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  Issue No 101 Official Organ of LaborNet 06 July 2001  

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International

A Deathly Struggle


In this dispatch from PNG, a trade union leader briefs us on the situation following the shooting of seven students at an anti-privatisation rally.

 
 

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As last reported, the student's death is related to the issues of Privatisation and Land mobilisation. Please note that in PNG only (3%) of the total land mass is Government owned.

The other (97%) is owned by the people as their traditional heritage and values among the extended family system in PNG. It is very very hard for the people to give up their land.

The story goes like this since the protest started. The PM never came down to receive the petition for 5 continuous days. When he finally did with his cabinet ministers, he stated he would give reply to their petition within 24 hours so the students decided to stay put where they were camped till the next day so that the PM can deliver his reply because in the past replies to petition were never forthcoming. However on the same evening towards the 11th hour in the night near the Government PM's Office complex, it is believed the riot squad (Police) brought in from the Highlands broke up the came with gun fire and tear gas dispersing the students camped and all students fled in all directions. Some back to the UPNG campus and others took refuge among the city residents homes. Residents nearby heard that the gunfire was mainly automatic gunfire.

It is believed the police wanted to arrest the student leaders and in their pursuit ended up at the UPNG campus in the early hours of the fatal morning when 3 students were shot dead and nearly 20 more injured with gunshot wounds. The 4th died recently from the wounds received. May I state here that the students were unarmed and couldn't defend themselves? The student dormitories were also raided and rained with bullets. In protest over the killings the students have held up Government vehicles and set them ablaze, a couple of business houses were also burnt down. Recently a couple more Government vehicles entering the UPNG campus have been taken over by students and burnt.

In the Highlands the protests continue with the relatives of the death wanting compensation (one million kina for each death) and the situation is very tense even with the days gone by. People and business houses are very scared knowing that anything can happen again.

In the political arena, the PM's seat will become the hottest seat knowing the UPNG campus is in the centre of his electorate and the word going around now is that, PDM the current ruling party in Government is going to be defeated at the polls come June 2002. PDM still wants to rush the Privatization quickly because it is in fear that a change of Government will derail the progress.

Yesterday the funeral for the three students were held at the UPNG Campus where thousands turned up for the service. The PM and his Ministers did not attend including the police. The coffins were draped with the PNG flag. It is now claimed the 4 slain students are the country's sacrificial lamb for the people of PNG and the future generations to come, a pillar of strength to fight against injustices to humanity in protest against the World Bank and IMF.

In PNG, the situation is not over. The blood is being spilled and the issue will be carried through to the elections. It is hoped that the deaths have slowed the Privatization process.

With regards to state owned enterprise and the unions. The unions have strategised to counter attack by waiting for the process to come their way because in the past the employers have used the courts and other avenues to penalise the workers individually. Industrial muscle is our final ammunition to derail the process. The PNGBC did it and the others are waiting their turn.

We the Electricity Union is just waiting to strike when it comes our way.

There is a curfew being imposed from 7pm in the night to 5am in the morning in the nations capital only. Normalcy has been restored but people are still moving around in fear knowing that another death or commotion can cause rioting again.

RIGHT NOW THE PUBLIC MESSAGE IS TO DEFEAT THE PM AND HIS PARTY (PDM) AT THE ELECTIONS IN JUNE 2002.


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*   Issue 101 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Interview: A Little Knowledge
Labor's science spokesman Martyn Evans was the Opposition's key player on the Knowledge Nation inquiry. He fills us in on the process.
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*  Education: Theory and Practise
Whether or not you agree with the priorities for of Barry Jones’ Knowledge Nation Taskforce, Julie Wells argues its boldness has to be admired.
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*  E-Change: 1.1 Email Nation
In the first of a series of articles on politics and the new economy, Peter Lewis and Michael Gadiel argue network technologies are reshaping the fundamentals of society.
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*  Economics: Banking on the Goodwill
Given their history, Evan Jones wonders whether banks can really claim to be "just like any other business"
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*  International: A Deathly Struggle
In this dispatch from PNG, a trade union leader briefs us on the situation following the shooting of seven students at an anti-privatisation rally.
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*  History: Enlarging Human Personality
Mark Hearn argues that Lloyd Ross's post-War approach to Workplace Democracy seems contemporary by today's standards
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*  Satire: Shit is a Four Letter Word
Australian TV drama is lame and gutless just look at the ABC's Love is a Four Letter Word, says Tony Moore
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*  Review: Tribute to an Artist
Dalgarno painted the seagulls circling the seafarer like flies buzzing around the face of a bushman. Thus did the artist depict the maritime worker.
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News
»  Academic Freedom On Trial
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»  Unified Approach to Sheahan Inquiry
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»  Living Standards Shape as Election Factor
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»  Clairvoyant PM In Secret Deal Fantasy
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»  Hotels Face Workers Quiz
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»  Call for Senate to Decide Spammer's Fate
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»  PNG – Howard Should Speak Out
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»  Couriers Buck Over Tax Ruling
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»  Kempsey Killing Highlights Health Fears
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»  Checkout Operators Better Paid Than Aged Care Workers
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»  ACTU Weighs Into Bank Campaign
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»  Fund Bad Health for Families
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»  Australian Music Web Radio Station Needs Recruits
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»  Activist Notebook
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Columns
»  The Soapbox
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»  The Locker Room
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»  Trades Hall
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»  Tool Shed
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Letters to the editor
»  Mate Against Mate
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»  Disconnected from Reality
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»  Applause for the Ton
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»  Unions Online? Not Yet!
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