

Services: The FTA must include a broad, explicit carve-out for public services and for private services with an inherently social component, including education, employment services, health care, post, sanitation, social services, transport and utilities. Public services should be
excluded regardless of whether or not the public provider competes with private providers. In addition, governments must retain their ability to
regulate foreign service providers in order to enact and enforce certification and licensing standards, consumer protections, and other
public interest laws.

Investment: Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) system of individually enforceable investor rights, investors have used rules
on expropriations and the minimum standard of treatment to challenge environmental laws, public health and safety protections, and the domestic judicial system. The U.S. Australia FTA must reject this model and preserve each country's authority to regulate foreign investment in the public interest. Foreign investors must not be given greater rights than those enjoyed by domestic investors, and must not be given the right to individually initiate disputes against governments before international tribunals.

Procurement: Procurement rules in NAFTA prevent governments from using tax dollars to support responsible purchasing and contracting practices that favour local suppliers or contain other non-commercial criteria. Under the U.S. Australia FTA, national and sub-national governments must retain the ability to use government procurement policies to promote local employment, assist small and medium-sized businesses, safeguard workers' rights and human rights, and achieve other legitimate social and environmental goals.

Public Health: The U.S. Australia FTA must uphold the right of governments to take measures designed to optimise public health outcomes, such as comprehensive health insurance, standards for food, therapeutic goods, and drugs, and price regulation of pharmaceutical products. Decisions about public health and safety belong in the hands of democratically elected representatives, not tribunals of trade lawyers.

Culture: The ACTU and AFL CIO recognise that access to cultural products and services that emanate from and reflect a person's own culture is a basic human right. Therefore, to the extent that a government's support is limited to products and services that emanate from a nation's cultural perspective, the FTA may include an explicit carve-out that ensures each government the unfettered ability to foster and support their own industries and to give effect to their social and cultural policy objectives.

Manufacturing: A vibrant manufacturing sector is the backbone of a healthy economy. Poorly formulated trade policies can debilitate manufacturing: in the U.S., nearly 3 million manufacturing jobs have been lost since 1998. The U.S. Australia FTA must preserve scope for domestic policies aimed at ensuring that each country retains a diversified and high value-added manufacturing sector.

Transparency: The ACTU and AFL CIO note with concern the secrecy surrounding negotiations over the proposed bilateral FTA. Initial negotiating proposals and requests and offers on trade liberalisation have been submitted by the two governments to one another without prior release in draft form for public scrutiny and consultation. No draft negotiating text or structure for the FTA has been made available. The two governments must take steps to release draft texts and consult with the public in order to meet the basic tests of transparency and accountability in the negotiations. The final draft should be released
for public consultation and submitted to the U.S. Congress and the Australian Parliament for full debate and consideration, along with a report from a Congressional or parliamentary Committee on issues raised in the consultation process. Australia should adopt the requirement for a vote of Parliament for the FTA to be approved.

The same standards on transparency and accountability must be met in the final FTA itself: governments must consult with their respective publics before initiating disputes under the agreement, dispute resolution proceedings must be fully transparent, and interested non-governmental parties must have the right to make submissions to these proceedings. The ACTU and AFL CIO will work together to press for a trade agreement that meets the goals set out above and thus benefits workers in Australia and the U.S. Both organisations will join together to oppose any agreement that falls short of these key objectives.

2. Motion On The Australia US Free Trade Agreement For Local Councils

AFTINET's motion for local councils on the GATS Agreement was adopted by a number of councils in different states, as well as by the National Local Government Association Conference and the NSW Local Government Association Conference. We now have a similar motion for councils regarding the USFTA, printed below. Please consider approaching your local council and asking them to endorse the motion.

Motion On The Australia US Free Trade Agreement For Local Councils

Background
The current negotiations on the Australia US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) being conducted by the Australian Government and the US Government could have serious repercussions for Australian local government. The US negotiators have identified specific Australian laws and policies as "barriers to trade". In addition, the AUSFTA will act as a constraint on the law and policy making capacity all levels of government in Australia, including local government. The model proposed for the agreement on both services and investment is a "negative list", which means that all government regulations (including local government) are covered by the agreement unless they are specifically excluded. This has even more impact on local government than the WTO Trade in Services (GATS) agreement which is a "positive list" agreement, meaning it only fully covers those services which each government agrees to list in the
agreement.

