Sarah Hathway

Memo to concern trolls Annabel Crabb and Howard-era minister Amanda Vanstone: take your own advice and stop being selfish thugs and bullies. And if Fairfax journalist Crabb is going to criticise student protests for being “outdated”, she should drop the 1950s style housewife persona.

In a May 23 Sydney Morning Herald article, Crabb said she was “concerned” that thousands of students taking part in a recent national day of action against increased university fees were going about things the wrong way. Take notice students of Australia. Activism, you’re doing it wrong.

Members of the Socialist Alliance have taken part in O-week stalls, which is not only resulting in a boost for Green Left Weekly sales and subscriptions in the lead up to its 1000th issue, but also a boost for the Socialist Alliance and Resistance.

The Kansas Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill on February 11 that makes it legal to discriminate against LGBTIQ people in the mid-western US state.

This caused outrage across the US. If passed by the Senate, the law would make it legal for private businesses to discriminate against LGBTIQ people and allow public servants to deny LGBTIQ people basic services — so long as their reasoning is motivated by “sincerely held religious beliefs”.

Resistance and the Socialist Alliance held a joint educational conference called “How to Make a Revolution” for young people in Brisbane over December 13 – 15.

About 80 people from around the country attended over the weekend, mostly young people wanting to discuss all things political, activism and more importantly what strategies socialists should be using in Australia to take the movement forward.

Throughout the conference there was a running theme of mass action strategy, and the importance of forming alliances with the broadest layer of people to win demands.

The Rail Revival Alliance is a group formed in response to the Victorian coalition government’s Rail Revival feasibility study into returning passenger trains between Geelong, Ballarat, and Bendigo via Meredith and Newstead. After being let down by the previous state Labor government, the group is now determined to hold the coalition state government to their policy.

The third Swan Island Peace Convergence was held in Queenscliff, Victoria from September 22 to 26. About 50 peace activists from around the country converged in Queenscliff with the aim to blockade the top secret Swan Island Military Base.

The military base on Swan Island is used as a training facility for SAS troops, a special operations force of the Australian army. This includes troops involved in counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan.

It is also a communications centre for the Australian Secret Intelligence Service.

The eight-storey Rana Plaza collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, during working hours on April 24. The official death toll stands at 1129. However, workers’ rights groups believe the number could be higher. Another 2000 workers were injured in the collapse, many losing limbs.

Women are facing a global health epidemic according to the World Health Organization (WHO). A report by WHO released on June 20 has found one in three women worldwide has experienced physical or sexual violence.

While acknowledging that violence against women is nothing new, the report says the situation is a “fundamental violation of women’s human rights”.

A meeting was held in Geelong on April 30 for students to discuss and plan action against the continued cuts to public sector education.

University, TAFE and High School students were invited. At this meeting, the Student Action Collective (SAC) was formed and a list of immediate demands, mid-term and long-term goals were developed.

Socialist Alliance member and TAFE student Sarah Hathway spoke at a rally at Geelong TAFE on April 16. Her speech is abridged below.

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I’m currently studying a Diploma of Community Services at the Gordon [TAFE]. Like many of us here, I also studied at the Gordon before these insidious TAFE cuts took effect, so I’ve seen the devastating impact the cuts have had on services that used to be provided on campus.

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