Rudd to announce guest worker program

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is expected to tell a Pacific leaders forum next month of a pilot plan to allow guest workers into Australia.
Pacific nations have long called for Australia to ease visa restrictions and allow workers from neighbouring island states to take unfilled jobs.
With economic opportunities scarce on many Pacific islands, they believe a guest worker scheme will provide a much-needed cash boost and help islanders gain new skills.
Australia has been reluctant to embrace the scheme, but the government has agreed to consider the proposal after it sees the results of a New Zealand trial. Continues here

See Also 

Guest workers are not the answer, training our own is 

Neoliberal Immigration & Guestworker Programmes




Blood from a stone

Tonga defends lavish coronation

The last king of Tonga?

The tiny island Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific is about to make history, by joining the WTO on what are arguably the worst terms ever offered to any country.The appalling terms of Tonga’s accession package show that nothing has changed in the way the world’s smallest and most vulnerable economies are treated as they seek to join the WTO. It is a further demonstration that the fine words of the Doha Development Agenda mean nothing when pitted against the commercial interests of the world’s richest countries.

Tonga has been forced to give up more on tariffs than any of the countries involved in its negotiations to join the WTO, including countries like NewZealand, the USA and the EU, all of whom played active roles in the working party. In fact, its bound tariffs are lower than any other country in the history of the WTO, with the sole exception of Armenia. Tonga will be allowed up to a maximum of 20% tariff on all products.This contrasts with the 350% tariff that the US applies to beef imports, and an equivalent tariff of over 300% that the EU uses to block sugar imports into its market.

o The money to pay for Tonga’s public health, education and other vital services has come largely from import tariffs until this year. Now that it must slash applied tariffs under its terms of accession, it has just introduced radical changes to its tax system to cope with the tariff reductions. If this new system fails to deliver, there is nothing Tonga can do to restore its income from tariffs, because its hands are tied by its WTO commitments so Tonga has committed more in services sectors of vital public interest (like education) than any of the rich countries on the working party and its overall commitments in services are much more extensive than most other developing countries

o The many commitments to “WTO-plus” liberalization of the economy remove most of the policy space Tonga will need if it is ever to emulate now developed countries

o Many of the terms extracted from Tonga are of no benefit to its people (eg changes to the intellectual property regime) and will cost a lot of money to implement, money that will not be available for Tonga’s development needs. Blood form a Stone

See Also

WHO concerned about 'alarming' death rate in Pacific

"Don't believe the hype" - A Cyclone on the Horizion in Tonga

The Tongan Riots 

 US military to move into South Pacific

Add Tonga To The Growing List Of NZ’s Pacific Interventions




Maori tribe in autonomy talks with NZ government

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A rebellious New Zealand Maori tribe entered into negotiations with the government Thursday in a bid to gain autonomy over its land.

Ngai Tuhoe is the only Maori tribe that refused to sign the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, which established peaceful relations between New Zealand's indigenous groups and white settlers.

Tuhoe still insists it retains sovereign control over its culture and its lands in central North Island, which it claims were confiscated illegally by settlers in the 1800s.

continues here

Video Here: http://www.3news.co.nz//tabid/808/Default.aspx

Related News

Full coverage »


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 13, 2008) – An Australia-based NGO is encouraging Pacific governments to take a closer look at the potential devastation of sea-bed mining. 
The Mineral Policy Institute is one of a number of groups raising concerns about the Canadian mining company, Nautilus Minerals, has made sea bed test extractions in PNG’s exclusive economic zone.
Nautilus is also starting explorations in Tonga, and has lodged exploration licence applications in Fiji and Solomon Islands. 
Although Nautilus says a yet to be published scientific impact study found sea-bed mining is environmentlly safe, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) sees mining as destructive.
The institute’s spokesperon, Techa Beaumont, says that regional governments need to consider this before they sign away the sea-bed in their EEZ to mining companies
"The international experience around shared ocean areas is that the International Seabed Authority has taken a very conservative approach and hasn’t permitted companies to undertake these activities in international waters, largely because they saw them as potentially very damaging," Beaumont said.

solid sampler - dizzy / astro / wire

click for a larger image

When: Friday 8th of August

Where: RISING SUN ¨C 373 Karangahape Rd

Cost: Koha
View the Solid Territory image gallery, video and artist links at http://www.conscious.maori.nz/solid.html


Doha world trade talks collapse in blow to globalisation

Best news all week

By Edmund Conway Economics Editor
Last Updated: 8:02pm BST 29/07/2008

The Doha round of world trade talks has collapsed in what one former trade chief called the biggest blow to globalisation since the end of the Cold War.

An emergency World Trade Organisation summit aimed at resuscitating the seven-year long talks broke down in acrimony last night.

Negotiators warned that there was now little or no chance of salvaging the talks, which promised to bring down trade tariffs, pull millions out of poverty and keep food and goods prices under control.

Continues here

see also

RIP Doha Round - for shore!

New Zealand firms urge bilateral trade pacts after WTO failure

Lex Wooten Solidarity Fiesta

9 August 2008

Lex Wooten, the man still facing charges for involvement in the Palm Island riots that followed the death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee in 2004, is coming to Melbourne for a speaking tour. Join MC Shiralee Hood, and bands The Conch and The Grenadines to support Lex and listen to him speak. Finger food served and bar service available. From 7pm at the Maritime Union Hall, 54 Ireland St, West Melbourne. $20 / $10 (to raise funds for the tour and assist with the campaign). Organised by Indigenous Social Justice Association, Melbourne. Contact 9388 0062 for details.

FMG seeking to move into Aotearoa- there goes the seabed for sure

Posted 1 hour 9 minutes ago

Logo for Fortescue Metals Group (FMG)

FMG is seeking permission to explore for minerals in New Zealand. (ABC TV)

The Fortescue Metals Group, headed by Andrew Forrest, is making its first foray into international mining by applying to test for minerals in a vast area in New Zealand.

Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) has made several applications to test for iron ore sands on the west coast of the South Island in an area covering 4,000 kilometres.

The venture has upset a group of miners who claim their century old gold mining business could be jeopardised.

Bluescope Steel is already dredging iron ore sands along the North Island.

It is understood other miners including Rio Tinto and China's Sinosteel also have interests in the region.

FMG's Graeme Rowley says if its applications for permits are approved it will consult with concerned groups.

"At this stage it is so early in the process that we are not aware of some of the challenges that obviously through the consultation we will be involved in all of the issues that are raised by local community," he said.

"Obviously through the consultation we will be involved in all of the issues that are raised by local community and obviously if certain things become prohibitive then obviously the tenders will not be granted.

Too large

Keith Brodie from New Zealand's mining lobby Minerals West says FMG's application is too large and the governing body needs to scrutinise it closely.

"[To] make sure it complies with the minerals program that covers the whole of New Zealand," he said.

"Also to make sure that they're not sacrificing one part of the minerals industry for another so it has to be carefully considered."