AUSTFTA will be binding on all levels of government but there has been little if any consultation with local government about the negotiations and their implications. Many areas of local government services and regulation could be affected by the AUSFTA, including:
* Water and sewerage services
* Waste management
* Road building
* Land use planning
* Library services.

Both the US and Australian governments have supported the inclusion in the AUSFTA of provisions which allow corporations to challenge laws which impact on the corporations' interests, and to sue governments for damages. Under a similar clause in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), US corporations have aggressively sued Canadian and Mexican governments regarding their laws and decisions, which have included at least one planning decision by a local government. The US Metalclad Corporation was awarded US$15.6 million, because it was refused permission by a Mexican local municipality to build a hazardous waste facility on land already so contaminated by toxic wastes that local groundwater was compromised.

Motion

That Council:

1. believes public policy regarding the regulation, funding and provision of essential services should be made democratically by governments at the national, state and local level and should not be subject to a trade agreement;
2. calls on the Federal Government to fully consult with state and local government about the implications of the AUSFTA negotiations for local government services and regulation;
3. calls on the Federal Government to support the clear exclusion of public services from the AUSFTA, including local government services,
4. calls on the Federal Government to oppose any proposals which would allow corporations to challenge regulation or sue governments ;
5. writes to the Minister for Trade concerning the above; and
6. submits the above motions for adoption by the Australian Local Government Association.

3. Write to the ALP about its USFTA policy: sample letter below

We have prepared a sample letter to the Shadow Trade Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy. Please use it to write your own letter to Senator Conroy seeking clarification of ALP policy on the USFTA.

Senator Stephen Conroy
Shadow Minister for Trade
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600


Dear Senator Conroy

ALP Policy on the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement

I am writing to you to ask you to clarify ALP policy regarding the proposed Australia-US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) following a report in the Australian on August 18 which suggests this policy is being considered.

I am concerned about the AUSFTA negotiations because of their impact on access to affordable medicines. The US Under Secretary of Commerce, Mr.
Grant Aldonan, has stated publicly that the US wishes to challenge reference pricing under the PBS as part of the negotiations. The Australian Financial Review of 13 August 2003 quotes Mr. Aldonan as saying that "there is a sense of unfairness in the US" because US consumers paid high prices under a free market while consumers in Australia and elsewhere benefited from low "reference prices" under schemes like the PBS ('US wants reform of "unfair" PBS,' Australian Financial Review 13 August 2003).

The Australia Institute has undertaken research comparing wholesale prices of the most common drugs in the US and Australia (The Australia Institute, (2003) "Comparing Drug Prices in Australia and the US: The implications of the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement", 25 July 2003, www.tai.org.au). It found that the wholesale prices of ten of the most commonly prescribed drugs in Australia are at least 79 per cent to 306 per cent more expensive in the US. The report concluded that if reference pricing were removed under the USFTA negotiations, it is clear that prices for drugs in Australia would rise significantly.

I am concerned that the structure of the agreement unduly limits the ability of governments at all levels to make laws and policy. Negotiators have confirmed that they are using a "negative list" structure for services and investment, which means that all government regulation in these areas is subject to the agreement unless it is specifically listed as an exception. The proposed agreement also provides for corporations to challenge laws and sue governments for damages. A similar provision in the North American Free Trade Agreement has resulted in a number of US corporations challenging laws and suing governments in Canada and Mexico. The giant courier company UPS is suing Canada Post on the grounds that its public postal services are a
barrier to trade.

Decisions about regulation and provision of public services should be made through national and local democratic process, not negotiated in a trade agreement. Social policies and public services should be clearly excluded from trade agreements.

I would be grateful if you could clarify ALP policy on these issues.

Yours sincerely


Name:
Address:
Date:

4. Health Care At Risk: A seminar on the provision of equitable and affordable access to health services

Saturday, 20th September, 2003, 11 am. 4 pm
The Grail Centre, 22 McHatton Street, North Sydney

Including:
* The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS): how it stands at present and the effects of changes which may come as a result of US Free Trade
Agreement negotiations. Peter Sainsbury, President of Public Health Association of Australia, Assoc. Prof. in Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Sydney University
* Health care: a commodity or human service? Helen McCabe, RN, BHA, completing her doctoral thesis on the ethics of 'Managed Care'
* World trade in health services: the impacts of the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the US Free Trade Agreement (USFTA). Rev. Dr Ann Wansbrough, theologian and policy analyst for Uniting Care

Tea/coffee will be available 10. 30 - 11 am. and during the lunch break.
Bring your own lunch.

