Pro-choice activists beaten

Wednesday, September 11, 1991

Pro-choice activists beaten

By Rose McCann

SYDNEY — A group of women and men from pro-choice organisations were beaten up by anti-abortion thugs here on September 8.

At the well-attended pro-abortion rally here on September 7, a demonstration against Fred Nile and his proposed anti-abortion bill was announced for the following day, at Croydon Park Uniting Church.

The demonstrators entered the church while Fred Nile was speaking to a group of about 80, and held aloft banners declaring "Repeal all abortion laws"; "Free abortion on demand"; and "A woman's right to choose". They were immediately set upon by a dozen or so men who kicked, punched and ripped the clothes off the demonstrators in the middle of the church aisle.

Some of the demonstrators were thrown out of the church while a few of them were locked in and continued to suffer a beating. The whole incident was filmed by ABC News, which had been filming Nile's speech.

When police arrived, they made no effort to find out who had been responsible for the unprovoked, criminal assault on the demonstrators, merely demanding the names and addresses of the demonstrators, who refused to give them. n

Langton slams government racism

By Bill Mason

BRISBANE — Marcia Langton, a former senior Queensland Aboriginal public servant, has followed up her resignation as an adviser to the Goss government with a strong attack on racism in the Labor administration.

Langton said Queensland had suffered an Aboriginal brain drain under the repressive Bjelke-Petersen regime for more than 20 years.

She said this was continuing under the Goss government, which was more racist than the conservative Northern Territory government.

"This government believes in the popular myth of Aborigines as diseased and drunk", Langton said.

She slammed the recent land rights legislation here, saying Queensland was the only state not to have land councils in its land rights law.

She also said the legislation was still waiting to be proclaimed, and that state departments had "snapped up" half of the 1% of unused crown land that Aborigines were allowed to claim.

Meanwhile, Bill Prest, state ALP whip, will retain his job, despite widespread calls for his resignation over racist and sexist comments he made in the Queensland parliament.

Prest called a National Party member a "gin jockey". State Labor caucus failed even to discuss the matter. n

WA budget cuts hit welfare

By Leon Harrison

PERTH — State welfare services are in turmoil following cuts in Premier Carmen Lawrence's August 29 budget.

Six services will close and a further 30 will have their funding cut. The government has not yet revealed which services will go.

The Department of Community Services' One Parent Centre in Fremantle will be replaced by a non-government centre. Angry parents vowed to fight the change, saying the new service would offer less practical help and would charge for child-care.

Despite this, community services minister Eric Ripper denied there would be big cuts in funding of welfare agencies.

However, welfare agencies say the budget has transferred funding from government to privately run centres. n

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