PFII Intervention: Item 6 - The Pacific

Indigenous World Association
Mililani Trask, Director
Na Koa Ikaika O Ka Lahui Hawaii
Mililani B. Trask, Convener
400 Hualani Street, Suite 194
Hilo, HI 96720d

Seventh Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues – April 2008 – New York, NY

Item # 6

Topic: Pacific

Presenter: Mililani Trask

Collective Intervention of the Pacific & Caribbean on the United Nations Decolonization Process: Indigenous World Association; Na Koa Ikaika o Ka Lahui Hawaii; Koani Foundation; Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action; The Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies; Waikiki Hawaiian Civic Clubs; Hawaii Institute for Human Rights and Oceania; The ALDET Centre-Saint Lucia; The Self-governing Administrative Mechanism of the Indigenous People of Saint Lucia; the Caribbean Antilles Indigenous Peoples Caucus and the Diaspora; The International Indigenous Peoples Think Tank; Visages de Polynesie; Pohutu No’ano’a, HITI TAU; Pu Fenua pu Metua, The Rapanui Parliament, The National Council for Indigenous Peoples Rights in Kanaki – New Caledonia, The Agency Kanak de Development, The National Council for Resource Management K-NC, Caney Quinto Mundo (PR), Consejo General de Taino Borincanos (PR), The United Confederation of Taino People (Carribean).

Aloha Mdm. Chair & Colleagues of the Permanent Forum:

If you search the annals of international law you will find that the word “sacred” is used only once. This is in relation to the “sacred trust obligation” which Administering States have to the “inhabitants of the (non-self-governing) territories” under Article 73 of the United Nations Charter. This “sacred obligation” is owed to millions of indigenous peoples who reside in the Pacific and Caribbean and who, under international law, are unable to express their right to self-determination and self-governance because they were placed by the United Nations on the list of “non-self governing territories (NSGT)” in the early 1940’s when the United Nations was created.

The NSGT’s are recognized as the old world colonies that were subjected to colonization during the era of colonial imperialism. International Law concedes that the peoples of the NSDGT’s are denied the most important of all human rights, the right of self-governance. Under international law, the States that were designated to administer the NSGT’s were to assist these peoples in attaining a full measure of self governance. When this was achieved, the peoples of the NSGT’s were to be given the opportunity to choose the form of government they desired, including Independence. Under international law, the territory and land base of the NSGTs is not considered to be part of the Administering State.

Since the cold war ended, only one NSGT has attained self-governance/self-determination – Timor Leste. Several NSGT’s remain in a state of political disenfranchisement as “colonies” of the Administering States. These are: Guam and America Samoa (U.S.), Kanaki - New Caledonia (France), Pitcairn Island (U.K.) and the Tokelau Islands (NZ). There are also serious issues that have yet to be addressed relating to French Occupied Polynesia (France) and Hawaii and Alaska which were removed unilaterally by the U.S. in 1959. It should be noted that both the CERD and the Human Rights Commission have raised the status of Hawaii and Alaska to the United States in their respective bodies.

The Special Committee on Decolonization, which has oversight of the Decolonization process is dysfunctional and for the past 15 years has been unable to address or respond to several UNGA Resolutions. In addition, the Decolonization Committee and its Secretariat have refused to respond to requests from the CERD for data relating to racism in the territories for 19 consecutive years. During this time, and continuing until the present, the UN General Assembly and its member states have declared not one, but two International Decades to eradicate colonialism.

Colleagues of the Forum – there is no more egregious situation within the UN System than the situation relating to the failure of the United Nations to address the deprivations and human rights violations in the NSGT’s.

Self-determination is the most significant human right and it is denied to millions of indigenous peoples in the Pacific and the Caribbean with the tacit approval of the UN itself.

The record reveals the following:

1. From 2002 – 2005 the UNGA passed 19 resolutions directing that specific action be taken to implement decolonization in the territories – these actions were to be taken by UN agencies (UNEP, UNDP, EAD/DPA, Electoral Affairs Division, Dept. of Political Action), the UN Secretary General, the UN Regional Economic Commission, the President of the ECO-SOC, the Chairman of the Special Committee on Decolonization, and Independent Expert and State administering agents. None of these directives have been implemented to date.

2. In 2006 the General Assembly adopted the Plan of Implementation (POI) – [A/60/853-E/2006/75 17 May 2006], to endorse an implementation strategy in 8 areas – Information, Participation, Analysis of Political and Constitutional Arrangements, Missions, Protections and Conservation as well as Ownership and Control of natural Resources, Educational Advancement, Development of Self-Government and support for NSGT’s from the UN – since 2006, no action has been taken to address the POI despite its approval by the U.N.G.A./ECO-SOC. We are submitting copies of these UN documents to the secretariat and the Forum for the review of Forum members.

For 10 years the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) States have repeatedly requested that the secretariat of the Special Committee produce reports relating to the implementation of the UN decolonization resolutions. These reports were to be prepared in behalf of the Secretary General for the General Assembly of Nations. Despite repeated requests, no reports have ever been initiated by the secretariat that specifically addresses implementation of numerous General Assembly Resolutions or the P.O.I.

During this period, the CERD has also repeatedly requested that the Special Committee and its secretariat provide information to the CERD on racism in the territories. These requests have been ignored by the Special Committee and its secretariat, and CERD reports continue to lament the fact that “only scant information” is contained in the reports sent to them by the Special Committee.

It appears that we are dealing with a situation of institutionalized racism. I say this because of evidence that the Special Committee staff have manipulated UN procedures to perpetuate this situation. For example, the POI specifically called for an Independent Expert to conduct an analysis of the existing political arrangements in the NSGT’s (Mandate 3 pg. 13 – POI), this never occurred because the secretariat deleted the agenda item from the agenda in order to ensure that no Expert would be able to address and expose the true situation in the NSGT’s.

The situation is so outrageous that the current policy of the Special Committee on Decolonization is referred to as a Policy of “Colonial Accommodation” by the Overseas Territories Report.

The current situation has been analyzed and assessed by Independent expert Dr. Carlyle Corbin (Mid-Term Assessment of the Level of Implementation of the Place of Action of the 2nd Internet Decade for the Eradiation of Colonialism, 17 May 2005).

We are providing the Forum Experts with a copy of Dr. Carlyle’s report which provides significant detail on the problems and obstacles to implementing the UN decolonization process.

Members of the Forum:

a. The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has addressed this matter before.
We direct the Forums attention to the third Forum report to the ECO-SOC contained in document E/C.19/2004/23, E/2004/43.

Recommendation number 54 (pg. 17) states:

“The Forum requests the Special Rapporteur on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples undertake a study on the United Nations decolonization process and the Special Committee on Decolonization to assess its historical and current impact on the human rights of indigenous peoples of the non-self-governing territories. Furthermore, the Forum requests the Secretary General to undertake a mid-decade review or the Second Decade on the Eradication of Colonialism to determine whether substantial progress has been made in achieving the goals of the Second Decade and to identify proposals for addressing obstacles to achieving the goals of the Second Decade.”

Forum Exerts, your recommendations are being ignored. There has been no assessment of the Mid-Decade on Decolonization made by the Secretary General, and if the Forum does not take action now, there never will be.

b. On Dec. 14, 2006, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 61/128 which states in part. “The General Assembly... Requests the Special Committee to collaborate with the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination within the framework of their respective mandate, with the aim of exchanging information on developments in these non-self-governing territories which are reviewed by these bodies”……[A/61/49/Vol. I pg 235]. Forum members, The Pacific indigenous peoples must request that the Forum take action to initiate the recommendations attached hereto in responding to the General Assembly’s request to this body.

c. To date the Forum has deferred to the Special Committee. The time has come for the Forum to take the lead. To this end we request the Forum take the following action:

1. Sponsor and expert seminar in conjunction with the CERD and the Special Committee on Decolonization to examine the impact of the UN Decolonization process on indigenous peoples of the NSGT’ which are now, or have been listed on the UN list of NSGT’s. This seminar must be under the auspices of the Forum because of existing problems with the Secretariat of the Special Committee. We request that Independent Expert Carlyle G. Corbin be included in the seminar as well as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples. We also request that indigenous peoples of the NSGT’s and territories previously under NSGT status also be included.

