April 10th 2004

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Economic underclass behind marriage and fertility decline

EDITORIAL: Uncommunicative patients - a call on our compassion

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Latham Iraq gaffe signals the honeymoon is over

STRAWS IN THE WIND: The next Four Corners? / Granada

SOCIETY: Who benefits from drugs?

AGRICULTURE: Farmers rallying to fight for industries

ECONOMY: Australia's foreign debt set to grow

The Passion (letter)

Sugar prices (letter)

Tobacco and pharmaceuticals (letter)

Ageing population (letter)

ETHICS: The ethical responsibility of a Christian politician

ECONOMY: US-Australia Free trade agreement and the national interest

TAIWAN ELECTION: Saved by commonsense

PAKISTAN: Inside Pakistan's nuclear weapons program

HONG KONG: Poll battle looms over democratic reforms

BOOKS: Benign or Imperial? Reflections on American Hegemony, by Owen Harries

FILM REVIEW: The Last Samurai

Books promotion page

Sugar prices (letter)

by B. O'Shea

News Weekly, April 10, 2004

Sugar prices are some $120 per tonne less than the $320 per tonne that Queensland Agriculture Minister Palaszczuk acknowledges as a minimum price for the survival of the industry. Yet each kilo of sugar returns just 12 cents out of the $1.38 on the supermarket shelf to cane farmers. Hence it is clear that governments on both sides of the political spectrum regard Australian farmers, their families and industry workers as disposable.

While the EU and US farmers receive $455 billion every year in subsidies, we are forced to live in despair and hopelessness by governments whose policies have forced our sell price below our production costs for years.

45,000 agricultural jobs have been lost in the 12 months to May 2003.

Is it any wonder that men and women into their 70s are forced to work in the canefields of Queensland alongside their children and grandchildren, as slave labour, and with no guarantee they will not be forced to leave their homes and farms anyway?

History will write this chapter of our nation's history in all its tragic and shameful reality... And we will long remember at the ballot box.,

B. O'Shea,
Mareeba, Qld

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