The first marriage equality rally in Nowra, south of Wollongong, was held on September 6. About 100 people attended the rally and chalk rainbows were drawn on the footpath. Rally organiser Tobi Harris told the Illawarra Mercury: “The seat of Gilmore has been held by the Liberals for 17 years, and we want to remind them to stand up for the gay community.” Long-time queer rights activist Paola Harvey addressed the crowd. Her speech is reprinted below. ***
If you were sexually assaulted by a member of your school sporting team, would you want to cheer for them when they played? Would you expect your school to uphold your rights over those of your attacker? If the school failed to uphold your rights, would you then expect the courts to find in your favour if you sued? The answers to these questions should be obvious, but this is not an exercise in rhetorical questioning.
Plans by the NSW Liberal/National coalition to cut $3.8 billion in state spending is yet more evidence that the Coalition is no alternative to the Labor Party in New South Wales. If anything, opposition leader Barry O’Farrell’s plan to cut public sector jobs and services will make things even worse. O’Farrell is hoping to romp in to government in the March state elections — not because people support his policies, but because people are so fed up with Labor. NSW voters deserve to know what the Coalition actually stands for, but it has said very little so far about its real policies.
Resistance members joined a protest march through Sydney on January 15 in support of whistle-blowing website Wikileaks. Rally goers chanted "Down with hypocrisy, we want democracy" and "Wikileaks is here to stay, we'll defend it all the way" as they marched from Town Hall to Hyde Park. Resistance member and Socialist Alliance NSW Legislative Council candidate Patrick Harrison said: "Wikileaks must be defended, governments can't be allowed to get away with lies — the people of the world need the truth."
In a tragedy that occurs far too often, Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old gay university student, committed suicide by jumping off a bridge in New Jersey on September 22. Clementi's roommate and another student had set up a web camera and live streamed him having sex with a man, outing him online. In Clementi’s case, the two students that caused him to feel his only way to escape his situation was death have been charged with invasion of privacy, which holds a maximum jail term of five years. But this is unusual with queer suicides.
Lesbians, gays, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people across the world have rejected Israel’s brutal occupation of Gaza and are coming out in support of the boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) campaign. In the wake of Israel’s bloody attack on the Freedom Flotilla and murder of peace activists on May 31, the myth that Israel is a liberal democratic state has been dispelled. But Israel continues to try to market itself as the only “gay haven” in the Middle East.
On February 25, the Senate rejected the Greens’ amendment to the marriage act that would have seen discrimination on the basis of gender and sexuality removed from the legislation.
Although New Zealand, like Australia, has not been as badly affected by the global economic crisis as the US or Europe, workers are facing hardship.
The state of public transport across Australia is not a new story: overcrowded, underfunded, overpriced and infrequent. In the outer suburbs, public transport is completely inadequate, at times, even non-existent.
On July 1 the Age reported the federal government had understated the number of international students who had died in Australia during 2008. The government had reported 51 deaths — a disturbingly high number. But the real figure was “at least 54” and is probably higher, the Age said.
The death of Gemma Thoms at the Perth Big Day Out music festival on February 1 was tragic and preventable.
For the first time in 11 years we are under a new government, a Labor government. PM Kevin Rudds government was elected off the back of mounting dissatisfaction with the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, inaction on climate change, the Northern Territory intervention and Work Choices, but the battle for change has not been won.
The following is abridged from a speech given by Paola Harvey to a people’s trial of US President George Bush, organised by the Stop Bush committee in Wollongong on June 23. Harvey is a Resistance member and helped initiate last year’s Walk against Warming rally in Wollongong.