2. That the Forum utilize the Inter-Agency Support Group to begin to implement the (POI) Program of Implementation with UN Agencies, UNDP, UNEP and other agencies and specialized bodies as directed by the General Assembly.

3. That the Forum communicate its concern for the human rights of indigenous peoples and all peoples in the NSGT’s to the UN Human Rights Council and request that the Council designate a Special Rapporteur on the Situation of the Peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories.

I will look forward to working with the Forum Experts on these issues.


Nga Manga o Mangere

Mangere was hit with the death of two stalwart Kuia in a week, Mere Knight & Dell Wihongi both a staunch advocates and active in their support for the Mangere community.

Mere Knight

"She was one of those people that walked the roads and picked up kids an gave them food. She was deeply involved in community activities, an icon of our people in serving the community that she's been a part of for at least 50 years,"

“Mere was into every possible option for improving the lives of the people of the South. Since the 1950s, she fought for Maori rights, she supported women in the community, she was a staunch member of the Maori Women’s Welfare League, she promoted urban marae development, she advocated for children, and she campaigned against poverty."
I've had the privilege to see Auntie Mere in full flight engaging with what ever powers that be, to make sure that our our peoples rights were respected, Mangere has been a urban Maori/PI homeland for a while now. In the roughest, toughest times in Mangere you could count on women like Mere to be there, like the other woman warriors of Mangere fighting on the front-line for the well being of our whanau, our rights & our dignity.

E te whaea e Mere, kua hoki atu koe ki te kopu o te whenua, takoto mai, takoto mai, moe mai ra. Kua ngaro koe i te tirohanga tangata – ko wai hei tauira mo nga uri whakatipu? Me maumahara matou ki o mahi, ki to kaha, ki to manawanui ki te atawhai i to iwi. Haere ra, haere ra, haere ra.

Days later, it was devastating to hear of the passing of Te Rarawa kuia, Dell Wihongi. Dell is widley know for her fight to safe guard Indigenous Intellectual property rights highlighted in the Wai 262 Claim. She had also made Mangere her home and contributed to the life and vibrancy of that community. Her contribution to our Tino Rangatiratanga & the importance of her work on the Wai 262 claim can not be underestimated:

Hemanui-a-Tawhaki (Dell) Wihongi

As indigenous peoples who are experiencing a further wave of colonisation through global economic capitalism, and who as a result are hugely over-represented in all negative indices, the challenge is to seek ways of transforming these outcomes not only for Maori but for all who live within Aotearoa. Outstanding whaea such as Whina Cooper, Eva Rickard, Mira Szaszy, Sana Murray to name but a few, have led the way for the current endeavours by Maori women to combat the loss of Maori traditional values and the insidious forms of colonisation being asserted by economic globalisation.

Syd Jackson: Yes it is. In the Wai 262 claim, we say that we have always had ownership of this land and all its resources. This was confirmed in the Treaty of Waitangi (signed in 1840), which in the English translation said that we would have “full undisturbed and exclusive possession of the land, estates and forests”. The major cause for dispute between our two peoples since the Treaty was signed has been over what that meant. We have been clear -- it means what it says.

The Wai 262 claim, or the flora and fauna claim, is a reaffirmation by us of the right of tino rantatiratanga. We have the right to protect the flora and fauna within each of our tribal boundaries.

The best way of summarizing it, that I can think of, was first said by one of the original claimants, a man by the name of John Hippolite. He has since died, as unfortunately have many of the others. He said, that the claim cannot be just a matter of having the crown recognize our chieftainship over the forests but rather it must acknowledge why we seek it. This has to do with our understanding, even back then, that there were new things on the horizon like genetic engineering that might challenge both our understanding and our authority over what is important. That statement was made more than a decade ago when the claim was lodged. http://www.inmotionmagazine.com/nztrip/sj1.html

Saana Murray, Maui Solomon , Del Wihongi and Hori Parata
Title: WAI262: Safeguarding intellectual and cultural rights


The Wai 262 claim was filed in 1991 on behalf of six claimant Iwi. The claim began as a vision of Maori elders including, Hemanui-a-Tawhaki (Dell) Wihongi (Te Rarawa), Saana Murray (Ngati Kuri), Witi McMath (Ngati Wai), John Hippolite (Ngati Koata) and Tama Poata (Te Whanau a Rua of Ngati Porou) and Christine Rimene (Ngati Kahungunu). These kaumatua were becoming concerned at the apparent loss of nativeflora and fauna to overseas interests and the lack of Maori involvement and participation regarding decision making concerning the granting of intellectual property rights over this flora and fauna.

“E Kui, kua whakarerea o tamariki, to whanau, to iwi, e tangi ana i te mokemoke.

“E te rangatira, hoki atu i te Ara Wairua, hoki atu ki te wa kainga, haere tonu atu ki te Rerenga Wairua, ki te Aka ki te Reinga, haere ki te Po! Haere ki te Po!

Our love and esteemed respect to these warrior kuia and their whanau.


Whiti te marama – Song by Hirini Melbourne
Kia Ora http://podcasts.tewhanake.maori.nz/



click for a larger image

When: Friday 8th of August
Where: RISING SUN ¨C 373 Karangahape Rd
Cost: Koha

Over 30 Indigenous artists have joined forces to release the first ever Aboriginal and Maori Hip Hop Compilation. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island artists Astronomical, Dizzy Doolan and Maupower will hit the stage with local natives, Horomona Horo, Revolution MC's, Miss bMe, Upper Hutt Posse, Dam Native and DJ's Exile, the Morning Steppa and Mr Rivers on Aug 8th, 10pm @ the Rising Sun - 373 K Rd to celebrate the launch.

Organiser Bethany Matai Edmunds says, "This album is part of a continuing collaboration between Aboriginal, Maori, Torres Strait Islanders, activists and artists using hip hop as a vehicle for indigenous self-determination."

Music Producer DJ Exile says, "There are common issues facing all indigenous peoples and hip hop music is a connection that we can use to spread the word"

The album comes out of Solid Territory 2007 which was a series of solidarity hip hop gigs in Australia with a focus on unity and support of indigenous reactions to the Northern Territory intervention. For many the intervention was seen as an attack on indigenous communities in the Northern Territory and an affront to Indigenous Peoples worldwide. In order for the Intervention to take place the government had to suspend the Racial Discrimination Act and the Northern Territory Land Rights Legislation.

"When the military come armed into our communities in places like the Northern Territory or like they did in Ruatoki last year it is important that Indigenous Peoples support each other" continues Edmunds.

SOLID TERRITORY features 20 tracks of rap, song, rhyme and flow with a sharp native edge and deep roots music. The album includes tracks from, The Sandridge Band, Dam Native, Street Warriors, Nadeena Dixon, Zennith, Upper Hutt Posse, Dizzy Doolan, One Blood Hidden Image, Miss b Me, Curtis Clearsky, Horomona Horo, Last Kinection, Miss Ginger, Revolution MCs, Skansta Lean Freedom Fighters, Dzcyple Last & Koolism, Native Sons feat: Tyna, Coco Solid feat. Agent Ali, Flowsion and DJ Exile.

The weekend of the launch marks the United Nations World Indigenous Peoples Day on the 9th of August.

What you'll find on this album are swift and deadly lyrics, soulful songs and captivating beats, along with high level music production mastered by DJ EXILE. Insightful rap narratives from the heart of the indigenous world make this the kind of album that commands your attention.