RSVP: Tuesday 16th September
Tel: (02) 9955 3053
Fax: (02) 9954 0697
Email: grailsydney@ozemail.com.au

Waged $15.00
Unwaged $10.00, or what you can afford

5. Sydney 28 September: The Eastern Suburbs Friends of the ABC presents
A PUBLIC FORUM: ABC IN CRISIS


Sunday 28 September, 1:30pm to 4 pm
Waverley Library Theatrette
32-48 Denison Street, Bondi Junction

Introduction: Gary Cook, President, FABC NSW
Chair: Tina Bursill, Actor
Speakers:
* Quentin Dempster, ABC Presenter
* Cameron Murphy, NSW Council for Civil Liberties
* Louise Southalan, AFTINET

Contact Alison Rahill 0438 601 497 for further information

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

WSPG Meeting – Monday 8 September 2003 

Free Trade and what it means for Australia.

Around 10 members of the Western Sydney Peace Group heard Melanie Gillbank from Greens senator Kerry Nettle’s office explain the current bi-lateral Free Trade Agreement being negotiated between the US and Australia.
Delegations from the two countries have met twice, and are meeting again on October 27. Both governments hope to have the agreement finalised by the end of this year or early next year. These negotiations have been sped up as a continuation of the close military ties between the two nations in the ‘war on terror’ and Iraq (and North Korea if we aren’t vigilant).
The AUSFTA (Australia and United States Free Trade Agreement) is part of US moves to seek bi-lateral agreements, rather than internationally agreed to multi-national agreements. The AUSFTA is loosely modelled on the North American Free Trade Agreement between the US, Canada and Mexico. This push is because developing countries in bodies such as the World Trade Organisation have begun banding together to oppose US moves that will further weaken their economies, and give US companies even greater access to their public services and organisations.
In Australia, the winners are meant to be farmers, who face tough trade barriers when trying to export to the US, however, rather than make it an even playing-field, the agreement will remove tariffs and other forms of protectionism, but will not remove the billions of dollars paid to US farmers as subsidies, money which gives US farmers an instant advantage over Aussies.
The government is trying to sway these and other people by claiming a boost to the economy of $4 billion dollars, however, there research has many flaws, and independent research has shown little or no benefit from such an agreement, with some suggesting an economic loss for Australia.
The AUSFTA uses a principle of negative listing in the negotiations. Everything is included under the agreement until parties remove it. So while we might be promised that certain areas will not be touched, there is no guarantee that future industries and advances will now unknowingly be included. What is more, the government refuses to say what it has listed, leaving a shadow of doubt over health, education, postal, water, and many other government-funded public services. This secretive and undemocratic process is an affront to the millions of Australians who will be affected, and the final agreement will not even need the support of our elected parliament. Despite this, the agreement will have permanent and lasting affects on all tiers of government, and will open up government to be sued by foreign companies who feel government laws or funding limit their profits.
But what will the impacts be on ordinary Aussies?
One area is in Genetically Engineered foods. In Australia we have laws that guarantee all foods containing GE are marked, giving the consumer the choice to avoid them due to medical, religious or ethical reasons. We have no idea what the long term health affects of these foods are, yet the US, the worlds largest producer of GE canola, wants these laws removed so that US companies can flood the market with these goods, all without Australians knowing it.
Our current stance on GE, with many agricultural sectors completely free of GE, actually gives us a marketing advantage in many markets, with Europe having strict limitations on importation of GE foods. This will be completely lost with the AUSFTA.
Australia has also been protected from many diseases and pests by both our geography, and also our strict quarantine procedures, however this too will need to go. Limitations on certain products because they are potential disease carriers will need to be scrapped. Already similar free trade agreements with the WTO have opened up the importation of goods that threaten many Australian industries. Tasmanian salmon has been one area where farmers have expressed grave concern for the potential loss to their livelihood.
Potentially any sector in Australia supported, protected, owned or funded by the government could come under fire. Health, public education , universities and TAFE’s, the film industry, local television programming, postal services, and others will come under fire as the US sees them as “barriers to free trade.”
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme which provides all Australians with affordable medication is also the target of large US companies who see billions of dollars in lost profits because of the governments bargaining and bulk buying power. Prices to consumers in Australia are one third of those in the US for the same drugs, and the agreement may mean similar increases.
We risk losing our national identity and culture as laws which guarantee certain amounts of homegrown productions on TV could be removed by the agreement. We risk losing many jobs in the industry, as well as any element of Aussie culture.
Basic services like water are also under fire, with state funded monopolies also listed as barriers to free trade. Do we really want drinking water and sewerage in the hands of a profit driven foreign company?
Once we lose them, like the Commonwealth Bank and Telstra, there is no getting them back.
The Australian government will even lose the ability to regulate and legislate on water distribution and use under these agreements, causing untold damage to the environment and viability of the rural sector as profit rather than responsible government rule policy.
US companies will be able to sue the Australian government if its laws or funding are deemed to limit free trade, and the government will be forced to pay the company for potential lost profits, the money they think they would have made if the law wasn’t there.
There will also be an estimated loss of 70,000 jobs in manufacturing as two of the most heavily protected industries, car manufacturing and clothing, are swamped by cheaper foreign goods.

