Oceania


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An Auckland woman, Folole Muliaga, recently died in New Zealand because she could no longer run her oxygen machine which kept her alive, the reason being the electricity company Mighty River Power cut off her supply because of a NZ$168.40 arrears. A clear example that services run for profit kill!

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On the surface New Zealand is “booming” but it is doing so at the expense of the working class. It is not surprising that under such conditions trade union membership has significantly increased and strikes over collective agreements and pay have broken out.

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One year since the massive mobilisations against the introduction of draconian anti-trade union laws, the workers of Australia today showed their determination to keep the struggle alive. Over 250,000 turned out across Australia in rallies to protest.

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After 28 days of being locked out workers belonging to the National Distribution Union (NDU) and the Engineering, Printing & Manufacturing Union (EMPU) at the 3 Progressive Enterprises supermarkets depots have won pay parity across all depots within the next 18 months in one of the bitterest dispute seen in New Zealand in a generation.

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The recent Queensland election was called against a backdrop of crisis in the public health system and problems with water and electricity supply. The choice was between between a right-wing Labor party and the avowedly anti-worker policies of the Coalition.

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Wages are abysmally low for supermarket workers in New Zealand. Recently the National Distribution Union organised a 48-hour stoppage. The bosses reacted with a lock-out. This has only served to strengthen the resolve of the striking workers. Send messages of solidarity and protest.

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Construction workers in Western Australia are in the front line of a vicious attack under the Coalition government's anti-union laws. This Tuesday, one hundred and seven workers will be in court where they face ruinous fines of up to AU$28,600. The fines are for a strike which was called to protect safety at work and to defend a sacked union representative.

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On Tuesday over 500,000 Australian workers came out on demonstrations across the country to protest against the latest draconian anti-trade union laws, with 200,000 at the Melbourne rally. The mood on the rallies was very militant. The Australian working class is returning to its best traditions of struggle, and this is only the beginning.

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There was a massive demonstration on the day the war started. The write-up in the Sydney Morning Herald made things clear...

Rupert O'Shea explains the mood towards the war in Afghanistan among workers in New Zealand and also explains a little of what is happening in the political an d economic scene in the country. There have been demonstrations against the war, in fairly modest numbers so far, but starting before the first bombs were dropped on Afghanistan.

Since the attacks on America of 11th September, many people have been eagerly following events on TV, demonstrating the heightened interest in international affairs that has been reported from other countries on the In Defence Of Marxism web site. In the short run at least, many people have been taken in by the imperialist propaganda that has been pouring out of their TVs and other bourgeois media. Take my friend Joanne, for example. She is a Labour party member. But she thinks America is in the right. I tried to explain the far greater atrocities that the US government and big business have committed, but she did not buy it. Everything's different now, she says. She seems to think the

...

Tomorrow, November 11, 2000, marks the 25th anniversary of the dramatic dismissal of the Whitlam Labor government in Australia. For the generation entering the ranks of the Labour movement today, 25 years on, the experience of the Whitlam Labor government holds many valuable lessons besides the clear demonstration of how the ruling establishment is prepared to act in defence of its interests against a properly elected Labor government.

We received the following report on the recent elections in New Zealand. We are reproducing it here because of the interesting information and analysis of these developments which, as far as we know, have not been covered seriously from a Marxist point of view elsewhere. The final count of the New Zealand election results, incorporating the Special votes, did not come out till 9th December, just after the article was posted on the web, so there is also an update attached as a postscript.

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