"We create music for a kaupapa, for the generations to follow us - we fight for the longevity of our mokopuna who will have a hard life if all the land is gone or polluted" [Agent Ali ¨C Revolution MCs]

View the Solid Territory image gallery, video and artist links at http://www.conscious.maori.nz/solid.html

click for a larger image


Haere Atu Condoleezza

Dr Rice flew into a storm in more ways than one after touching down in Auckland late last night – a once in a decade storm bearing down on Auckland forced the cancellation of a powhiri planned for 11am

Well its seems that Tawhirimatea had no interest in providing an easy passage for a war criminal on our whenua.

And she was met in Tamakimakaurau with Protest, Outrage and Disgust

Spurred on by a bounty of $10,000, 150 protesters challenged her presence in New Zealand. They called for her arrest under the Geneva Convention for war crimes and the sanctioning of torture

Rice will accompany Winston Peters to a meeting in Apia, Samoa to meet Pacific Island leaders 'a gutless bunch of lickspittles that stomp about, protesting at interference in internal affairs, but fend off input from their own peoples as vigorously as any neocolonialist'. What's clear is that the United States are entrenching their economic, military & political presence in the Pacific. As the occupation of Iraq "winds down "we now see the US focus on Te Moana Nui a Kiwa (the Pacific). This was reiterated at the joint press conference Rice had with the nz settler grubbyment.

"Samoa will not sacrifice its culture on the altar of Globalization"
-Misa Foni, Deputy Prime Minister, Samoa

With the relocation of the US army base from Onkinawa to Guam, against the express wishes of the Chamoru Peoples who are fighting to be decolonised from the United States. As occupied Hawaiihas proven, US Militarisation and globalisation is unsustainable, damaging, conflict-ridden, and excluding and is used as a pretext to gain control over the natural resources in indigenous traditional lands without adequate compensation.The United States were one of the four settler states that voted against the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous peoples last year. The history of their lack of support for Indigenous rights to self determination in the Pacific is loud and clear.

Like New Zealand the USA, is a colonial settler state, based on invasion, dispossession and colonisation. Its past 30 years of free market fundamentalism must be understood in the context of an ongoing colonial occupation of Native lands and resources on which the American nation-state is based. As we faced last century, today Indigenous peoples of the Pacific are facing the onslaught of globalisation, trans national corporations and the neo colonialism of the USA.

Condaleezza's slavish adherence to neo liberal orthodoxy see the pressure on for an FTA between NZ & the US. The reality neo liberalism for us in the Pacific means the exploitation of labour and natural resources. It means the rampant widespread of poverty in the Pacific and the degradation and exploitation of our oceans, habitats, flora and fauna. Colonisation in the Pacific continues in the models of development that are being sold through a masquerade of trade, governance & security.

Pacific peoples are more than pawns in someone elses power play. The economic,militarily & strategic and interests of the United States are at complete odds to culture and values we have in the Pacific.

Haere Atu Condaleezza you are not welcome , get out of Aotearoa , get out of the Pacific.

AFP accused of secrecy over Haneef

Mohamed Haneef

The Australian Federal Police has been accused of denying Gold Coast doctor Mohamed Haneef a lawyer and the chance to protest his innocence before a magistrate when he was arrested last year.

- New transcripts surface
- Claims AFP may have broken law

Continues here

See Also:

In addition to providing Dr Mohamed Haneef with a significant victory over the Australian government, Justice Jeffrey Spender’s judgment is a powerful rebuke to those politicians and conservative commentators who argue that our courts ought to defer to government when it comes to matters involving national security. And we must guard against governments who believe in guilt by association, says Justice Spendder. Greg Barns: a victory over guilt by association

AFP admission astounds Haneef lawyer

Should He Stay or Should He Go?

Keetley Expired?

Cyber bandit sabotages top cop

anti terror law protest bankstown


Do YOU support a Free Trade Agreement with the US?

Many New Zealanders believe that a New Zealand-US free trade agreement would put all of Aotearoa up for sale to US corporations by “removing barriers” to US corporate control and by allowing US corporations to sue the New Zealand government for threatening their profits.
Click on image for a larger version

Our World Is Not For Sale | Auckland, Friday 25 July 2008

Do YOU support a Free Trade Agreement with the US?

Press Release - For Immediate Release

NZ is not for sale

Do YOU support a Free Trade Agreement with the United States?

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is arriving in Auckland this Friday night and will be having meetings in Auckland on Saturday with Winston Peters, Helen Clark and John Key among others. She will also be meeting with the US-NZ Council who will be trying to push for a free trade deal between New Zealand the United States.

A free trade agreement will not be in either country’s best interest and we must continue to oppose the neoliberal free trade agenda.

A free trade agreement would allow US corporations to sue the New Zealand government for threatening the profits of U.S. companies effected by the agreement. Many New Zealanders believe that it puts all of Aotearoa up for sale to US corporations. Their free trade agreement will “remove barriers” to US corporate control. Changes could include:

- Privatisation of New Zealand’s water, schools and hospitals.

- Removal of environmental, water quality and public health protections to make way for massive increases in Dairy production to feed the U.S. market

- Banning labelling of genetically engineered food.

- End to government subsidies of medicines in New Zealand

A protest march to her state welcoming at Government House will be held to tell her that she is NOT welcome here. This will be followed by a protest from 3.15pm outside the Langham Hotel in Symonds Street where she is scheduled to meet National Party Leader John Key. There is also a $5000 reward offered by the Auckland University Students Association for any student who places Condoleezza Rice under a Citizen’s Arrest.

Saturday 26th July
1:30pm at Auckland Domain cnr Carlton Gore and Parks Roads
3:15pm outside the Langham Hotel on Symonds Streeet
Bring noise makers, placards and banners

On the 11th of September 2007 - The U.S. and New Zealand delegations made up of U.S. and NZ corporate and business interests attempted to hold a preliminary meeting in Auckland to discuss the future of such a free trade agreement.

The forum organisers had originally planned to host the event at the Auckland war memorial museum. However, much evidence suggests that in light of information gathered via surveillance of New Zealanders opposed to the Trade agreement in the run up to the event the organisers were forced to employ between 60 and a hundred of police officers to barricade themselves into the hotel they were staying at and hold the event there instead. Unlike the millionaires and corporate CEOs, the New Zealand public was largely kept in the dark about the forums existence.

Despite this, several hundred turned up and peacefully protested outside the event. The social reprecussions of such an agreement for New Zealanders have been completely ignored with most media focusing on New Zealand delegates sidestepping of the serious issues instead making congratulatory comments about how New Zealand’s students will now be able to get longer working holiday visas to the U.S.

The OUR WORLD IS NOT FOR SALE campaign was formed around building the protests at the September 2007 US-NZ Partnership Forum, the global justice campaign aims to build public support and organisation against the signing of any form of free trade agreement between the United States and New Zealand.

source: Scoop

Pacific NGOs angered over Pacific Forum leaders meeting

Updated 5 hours 51 minutes ago

A number of Non-government organisations in the Pacific say they are angry after again being barred from a meeting of Pacific Island Forum officials in Suva.

The meeting was held ahead of the Forum leaders conference on Niue in August.

Katabwena Tawaka, from the Pacific Island Association of NGO's, has told our Pacific Beat program it's the second consecutive year their accreditation has been denied with no reason given

"If there's ethics of good government and transparency, what is their to hide? Aren't they working for the people?" he said.

"We are working for the people too and their should be transparency - that's why we believe that if we are there we'll be able to transmit the voices heard in this meeting to our people back home at the grass roots level."

