Kamala Emanuel

Campaigning for a woman right’s to choose in Ireland has stepped up since the announcement of the date and wording of a referendum on changing the constitution to allow abortion.

The referendum, to be held on May 25, will ask voters whether to repeal the section of the Irish constitution that bans abortion. If passed, it would allow parliament to make laws to regulate the procedure.

Participants in the 1978 Brisbane IWD rally led the march

Over 300 people took part in the Brisbane/Meanjin International Women's Day rally and march at Emma Miller Place on March 10.

As women and their allies around the world prepare to strike, rally and march on International Women’s Day, abortion rights are once again on the agenda in many countries.

Up to 100 people gathered outside Queensland state parliament to put the incoming government on notice that opposition to the Adani coal mine will be sustained until the project has been defeated.

The August 14 publication of a NSW local court ruling earlier in the year has again shone light on the state’s anti-abortion laws.

A 30-year-old woman was found guilty of attempting abortion and sentenced to a 3-year good behaviour bond. The court record describes the circumstances, but leaves important questions unanswered.

Peace activists are planning a court support solidarity action with Jim and Franz Dowling, Tim Webb, and Andy Paine as the group faces court on July 19.

They will appear before the Brisbane magistrate’s court on charges related to the March 1 action in which a sword was removed from a war memorial and shaped into a gardening tool. The group are members of the Catholic worker movement.

In a move similar to the one that preceded abortion law reform in Victoria and Tasmania, Queensland Attorney-General and justice minister Yvette D’Ath has referred abortion to the Queensland Law Reform Commission (QLRC). It has been tasked with drafting legislation to modernise abortion law. The current laws date back to 1899 and have not been amended since.

Twenty-five abortion rights protesters picketed in central Brisbane on June 28 to demand decriminalisation of abortion. In peak-hour traffic, they walked into a pedestrian intersection, chanting and waving placards and urging motorists to honk their horns in support of abortion rights.

The Supreme Court of Victoria handed down its judgement on March 21, quashing the appeal of an anti-abortion protester who had been convicted for displaying images of aborted foetuses.

Michelle Fraser, an anti-abortion protester, had displayed placards of aborted foetuses with anti-abortion slogans, outside the Melbourne Fertility Clinic, in February 2013. In 2014, she was convicted of displaying obscene images.

On March 22, the day after the NT parliament legislated to decriminalise abortion (see page 4), doctors in Queensland called on the state government to follow suit.

Nineteen doctors who are current or recent providers of abortion services in Queensland have signed a letter to the state premier calling for abortion decriminalisation to be resolved in the current term of parliament. This follows another delay in achieving legal reform after private member's bills were withdrawn earlier this year.

The signatories include an overwhelming majority of doctors performing abortion in Queensland.

Sex workers and their allies rallied for law reform and an end to stigma in Brisbane on March 8. It was the first public rally held by Respect Inc, a peer-led rights and support organisation for sex workers. Twenty people wearing red, holding signs and displaying red umbrellas gathered in Queens Garden and marched to Parliament House.

Speaking out against Queensland's 17-year-old sex work laws and chanting, “Nothing about us without us,” workers demanded the Labor state government consult with them to ensure legal changes that would decriminalise their work.

Pro-choice protest outside Queensland parliament, May 10. Pro-choice activists in Queensland have expressed disappointment at the release of a parliamentary report on August 26 that failed to support the bill before Queensland parliament to decriminalise abortion.
Following a community campaign, the Queensland government has announced it will deregister Wicked Campers vans that "fail to comply with determinations by the Advertising Standards Bureau". The vans are banned in northern NSW council caravan parks and bans are being considered by the Tasmanian government.
Past sick sadistic tyrants made each victim dig their grave, Mowed them down without mercy, in wave after wave. But now heat is the trigger set for the many by the few Will you be ready when the climate comes for you? In Karachi they'll be ready when the tide of death rolls in When the poor and frail fall prey to the oil barons' sin.
The Labor Party announced a series of “savings” measures on June 10, including $1 billion worth of Abbott/Turnbull cuts that had previously been blocked in the Senate. It has tried to make the attacks appear palatable by claiming they are directed at higher income families. However the truth is they reaffirm that a future Labor government's direction will be more about cutting government spending than raising revenue from the big end of town. Further, they will have bigger impacts on ordinary workers than appears evident at first glance.

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