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.
Sixty people gathered at City Farm, East Perth, for an update on the opening up of WA to uranium mining and the growing campaign to stop it. The night was hosted by the newly-formed WA Nuclear Free Alliance (WANFA), which groups together about 60 Aboriginal people from communities around the state.
Three hundred people gathered at Sydney Town Hall on October 29 to protest against physical and sexual violence against women, as part of global Reclaim the Night protests. Professor of Law and Indigenous Studies at the University of Technology Sydney, Larissa Behrendt, outlined the challenges Indigenous women face, not only from Indigenous men but also the white legal system when reporting incidents of physical and sexual assault. Charlotte Long from Burma Campaign Australia spoke about the systematic rape of ethnic minority women in Burma.
The heading at the top of the Emily’s List website says: “When women support women, women win.” But not all women will be winners from Emily’s List. If you’re an ALP candidate, the list wants you to win. It offers publicity, financial support, and networking to get you elected. Since it was set up in 1996, the political network dedicated to advancing progressive female candidates has donated $600,000 to election campaigns.
Momentum is building in solidarity with a couple from Cairns who have been charged under Queensland’s anti-abortion laws (see article on page 12). The couple is to face court in Cairns on October 12, and the Pro-Choice Action collective, Women’s Abortion Action Campaign, and Radical Women have issued a call for a National Day of Action to be held on Saturday October 9. The rallies will demand the dropping of the charges, repealing of the anti-abortion laws and free, safe, accessible abortion on demand.
The Socialist Ideas Conference, organised by the Socialist Alliance in Perth, is shaping up to be the biggest and most interesting socialist event in Perth for some time. Alongside international guests such as Malaysian socialist parliamentarian Jeyakumar Devaraj and Green Left Weekly Caracas bureau journalist Kiraz Janicke, a number of respected speakers have confirmed their attendance in recent weeks.
"Say no to Roe!", chanted more than 100 people at a rally outside state parliament on April 22. The rally was organised to oppose a five-kilometre freeway extension (Roe stage 8) between the Kwinana Freeway and Stock Road in Melville, south of Perth. Speakers said the proposed extension was expensive, unnecessary and environmentally destructive. It would desecrate Noongar sacred sites and threaten the endangered species.
“There are two messages we want to get across as part of our campaign in the federal elections”, Socialist Alliance candidate Alex Bainbridge told Green Left Weekly.
A speak-out against the Labor-Liberal dirty deal on the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) was held in Perth on November 26. The action was organised by the Coalition for a Safe Climate.
Family First Senator Steve Fielding returned from a US international climate deniers' conference in June, armed with a shonky graph and some dodgy questions.
PERTH — Twenty “billionaires for coal” and their supporters held a mock rally on the steps of Woodside Plaza on August 11, as parliament resumed for the session that was to vote on the Rudd government's proposed emissions trading scheme.