Pip Hinman

The NSW government is planning to give police extraordinary powers of arrest and detention around the time of the APEC summit in Sydney in September. Activists planning the protest when US President George Bush is in town say the new powers are about intimidation, not public safety.
Activists from the Stop Bush Coalition have condemned moves to make NSW into a “police state” during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in September. The government introduced legislation into NSW parliament on June 7 that will give police extraordinary powers for two weeks around the time of the summit.
Tom — not his real name — became a “person of interest” after taking part in the G20 protests in Melbourne last November. This softly spoken 24-year-old, a postgraduate student at Sydney University, is one of the latest victims of the police-state laws that seem designed to intimidate activists from organising, or attending, protests.
While NSW police minister David Campbell has inspected the new APEC command in Sydney — in which the state government is wasting millions of dollars — anti-war, environmental and workers’ rights activists are preparing to send their message to US President George Bush, PM John Howard and other APEC leaders in Sydney in early September.
As part of an international weekend of protest on the fourth anniversary of the US-British-Australian invasion of Iraq, 800 people participated in an anti-war rally and march on March 17 that began at Sydney Town Hall.
The reason for the existence of the Redfern-Waterloo Authority (RWA) can be summed up in just two words: corporate greed.
Several NSW unions have decided to endorse the March 17 Sydney rally against the war in Iraq, organised by the Stop the War Coalition. They are the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA); the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union; the NSW Fire Brigade Employees Union; and the National Tertiary Education Union.
NSW Labor Premier Morris Iemma is digging in on the proposed desalination plant at Kurnell in NSW. Despite continuing public opposition, Iemma seems determined to go ahead with this expensive, electricity-guzzling project.
In scenes reminiscent of the police brutality against students who walked out of school against the Iraq war in 2003, hundreds of NSW police and officers from the NSW Public Order and Riot Squad (PORS) tried to stop peaceful rallies on February 22 and 23 when US vice-president and war criminal Dick Cheney arrived in Australia.
The Socialist Alliance is campaigning for urgent action to address the environmental catastrophe in NSW caused by drought and decades of bad management.
US vice-president Dick Cheney, about to visit Sydney, is not welcome.
On the third anniversary of the death of young Aboriginal man TJ Hickey, his mother Gail told a rally of some 200 people at the site of his death in Redfern that her family was still being harassed by the cops. Hickey said police harassment of young people in Redfern must stop, or there would be more deaths like that of her son, who was impaled on a fence while being chased by police.
Terry Hicks’s son has been detained for five years, without trial, in a prison camp likened by some to the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Activists will descend on parliament house in Canberra on February 6 to demand that politicians do more to secure David Hicks’ release from the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay.
When the NSW police minister condemned magistrate Pat O’Shane two weeks ago for throwing out a case involving spitting at traffic cops, her response was: “There is an election coming up”. The same answer could well be given for the bipartisan barrage of Muslim-bashing from senior NSW politicians in the countdown to the March state election.
Tamworth, 595 kilometres north of Sydney, each year welcomes more than 50,000 people to its music festival. The town boasts it is the Australian equivalent of “Nashville”, albeit on a small scale.

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