Chris Jenkins

Earlier this year Fremantle City Council decided to cancel its Australia Day fireworks next month, describing them as “culturally insensitive”. Instead, the council announced plans to hold a free concert in Fremantle’s Esplanade Park on January 28.

The event, titled “One Day in Fremantle”, features a concert headlined by John Butler, Dan Sultan and Mama Kin and will celebrate diversity and multiculturalism in Australia today.

It was standing room only on October 8 for the launch of the Walyalup (Fremantle) activist centre.

The centre, which serves as the local Socialist Alliance branch office and bookshop, will also be available as a meeting and outreach space for local grassroots community groups.

Already the Fremantle Refugee Rights Action Network meets there fortnightly. Soon the office will feature a Nyoongar advocacy service run by local custodian Corina Abraham.

On August 4 the family of Ms Dhu and their supporters marked the second anniversary of her death in police custody in South Headland with a rally outside Perth's Central Law Courts. Ms Dhu's family is calling for an independent investigation into her death, as well as demanding the release of CCTV footage that shows her last hours alive in custody. Ms Dhu, who was 22 years old at the time, had been detained for the non-payment of fines amounting to $3622, but died within two days of being taken into custody.
Maintenance workers at Griffin Coal and their supporters held a protest outside the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in Perth's CBD on July 5. They called for a stay on the commission's decision to terminate the recent enterprise bargaining agreement between the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and the company, citing the latter's alleged unprofitability. Griffin Coal claims to be surviving only due to financial support from its parent company, Lanco Infratech. The 70 workers, who work at Collie in WA's south-west, face a 43% pay cut if the FWC's decision were to stand.
I live and work as a nurse in Fremantle and I'm the Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Fremantle in this year's federal election. The Socialist Alliance recognises that not only has corrupt, business-as-usual politics caused a deepening social and climate crisis, but that those entrenched and greedy interests are unwilling and incapable of providing real solutions. Major system change is needed. There is a growing despondency amongst large sections of the community; real anger and frustration in the way things are going. And rightly so.
West Papuans, Aboriginal activists and supporters held a midday vigil outside the Indonesian consulate in Perth on December 1 to mark West Papuan Independence Day. The action also called for the end of the military occupation by Indonesia that has killed more than 500,000 West Papuans since 1961, when West Papua was annexed by Indonesia.
The Bandyup Action Group (BAG) held its most recent speak out on July 18 to protest against conditions in Bandyup Women's Prison. There has been a dramatic rise in incarceration rates, particularly for non-violent acts such as non-payment of fines. About 30% of women detained at Bandyup are there because of unpaid fines; 30% have existing and severe mental health problems; and 90% have been physically and/or sexually assaulted at some point in their lives.
300-400 anti-racist activists faced off against 400-500 "Reclaim Australia demonstrators in Perth on July 19. This was part of a national weekend of counter rallies against those called by the far right group 'Reclaim Australia'.
Organic farmer Steve Marsh has lost his case in the Western Australian Supreme Court after seeking compensation for his crops being affected by genetically modified (GM) seeds. Organic farmers fear the case will have dire consequences for non-GM farmers everywhere. In a case which was the first of its kind, Marsh brought legal action against his neighbour Michael Baxter, who took advantage of changes in state legislation and began growing GM canola on his adjacent farm in 2010. Some seeds blew over the road onto Marsh’s property.
A decision by the Fremantle City Council at its March 26 meeting to reject a Main Roads WA request to voluntarily hand over land began a dramatic new phase in the campaign against the state government's freeway building agenda. The state government wants to replace a section of High Street on the eastern approach to Fremantle with a freeway at a cost of more than $100 million. This is intended to be the first link in their plan to build a six lane "freeway standard" route connecting the Kwinana Freeway to the Fremantle container port.
Prison officers across Western Australia took strike action in an effort to force the state Liberal government to make similar promises to advance wages and working conditions as it did on February 25 to WA nurses. The WA Prison Officer Union (WAPOU) is demanding a 14% wage rise over three years and measures to alleviate the chronic overcrowding and understaffing in WA prisons.
About 10,000 nurses and midwives across Western Australia were threatened with disciplinary action and deregistration by the state’s director general if they went ahead with a 24-hour strike on February 25. The evening before the planned action, WA premier Colin Barnett intervened to offer the nurses a 14% pay rise over three years. Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) members accepted the offer after voting at a mass meeting on February 25.
The 10,000 nurses and midwives involved in industrial action across Western Australia have been threatened with disciplinary action and deregistration by the state’s director general if they go ahead with a planned 24-hour strike on February 25. The industrial dispute, which for the first time in 12 years has seen the closure of beds across the state’s public hospitals, is set to intensify in the coming week as the state government continues to ignore nurses’ demands on wages and conditions.
Elders and activists from the Nyoongar Tent Embassy in Perth took to the streets on October 18 in a march to state parliament in defiance of Premier Colin Barnett's attempts to do away with native title. Traffic was stopped as the crowd of 50 people took over St George's Terrace in Perth's CBD  and made its way to parliament. The protest delivered a petition putting the Barnett government and the South West Land and Sea Council (SWLSC)  “on notice” because they are illegitimate bodies to make policy decisions affecting local Aboriginal people.
A Nyoongar Tent Embassy was established on Perth’s Heirisson Island on February 12 after the state government proposed to extinguish Nyoongar native title. The protesters made an urgent call for support after Perth City Council made its second threat to close the embassy down on February 17. Many of those taking a leading role in the Embassy are local Aboriginal activists recently returned from the 40-year commemoration of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra.
Recent national figures published by the Sydney Morning Herald show the rate of youth unemployment in Australia is well above the national average, hitting 17.3%. The figure is more than triple national unemployment, which stood at 5.2% in December. Almost one in five people aged 15 to 19 and not studying are out of work.

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