FTA on agenda for War Criminal Rice talks

Jul 25, 2008 3:40 PM

A free trade agreement between New Zealand and the US is expected to be on the agenda when the Prime Minister meets with the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Rice arrives in New Zealand on Friday night and will hold talks with Helen Clark and Foreign Minister Winston Peters on Saturday.

The NZ US Council Chairman, former prime minister Jim Bolger, says they will have a number of issues to discuss including the possibility of a free trade deal.

He says the politicians are also likely to talk about the unstable economic climate worldwide.

Bolger says international security and the development of Pacific nations will also be a talking point, before Rice travels to Samoa with Peters to meet with Pacific Forum Foreign Ministers.

Aborigines want end to NT intervention

Thousands of Aborigines are petitioning to have the Northern Territory intervention abandoned.

Activists say their petition will be tabled in federal parliament in mid-September to coincide with the end of the Rudd government's 12-month review into radical measures to combat child sex abuse.

Organisers of the petition have warned that Labor is at risk of repeating the mistakes of the Howard government.

The campaigners from Central Australia on Friday backed calls from Arnhem Land, where elders earlier this week met with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and urged him to abandon key aspects of the reforms.

In a statement signed by Northern Land Council chair Wali Wungamurra and 52 traditional owners, they demanded the scrapping of "intervention bureaucracy".

The statement, which claims to represent more than 8,000 indigenous people, described the Income Management (IM) system, which quarantines 50 per cent of payments to prevent them being spent on alcohol or drugs, as "punitive".

Instead, they advocate implementation on a case-by-case basis.

Since coming to power in November last year, the Rudd government has already rolled back some of the reforms and reinstated the permit system and Aboriginal-work-for-the-dole.

But Mr Rudd has maintained the new government will not tinker further with the reforms until it had considered the findings of three-person review, headed by West Australian Aboriginal leader Peter Yu.

Anti-Intervention campaigner Barbara Shaw, from a town camp in Alice Springs, on Friday urged Mr Rudd not to ignore the elders' concerns.

"It's good to see people standing up," she said.

"Many more should feel confident to follow the lead of these elders. We share their frustration and anger ... .

"It's unacceptable for the federal government to brush our concerns aside and leave everything to the work of the review."

Amala Groom, from the Stop the Intervention Collective based in Sydney, said a protest was being organised in Central Australia from September 29 to October 5, to coincide with the end of the review.

"They can't claim to be bringing in a new era of indigenous affairs whilst their policies bring on this latest stage of dispossession," she said.

Ms Groom said a petition calling for an end to the intervention, "which already has thousands of signatures", will be tabled in federal parliament in mid-September.

Australia, NZ to train Pacific trade negotiators

Radio Strayaliea reports

Australia and New Zealand have offered to train trade negotiators who would act on behalf of Pacific island nations under the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations.

Forum trade ministers concluded their meeting in the Cook Islands agreeing that PACER - a guide for a trade and economic relationship between Australia and New Zealand and Pacific island countries - is still work in progress.

Our reporter, Ulamila Wragg, says Australia announced its trade fellowship program to help forum island countries in negotiations under PACER, starting in September this year.

Australia also says it will assist island countries undertake national studies to inform them of their engagement in PACER Plus - an agreement extension to include deepening trade and economic cooperation between all member countries.

New Zealand also provided $US378,000 to fund activities for trade facilitation programs this year and next.

The Latin Americanist: New report blasts trade policies

A report released last week by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE) at Tufts University takes aim at the US trade policies in the region.

The report, titled The Promise and the Perils of Agricultural Trade Liberalization: Lessons from Latin America, reviews a number of real-life impacts of US-influenced trade policies that negatively affect the immigration (mostly via NAFTA) and small-scale farmers across the region.

The report makes a strong case for considering the human effects of trade policies designed predominantly to spur growth and productivity for the "haves" of the hemisphere.

According to WOLA's press release:

“This report comes at an important time...WOLA’s Policy makers in the region, and the U.S., have to re-think the whole package of policies they’ve adopted in recent years. The new administration and Congress will have the opportunity to reconsider U.S. support for trade liberalization policies and move toward financially supporting small producers who supply local and regional markets.”

The release of the report happened to coincide with President Bush's renewed urging of Congress this week to pass the pending trade agreement with Colombia that has been stalled for months.


Legislation bringing in China FTA passed

Parliament has passed legislation which will bring in the Free Trade Agreement with China on October 1 and the Government says it represents a historic advance in New Zealand's trading relationships.

The New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Bill passed its third reading on a vote of 104 to 17, strongly supported by the National Party and opposed by the Greens, New Zealand First and the Maori Party.

Trade Minister Phil Goff said being the first developed country to sign an FTA with China would bring major benefits for exporters.

"Initial tariff cuts will take place on October 1, resulting in the immediate elimination of tariffs on over $200 million worth of current New Zealand exports to China," he said.

"By 2017, tariffs on 96 percent of New Zealand's exports to China, which currently cost exporters $120 million a year, will be phased out."

Mr Goff said that would give New Zealand companies a unique competitive advantage in the world's fastest growing economy.

"Our exports to China, currently at more than $2 billion a year, are estimated to grow by between $230-350 million a year faster than they would have without an FTA."

Written by Hone Harawira
Tuesday, 22 July 2008

ImageI te hui a tau o te Roopu Haina ki Aotearoa i tera tau, i puta te korero a te ahorangi a Makere Mutu, kia mahi tahi te Maori me te Hainamana, kia haere whakamua, a raua wawata, haerenga tangata.

At the annual conference of the New Zealand Chinese Association last year, Professor Margaret Mutu told the hui that Maori and Chinese should work together to advance their political agendas.

Ko Mutu he uri no Ngati Kahu, no Te Rarawa, no Ngati Whatua hoki, a nana te kii, kua hohonu haere te whanaungatanga, i waenganui i te Maori me te iwi o Haina.

Mutu, of Ngati Kahu, Te Rarawa and Ngati Whatua whakapapa told the conference of the significant relationship that had developed between tangata whenua and Chinese.

Ki a ia, ka puta tenei whanaungatanga i te mahi kaikiri a tauiwi – ki a ia “Kei te pehia, kei te whakaparahakotia, taua tahi”

It was, in her words, a relationship formed in reaction to Pakeha racism - "We are both oppressed and discriminated against."

Tera te piri tahi e whakaaro nei au, i au e wananga ana i tenei pire, ara, te Pire Hokohoko, Kore Utu o Aotearoa me Haina.

It is that relationship I think of in considering the New Zealand China Free Trade Agreement Bill.

E hangaia ana he ara, kia watea ai te uru atu o nga taonga hokohoko, me nga putea whakangao ki Haina; a, a tona wa, kia tangohia nga here utu kei runga i nga taonga o Niu Tireni, me te whakawatea ano, i te haere o nga kai-pakihi ki Haina.

The pathway is being set for increasing access New Zealand trade and investment in China; for the removal over time of tariffs on current exports to China, from expanding the movement of business people.

Inaianei, kua tau mai te honore he Whenua Aronui a Aotearoa, me ona tikanga kore here, kia orite a tatou kaiwhakarato moni, ki era ake o te ao. Ko te korero, ka penei i te mea, koia nei te oranga mo Aotearoa.

We are now being honoured with the treatment of a “Most Favoured Nation” non-discrimination provision to ensure that our investors remain no worse off than investors of any other countries. It’s all being painted as a major development, as fundamental to the future economic wellbeing of Aotearoa.

Na te aha i riro i a tatou, te tuunga “Whenua Aronui”?

So how did we earn this rapid escalation to be the ‘most favoured nation’?