What can you do about it?

1) Write letter to the local paper, you local member, the Minister for Trade Mark Vaile, councillors and state politicians (there power will be limited by the laws).
2) Read more about the issue
3) Visit your local MP, express your concerns and ask them to look into the issue for you.
4) Talk with friends and family.
5) Attend the “Fiesta for Freedom” rally against free trade agenda of the WTO.
Saturday 13th September, 2pm, Town Hall steps in Sydney. Call Chris for more details: 0416 385 803.

Next WSPG meeting is Monday October 13. We will have the President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Mr Cameron Murphy come and speak about the issues surrounding privacy, especially in the workplace. Keep tunned for more details.
Also, any suggestions for future topics and speakers is welcome, plus people who could help with a stall for the Mt Druitt festival, and perhaps one once a month to distribute leaflets, do petitions etc on important issues like Medicare, Education, Free Trade, Peace, Guantanamo Bay detainees and more.

Protests this week and Bush's visit 

George Bush coming to Australia
http://sydney.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=34643&group=webcast

US President George Bush will visit Australia next month.
Prime Minister John Howard's spokesman said tonight the President would
make a short visit after the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC)
leaders' forum in Bangkok on October 20-21.
This humble journalist assumes that there will be a series of large
protests to coincide with the arrival of this mass-murderer in
Australia.

Bush to visit Australia in October
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s940796.htm

US President George W Bush will make a short visit to Australia next
month for talks with Prime Minister John Howard.

Officials from Australia and the United States are rushing to put
together the itinerary after the President officially accepted the Prime
Minister's invitation just a few days ago.

President Bush will fly into Australia at the end of October after a
meeting of regional leaders in Bangkok.

It will be a brief visit, possibly just 24 hours, to thank Australia
for the contribution to the war in Iraq.

The two leaders are also expected to discuss the free trade agreement
currently under negotiation.

President Bush could also address federal parliament.

The Federal Opposition has welcomed the announcement.

Labor's Foreign Affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd says despite the party's
concerns about the Iraq war, any visit to Australia by a US President
is welcome.

"Difference of policy have existed in the past and they'll exist in the
future as well," he said.

"What Australia should be doing is using this opportunity in terms of
the Bush visit to ensure that Australia's interests are advanced both in
the region and our fight against terrorism in South-East Asia and beyond
that our economic relationship with the United States as well to which
the current negotiations on the FTA are front and centre."

This will be Mr Bush's first visit to Australia and the first by a
serving US president in seven years.

The last was by Bill Clinton.

---

The week leading up to the SYDNEY FIESTA FOR FREEDOM against the WTO on
Sat, S13

http://sydney.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=34664&group=webcast

phone: Marina 0414 788 852 or Vince 0438 800 244
email: info@GlobalJusticeSydney.org
elist: GlobalJusticeSydney-SUBSCRIBE@yahoogroups.com
http://www.GlobalJusticeSydney.org/

International Week of Protest against War and Globalisation
Coinciding with the World Trade Organisation summit in Cancun, Mexico

There's plenty happening this week leading up to the following hot
weekend. For updates, check out http://active.org.au/sydney/

We will have some experts filling us in on some details:
- Senator Kerry Nettle, on the US-A FTA and the WTO
- Someone from AID/WATCH, on WTO agriculture issues and Aust govts role
- Marina Carman, on WTO and medicines
- Victoria Torres, Chilean Human Rights Activist on "the other
September 11" and the US-Chile FTA
- Someone from the Stop the War Coalition, on Iraq linkages

Vince will be the MC (on condition that he wears that nifty suit!)

