||Issue No. 150||30 August 2002|
Shut It Down!
Interview: Australian Worker
Unions: Morning Ambush
Cole-Watch: Grumpy Old Men
International: Arrested (Sustainable) Development
History: Illegal Alien
Economics: The Trouble With PPPs
Poetry: Is This 'My Country'?
Review: Garage Days
The Locker Room
Week in Review
Week in Review
At the same time as US leaders turn up the volume on their demands for war against Iraq they announce plans for a conference, next month, that will examine why their country is so disliked by foreigners.
Well shucks, old buddies, we could suggest that you've got the chicken before the egg, but, really it's a question that deserves some answers.
The first group would probably consists of large chuncks of whole nationalities - Vietnamese, Kampucheans, Chileans, Hondurans, Salvadoreans, Nicaraguans, Palestinians, Iraqis, Iranians, Saudis, Koreans, Greeks, Egyptians etc etc, who have either been required to dodge US bombs or live under the heels of regimes armed, financed or otherwise controlled by good ol' US of A.
Then there's probably another consitituency altogether that just thinks nations should co-operate for a better world and are a bit miffed by Washington's rejection of anything remotely resembling internationalism. Their particular interests might range from Fair Trade and the environment through opposition to torture and the arms to something like an international court. Just some of the areas on which George Bush has welshed since rorting his way into the White House.
Still, he must be might pleased that, at least, Australia remains kitted out in the stars and stripes, bellowing its support from the otherwise deserted bleachers.
Which just about gets us to Johannesburg where people are hoping against hope that the rich might make some tangible concessions at the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
Environment Minister David Kemp has rolled into town with a 50-strong delegation to put the Howard Government's views. He is said to be hoping its refusal to ratify the ground-breaking Kyoto Protocol on Greenhouse Gas Emissions will be held over to a smaller gathering.
Australia, the US and Canada are quickly branded "isolationist" and accused of trying to stymie progress. We get a particularly strong serve from some of our Pacific "friends" who allege that our environmentally unfriendly policies threaten their very survival.
Back home, Howard's domestic agenda has centred on scapegoating refugees. He seems barely concerned when it is revealed that, on our behalf, his Government has been charging these people $130 a night for being held in a detention centre.
Imagine Shahid Qureshi's shock when he gets a $26,460 bill for accommodation at Melbourne's Maribyrnong detention centre where he shard a small room with three others and had a guard shining a torch in his face every half-hour of the night.
Qureshi is prevented from working by Government and has no way of meeting the demand.
This week he became the first asylum seeker to challenge costs at Howard's Hotel, alleging in the Federal Court that the bill was unconstitutional.
Meanwhile, the UN reports that an international campaign to block funding to the Al Qaeda terrorist organisation has largely failed. By all accounts, it reports, Al Qaeda is "fit and well and poised to strike again".
It has been documented by Lloyds List, amongst others, that Flag of Convenience shipping has been a key method by which outlaw organisations move terrorists and money.
Osama Bin Laden runs a FOC fleet and court evidence reveals that he used such vessels to get operatives into East Africa for attacks on US naval ships.
Howard's Government, still driven by a desire to smash militant unionism, remains an unabashed fan of Flag of Convenience shipping, suggesting that he fears the MUA rather more than OBL.
On a more positive note, NSW and Victorian premiers, Bob Carr and Steve Bracks, join forces to open the Mowamba aqueduct, between Jindabyne and Dalgety, doubling the flow in the upper reaches of the beleaguered Snowy River.
When the $300 million plan to rehabilitate the region is completed the Snowy should contain about 25 percent of its original flows, enough, environmentalists say, to sustain the habitat.
While Federal Labor militantly refuses to come out with anything remotely challenging the the Liberal's economic agenda it does reject Government's amended ASIO bill.
Under Government proposals the spy agency could have held children as young as 14, with a guardian present, and detained other citizens for the first 48 hours without access to a lawyer.
Federal Labor, distressingly, also remain moot about the abuses of the Cole Commission into the Building and Construction Industry which winds up its second Sydney session.
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