Na te aha i riro i a tatou tera tunga, hakoa mai rano to matou whakaiti i a ratou i roto i nga ture, me nga kaupapa, hei kati kia noho-ki-waho, era e ki ana e te tuhinga tawhito, ko te “taniwha kowhai”.

How could we achieve this, based on a history of consistently passing laws against the Chinese, of creating policies to restrict and exclude what the history books describe as the ‘yellow peril’?

He korero tawhito tenei kia kaua te Hainama e uru mai nei, ki Niu Tireni. Ka kitea enei korero i te tatau taake i te tau 1881, e orite ana ki te utu o te Hainamana mo nga tau e wha ki te ono.

This is a history to keep the Chinese out of New Zealand; a history that derives its source from the 1881 poll tax which was the equivalent of between four to six years earning for a Chinese person at the time.

Kotahi rau pauna kia haramai ki konei, kia utaina nga korero whakaparahako ki runga i a ratou, nga korero he paruparu, he tahumaero, he tahawahawa, a, he whakakinotanga.

£100 to come here, to be subjected to attitudes associating Chinese people with terms like filth, dirt, disease, contamination and degradation.

I whakaritea, ko te tekau ma rima anake nga Hainamana, kia haramai i runga tima i te wa kotahi.

Limits were set on the numbers of Chinese able to travel to New Zealand –a limit of only 15 Chinese passengers per ship.

I tohua ano he whakamatautau kia mohio mai ratou i nga kupu Ingarihi kotahi rau, engari i tupurangi te whiriwhiri o te kupu. Tae atu ki te tau 1920, i tohua ma te tiwhikete whakaaetanga anake, ka uru mai. Tae atu ki te tau 1925, i tohua te Kawanatanga kia kaua te wahine e uru mai, kia kore tona iwi e whakarahi atu.

A reading test of one hundred English words chosen at random was imposed; and in 1920 entry was only allowed by permit. In 1925, the Government decided to exclude women from the quota in an effort to prevent reproduction.

Tae atu ki te tau 1951, e kore taea te Hainamana kia tu hei iwi whenua, a, tae atu ki te tau 1965, ka taea tonu te pirihimana kia uru atu ki roto i nga whare a te Hainamana, i raro i te ture “Rahui i te Rongoa Whakamoe”, ahakoa horekau he pukapuka whakaae.

Up until 1951, the Chinese were not allowed to be naturalised; and up until 1965, under the Opium Prohibition Act, Police were able to enter any Chinese home without a search warrant.

Ka mutu, ko nga ture kai-kiri, kia kore ai nga toa hoko hua rakau, horoi kakahu, hoko kai hoki o te Hainamana, e tukituki i nga toa o te Pakeha.

Finally, a series of laws were passed to stop Chinese fruit shops, laundries and groceries from competing against Europeans.

Na, i runga i tenei tu momo hitori, kai-kiri, whakahawea i nga Hainamana, he aha te take e tino hiakai ana tenei kawanatanga, kia whakaritea i tetahi tiriti ki a Haina.

So how is it, that in a land with such a shameful history of exclusion and institutional racism against the Chinese, the Government is suddenly bending over backwards to become party to a treaty with China.

He aha te tikanga nei, kia hurikoaro te kotahi rau tau o nga whakaiti, tukinotia, kia hoa tahi tatou ki a Haina?

What has been the dramatic turnaround to reverse over a century of racism into a determination to develop ties with the region?

Maumahara mai ki nga kupu a Mutu - “Kei te pehia, kei te whakaparahakotia, taua tahi”

Remember Margaret Mutu’s words – “We are both oppressed and discriminated against."

Kotahi anake te kaupapa hei tautoko i tenei pire. Kia peke ki te tuara o tenei whenua tino kaha rawa, kia watea ai te iwi nui nei hei hoko taonga. Ko te wawata kia whai moni a Niu Tireni i te iwi rawa, o Haina.

There is one motive for this free trade agreement. It is about jumping on the back of an economic super-power and gaining access to the largest consumer market in the world. It is about the forlorn hope that New Zealand will make money from the wealth of a burgeoning Chinese middle class.

Engari, he whakaaetanga koura tënei, kaore ranei?

But is this agreement all it’s worth in gold or not?

Kahore te roopu whakawä i mohio, mënä ka kitea koe ki nga korero i tae mai ki te Komiti hei whakatau.

The jury is out when you look through the submissions that came into the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee.

15 i tautoko, 12 ki runga i te taiapa, 27 e kore e whakaae.

Fifteen supported it; twelve were neutral and twenty seven opposed the deal.

Ahakoa te tini o nga Yuan i te ao, kore taea te whakarerekë, he nui ake era e kore whakaäe, ki era i whakaae.

All the Yuan in the world doesn’t change the fact that the numbers of NO outnumbered the YES votes.

Ka hoki mai ki tera rereketanga, o te tuunga Whenua Aronui i tetahi ringa, ki te mahi whakahawea tangata i tera atu.

It comes back to the fundamental mismatch between being ‘most favoured nation’ on one hand, with a past that is less worthy.

I whakaae ake te Komiti Whakawa, ko te tikanga a tangata i Haina a ”he nui, he rahi ona raruraru”

The Select Committee acknowledged, yes the human rights record in China has “many and substantial imperfections”.

I whakaae taua komiti, i mohio ratou ki nga awangaawanga kua korerohia, mo nga mahi takahi tangata i Haina.

The Select Committee acknowledged, yes, they were very conscious about the legitimate concerns raised about human rights in China.

Engari i te mutunga, ki nga paati nui, horekau he awangawanga.

But when cash came to crunch, the ruling parties didn’t care.

Tika ana te whakaräpopoto a UNITE. Ko te FTA nei, he kaupapa mo te painga o nga kai pakihi, ehara mo te painga o nga kai mahi, nga whanau, nga iwi kei tawahi, kei te kainga ränei. Ko nga whakaaro mo rätau, kei muri noa atu.

Unite summed it up. The FTA policy is designed to serve interests of big business – with the interests of workers, of families, the people abroad or at home who have to suffer the consequences are very much a secondary concern.

E whakapono ana a UNITE, ko te FTA nei, he mahi tukituki, kia whakaiti te utu o nga kaimahi o konei, i te whakataetae utu ki nga taonga i Haina.

Unite believes that the FTA will create competition and drive our own internal wages and work conditions down, as firms struggle to compete with Chinese imports.

Na te mahi a nga kai pakihi nui, i waho atu o te ture o tenei whenua, ka whakaiti te mana o te käwanatanga whakahaere a iwi, rangatiratanga hoki.

The opportunity for big business to trade outside of government influence or control, in its effects, serves to both erode democracy and economic sovereignty.

Ki ta Ahorangi Jane Kelsey ki te Komiti, ko te mate o te tohu Whenua Aronui, koia ko te hinga o te rangatiratanga o te käwanatanga, ia FTA, ia FTA.

What Professor Jane Kelsey also brought to the attention of the committee is that the Most Favoured Nation obligations mean that each new FTA will have the domino effect of removing foreign investments further from control of parliament.

Ahakoa e whakahokia mai ana te mana whakahaere o nga kaupapa a tängata ki te käwanatanga, i te mea e kore te kaupapa mäkete e whakamana ana i a Niu Tireni, engari ko nga FTA nei, ko rerekë atu ki taua whakapono.

So at a time when government is re-regulating services and resuming state ownership because the market model does not serve the national interest, it is acting in quite the other direction in pursuing Free Trade Agreements such as this.

Kore taea e matou o te Paati Maori, te tautoko i tenei Pire.

