Steve O'Brien

Steve O'Brien

Over the past 150 years, Hunter Workers has continued to be a voice for regional needs that has promoted a broad social vision.

Bryce Gaudry, one of those rare politicians who put the public before personal interests, passed away on October 5.

An Anti-Poverty Week rally in Perth in 2008.

All of us know someone who is worse off than ourselves. Chances are that person is someone barely surviving on the Newstart Allowance.

The City of Newcastle Council passed a resolution “Recognising there is Global Climate Emergency and the urgent need for real action on climate change” on May 28.

I will happily take any opportunity to wave a red flag in public. My chance to do so this year was on May 1, the International Workers' Day.

Last September, while campaigning for the position of Lord Mayor of Newcastle and a ward councillor, I bumped into an NSW Labor Party officer at a coffee shop.

“Comrade”, he said, “You’ve got some great policies”. “Feel free to borrow any of them,” I relied cheekily. “Our housing policy, for example, is based on Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton's work in Moreland, Victoria.”

The next day the local papers reported that ALP candidates were talking up “affordable housing”.

Sometimes I wonder if New South Wales transport minister Andrew Constance thinks he is a comedian.

 

I happily admit that I will take any opportunity to parade down the street waving a red flag, and the May Day march in Hamilton on Sunday will be one of those opportunities.

Since the 1850s, when the first workers’ associations were formed in the Hunter, trade unionists and their families have put their demands forward on occasions such as May Day.

RAD Exhibition
Until August 27
Newcastle Museum
Radical Newcastle
Edited by James Bennett, Nancy Cushing & Erik Eklund
New South Publishers, 2015
$39.99

Exhibitions like RAD, now showing at the Newcastle Museum, and Radical Newcastle, the book that inspired it, help each generation of activists remember and learn the lessons of previous struggles.

Speakers at Newcastle’s refugee week rally on June 24, including Rafi, a detainee on Manus Island who spoke via telephone, called for activists to keep up the pressure on the government’s inhumane refuge policies.

Gleny Rae, Go back to where you came from; Fr Rod Bower, Gosford Anglicans; Dr Kate Murton, Doctors for Refugees; Keira Dott, Students Against Detention; Ian Rintoul, Refugee Action Coalition; Rafi, from Manus Island via telephone; Councillor Therese Dole, Newcastle City Council and others spoke about maintaining the rage. 

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