We did also discuss though that we wanted to coordinate with Reclaim
the Streets and meet up with them at some point, so we would need to be
flexible...

So, all systems are go!!


Say NO! to the World Trade Organisation
Say NO! to the Aus-US Free Trade Agreement
Say NO! to Bush and Howard's war without end
Say YES! that Another World is Possible


FOR THE FIRST CALL TO ACTION, CHECK OUT
http://sydney.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=34070


S9 (Tuesday), 6pm
-----------------
@ AID/WATCH Office, 19 Eve St, Erskineville, NSW 2043

The ABC of the WTO - a 3 hour Teach-in

Come and get the low down on the history, the structure, the recent
negotiations, find out who the players are, what is going down in the
current round of negotiations, discover what is on the table and how you
stand to be affected, then hear about what you can do to ensure your
voice gets heard.

Format will follow as:

WTO
- History and Structure (Dr Tim Anderson - Sydney University, political
economy)
- Process (Chris Dubrow - ATTAC)

Issues
- Agriculture and the Development Round (Rayyar Farhat - Sydney
University
and AID/WATCH)
- Medicines (Sean Healy - Medecins Sans Frontieres)
- GATS and the new issues (Louise Southalan - Australian Fair Trade and
Investment Network - AFTINET)

Action - What you can do

Contact: Tim O'Connor on (02) 9557 8944 or 0419 291 508
aid@aidwatch.org.au
http://www.aidwatch.org.au/


S11, the other ~ (Thursday), 5pm:
---------------------------------
@ Sydney Town Hall Square --> MARCH to the US consulate

Protest rally on "The other September 11 - Chile 1973"

For the last two years the Bush administration in the US has conducted
a "war on terror" following the September 11th 2001 World Trade Centre
atrocity. However, president George Bush has conveniently not
acknowledged the involvement of previous US administration in Chile's
military coup:
In particular the complicity of the US state Department, the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA), and US multinationals in the bloody military
coup in Chile on September 11th 1973 has been conveniently forgotten.

In response Australia's Chilean community, many of whom were forced
into exile during the decades of terror, are planning for this year's
September 11 [..]. This year is the 30th anniversary of the military coup.

Organising committees have been established in Sydney, Melbourne and
Adelaide. The Sydney committee is meeting 7pm on the 1st and 3rd Monday
of each month at the CFMEU, 12 Railway Street, Lidcombe.

Contact: CFMEU (Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union)
(02) 9749 0400
http://www.TheOtherSeptember11Chile1973.net/


S11, the other ~ (Thursday), 7.30pm:
------------------------------------
@ Valhalla Cinema, Glebe Point Rd, Glebe

Film evening on "The other September 11 - Chile 1973"

Contact: CFMEU (Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union)
(02) 9749 0400
http://www.TheOtherSeptember11Chile1973.net/


S13 (Saturday), 11am:
---------------------
@ Uniting Church, 264 Pitt St, Sydney

FORUM on Fair Trade and Peace: how the WTO undermines peace.

A public meeting making the connection between unjust trade and war.
Speakers, Father Brian Gore, Sally Mcmanus (Australian Services Union),
Dr Rev Ann Wansbrough (Uniting Care), Dr Gillian Deakin (Medical Assoc
for the Prevention of War).

Contact: Louise (02) 9299 7833
LSouthalan@piac.asn.au
http://www.aftinet.org.au/


S13 (Saturday), 12noon:
-----------------------
@ BELMORE PARK - Party through the city, catch up with the Fiesta For
Freedom (see below)

RECLAIM THE STREETS

STREET PARTY/CREATIVE DIRECT ACTION!!!
in solidarity with anti WTO protests in cancun mexico...

a cavalcade of people powered street action saying NO to corporate
globalisation... SOUNDS AND FESTIVITIES....bring your pinatas, your
noise makers, your zoot suit zombie costumes....day of the dead....fight
the corporate soul fuck!

