Melbourne — On May 26, 400 people gathered at Federation Square to mark National Sorry Day and to remind people about the tragedy of the "stolen generations" — the many Indigenous children taken away from their parents by the state.
Following a wreath-laying ceremony and performances by Indigenous dancers, speeches were delivered by athlete Nova Peris, a treaty ambassador for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, Victorian minister for Aboriginal affairs Gavin Jennings and Sir Ronald Wilson, co-author of the Bringing Them Home report.
A march to Parliament House, followed by further ceremonies at the Aboriginal Health Service, concluded the events.
Solidarity with Aceh
PERTH — Twenty people picketed the Indonesian consulate on May 30 to protest the Indonesian military repression of the Acehnese people. The action was initiated by the Socialist Alliance. The protest also called for an end to Australia's military ties with Indonesia, the immediate withdrawal of Indonesia from Aceh and for the recognition of the Acehnese people's right of national self-determination.
Socialists support Aceh
BRISBANE — On May 31, 30 people attended an action in solidarity with the people of Aceh, initiated by the Socialist Alliance. The action was also endorsed by the Queensland Greens, the Australian Democrats, Resistance, Friends of the Earth and the West Papuan New Guinea National Congress. Speakers informed passers-by of the Indonesian government's all-out war on the people of Aceh and condemned Australia's military ties with Jakarta.
No to education attacks
SYDNEY — Students from the Penrith campus of the University of Western Sydney picketed the local federal MP Jackie Kelly's office on May 27. The picket was in response to the attacks on higher education contained in the federal budget and the proposals by education minister Brendan Nelson.
Protesters pointed out that universities will be able to charge up to 30% more for course fees. Access to higher education for Indigenous students, poor people, rural areas people, those with a disability or from a non-English speaking background will be further reduced. The Coalition government is also pushing for individual contracts for staff.
Iraqi communists call for UN role
MELBOURNE — Worker Communist Party of Iraq representative Surma Hamid told a May 24 meeting, organised by the Freedom Socialist Party and the WCPI, that the WCPI's aim is a socialist republic of Iraq.
The party's immediate demands are for the immediate withdrawal of US troops, to be replaced by a UN administration for between six and 12 months, followed by an Iraq-wide referendum on a new constitution, as well as a referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan on independence.
Hamid argued that a UN administration is the only "practical way" of ensuring a "peaceful environment for progressive people", including the WCPI, to organise and spread their ideas.
From Green Left Weekly, June 4, 2003.
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