Kamala Emanuel

Since Australian women rallied for “free, safe, accessible abortion on demand” 40 years ago, much has been achieved. Legal reform of some kind has taken place in most states and territories. There is Medicare funding for pregnancy termination, mifepristone is available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and women no longer suffer the complications from illegal “backyard” operations. Yet there are still obstacles for women to access affordable pregnancy termination services in a timely manner.
The High Court declared last year's senate election in Western Australia void on February 20. Western Australians will head to the polls as early as March 29 to re-elect six senators, because after 1300 ballots went missing during the count, it was impossible to determine the last two senate spots from the election.
If I Had a Hammer David Rovics Liberation Records, 2013 Fans of radical US singer-songwriter David Rovics will welcome his latest CD, If I had a Hammer, a compilation of three albums recorded last year and released in December. And those not familiar with his mix of angry, satirical, pensive and informative folk punk songs of struggle should check out this 23-track marathon introduction to some of the recent offerings of this prolific artist.
About 150 people walked through Perth on November 16 to call for an end to blaming victims of sexual assault, in the city's third annual SlutWalk. Initiated in response to comments made by a Canadian police officer that women should avoid looking like sluts if they don't want to be raped, SlutWalk continues to attract global support.
Socialist Alliance WA co-convener Alex Bainbridge has hit out at legal threats issued by lawyers acting on behalf of Recall management. Recall is a document storage company whose workers have entered their fourth week on strike for an agreement that recognises union rights. “Yesterday we received a letter indicating that Recall's lawyers are seeking to subpoena documents from the Socialist Alliance regarding the dispute,” Bainbridge told Green Left Weekly.
An article published by Socialist Alternative titled “Jill Meagher, Reclaim the Night and the political right” on November 22 said: “The horrible rape and murder of Brunswick woman Jill Meagher has been successfully used by the media and authorities to promote a right wing political agenda.
In what one longstanding Perth feminist activist described as the biggest Reclaim the Night march in Perth in 20 years, over 300 people — women, children and men — rallied and marched in Fremantle on October 26, for an end to violence against women. Gathering at Pioneer Park, participants heard incoming Murdoch University women's officer Amy Hoogenboom argue the need for consent education. “You need consent every time,” she said. “Consent is not ‘no’ or ‘not now’ or ‘maybe’”.
Hundreds of people are expected to take part in Reclaim the Night in Fremantle on October 26. The annual march to stop violence against women has been held in Perth since 1978, the rally. But this year's march and festival will be a first for the port city of Fremantle. The event is being held to demand an end to violence against women at home and on the street, an end to victim blaming, and the implementation of comprehensive consent education in schools and communities. 
A community protest of up to 30 people was held outside a global shale industry conference in Perth on June 28. Campaign group No Fracking WAy organised the protest. The two-day conference on global shale gas development put on by the Electric Utility Consultants, Inc (EUCI) at the Seasons of Perth Hotel, 37 Pier St, Perth. The protesters held up banners, sang anti-fracking songs and heard from several speakers about the problems with the shale gas industry, which is expanding rapidly in Western Australia.

The prosecution of two activists dubbed the “Christmas Carol Criminals” collapsed when a Perth magistrate dismissed all charges on June 29. Alex Bainbridge and Miranda Wood from the group Friends of Palestine WA (FOPWA) had been charged with trespassing during a December protest outside Israeli cosmetics company Seacret. Seacret benefits from the illegal occupation of Palestine by stealing minerals and resources from the Dead Sea to use in its products.

Unconventional gas fracking is set to go ahead in WA, after the state's upper house voted down a motion calling for a moratorium on the controversial gas extraction process on June 20. The motion had been put to the state's upper house by Greens MLC Alison Xamon. The Liberal, National and Labor parties voted against it and it was lost. The motion called for a moratorium on the emerging industry until a comprehensive and transparent regulatory framework could be developed. “It is highly concerning that this motion has been dismissed by parliament,” Xamon said.
A vigorous exchange of views took place at the Socialist Alliance and Resistance-sponsored forum, “Women’s Rights today” at the Perth Activist Centre on May 30. The audience heard from a panel of Bec Copestake, who spoke about the Western Australian government’s prostitution bill, Kamala Emanuel, who spoke about reproductive rights, Zoe Bush, who discussed the rape culture on campus at the University of Western Australia (UWA), and Sanna Andrew, who spoke about the victory of the Australian Service Union’s equal pay campaign and the steps taken to achieve it.
Feminists caused a stir at the University of Western Australia (UWA) when posters and stickers appeared around the campus on May 31. Declaring “rape jokes are hate speech”, the posters and stickers were hard to miss. A sign with the same message appeared on a statue in the Swan River close to the campus. The same day, the main social club on campus was to hold a party to “celebrate and commemorate the contemporary culture of our fair university/city (As seen on PerthNow)”.
About 50 people attended a forum addressed by Michael Anderson at the Curtin University Aboriginal Studies Centre on March 5. Anderson is a Gamilaroi man from New South Wales and is one of the four original founders of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra in 1972. The forum was organised by the Nyoongar Tent Embassy. Two days before, Anderson had addressed the WA Tent Embassy.
Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) launched its award-winning Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Stationary Energy Plan to a packed meeting at Perth Town Hall on March 14. BZE executive director Matthew Wright outlined the Western Australian aspects of the plan, which was developed to show how Australia could reduce its stationary energy greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2020, using a mix of commercially available renewable energy sources, primarily concentrating solar thermal and wind.
The Socialist Alliance (SA) has criticised recent state government changes to the Liquor Control Act as an infringement of civil liberties. Under the changes, police have the power to issue “barring orders”, which ban an individual from licensed premises without incurring a criminal conviction. “Giving police the power to issue barring orders to patrons of licensed premises is tantamount to dishing out punishment before a person has been found guilty,” said SA spokesperson Alex Bainbridge.

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