Australia

"Another Australia is Possible" was the main theme of the Socialist Alliance Queensland State Conference, held on Saturday April 16 in the Brisbane Activist Centre. A feature panel, “Fighting for Another Australia”, included presentations from Murri community leader Sam Watson, Sri Lankan human rights activist Dr Brian Senewiratne, socialist educationalist and writer Gary MacLennan, and Socialist Alliance national executive member Lisa Macdonald.
Long-time Perth activist, Communist Party of Australia leader, World War II veteran and retired waterside worker Vic Williams died on April 19, aged 96. Born on June 28, 1914, Vic joined the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) in 1939 and was one of its leading members in Western Australia until it split over the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia in 1968.
The family of an Aboriginal man, Herbert Mitchell, who died after being taken to Townsville’s police watchhouse on April 18, is calling for answers from the current police investigation and coroner's report. Aboriginal activist and Townsville resident Gracelyn Smallwood said: “The Mitchell family is in a state of shock and mourning at the sudden and unexpected death of their family member. “The family has no clear information except that he was picked up by police for public drunkenness and within four hours he was on life support in hospital.”
A Green Left Weekly Culture of Resistance dinner, taking place in Sydney’s west on May 28, will pay homage to the people's power movements in the Arab world. Each succulent dish served will be from a country in revolt, and speakers at the frontline from Egypt, Palestine and from Jews Against the Occupation will address the event. Revolutionary Arabic band, Al-Salam (which means peace in Arabic) will perform on the night. Band member Samir Maarbani said: “Al-Salam is a group established during the Lebanese civil war in 1981 and has expanded into all kinds of musical arts.
In the lead up to the March 26 New South Wales state election, a concerted anti-Greens campaign was unleashed by the major parties and the corporate media. Despite this, Greens candidate and mayor of Leichhardt Jamie Parker won the seat of Balmain. Green Left Weekly’s Kiraz Janicke spoke to Parker about the campaign and the Greens’ agenda in the next period. Congratulations on being the first ever lower house Greens MP elected to the NSW parliament. Could you comment on the significance of this victory?
The chief operating officer for Apex Energy NL, Chris Rogers, contacted Stop CSG Illawarra on April 5. He accused the group, which is campaigning against coal seam gas (CSG) projects in the region, of publishing two inaccuracies on its website: that drilling had already commenced and that CSG’s contribution to global warming is equally as bad, if not worse, than coal.
“What changed in Palestine between December and April that made you change your mind?” yelled someone in the crowd, as the April 19 Marrickville Council meeting voted to overturn its previously stated support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against apartheid Israel. Despite many others asking similar questions, none of the councillors that had voted in favour for the December 14 motion answered this simple question.
"This is the battle for the end of the fossil fuel industry. This is the end game," Lock the Gate Alliance campaigner Drew Hutton told a forum, titled, Australia's Gas Rush: The race to save our farmland and the Great Artesian Basin, on April 14 in Brisbane. The forum, sponsored by Green Left Weekly, also heard from Ewan Saunders, climate campaigner and Socialist Alliance activist.
Forty activists travelled more than 30 hours on the road from Perth and arrived at the gates of the Curtin detention centre on Saturday April 23. We were greeted with legalistic warnings and numerous lies from the Serco guards, who imposed a roadblock outside the centre. More significantly, we have heard from detainees inside the centre that Serco guards have lied to them as well. Detainees had been told that the convergence bus has turned around and that activists no longer planned to visit.
The activists of the Still Fierce collective are angry, proud and determined to make change happen. The group is organising a protest outside the federal parliament in Canberra on May 11. It will be Australia’s first rally for the rights of intersex, sex and/or gender diverse (ISGD) people. On its website, Still Fierce says ISGD “includes people who may be intersex, transexed, transsexual, transgender, genderqueer, androgynous, without sex and/or gender identity, and people with sex and gender culturally specific differences”.

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