BY NIKKI ULASOWSKI
PERTH — In May, a split occurred in the Perth NOWaR Alliance, the main city-wide anti-war organising body. Since then those who left the NOWaR Alliance have built towards the formation of a WA Peace Network. The first "public" meeting of the WAPN, on September 6, was attended by 40 people. Invited organisations were allowed to send two representatives, holding one vote between them.
Less than half of the 60 invited organisations actually attended, despite three months notice. Apologies were given to the meeting from the State School Teachers Union (SSTU), the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), Jo Vallentine and the Buddhist Society.
The three unions that did attend were the Australian Services Union (ASU), the Liquor, Hospitalities and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) and the Community and Public Sector Union/Public Service Union (CPSU-PSU). Political organisations represented included the Democrats, the Socialist Alliance, the Greens, and the Communist Party of Australia, and Labor backbencher Carmen Lawrence also attended.
Other organisations represented were the Islamic Council, Anglican Social Responsibilities Commission, UN Association, Labor lawyers, People of the Way, Edmund Rice Social Justice Centre, WA Racial Equality, Refugees Rights Action Network, Youth and Students Against the War, Fremantle Anti-nuclear Group, United Baptists, Young Labor, Perth NOWaR Alliance, and Christian Centre for Social Action.
Despite wanting to participate in this inaugural meeting Fremantle No War, Darlington No War and the UWA Anti-war collective were denied permission to attend.
The meeting broke into smaller groups to discuss the charter and structure proposed by the convenors. No decisions were made at the meeting. Concerns were raised about the exclusion of individuals under the proposed structure; the process of decision making; and WAPN's position on the United Nations. The next meeting for the group will be held on October 18.
From Green Left Weekly, September 10, 2003.
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