Rhiahnon Kennedy

Laws punishing women for wearing the burqa and the niqab in public were passed by the Belgian lower house of parliament on April 29. A similar law has been discussed by French President Nicholas Sarkozy, and the French National Assembly passed a non-binding resolution in favour of a ban on May 11. These laws have been pushed by right-wing governments on the basis of security needs and protecting national identity, but the laws have also been justified as promoting equality for women. On this basis, the laws have received support from sections of the left and the feminist movement.
A national campaign calling for same-sex marriage called Equal Love has been running for five years and has attracted growing support. Its focus is to shift public attitudes to gay and lesbian relationships through a campaign involving education and direct action protests.
In 1972 the Australian Arbitration Commission finally made a ruling that confirmed equal work for equal pay, which required that women performing the same level of work be paid at the same level as men. Despite this legislation, women in Australia, like their counterparts around the world continue to find themselves in a subordinate position to men.
In August 2004, around the same time as the Howard Coalition government banned same-sex marriage, the religious right held an anti-gay marriage forum at Parliament House in Canberra. It was attended by about 2000 people.
More than 200 people from across Australia turned anger into action at the Resistance National Conference, held in Sydney from June 27-29. Activists met to discuss everything from revolutions in Latin America to the next steps in the climate change campaign.
Demanding, impatient, spoiled, bad at communicating — allegedly these are the character traits of “Generation Y”. Originally used in 1993 to describe children born between 1980 and 2000, the label has been featured in the media quite a lot lately.
The Howard government’s changes to electoral legislation, passed last year, will mean a large portion of young people who are of voting age will be left off the electoral roll for the November 24 federal election. This legislation — an obvious move to bar certain voters from the political process — affects mainly those who are statistically more likely to vote against the government, such as the young, homeless people, house-renters and those who speak English as a second language.