Rachel Evans

The NSW Liberal government is planning to put vital community services on the chopping block. An October 12 article titled “Child sex assault services on hit-list” by the Sydney Morning Herald’s Josephine Tovey said a “leaked departmental briefing note” showed “funding for child sexual assault services and the child protection helpline are on a hit-list as part of cuts of almost half a billion dollars over the next four years to community services in NSW”.
Several protesters were injured.

I was attending a small but engaging rally against internet spying on September 15, organised by the Pirate Party and others at Hyde Park North, when seven police cars and four-wheel-drives drove into the park and about 20 police officers got out. Protesting members of the Muslim community shouting “Allahu Akbar!”, marched into the park and police told us to hurry and pack up. More police ran, in phalanx formation towards the Muslim rally.

The Congolese Community of Australia held a rally on August 10 calling for an end to violence in the Congo. It focused on recent violence in eastern region led by the M23 Rebellion. Patrice Neyembo, president of the Congolese Community of Australia, said: “The M23 Rebellion is not really a rebellion, it is an invasion by the Rwandan government with the backing of Western allies. The aim is to take the land and legalise the exploitation of minerals in the so-called ‘neutral’ area.”
The campaign for marriage equality in Australia has been waged for almost a decade. That federal parliament, despite repeated polls showing support for equal marriage rights regardless of sexuality, has failed to legislate for marriage equality has caused widespread anger. A sign of the growing momentum for marriage equality came with the announcement at the Tasmanian state Labor conference on August 4 that the Labor-led Tasmanian government would aim to pass legislation this year to legalise same-sex marriage in the state, should federal parliament fail to do so.
Sydney’s Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA) says it will hold a ceremony in Redfern to give out Aboriginal passports to supporters. The ceremony will hand the passports to migrants, refugees and Australian citizens who want to give their support to Aboriginal justice. Refugees will receive the passports for free. Others who want a passport will need to bring a passport photo and pay a $10 fee.
More than 1000 Sydneysiders hit the streets on May 12 demanding equal marriage rights, but prominent left-wing journalist John Pilger criticised the march in his recent article “Bradley Manning, not gay marriage, is the issue”.
Ismail Mirza Jan is a 27-year-old Hazara Afghan locked up in Sydney’s Villawood Detention Centre. After the Taliban killed his father in 1998, Jan fled to Britain and then Ireland in 2001. Eventually refused asylum, Jan came to Sydney by plane in February 2010 in the hope he could find refuge. Instead, Jan had to fight off a deportation attempt in November last year. He says this saved him from retaliation and probable death in Afghanistan.
Anti-war activists gathered outside a VIP breakfast briefing of visiting Israeli military advisor, Yaakov Katz, on March 28 to condemn his support for an Israeli strike on Iran. The breakfast, which included a lot of Israeli security people with cameras, was organised by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies. Katz, a former commando in the Israeli Defence force, has written extensively on Iran and is in Sydney to promote the Israeli government’s view that a military strike on Iran would be a “viable military option”.
At the beginning of the year, Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH), the Sydney-based grassroots lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) campaign organisation, elected three new office-bearers. CAAH initiated national days of action for marriage rights rallies in 2006, has played a key role in equal marriage and queer refugee rights campaigning, and has supported trans and intersex rights struggles and mobilisations.
Ollie MC

Ollie MC was an activist and hip hop artist, whose wheelchair was seen from the stage, to the streets, rallies and the coffee shop. Determined and unforgettable, he bore witness to the struggle for truth and justice.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony, held annually on 20 November, was started in 1999 in response to the brutal murder of North American, Rita Hester. It is a day marked by solemn ceremonies in cities around the world that record the sex and gender diverse who have fallen, and the government inaction that foments such hate crimes.
In the lead up to the ALP National Conference next month, marriage equality is shaping up to be the biggest test yet to Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s leadership. Gillard has moved from her position that she would override a pro-equality decision at the conference, to hinting she will allow Labor MPs a conscience vote. However, she now also holds the dubious honour of being the only remaining Labor leader supporting the marriage ban.