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Pandemic Reserve

This week, amidst the COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria, we are looking forward. Up until now, we have been in the throes of a reactive response to the pandemic. What is needed is some forward thinking and in this presentation we will put forward a ‘forward defence pandemic strategy’. We propose this because pandemics are likely to increase in a world of ever-increasing population growth, urbanisation, environmental destruction and industrial farming practises. These issues make us more susceptible to viruses crossing the animal-human barrier.

Cambodian Unionist Jailed

The Cambodian government is clamping down on freedom of association and expression in order to silence trade unionists, as workers resist the economic downturn and repression.

Global unions need our support to free Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions (CCU), and Sor Saknika, president of the Cambodian Informal Labourers' Association (CILA).

Rong Chhun was arrested on 31 July for incitement to commit felony for comments he made. He recently led pickets in garment factory closures and urged the government to make human rights improvements.

Indonesia: Proposal to Lower Wages, Weaken Conditions

Around the world, some governments and companies are taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to attack working people and their unions.

In Indonesia, the government has introduced an "Omnibus Bill on Job Creation" which, according to the unions, will reduce wages, remove entitlements and erode workers' rights in the country.

The government of President Joko Widodo is arguing that this bill rewrites 79 existing laws in order to allow greater foreign direct investment, support economic growth and create job opportunities for Indonesians.

Jordan's Teachers Arrested over Coronavirus Criticism

In Jordan, the teachers' union had concerns about the way the government was handling the coronavirus crisis.

The government's response was to arrest leading members of the union, raid the union offices and shut the union down for the next two years.

Riot police were then deployed to break up peaceful demonstrations by teachers denouncing the crackdown on trade union rights.

An AU-EU Society?

Australia has various bilateral associations that promote friendship, cooperation, and understanding between the people of one country and another. Obvious to all, these represent a sort of soft-power strategic orientation as well as a source for business contacts, along with the more benign elements of cultural, scientific, and familial associations. A very notable example is the American Australian Association which is affiliated with its complement, the American Australian Association, and likewise the Australia-Britain Society and its complement, the Britain-Australia Society.

COVID-19 will increase inequality

Around 50% of Australia’s workforce (appx. 6 million people) are currently without full-time employment. When changes to Jobkeeper and Jobseeker are adjusted in September, around 40% of Australians will find themselves in exceptionally difficult economic and personal circumstances. We are currently in what could be described as a COVID holiday, due to government economic supports. Once this ends, the situation will deteriorate. How is the state going to manage this?

ALP (Victorian branch) Submission to Administrators

In 1998 I co-authored a paper, "ALP Reform Discussion Paper 1988: ALP Branches a Structural and Systematic Review" with then Party-organiser Peter Mitchell. This paper was written at a time when there were a number of public reports about branch-stacking within the Victorian branch of the Australian Labor Party. The Discussion Paper sought to provide solutions to these problems.

Release the CDC Data to the Public!

It is not unusual for authoritarian and totalitarian regimes to engage in mass secrecy, especially when their public policy results in embarrassing figures.

But the United States has at least pretended that it believes in the free communication of scientific data.

Until now.

Coronavirus Children in Florida

Children in Florida are three times more likely to test positive than the general population, which is astonishing. I wonder if it has to do with lower rates of mask use. It could also be that children are less likely to be tested unless they've had contact with a confirmed case. Or they could be physiologically more susceptible to infection, even though they're much less susceptible to severe infection.

Turkey: Workers sacked for organizing a union

If this story sounds familiar, it's because it has happened before.

Four women workers have been dismissed from SF Trade in Izmir, Turkey, for organizing a union at the leather and textile company.

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