Karen Fletcher

You’ve probably heard The Ballad of 1891 about the Queensland shearers’ strike. You can probably sing Kev Carmody’s From Little Things Big Things Grow about the Gurindji Walk Off at Wave Hill in 1961. But do you know the story of the Jobs for Women campaign at the Wollongong steelworks in the 1980s? Check it out at the Sydney Film Festival, writes Karen Fletcher.

Tanya Louise Day was a strong Yorta Yorta woman who stood up for Aboriginal families whose loved ones had died in prison or police custody. She died from head injuries sustained in Castlemaine police station, in regional Victoria, on December 22, 2017.

A bill to enable trans and gender diverse adults and children to obtain birth certificates that record their self-identified sex — male, female or a descriptor of their choice — looks set to pass the Victorian parliament, despite opposition from conservatives and trans-exclusionary radical feminists.

The Andrews’ Labor government allocated $1.8 billion in the state budget on May 27, to build 1600 new prison cells in Victoria and less than one sixth of that amount — $209 million — for 1000 social housing units.

But the capital expenditure is just the tip of the iceberg. The annual recurrent cost of imprisoning a person in a Victoria is about $125,000, while housing a family in a public housing dwelling costs about $6400.

Critics are alarmed that the Queensland state government has announced plans to turn the Southern Queensland Correctional Centre, run by notorious British company Serco, into a private women’s prison.

A seminar to discuss the challenges, achievements and lessons of the Kurdish-led feminist revolution in northern Syria, in Victoria University on November 4, attracted more than 80 people. It was the second seminar to be organised this year by solidarity activists and the Victorian Kurdish community in Melbourne.

More than 600 local residents and traders rallied at the Preston Market in Melbourne’s north east on May 6 to tell Minister for Planning Richard Wynne to “call in” a development application for multi-storey apartments and a generic shopping centre that risks destroying their much-loved community hub.

The unexpectedly large turnout spilled out onto the road, prompting police to tell organiser Lori-anne Sharp, of the Save Preston Market group, to “pick a bigger site next time you call a protest”.

Viewers of the ABC TV documentary Hitting Home, screened to coincide with the International Day against Violence Against Women on November 25, could be forgiven for thinking Australia’s “domestic violence crisis” is finally being taken seriously. Produced by ABC TV's Sarah Ferguson in cooperation with NSW Police and the NSW Department of Justice, Episode 1 of the two-part series took viewers inside DV refuges, specialist police units and courtrooms and featured interviews with incredibly courageous survivors. Their message to victims, and Ferguson’s, was clear: “Get out. Now”.
In an article in the Guardian on October 28, Antony Loewenstein says that he does not write about feminism because he fears being “attacked by women for questioning a consensus position on feminist issues”. “Writing about feminism when male is like gate crashing a party,” he said, “and I’m concerned I’ll be slammed for daring to arrive without an invitation.”
Criminal lawyer Rob Stary has represented many people accused under Australian “counter-terror” laws. Green Left Weekly’s Karen Fletcher spoke to him about the police raids in Sydney and Brisbane on September 18. *** Last week you commented that the raids gave you a sense of “deja-vu”. What is repeating here?

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