Contact: la moon
rts@cat.org.au


S13 (Saturday), 2pm:
--------------------
@ Sydney Town Hall Square - Party into the city

Say NO! to Globalisation at Gunpoint (Rally & Demo/Fiesta)

Contact: Global Justice Sydney (Broad Coalition)
phone: Marina 0414 788 852 or Vince 0438 800 244
email: info@GlobalJusticeSydney.org
elist: GlobalJusticeSydney-SUBSCRIBE@yahoogroups.com
http://www.GlobalJusticeSydney.org/


S13 (Saturday), 7.30pm:
-----------------------
@ Marrickville Community Hall, 142 Addison Rd, Marrickville

Solidarity concert ("The other September 11 - Chile 1973")

A special guest from Chile will be attending, with Jeannie Lewis and
many other Australian and Latin American artists performing

Contact: CFMEU (Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union)
(02) 9749 0400
http://www.TheOtherSeptember11Chile1973.net/



Check http://www.GlobalJusticeSydney.org/ for updates, including
reports from the Cancun summit.

Or subscribe to the GlobalJusticeSydney eGroup by sending an email to:
GlobalJusticeSydney-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
or click your way to and from
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GlobalJusticeSydney/

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Interesting Articles 

Toll of U.S. wounded rises fast

http://stacks.msnbc.com/news/960067.asp?cp1=1

U.S. battlefield casualties in Iraq are increasing dramatically in the
face of continued attacks by remnants of Saddam Hussein’s military and
other forces, with almost 10 American troops a day now being officially
declared “wounded in action.”

Terry Hicks Interview

http://www.sbs.com.au/dateline/index.php3?archive=1&artmon=8&arty=2003#
August 27, 2003

With the focus on the terror attacks in Iraq, Indonesia and now India, there has been little sympathy for the fate of David Hicks, an alleged Australian terrorist captured in Afghanistan. His father, Terry Hicks, recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan, where he attempted to discover the truth about his son. Mark Davis caught up with him in Adelaide.

Liberating Iraqis, American Style
Medea Benjamin,
September 3, 2003

Majid Muhammed Yousef yearns for democracy. As an Iraqi Kurd, he and
his family suffered tremendously under Saddam Hussein. After the U.S.
overthrew Saddam, Majid was grateful and excited about building a new
Iraq. But the first four months of U.S. occupation have left him
wondering what America means by democracy.

At the end of May, a group of U.S. soldiers came to his neighborhood in
a dangerous section of Baghdad and convened a meeting. The neighborhood
badly needed some help. Since the war, there was a breakdown in law and
order. Gangs roamed at will, looting the small businesses and shooting
each other (and innocent bystanders) in turf wars. The women were afraid
to go outside, and businesses were closing down. Majid, who sold
electrical appliances out of his home, was having a hard time supporting
his wife and three children. Something had to be done to make the
neighborhood safe again.

At the meeting, the soldiers announced that they were going to
supervise elections for a local council and asked people to put
themselves forward as candidates. The council members would not be paid,
they were told, but they would receive the assistance of the U.S.
military in making local improvements.

Majid was happy to see this initiative, but he decided not to put his
name forward for the local council. He didn't like the American
occupiers. He cringed when he saw the soldiers barreling down the narrow
streets in their ferocious tanks, guns pointed at the locals. "It's just
like Palestine or Beirut," he said disapprovingly. "No one likes to have
their country occupied, and I didn't want to be a collaborator."

But his neighbors pushed him forward as a natural community leader.
When the garbage had piled up in streets, threatening the health of the
community, Majid used his own money to have a truck come clear it up.
When robbers entered the shop on the corner, Majid quickly gathered a
group of men to chase them out of the neighborhood. He was a local hero
and the people clamored for him to represent them. "I reluctantly
entered the race at the last minute and got 55 of the 80 votes," he
recalled. Then he broke into a smile and said, "Imagine if I had
campaigned. It would have been a landslide."

Five local councils members were selected from a slate of eleven.
Majid, who got the highest number of votes, was made president. The
elections took place on June 2, and their first meeting with the U.S.
authorities was scheduled for June 7 at 10 A.M. The five members of the
newly elected council were at the designated meeting place bright and
early. Standing outside in the hot sun, they waited, and waited, and
waited. After several hours, they were told to go home; the meeting had
been cancelled. "There was no explanation," said an annoyed Majid, "and
no apology about keeping us waiting for hours."

