Margarita Windisch

I teach at Victoria University, in the heart of Footscray. Footscray is an extremely vibrant and bustling suburb with an incredible population diversity, which is also reflected in VU’s student and staff population. This diversity is a real asset to our university and I feel privileged to be able to teach in such a unique environment.

More than 1000 people gathered in Sunshine in Melbourne’s west on April 22, to pay their respects to Fiona Warzywoda, a mother of four who was murdered in public after she attended a court hearing in relation to family violence matters.

Local resident Sophie Dutertre organised a silent candlelight vigil to show support. Dutertre did nott know the victim but wanted to take a public stand against yet another domestic violence-related murder and also demonstrate that Sunshine has a strong and caring community.

Margarita Windisch is the Socialist Alliance candidate for the Victorian seat of Wills. This is an edited version of a speech she gave to a rally for equal marriage rights in Melbourne on August 17.

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Oscar Wilde once said that disobedience and rebellion are the original virtues of humanity.

It is through disobedience and rebellion that we have achieved real progress. This protest today is an important demonstration of rebellion against an unjust law.

This month, Tamils around the world are commemorating the 30th anniversary of a massacre in which an estimated 3000 people were killed.

In a week beginning July 24, 1983, Tamils across the island of Sri Lanka were attacked by Sinhalese mobs, while the army and police looked on, or even joined in the attacks. In some cases the mobs were led by government ministers.

The July 1983 massacre was the culmination of a series of anti-Tamil riots, beginning in 1956.

World Refugee Day comes amid reports of more deaths at sea, forced deportations to torture and execution, malaria in the offshore camps in Nauru and Manus Island, suicide in detention, babies imprisoned as security threats and revelations of refugees on bridging visas without food, housing or work rights.

A competition in cruelty

West Papuans and their supporters rallied in Melbourne on December 1.

They raised the Morning Star flag, a symbol of independence, and demanded self-determination and an end to Indonesian occupation of West Papua. The rally was part of an international day of action.

The speakers addressed the brutal human rights violations committed by the Indonesian army and urged the Gillard government to break with over 40 years of successive Australian governments' support for the Indonesian occupation.

The rank and file “Clean Sweep” ticket won all contested positions of the Victorian Health Services Union (HSU) No 3 branch in elections held on November 26.

The HSU's No 3 branch covers 36 professions; from physiotherapists, radiographers, anesthetic technicians to occupational therapists, social workers, and medical illustrators. The No 3 branch is the smallest of the three HSU branches with a membership of about 3500.

About 300 people rallied in Melbourne on November 24 to oppose the ongoing harassment of Fertility Control Clinic patients and staff by Christian fanatics.

The rally was organised by Melbourne Feminist Action (MFA), a new initiative campaigning for women's rights.

Even though Victorian women won the legal right to abortion in 2008, access remains difficult for many women. The clinic is picketed daily and anti-abortion crusaders march once a month after mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral to the clinic.

Pro-choice activist will be rallying outside the East Melbourne fertility control clinic on November 24, under the slogan “Our Clinic, Our Bodies, Our Choice”.

The rally is organised by Melbourne Feminist Action (MFA), an exciting new women’s rights collective.

MFA was initiated by Jacinda Woodhead and Stephanie Convery who work for literary journal Overland. They were motivated by what seems to be a growing and renewed public interest in women’s rights in Melbourne.

“TAFE cuts are Baillieu's form of class war,” Colin Long told an angry crowd on September 20. “Baillieu started the war, but we will finish it.” The Victorian National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) secretary was speaking to 2000 Victorian TAFE teachers, students and supporters at a rally in Melbourne.

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