Vigil marks death in custody
PERTH — Seventy people attended a three-hour vigil outside Wesley Uniting church on June 21 to mark the June 18 death of a young Aboriginal man in the Bunbury regional prison.
This was the 18th death in custody in last 18 months in Australia and the fifth this year in Western Australia. The death occurred at a time the state government is looking at reducing peer support and medical personnel in WA prisons.
The protest called for an increased emphasis on community development and reducing the incarceration rate of Aborigines. This could be achieved by using incarceration as a last resort — as recommended by the Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody. WA is the state with the second highest incarceration rate of Aborigines and has the fastest growing prison population in Australia.
AMCOR workers defy court order
MELBOURNE — Workers have continued picketing the three Melbourne plants of AMCOR Packaging, despite a July 3 Federal Court order to the printing division of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union to end the picket.
Union officials and delegates have been banned from the picket, but rank-and-file workers have remained on the picket lines.
The dispute began when a worker at AMCOR's Brooklyn plant lost a leg in an industrial accident — confirming a pattern of disregard for safety by plant management. Workers refused an order to resume work because many were still traumatised.
Workers at the Box Hill plant are also opposing the company's plans for compulsory redundancies targeting people with disabilities and WorkCover recipients.
The Scoresby plant went out in solidarity with the workers at Brooklyn and Box Hill. AMCOR workers have already held a national 48-hour strike and further action is planned.
Protest against Forestry Tasmania duplicity
HUON VALLEY — Fifty protesters opposed the hypocrisy of Forestry Tasmania at the July 1 launch of the new Airwalk in the Tahune reserve. The Airwalk — an elevated platform up to 48 metres high allowing people to view the forest canopy — is designed as a public relations stunt for the embattled Forestry Tasmania corporation.
When protesters turned up, Forestry Tasmania employees tried to ban them from the site, only to be talked out of the idea by police. Forestry Tasmania then tried to contain the protesters to a confined area. Nevertheless, banners calling for "Old growth for our grandchildren" and "Southwood: We don't want it" and others denouncing Forestry Tasmania appeared throughout the reserve.
The media made much of the fact that someone had written a message over the sign at the beginning of the Airwalk despite it being cleaned off before the official opening began. This was described as vandalism. Protesters responded that the real vandalism was perpetrated by Forestry Tasmania's destructive practices.