The Maori Party cannot support this Bill.

He nui a matou äwangawanga, mo nga mahi takahi tangata, a Haina.

We have ongoing concerns about China’s human rights record.

He äwangawanga hoki, mo nga taonga ka utaina e Haina, ki runga i a tatou.

We have ongoing concerns about the potential for China to dump goods on our domestic markets.

He awangawanga ta mätou, mo nga mahi kia ngaro.

We have ongoing concerns about the potential loss of jobs in our manufacturing sector.

He mahi tinihanga hoki tënei, kia tukua mai te pepa nei kia tirohia. Kua oti te whakarite me pehea ra te haere, kua tamokohia nga pepa. Kua oma ke te hoiho, he moumou taima te kati i te keeti. E mara whakamutu atu.

And we believe that being allowed the opportunity to scrutinise the FTA at this stage of the proceedings, only after it has been signed, makes the whole select committee process a farce.

Ko te iti o te utu, ko te kore e aro ki nga kaupapa whakaruru kaimahi, ko te kore e manaaki i te taiao, ko nga taumahatanga ka tau ki runga i o tatou kaimahi, ko enei katoa nga ähuatanga, e kore matou e tautokongia i tenei pire

The cheap labour, the weak health, safety and environmental standards, the poor protection of workers, the adverse impacts that will be suffered by New Zealand workers are all reasons why we can not support this Bill.

Kua rongo ripoata mätou, e rima miriona nga tamariki i raro i te tau tekau ma rima, e mahi ana mo nga haora roroa, mo te utu iti noa. E rima miriona nga take nei, kia kaua mätou e tautoko i tenei Pire.

The reports of some five million Chinese children under the age of fifteen, lumbered with long hours for low pay, are five million more reasons why we are voting against this Bill.

Ko nga iwi whenua e kore nei i kitea i nga Whakataetae o te Ao, te tini o rätou no Tibet kua mauheretia. E kore taea te aro ake, mo era momo mahi tukino.

The dissidents being hidden out of the radar of the Olympic spotlight, the hundreds of Tibetans being imprisoned, the international stigma of China’s human rights issues can not simply be ignored.

Me mihi atu kia nga kaipakihi Maori, nga roopu a iwi hoki, e whai ana i te oranga mo o ratou ake uri, kia whai whakaaro, kia whai putea, mo ratou.

We fully respect the right of organisations, of iwi, of Maori businesses, to take up the opportunity to pursue their own best interests, and to return dividends to Maori shareholders.

Kei a ratou tera, a, e möhio ana mätou, ka taea e rätou te whakanui i to rätou ake putea. E möhio anoki mätou, ko te tu o te kaipakihi, he mea nui ki te Maori, a, e tautoko ano mätou i taua whäinga.

That is their prerogative and we are confident that they will be very competitive and achieve impressive returns. We believe that economic growth is essential for Maori businesses to succeed; and we will support them all the way.

Engari, e titiro tonu ano matou ki nga taumahatanga, ka tau mai ki runga i nga papakäinga Maori, ratou te pani me te rawakore, ratou e kore e kitea i nga painga, e mäturuturu mai nei, i nga mahi kaipakihi.

But we are also charged with looking out for the impacts on Maori communities, especially those who may be least resilient and least likely to benefit from the trickle down of economic growth.

E tautoko ana mätou, kia totika te utu mo te taonga, engari, e kore tautoko i te korero kia kore utu nei.

We support fair trade not free trade.

E tautoko ana mätou i te whakangao e whänuitia ana töna painga, me te mea ano, e hiahia ana mätou kia kitea, ko nga waahi mahi i konei, i Haina hoki, he waahi pai mo nga kaimahi.

We seek socially responsible investment. We want to see the provision of healthy and safe working conditions both here and in China.

E kore e taea e matou te nohopuku, ina maukinohia nga kaimahi i tawahi, mo te painga o to tatou ao, a, kore hoki matou e noho pohehe ana, e tiaki ana te pire nei, i a tatou kaipakihi.

And we can not sit by and be silent that workers overseas may be exploited to benefit our economy; or to pretend that New Zealand industry and services will be protected.

E hiahia ana matou kia mohio, ka tu tonu te Maori hei iwi motuhake, i raro i te whakaruruhau o tona Tiriti o Waitangi.

We must know that the rights of Maori will be actively protected, as provided for under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Me te mohio ano hoki, ka taea te pire nei ki te whakamarumaru, ki te whakanui ano ra i to matou whenua me ona iwi i mua noa atu i te painga mo nga kaipakihi nuinui o te ao.

And we need to ensure our laws serve to protect and enhance our nation, not globalist agendas.

Symposium: Pacific Islands Migration and Labour Mobility: Issues and Responses

At the Pacific Heads of Governments meeting, in Niue on 19 August 2008, Australia will respond to Pacific Islands' governments request on taking short term labour supply from Pacific countries. There is the view that there is a need for seasonal labour supply to meet unmet demand for labour in certain Australian industries. Some proponents of the idea view this as the right gesture in encouraging concrete trade (labour) as opposed to the overdependence on aid in the Pacific. Others are legitimately concerned that such undertaking need be framed within a human rights framework, protecting the workers involved and help nurture best practices for the Australian industry for sustainable outcomes. The symposium will address key issues and cover responses from key stakeholder groups.

Hon. Duncan Kerr, SC MP Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Islands Affairs, will give the keynote address. This will be followed by a group of panellists, and a session for questions and discussion. The panellists are:

Professor Hurriyet Babacan, Professor of Social and Cultural Development, ICEPA, Victoria University
Mr. Nic Maclellan, International Research Associate, Institute for Research, Swinburne University
Ms Alison Tate, International Officer, Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)
Dr. Fei' iloakitau Kaho Tevi, Secretary for the Pacific Council of Churches, World Council of Churches Pacific Desk, Suva, Fiji
Mr. Mosese Waqa, Pacific Research & Development Officer, ICEPA, Victoria University

When: 9.15am (seated at 9.30am) - 12.45pm, Wednesday 6th August 2008
Where: Room T142 (Building T, on the first floor), Footscray Nicholson Campus, Victoria University, Corner of Nicholson & Buckley Streets, Footscray (Melways street directory, map ref. 2S E10; enlargement map on Melway map 583) For a detailed map of the campus go to: http://www.vu.edu.au/library/scripts/objectifyMedia.aspx?file=pdf/580/99.pdf&siteID=4&str_title=Footscray%20Nicholson%20campus.pdf
You can also view actual satellite photo of the campus at:

Public Transport: 5-10 minute walk from Footscray station - walk to Irvin St, left into Nicholson St, then to Buckley St. Buses to the campus connecting with suburbs including the City are Routes 220, 223, 409, 411 and 412. For bus timetable go to http://www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au/ and insert the route number on the transport "search options".

RSVP: Morning tea will be provided. Please contact Sue Butterworth by Monday, 4 August at 9919 5478 or sue.butterworth@vu.edu.au


Anti Terrorism and the Criminalisation of Dissent-Lou Thatcher

This is the unedited version of a speech by Lou Thatcher, thanks Lou edited version

This is a speech given at the ‘Putting the Terror Laws on Trial’ forum organised by the Stop the War Coalition, June 23, 2008. The other speakers were Peter Russo, a lawyer who acted for Mohammed Haneef, and Frank, the uncle of one of the Goulburn 9 – a group of Muslim men from Sydney who have been held since November 2005 under anti-terror laws.

