Following a mass campaign that mobilised thousands of people across the country and beyond, it appears the Western Australian government's shark cull has been dropped. The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has advised against continuing the cull this summer. Premier Colin Barnett said he was “disappointed” by the decision but is unlikely to challenge it and is also unlikely to reinstate the cull in future.
NOWSA, or the Network of Women Students Australia, holds a conference every year dedicated to women’s activism. More than 160 students from across Australia gathered last month for its national conference in Perth, making it the biggest NOWSA conference in many years. The weeklong event from July 14 to 18 took place at Edith Cowan University. It featured a range of workshops and speakers, who focused on issues relating to racism, trans rights and sex worker rights.
Ten years ago, on August 13 2004, the John Howard government, with the support of the Labor Party, passed legislation that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Queer people did not have the right to marry before the legislation was passed, but the new definition was brought in to close any loopholes and make it explicit that the Coalition government did not support civil rights for gay and lesbian people.
Perth's May 18 March in May demonstration was led by a very interesting character. Baloney Abbott is quite a sex symbol in his bright red “budget smugglers”, fake rubber chest and oversised “Proudly Australian” badge. Waving a bloodied meat cleaver, he really brought the point home that the cuts are for the good of the nation. Only Baloney Abbott could lead a 2000-strong crowd of peasants with the chant “Budget cuts, all the way! Make the sick and the poor pay!”
Farida Iqbal gave this speech on behalf of the March Australia committee in Perth on May 18. *** This is a budget founded on lies. There is no budget emergency. The whole thing is a complete fabrication. The budget deficit is 34.5% of GDP, compared to the average of 117% among OECD countries. But that wasn’t the only lie. Treasurer Joe Hockey told us we have to cut back the safety net because we are a nation of lifters, not leaners. When he said that, he lied to us about who is doing the lifting and who is doing the leaning in this country.
After 1370 votes went missing during the Western Australian senate election last year, the vote was declared void. Another election has been called for April 5. The difference between this election and the last one is that the agenda of prime minister Tony Abbott is clearer. Anti-Abbott sentiment was particularly dramatic at the March in March rally, which drew 3000 people in Perth.
Community opposition may soon put fracking on hold in the Kimberley region of north-western Australia. This could culminate in the first big victory for the anti-fracking movement in Western Australia. Buru Energy, partnered with Mitsubishi, intends to frack four wells east of Broome 34 times this year, starting in May. This is the largest single fracking proposal to be put forward in Western Australia so far. The area is a wetland used by Aboriginal owners.
Western Australia will go to the polls on April 5 to re-elect its federal Senators. The election was called to fix a mammoth electoral bungle, which left many Western Australians questioning the democracy of the political system. Greens Senator Scott Ludlam appealed for a recount of the Senate vote when it looked like he had narrowly lost his seat to the Palmer United Party in the September federal election. During the recount, it came to light that 1375 votes had gone missing, and the result of the election was declared void. Six seats are up for re-election.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at a Perth university has been forced to the brink of industrial action. University of Western Australia (UWA) management has spent over a year dragging its feet in enterprise bargaining negotiations, but has refused to budge on key issues of pay, workload limits and parking fees.
In late January, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) decided not to assess a proposal for fracking in Western Australia’s Kimberley region. Buru Energy plans to conduct 34 fracks in the region starting this year. It intends to conduct most of these fracks at four existing wells: two at Yulleroo, 90 kilometres east of Broome, and two at Valhalla/Asgard, 320 kilometres east of Broome.
In his opinion piece “Will Radicals Set Back the Marriage Equality Movement?”, OutInPerth editor Graeme Watson writes that Equal Love is threatened by a “socialist takeover”.
Australian oil and gas company AWE has signalled its intention to mine for unconventional gas on farmland bordering Western Australia’s Lesueur National Park. The proposal, released in October, includes plans to use the damaging process known as “fracking” to extract gas, starting in March next year. The national park is a environmentally significant area. It holds more than 900 different plant species and more than 10% of the total known flora of WA. It also holds seven species of declared rare fauna, and nine taxa found nowhere else in the world.