"Boat turn backs, mandatory detention, offshore processing and indefinite limbo do not save lives." This was the comment made by Refugee Rights Action Network activist Michelle Bui before the 1000-strong #LightTheDark vigil for refugees in Perth on September 7. "You have to understand," she said that "no one puts their child on a boat unless the water is safer than the land."
The Canning byelection is attracting national attention as the possibility that the Liberals may lose the seat they hold by a 12% margin is openly discussed. A loss would be a severe blow to the Coalition government — already reeling from controversies ranging from the Border Farce stunt in Melbourne to the choppergate scandal — as well as to the leadership of Tony Abbott.
Well over 1000 people attended the Bersih 4.0 rally in Perth on August 29. This was more than double the number who attended Bersih 3.0 in Perth in 2012.
The Friends of Palestine WA (FOPWA) led a 50-strong protest of students, activists and Palestinians to boycott the opening of the Israeli Film Festival in Perth on August 20.
Green Left Weekly is running a special campaign to get the paper out there and involve more people in the distribution. Green Left gets no sponsorship from corporations or government so everything we do is dependent on the volunteers who donate their time writing, producing, fundraising and distributing the paper. Emma Field from Hobart helps campaign with Green Left because she can see the role the paper plays in educating people about the issues we face, such as racism, global warming and equality for LBGTI people.
Almost 50 people marched from Parliament House to Dumas House (where the state treasury offices are located) to present petitions to treasurer Mike Nahan on August 14. The petitions called for the removal of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on tampons and other women's sanitary products. Protesters pointed out that products more commonly used by men including condoms and shaving cream are not taxed yet tampons and pads are.
'Put the bill, pass the bill' was the message as 700 people marched through the streets of Perth in support of marriage equality on August 9. The rally began with a new song by Luke John O'Dell and featured speakers including Joey Cookman from Playgroups with Pride, trans activist Jayne McFadyen and Greens parliamentarian Lynn MacLaren.
Public disgust at Bronwyn Bishop's $5000 helicopter ride from Melbourne to Geelong is entirely justified. However, Tony Abbott's “root and branch” review of politicians' “entitlements” is designed to whitewash, not solve, the problem. After all, it is not as if we haven't had “root and branch” inquiries into politicians' entitlements before.
Students are returning to university campuses for second semester classes and Green Left Weekly is there too. This is part of a special campaign the paper is waging to boost distribution, and in particular to raise the number of campaigners involved. One example is Griffith University in Brisbane. A number of new members of the Socialist Alliance were studying at Griffith and decided to begin regular distribution of Green Left Weekly towards the end of last semester. Recently they were back for the university open day as preparation for second semester.
The anniversary of the death in custody of 22-year-old Aboriginal woman, known as Julieka Dhu, was marked around Australia on August 4. Dhu died while in police custody in Western Australia’s Pilbara region for non-payment of fines that totalled about $1000.