Green Left Weekly dinner
CANBERRA — More than 100 Green Left Weekly supporters attended an extremely successful May Day dinner here on May 1. Over $1000 was raised for the paper at the event, organised by the Democratic Socialist Party.
Those attending included subscribers, activists from the Community and Public Sector Union and the National Tertiary Education Industry Union, Latin American political and solidarity activists, academics and students from the University of Canberra and the Australian National University, Jabiluka Action Group activists and Resistance members.
Highlights included speeches by Grant Holden, from the Maritime Union of Australia Rank and File group, and DSP national secretary John Percy, and an impassioned performance by folk singer David Beniuk.
Brisbane premiere of Indonesia in Revolt
BRISBANE — More than 40 people attended the premiere in Queensland of Indonesia in Revolt — democracy or death on May 7 at the University of Queensland Gardens Point campus. The screening was organised by Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor.
The audience were entertained by local musicians Mark Cronin and Phil Monsour. Brisbane Resistance organiser Ruth Ratcliffe spoke about plans for the international day of solidarity on May 22.
Jill Hickson, who made the film, introduced it, describing the two months she spent with the Indonesian students and members of the People's Democratic Party (PRD) featured in the film. She highlighted the fact that many political activists remain in jail and described the Indonesian military's campaign of kidnapping and torturing pro-democracy activists, 13 of whom are still missing.
The audience donated a large sum of money to assist the democracy movement in Indonesia and the East Timorese struggle for independence.
Royal Park protest
MELBOURNE — More than 300 people attended a May 1 rally against the loss of public space in Royal Park. Parkland is being swallowed up by the construction of sports stadiums for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
The demonstration was organised by Royal Park Protection Group. Support for the campaign has come from public transport groups, urban environment groups and Save Albert Park.
The rally was addressed by convener Angela Munro, Cam Walker from Friends of the Earth, Melbourne University lecturer Verity Burgmann and Bob Symington, an activist from Green Games Watch 2000. It was chaired by Rod Quantock.
Melbourne anti-VSU actions
MELBOURNE — May 5 was a state day of action against "voluntary non student unionism". Protest actions included 200 people rallying in the city, mainly from Melbourne, RMIT and Monash universities. The other campuses and TAFE colleges either had actions on campus or concentrated on building for the national day of action scheduled for May 19.
The rally focused on the dispute at the Gippsland Monash campus, where the university administration had taken away funding for the student association but eventually caved in and agreed to funding for this year.
Legal help in Queensland
BRISBANE — "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." This famous phrase from Shakespeare will be the topic of a debate between lawyers and non-lawyers at the Paddington Workers Club (2 La Trobe Terrace, Paddington) at 8pm on May 19.
The debate, in which lawyers argue for the motion and non-lawyers against, is one of several activities that Legal Aid Queensland has organised for Law Week, May 16-22.
In a more serious vein, Legal Aid will run a free telephone legal advice service from 9am to noon and 2pm-4pm on Thursday and Friday, May 20-21. Solicitors will be on hand to answer questions about family, civil and criminal law. Ring 1300 651 188 from anywhere in Queensland.
On Saturday, May 22, community radio 4ZZZ's talkback program from 3 to 5pm will have a Youth Legal Aid solicitor providing legal advice to callers. Tune in on 102.1 FM or ring the station on (07) 3252 1555 for further details.
Gold mine blockaded
More than 100 protesters have set up blockades at three points on the access road between Tenterfield and the Timbarra gold mine site. The blockade is a combined effort by Friends of the Earth, National Union of Students, Southern Cross University students, the Timbarra Direct Action Group, the Jabiluka Peace Bus and local conservationists and residents.
Shamus Moore, from Timbarra Direct Action, said the blockade "marks a new phase in the fight to save the Timbarra Plateau from further destruction".
Protesters accuse Ross Mining of disregarding both Aboriginal heritage and the environment of the area, which has the highest concentration of endangered species in Australia and is also the headwaters of the Clarence River.