The Literacy for Life Foundation in partnership with the University of New England, hosted a one-day seminar on February 28 to discuss the “Yes I Can” Aboriginal Adult Literacy campaign. This campaign has achieved notable success in raising adult literacy levels in three western NSW communities, using a model originally developed in Cuba. More than 80 people have already graduated in pilot projects in Wilcannia, Bourke and Enngonia.
Breakthrough 2014, National Climate Restoration Forum, held over June 21 to 22 in Melbourne, brought together scientists, economists, engineers, business leaders and climate activists. In some regards, the forum represented an important step forward for the Australian climate movement. It highlighted the urgent need to respond to the climate crisis and discussed the possibility of restoring a reasonably safe climate in which human civilisation could continue.
On September 16, 100 people began a 300-kilometre journey, walking from Port Augusta to Adelaide to highlight the importance of building a solar thermal plant at Port Augusta and to call for state and federal government support for the project.
It was standing room only at the Port Dock Hotel on January 21 as Communist Party of Australia members and friends gathered to launch CPA secretary Bob Briton’s campaign for the state seat of Port Adelaide. The seat, formerly held by South Australian treasurer Kevin Foley, is being contested in a by-election to be held on February 11.
“When I meet with [climate change] minister Greg Combet next week I will be taking my prescription pad with me and I will be writing a prescription for solar thermal for Port Augusta, not just three times a day but permanently,” said Dr David Shearman of Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) to a 120-strong crowd in Port Augusta’s Cooinda Club on October 29. Shearman was one of several speakers at the forum, which was organised by the Adelaide-based Climate Emergency Action Network (CLEAN), the Port Augusta City Council and Beyond Zero Emissions.
“It’s just a great honour to be here,” iconic singer-songwriter Paul Kelly told Green Left Weekly. “What happened here is a fascinating and amazing story.” Kev Carmody, another legend of Australian music, added: “It’s brought all these people together from diverse backgrounds and from all across the country and it’s an honour to the strength of Gurindji people.”
More than 200 people took to Adelaide’s streets on March 26 in the first March for Survival. Organised by the Climate Emergency Action Network (CLEAN) the protest called on people to support victims of the recent floods, cyclones and bushfires and to demand serious emission cuts (60% of 1990 levels by 2020) and 100% renewable energy by 2020. CLEAN’s John Rice introduced the rally. “For me the enduring image of these disasters is that of the Lockyer Valley and the foundation slab of a house which was swept away, taking the entire family inside,” he said.
Federal government plans to convert vacant army housing at Inverbrackie, near the Adelaide Hills town of Woodside, for 400 asylum seekers in family groups have divided the local community. On November 3, opposition leader Tony Abbott met with about 150 local residents, most of whom were opposed to the government plans. Abbott told those gathered that Woodside “is an open and welcoming community”.
The campaign against savage cuts to public services in the recent South Australian budget is gaining momentum. More than 10,000 unionists rallied in Victoria Square on October 26 and marched through lunchtime crowds to Parliament House. Nurses, prison officers and firefighters are among the many sectors angry at the cuts, which will cost up to 4000 jobs and affect vital services. The following day, hundreds protested at Parliament House against cuts of $850,000 to the health budget, which threaten the viability of country hospitals at Keith, Moonta and Ardrossan.
“We want to be one voice, we have to support all the people and back them up to come back to their own culture”, Murray George, a Pitjantjatjara elder from Fregon community in the far north of South Australia, told a March 2 meeting in the Adelaide Activist Centre.