Left-wing singer-songwriter Rory McLeod is on a tour of Australia. As usual, the veteran English-born folk singer’s performances are not to be missed. His six-week tour began at the Woodford Folk Festival, which he described as more diverse than other folk festivals he's been to. “You can be crossing 50 or 60 borders in a day [at Woodford]”, he told Green Left Weekly, referring to the wide variety of music styles presented. From there, he will pass through all states and many towns — large and small.
Socialist Alliance will run three candidates in the March 9 elections in Western Australia. The main message of the campaign is that the state government should take steps to bring the big mining companies operating in the state into public ownership. This will make it possible to fund urgent social justice and environmental projects in WA.
Anti-uranium activists staged an action at the Perth headquarters of mining company Toro to coincide with its November 28 annual general meeting in Adelaide. The company is trying to build WA's first uranium mine (Wiluna) against the wishes of the majority of West Australians. Activists gave the company a practical demonstration about how hard it is to clean up after a nuclear accident by attempting to clean up yellow cake in the company office.
An important trial concerning the right to protest was adjourned on November 28 after it went longer than the single day scheduled for the hearing. Perth activist Kamala Emanuel was charged with refusing to obey a police direction to leave a legal and peaceful protest against gas "fracking" in April.
Between three and four hundred people marched through the streets of Perth on November 24 in the latest rally for marriage equality. Speakers noted that recent votes in federal parliament had not resulted in equal marriage rights in Australia yet, however, internationally and locally the momentum is building.
Twenty-four hours after telling the world that "people need to start showing some respect for the environment they live in", WA environment minister Bill Marmion showed what he meant by that statement by approving Western Australia's first uranium mine. The October 9 decision gives state approval to Toro Energy for its Wiluna uranium mine. The mine still requires approval from the federal Labor government, but the state approval is considered to be a major hurdles passed.
Prominent Perth activist Kamala Emanuel faces court on November 28 in an important case dealing with the right to protest. She is charged with “failure to obey [an] order given by an officer”. The charges relate to an April protest rally against coal seam gas "fracking" that was attacked by Perth City Council rangers. Rangers tried to close down the rally, claiming that it was in violation of council by-laws, including one by-law that prohibits a person from carrying a sign without authorisation.
The third Australia-wide gathering of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigners took place in Adelaide from September 21 to 23. The Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA) hosted the weekend of events. A highlight of the three days was the appearance by London-based Israeli academic Ilan Pappe, who spoke twice. He spoke to 600 people at the annual Edward Said Memorial lecture, which is named for the late Palestinian academic.
The student left has won a big victory at Curtin University, taking several key positions in the student guild elections held over September 25 to 27. Positions won include president, education vice-president, women's officer and queer officer. The Left Action ticket ran a very political campaign, highlighting a range of student rights issues. These included opposition to the university's planned budget cuts and cuts to courses. The university is also planning to increase parking fees, which will hit students hard.