Challenging racism, building solidarity

March 6, 2010

On March 2, more than 40 people packed into La Tropicana cafe for a public forum on the theme "The Aboriginal struggle continues". The meeting was organised by the Socialist Alliance.

Geelong and Regions Trades and Labour Council secretary and Socialist Alliance member Tim Gooden spoke, via video link, about the recent union work brigade to the Alyawarr people's walk-off in the Northern Territory.

The brigade worked with the community to build a "protest house", achieving more in two weeks than the government's housing program in two years.

Gooden said bonds of solidarity between the community and the trade union movement have been formed through a deeper understanding of the Alyawarr people's struggle.

Fremantle Greens MLA Adele Carles, the only Greens member in Western Australia's lower house, spoke about the need to challenge racism. Carles outlined how the proposed new "stop and search" laws will result in Aboriginal people being subjected to increased police harassment.

Marianne Mackay from the Deaths in Custody Watch committee spoke about the campaign demanding justice for Mr Ward.

Mr Ward died in the back of a prison transport van. She said we must change the prison system to ensure it never happens again. Mackay also spoke about the new Aboriginal People's Party, of which she is a founding member.

Natasha Moore from the Aboriginal Rights Coalition described the campaign against the NT intervention, and said measures targeting Aboriginal people in the NT — such as the Basics Card — are now being implemented in WA.

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