Australia

About 500 people took part in a June 11 march to demand an end to victim blaming in sexual assault. This was followed by a screening of the film War Zone in the Adelaide Activist Centre. About 30 people attended. The film screening was jointly hosted by the Socialist Alliance and the Femment Feminist Collective. It was followed by a discussion on the politics of Slutwalk and the future of feminism. From the discussion the South Australian Feminist Collective (SAFC) was founded. All in attendance joined the contact list.
At a public debate on June 16, Icelandic journalist and WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson said WikiLeaks has strengthened democracy and revealed wrongdoings. Most of the 600-strong crowd said they agreed. At the end of this year’s second IQ² debate, 58.2% of the audience voted for the proposition: “WikiLeaks is a force for good”. Just 32.2% said they disagreed while 8.8% were undecided. The debate did sway some people, however. Polled before the debate, only 6.3% of attendees said they disagreed and 30.7% said they were undecided.
If you are a cow destined for someone’s dinner plate, the federal Labor government won’t send you to Indonesia without a guarantee you will be treated humanely. But if you are an asylum seeker risking your life to reach Australia by boat in a desperate attempt to escape war, poverty and persecution, the government will send you to Malaysia with little regard for your welfare.
A bill attacking the rights of NSW public sector workers pushed by the O’Farrell Coalition government are set to pass through the upper house on June 14, with the support of Fred Nile’s Christian Democrats and the Shooters Party. It can then be put through the Liberal dominated lower house on June 15. The anti-union bill is a draconian measure. If passed, it will give the state government the power to unilaterally set the wages and conditions of public sector workers.
The Victorian government has proposed a new law that will allow police to give on-the-spot fines for “indecent, offensive or disorderly language”. In response, a protest has been organised at 2pm, June 25 at Melbourne’s Flinders St Station. By June 11, more than 10,000 people had said on the event Facebook page that they would attend the “Fuckwalk”. Below, protest organisers explain the politics behind Fuckwalk. * * *
More than 500 community services workers rallied in Nundah Memorial Park near the electorate office of federal Treasurer Wayne Swan on June 8. It was part of a national day of action calling for full government funding for fair wages for community Services workers.
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) in West Melbourne celebrated its 10th birthday on June 8. The celebration included the announcement of the centre’s Patron and Ambassador Program — which has been developed to raise the profile of the ASRC by demonstrating high-profile supporters. Patrons are pre-eminent supporters of the organisation and ambassadors are public figures who lend their standing to the promotion of the centre.
The Perth Magistrates Court has grouped a 16-year-old boy to stand trial on charges of people smuggling with two men he has never met and who were not even on the same boat. The boy told WA-based human rights activist Gerry Georgatos he was born in 1995. From a poor family, he was hired to fish on a boat going from Indonesia to Australia. He said the immigration department insisted he was born in 1991 on the basis of a wrist x-ray. They had not contacted his mother.
It was a good thing when 14 Labor members of the Western Australian parliament and the federal member for Fremantle, Melissa Parke, publicly voiced their disgust that unaccompanied children would be sent to Malaysia as part of the Labor federal government’s refugee swap. The claptrap used to sell this cruel and illogical farce is deservedly collapsing in on itself. Federal Labor’s contradictory flip-flopping on this issue has been excruciating to watch. It’s not guided by any rational policy making, but political imagery.
New and contradictory details of the Australia-Malaysia refugee exchange have been brought to light, as the federal Labor government grows closer to sealing the fate of up to 800 asylum seekers.

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