A few days later the Americans came to Majid's house with an
assignment. They wanted him and the council to do a report about the
neighborhood's problems and suggest solutions. They also wanted him to
do an inventory of the weapons people kept in their homes. He bristled
at the latter task -- it was too intrusive and would make people even
more helpless by taking away their ability to defend themselves. But
Majid set about the first task with great enthusiasm. He and his fellow
council members went from house to house, asking for input. They came up
with a thick report chock full of suggestions that ranged from turning
off the electricity during the day so that it could be on in the evening
to keep away the nocturnal looters to outlawing dark windows in cars to
make its occupants visible.

With a great sense of accomplishment, the council finished its report
on June 11, a mere 9 days after they were elected. When they went to turn
in the report, however, they were told that the council had been
disbanded and they should go home. Majid and his fellow councilmembers
were stunned. They were given no reason for their dismissal. In less
than two weeks, they had been elected and fired. It made no sense.

"Perhaps we made too many suggestions. Perhaps they didn't like our
suggestions," said Majid, struggling to find an explanation. "Or
perhaps this is democracy, American-style. In any case, what can we do?
They are the occupiers and we are the occupied."

Medea Benjamin is the founding director of the human rights group
Global Exchange and the International Occupation Watch Center
http://www.occupationwatch.org .

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

WSPG Forum !!! 

The Western Sydney Peace Group will be having a look at the World Trade Organisation and the issue of free trade.

Monday September 8
7pm - 9pm
Rooty Hill Uniting Church
86 Rooty Hill Rd Nth, Rooty Hill

Come allong and hear from Melanie Gillbank from the Greens, as well as a speaker from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union.

Free trade and the WTO are at the core of the neo-liberal economic theory that the Howard government, and the Bush administration are pushing around the world.

What does it mean for us in Australia?
What impact will it have on our jobs, our healthcare, our education and our future?
What is the WTO and what are they talking about this month in Cancun?
What is the US Australian free trade agreement that may be signed by the end of the year?
What can I do?
Should I get involved in the protest on September 13 in Sydney (see post from a few days ago)?

Come allong with your questions and get informed about this major issue facing Australia and the world, and hopefully you will go away with a better idea of what it is, what it means and what you can do.

Check out the info at these sites before hand if you get a chance:
AFTINET - www.aftinet.org.au
Free to be Australian - www.alliance.org.au/free2baustralian

Interesting articles 

US Makes Human Shield a Soft Target
http://sptimes.com/2003/08/31/Floridian/A_soft_target.shtml

She likes Yanni and cats. She cries easily and travels the world.
She went to Iraq as a human shield, and now won't say she's sorry.

Green card cannon fodder
http://english.aljazeera.net/Articles/News/GlobalNews/Green+card+cannon+fodder.htm

Fighting under foreign colours - non-US citizens on the frontline
Wherever the American military is the star spangled banner is never far away. But it is a foreign flag for more than 37,400 US troops who owe no allegiance to
the stars and stripes.

Upcomming events 

September 17: Join the Teachers to fight for quality public education

The Teachers Federation are taking industrial action on September 17 to: support the Federation's salary claim; protest the joint State Governments' approach to teacher salaries, and ensure that the NSW Government fully funds any increase in teacher salaries by State Treasury and NOT from the Education Budget. The main focus of the 24-hour stoppage on September 17 will be a major rally in Sydney and in major regional centres around NSW. These rallies are currently being arranged by our Country Organisers.

SYDNEY RALLY
WHEN: Assemble from 10.30 a.m. September 17
WHERE: HYDE PARK NORTH; then (approximately 11.30 a.m.) march to Parliament House, Macquarie St, Sydney
If you only have limited time, join the teachers at 11:30 and march with them to Parliament House.

October 1: Medicare's Birthday

October 1 marks 20 years since the original Medicare legislation was given Royal Assent. There will be a centralised action on that day. Unions and worksites are encouraged to celebrate the day with birthday celebrations, display badges, posters and "eat cake." More information will follow, but speak to your union about organising a union specific event or participating in the lunch time rally.

Please register if you want assistance or are organising a Medicare event by emailing activist@labor.org.au.

Medicare materials are available from: http://www.labor.org.au and click on "Save Medicare."

Peace Art Exhibition

Collateral Damage
COLLATERAL HEALING

By Artists From The John Ogburn Studio
17 Meagher Street Chippendale Sydney 2008 Tel. (02) 9319 7378
Gallery Hours 10am - 4pm Tuesday - Sunday (closed Monday)
Opening Tuesday 9th September 6 - 8.30pm
9th September - closes Sunday 28th September

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