|Issue No 52||05 May 2000|
May One - Ground Zero
By Peter Jennings
A strong contingent of Australian trade unionists and Aboriginal Australians helped the people of East Timor celebrate the first May Day in the new country earlier this week.
Sharan Burrow, the new ACTU President, and Geoff Clark, the Chairman of ATSIC were among the guests, along with Warren Snowden, the Labor MP for the Northern Territory. Other visitors were Mick Doleman, Assistant National Secretary of the MUA, Trevor Charles representing the International Transport Federation and the MUA, Joe Gallagher from the CFMEU and Margaret Gillespie, the National Organiser with the CPSU. Others who attended were Pat Anderson, Bob Lee, Fran Chinn and Chips McNulty representing the NT Aboriginal people and Peter Jennings representing APHEDA - Union Aid Abroad. A representative from the trade unions in Portugal also attended.
The May Day celebrations and march was a colourful event with both speeches and exchange of gifts. Xanana Gusmao, President of the CNRT and Sergio de Mello, the head of the United Nations Transitional Authority for East Timor (UNTAET) addressed the group.
Sharran Burrow told the people that "the reconstruction of East Timor must also involve democratic organisations such as trade unions that speak for the people", while Geoff Clark spoke about the common ground between East Timorese and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, especially with the challenges of overcoming unemployment, poor health and inadequate housing.
The people of East Timor rejoiced at their first opportunity to celebrate May Day as a free nation, but I was also struck with their quiet determination that the unfinished business of rebuilding their lives, communities and nation would continue.
Sydney May Day March
Sydney workers will march through the city streets to mark May Day this Sunday. Assemble Bathurst Street near the Sydney town Hall at 11am. Rally and concert Fisrt Fleet Park at 1pm.
Interview: War Stories from the Shakey Isles
After being flat-earthed, New Zealand unions are making a comeback under a new progressive government. Darien Fenton is at the forefront of the resurgence.
Unions: Laying It On the Line
A complex international legal web underpins a long-running South Coast picket.
International: Alive and Kicking
Those representing right wing political forces and strategists for multi-national corporations would be disappointed by the success of the recently concluded Congress of the WFTU in Delhi.
Economics: Fair Trade not Free Trade
The successful MAI and Seattle campaigns have sparked a new debate about the role of the World Trade Organization.
History: The Manchester Movement
Manchester, in Asa Briggs memorable phrase, was the shock city of the early nineteenth century, a small and obscure market town that in a matter of a few years had become a huge city.
Satire: Passing the Buck
Government report tells bosses how to lie and pass the buck: Reith blames Kemp
Review: A Book to Set the Left Right
The Australian Finacial Review's Stephen Long gives his verdict on 'Tales from the new Shop Floor'.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005