News Briefs

Issue 

Women students conference planned

LISMORE — Organising is well underway for the annual Network of Women Students Australia (NOWSA) conference, to be held at Southern Cross University on July 12-16. The theme "Women making it real" has been chosen by the organising collective, which includes TAFE and university students and working and unemployed women.

The collective debated whether to adhere to a traditional conference structure of pre-advertised plenaries and workshops, or to attempt a changeable open space model. It decided to combine a flexible workshop schedule with a theme for each day of the conference, including set plenaries.

The daily themes are: feminism 101 — introduction to feminism and NOWSA; Indigenous rights and racism; smashing stereotypes — mental health and (dis)ability; and women and change.

Each day will end with a session for resolutions to be adopted, and the final day will focus on an action and creative events.

The collective is calling for speakers on the above themes or other topics related to women's rights. For more information call Marie on (02) 6620 3044.

Kath O'Driscoll

Huge turn-out for anti-war meeting

SYDNEY — Nearly 1000 people attended a public meeting with John Pilger and Andrew Wilkie on February 15. The 950 tickets were sold out five days before the event.

The meeting, organised by the Stop the War Coalition, was timed to coincide with the anniversary of the biggest ever global protests against war."The rate of ticket sales reflects a growing public unease at Australia's involvement in the continuing tragedy in Iraq", said Stop the War's Anna Samson.

Pilger's latest documentary, Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror was shown, and the speakers answered questions about the "war on terror" and the validity of the intelligence that built the case for the war on Iraq. "The continuing resistance to occupation in Iraq and the growing scandal over government lies about WMD intelligence is fuelling a reinvigoration of the anti-war movement", Samson said.

A film of the public meeting will be available for local peace groups and screened in Sydney on Channel 31. Pilger and Wilkie, along with Greens Senator Kerry Nettle, will be keynote speakers at the international day of action against the war in Sydney on March 20.

For more information or to join see <http://www.stopwarcoalition.org>.

Roberto Jorquera

IWD: Women unite

WOLLONGONG — The Illawarra International Women's Day 2004 Festival of Events was launched on February 13, with the theme "Women's wisdom: politics, actions and renewal". The festival will be held under the auspices of the Wollongong City Council.

Forty women packed into the Whale Room at Wollongong beach to hear Wendy Gee, local radio station manager and Jack Draper from the Warilla Women's Health Centre. Gee related the harassment and intimidation she has faced as a woman in a male-dominated occupation.

Draper gave the Coalition government a report card on its progress for women in Australia. It has failed in three key areas: ending violence against women, increasing the participation of women and monitoring the status of women. Entertainment was provided by the Silvert-owns, Serendipity and Lisa Whatley.

A march and rally will be held on March 13. The theme is "Women unite! Money for jobs, education, health and child care — not war and detention". The march will leave Fred Moore House at 11am and meet at the Crown Street Mall stage for the rally.

Phone Nicole for details on (02) 4226 2010.

Nicole Hilder

From Green Left Weekly, February 18, 2004.
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