ADELAIDE — On November 26, 120 people attended a protest rally over the privatisation of Modbury Hospital. Speakers, led by local residents, called for an ongoing campaign to save the hospital, the most efficient in the state. Lea Stevens from the ALP said that "the state Liberal government is being driven purely by the Audit Commission". Dr Chris Wurm, a local member of the Doctors Reform Society, reminded the rally that some treatments are not offered in private hospitals, including casualty, social work, palliative care and teaching. Democrat Senator Meg Lees called on people to target the federal Labor government to maintain its funding as well as the state Liberals.
- The Public Sector Union Challenge team scored well in the recent election for the position of assistant branch secretary. Barry Cockram for the Challenge team, standing on a platform that included opposition to agency bargaining and job cuts, gained a respectable 26.5% of the vote. The result demonstrates a growing dissatisfaction with the direction of the union leadership. Steve Lewis, with the backing of the incumbents, was elected. This is the first contested election for this position for some time.
- A rally will be held against the dumping of radioactive waste at Woomera, in the north of South Australia, on Saturday, December 17, at noon at the Rundle Mall fountain. The rally, organised by Campaign Against Nuclear Waste Dumping, will demand the end to the uranium industry as a whole as the best way to avoid the problem of radioactive waste. The campaign argues that waste already produced should be stored in above-ground, dry stores at the site of manufacture. For more information phone Emma on 231 69823 or Steve on 232 4866.
BRISBANE — More than 150 people rallied here on November 27 to protest against the proposed removal of two historic Moreton Bay fig trees by the Brisbane City Council to make way for the widening of Kelvin Grove Road. The rally, organised by the Kelvin Grove/Herston Residents Action Group, highlighted the "develop or die" attitude of the Queensland government's transport department on the question of traffic management. Residents and supporters tied yellow ribbons to the trees and then marched to King George Square for a rally. Chaired by Willy Bach, the rally was addressed by Queensland Greens spokesperson Drew Hutton, David Keogh from the campaign against the Southern Bypass and other community activists.
HOBART — The People's (first anniversary) Rally was held on November 30 as a protest against the continuing "dictatorship" of the Groom Liberal government. The crowd heard speakers from the Tasmanian Community Alliance (TCA), the Tasmanian Greens, the Extremely Greedy 40% Extra Party and Active Unemployed. One of the rally organisers, Jim Donovan from the TCA, said 14,000 signatures had been collected in the past year calling for a referendum on parliamentary reform. The TCA is now organising for the 1996 state elections.
MELBOURNE — Construction of the multimillion dollar extension to the Eastern Freeway has begun in the Koonung and Mullum Mullum valleys. This has been a blow to campaigners in Box Hill. However, one success as a result of community action has been the Kennett government's reluctant decision to fund the majority of the replanting around the Koonung Creek area.
- A picket called by Friends Of the Earth was held on December 2 outside the Melbourne offices of Itochu to highlight the effects of woodchipping on native forest of East Gippsland. The focus of the action was the display of a number of endangered animals killed in East Gippsland forests as the result of woodchipping. Itochu is one of the major importers of rainforest and temperate timber from the Asia-Pacific region and is part owner of the Daishowa export woodchip mill at Eden and Tea Garden export woodchip mill in Newcastle. A rally and speak-out has been called by Resistance for December 9 at 4pm at the GPO in the Bourke Street Mall.
- The Fitzroy pool has been saved from closure after a community campaign which included a rally of 3000 people. The pool was designated for closure by the unelected commissioners appointed by the Kennett government, who claimed that it was costing too much to run and that there were a number of other pools in the newly amalgamated City of Yarra. The campaign to save the pool drew support from a local community that is also fighting the extension of the Eastern Freeway.