$5000 fine for protesting
HOBART — Environmental activist Sara Bayne is refusing to pay a fine of more than $5000 for participating in a forest protest last year, even though this means she is likely to go to jail.
Bayne was one of hundreds of activists trying to save Mother Cummings Peak in Kooparoona Niara (the Great Western Tiers). The campaign exposed the negative impact of Tasmania's regional forest agreement signed in 1997.
The amount of the fine, for "locking on" to a log truck, is an attempt to intimidate people from participating in further protest action.
'Stop the killing!'
BRISBANE — "Stop the killing, stop the lies — free East Timor now!" was the call of a rally on July 17 organised by Action in Solidarity with East Timor and Indonesia.
Damian Le Goullon from Brisbane East Timor Action Coalition added that solidarity with the East Timorese is needed now more than ever. Peter Robson from Resistance described the Australian government's new "tough stance" on East Timor as "laughable" because it demands that Indonesia provide even more police and army personnel, "the very forces responsible for the violence!".
Alfonso Corte-Real from the East Timorese community said that up to 80,000 people in West Timor were being given fake identification and money by Indonesia to boost the pro-integration vote. Mike Byrne from ASIET also spoke.
BRISBANE — Around 100 people attended a candlelight vigil against the Jabiluka uranium mine on July 16. Speakers included film-maker and author Maureen Watson and JAG activists Jodie Green and Rebecca Duffey.
CANBERRA — On July 14, Resistance activists organised a speak-out in Garema Place against the World Heritage Committee's decision not to include Kakadu on the "world heritage in danger" list. The action was supported by the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and the Nuclear Disarmament Party.
Resistance activists Simon Tayler and Simon Frew condemned the decision and the Australian government for their part in influencing the decision, and NDP member Yvonne Francis said the mine must be closed. Many passers-by signed a petition opposing the mine.
Let the refugees stay!
HOBART — The Democratic Socialist Party is demanding that the federal government allow Kosovar refugees to stay in Australia for as long as they want, to take up permanent residency if they choose and to receive assistance to return to Kosova if they wish to leave.
The temporary visas issued to the refugees housed at the Brighton army barracks will expire on August 7. A large number of refugees have indicated that they want to go back to Kosova and some have already left. A growing number — at least 20 families, according to the Mercury — have said they want to stay in Australia. The federal government has so far refused their request.
Solidarity with East Timor
BYRON BAY — On July 4, 120 people attended the premiere of John Pilger's The Timor Conspiracy at the Great Northern Hotel, organised by Green Left Weekly and Friends of East Timor.
Russell Anderson from FOET introduced the film and urged people to help set up a Byron Bay Friends of East Timor to assist the East Timorese in their quest for independence. NSW Greens MP Ian Cohen spoke about the so far unsuccessful efforts of members of Parliamentarians for East Timor to get visas to go to East Timor during the UN ballot.
Further screenings are being planned in Lismore and Kyogle, along with the establishment of East Timor solidarity groups. A Northern Rivers East Timor appeal, to provide food and medicine for East Timorese and raise money to send a contingent to observe the ballot, has been proposed.
Oakdale miners' fund
WOLLONGONG — While the campaign continues for payment of the $6.3 million owed to the sacked workers from the Oakdale colliery, a support fund has been established to ease the burden on the miners and their families.
The Transport Workers Union fears many of its members will be at risk from similar company collapses and has joined the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union in threatening industrial action if the government fails to protect workers' legal entitlements.
Donations to the fund can be sent to the TWU, PO Box 649, Parramatta 2124.
ADI site festival
SYDNEY — A successful community festival was held in Werrington Downs on July 11 in support of the fight to stop a Lend Lease housing development on a former Australian Defence Industries site in Sydney's west. The company wants to build 8000 houses on bushland that is the habitat of rare flora and fauna.
The Greens, the Democratic Socialist Party and some conservation groups took part in the festival, which was organised by the ADI Residents Action Group.