News briefs

Issue 

NEWCASTLE — The Fairfax-owned Newcastle Herald is engaged in a large-scale shame campaign against graffiti in the city.

One issue of the paper featured a picture of the South Newcastle beach skate park, which, like any other skate park, is covered in a rich tapestry of graffiti art. Omitting the fact that this is one of a handful of legal graffiti areas in the city, the paper has launched a vicious tirade against the "vandalism" plaguing the Bathers Way seaside walk. The council may attempt to have the skate park removed as part of planned renovations to the area.

The city's other main skate park and "graf" zone, the Palais Royale, will soon be demolished to make way for apartments. Some young people have lashed out, illegally tagging shopfronts in the inner city and Hunter Street Mall, sparking the Herald to launch a "dob in a vandal" hotline.

Zane Alcorn

Armidale celebrates Freedom Ride

ARMIDALE — More than 70 people attended a barbecue organised by Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation at the Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place on February 12, to celebrate the Freedom Ride.

The Aboriginal elders present shared their memories from the time of the original freedom ride in 1965, of segregation at the cinema, not being allowed into the pubs and having to buy clothes without being allowed to try them on in the shop.

Bea Bleile

Australian Marriage Equality launched

SYDNEY — On February 12, 90 people attended the initiation of Australian Marriage Equality, a coalition that aims to achieve law reform and attitudinal change necessary to allow same sex couples to marry.

Dr Kerryn Phelps, former Australian Medical Association president, told the meeting that the ALP was "no alternative" to the Coalition on the issue of same-sex marriage. Reverend Ian Pearson from Pitt Street Uniting Church apologized for the complicity of Christian churches in promoting homophobia.

Rossanna Flamer-Calder, of the International Lesbian and Gay Association, told the meeting that the IGLA is "lobbying hard to pass the Brazilian resolution within the UN which states no-one is allowed to be discriminated against because of sexual orientation".

Rachel Evans

From Green Left Weekly, February 23, 2005.

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