I had input from others in writing this speech, but I take responsibility for the opinions expressed in it: they’re not necessarily those of the arrestees or others in the solidarity campaign.
- Lou Thatcher

I’m from a group organising political solidarity and practical support for people facing charges after the G20 protests in 2006. One of the reasons we do this is because we see these cases as connected to, and as part of, broader struggles, so I’m grateful to Stop the War and to the other speakers for the chance to be part of this forum tonight.

We are here tonight because there has been a sustained offensive against people who represent any kind of threat to the conservative political agenda. The anti-terror legislation has been part of a sustained, racist campaign against Muslim communities and part of a justification for the government’s ongoing involvement in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. In a different but not unconnected way, we have seen some serious attacks on protests and protestors over the past few years.

So I’ll talk briefly about what has happened, the legal situation, and why we think this is important.

In November 2006 the G20, which is the finance ministers from the 20 biggest economies in the world plus a few representatives from bodies like the World Bank, met in Melbourne. They were met with protests.

On the Friday, a couple of smallish groups occupied the offices of Defence Force recruiting, Tenix – a major military contractor, and branches of ANZ bank, which is profiteering from the war in Iraq, among others. For these occupations – which lasted no more than 15 minutes and involved nothing more than red glitter and water pistols – people have been charged with ‘Aggravated Burglary’. This is a new and very serious charge for what is a fairly common action.
On the Friday night, in what I can only think of as an exercise in pre-emptive policing, a squatted warehouse that was the home to a counter-conference, and was providing accommodation for people from out of town, was busted and evicted by police, as was a residential squat which had hosted a fundraiser party but was otherwise unconnected to any protest action.

On the Saturday that the G20 was in town, as was standard for any meeting of the powerful these days, the city was blocked off. Barricades and police prevented anyone from going anywhere near where the G20 were meeting. In fact, the cops handed out little cards suggesting that everyone go and protest in a park. Thousands of people defied this to protest the G20 in the streets of central Melbourne, and a few hundred people diverged from the main rally, dismantled some barricades – which, again, shouldn’t have been there in the first place – and smashed the windows of a police van.
Now, personally, I’m happy to say that I think it was a good thing that the police van was smashed. I think what we’ve heard from other speakers tonight can go a little way towards explaining some of the reasons why people might be justifiably angry at law enforcement institutions. That’s not to say that the protest was a perfect model to be repeated, but I’m broadly in sympathy with the politics of confronting the barricades.

That being said, I also want to say that there are people who have been working in the solidarity campaign from the start who didn’t agree with the tactics on the day but who have been outspoken in their solidarity because they recognise, as I do, that the police response is out of proportion and that it is an attack on progressive movements generally and on all of our abilities to protest, whatever tactics we chose.

We also have to remember what it was that people were protesting about. People came with a variety of politics against the G20 - but whether it was opposition to the wars in Iraq in Afghanistan, or opposition to neoliberalism or to neocolonialism, people were saying that they oppose the policies of the G20 member states because those policies create war and poverty - that the states are violent.

And this violence puts a couple of broken windows into perspective. Arrests began the day after these protests and continued for months – the most recent arrest was made in December last year, over a year after the alleged offences. The charges are unprecendented and very serious - people are charged with things like riot, aggravated burglary and conduct endangering life; and the severity of the charges are part of the attack.

Akin Sari

Currently a man called Akin Sari is in Barwon prison serving a 28 month prison sentence, which he’s in the process of appealing. Amongst the general media hype around the G20 protests, Akin has been singled out for special condemnation & racist vilification. All of the Children’s Court cases are finished. For the people going through adult court, 10 people agreed to plead guilty to reduced charges, which leaves 13 people who will go to trial to fight the charges. The dates for these hearings were recently set for mid next year.

There has also been an absolutely unprecedented media crackdown on those facing charges. The mass media is not generally a friend of the left, but this new campaign has taken things to another level. There has been the “dob in a thug” newspaper photos, photos of “persons of interest” – trying to isolate and demonise individuals.

corporate media hacks

What happened when people were arrested in Sydney is worth looking at more closely – because these raids are an interesting example of how the attack on protests after the G20, and before APEC, come together with the climate and infrastructure of the ‘war on terror.’
taskforce slaver

The cops responsible for APEC policing worked very closely with the Victorian police – some of them went down to monitor the G20 protests, and later, when demonstrations were held outside court, Melbourne police sent up footage to the APEC taskforce. We know all this from reading the notes of Taskforce Salver, which was the taskforce set up to catch people after the G20- many of their notes were released during the committal hearing, with some bits blacked out.
From the notes we also know that Taskforce Salver had a list of five people to arrest in Sydney. When they had this list they called up a man in the APEC taskforce called Christopher Charles Nicholson. He suggested that the Sydney arrests be coordinated through either the serious crime unit or the counter-terrorism squad.

detective hill

So Detective Hill from Taskforce Salver called up the NSW counter-terrorism squad, but the cop he talked to said that he didn’t think that those arrests fell under their brief. But, when the cops knocked on – or kicked in – our friends’ doors at 6am in March last year, officers from Taskforce Salver, the APEC taskforce and the counter terrorism squad were present. So it’s clear that someone - & I’m guessing the APEC taskforce – were able to convince the counter terrorism unit that this was an appropriate way to spend their time.

The other big connection with the APEC securitisation is the fact that all of the G20 arrestees – along with one lone Sydney anti-war activist – were the first people to be put on the APEC “excluded persons” list. Now, as all except the 5 living in Sydney were prohibited at the time from leaving Victoria because of their bail conditions – that is, they were already banned from coming within hundreds of kilometres of the “restricted zone” in the CBD – this didn’t make any sense at all. Except, of course to provide a media scapegoat.

All these connections make it clear that these cases – like other political trials – are about far more than the fate of the individuals caught up in them. In some ways, this criminalisation of dissent isn’t that new - but we are also seeing a general intensification and militarisation of policing, whether it’s the APEC security zone, the anti-terror arrests the previous speakers have detailed, or cops and troops being sent into Aboriginal communities or our Pacific neighbours to deal with alleged social problems.

The G20 arrests are part of a climate of fear and a crackdown on anything perceived of as dissent – and so, the outcome will effect all of our abilities to resist this climate and to take action for what we believe in – whether through direct action, civil disobedience, or marching in the streets.

That’s why we need a vigorous, public, political defence campaign.

The entire campaign against the arrestees – the charges, the media campaign, the hype – is geared towards intimidating people out of speaking, out of being active, out of dissenting. We need a public response to this intimidation or otherwise the isolation of activists becomes endemic. Unless we are prepared to speak up in defence of protestors, we leave individuals isolated and alone.

9 of the 13 G20 defendants

We have started to see some support from activists, organisations and unions. We need to continue building the political campaign against the charges. We have a petition to drop the charges that we would like people to sign, and take away to their workplaces and collect signatures. We would like unions and organisations to pass a motion of support for the campaign – we have a model motion – and of course to donate to our solidarity fund.
Alongside this, of course, people need a legal campaign. And that’s why they need practical and financial support as well as political solidarity – lawyers cost money, as does travel, as does not being able to work because you’re in court for months.

And the people fighting the charges in court are, in many ways, fighting for the rest of us as well as for themselves, so any help you can give will be appreciated. For more information and updates, and to download the petition, see http://www.afterG20.org. You can email afterG20@gmail.com.

Funds are needed urgently for legal and other support expenses.
If you can help, the solidarity campaign has a bank account:
Melbourne University Credit Union Limited
Account name: G20 Arrestee Solidarity Network
cuscau2sxxx (only if transferring from overseas)
BSB 803-143 A/C number: 13291 (all transfers)