Sue Bolton

Photos by Sue Bolton, beats from Al Aqsa Intifada by Rootsman and Muslimgauze, edited by Nick Fredman. Long live the Arab revolution!

Melbourne rally in solidarity with Egyptian people on February 4.

Socialist Party member Anthony Main on January 11 became the second socialist elected to the City of Yarra council. The Labor mayor for Yarra, Jane Garrett, resigned after she was elected to state parliament in November. This left a vacancy on the council, which Main has filled. He was elected after a count back of votes tallied at the last council election. Main told Green Left Weekly that of the nine councillors, three are Greens, two are Labor, two are right-wing independents and, now, two are socialists.
A community sit-in defending Melbourne’s only Indigenous school, Ballerrt Mooroop College in Glenroy, began on November 24. The state Labor government planned to shift the Glenroy Specialist School (GSS) onto the site, which would push the Koori school into portable classrooms in a tiny area. The government provided $18 million to GSS to relocate, but the Koori school received just $750,000.
Housing action group City is Ours organised a protest outside housing minister Richard Wynne’s office on November 12, to highlight Melboune’s growing housing crisis. City is Ours has also recently organised a public meeting and a protest against rooming house evictions outside Moreland Council’s offices.
McDonalds bans community languages Sue Bolton, Melbourne Global burger chain store McDonalds has banned its employees in Australia from speaking languages other than English while on duty. Employees in Melbourne’s outer northern suburbs were told of the order by senior management figures at special regional paid training sessions.
McDonalds will soon be trialling two lanes of drive through at some outer suburban restaurants to bring down its drive through wait time. There are a number of reasons why some people in outer suburbs are becoming increasingly dependent on drive-through takeaway food. Longer working hours, falling living standards and greater travelling distances have cut into the time, energy and money suburban working class families can devote to grocery shopping, meal preparation, sitting down to eat and washing dishes.
On October 21, 70 local parents and supporters filled Moreland Concert Hall to hear state election candidates from the Pascoe Vale and Brunswick electorates speak on the issue of a high school for Coburg. The meeting was organised by the campaign group High School for Coburg. HSC was established about two years ago by a group of parents who were concerned that there was no local high school for their children to attend.
“Public interest vs private profit” was the theme of Socialist Alliance’s state conference in Melbourne on October 2. In the opening panel, Kenneth Davidson, senior columnist for the Age slammed Victoria as being a corporate state: “Since the election of [Coalition Premier Jeff] Kennett in 1992, we’ve had bad, secretive government. Labor premiers [Steve] Bracks and [John] Brumby have built on the foundations of the Kennett government.”
Almost 600 people poured into the town hall in Melbourne’s north-eastern suburb of Ivanhoe on October 6 to discuss the Victorian Labor government’s proposal to build a freeway across the Banyule Flats and the Yarra Corridor. The government intends to build the North-East Link to join the Western Ring Road to the Eastlink tollway. The lack of public transport in the area was shown by the fact that the only way most people could get to the meeting was by driving, causing a small traffic jam outside.
The launch of the Nuclear Freeways Campaign took place outside federal resources minister Martin Ferguson’s office on July 30. The launch was a send-off for a group of activists from Friends of the Earth who will travel the likely route nuclear waste will be transported from Sydney to a proposed nuclear waste dump at Muckaty station in the Northern Territory.
Victorian Electrical Trade Union (ETU) members have voted resoundingly to disaffiliate from the Australian Labor Party. In a ballot of ETU members on whether the union should remain affiliated to the ALP, 85% voted against affiliation. Nearly 44% of ETU members voted in the ballot conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission. This is the first time in many years a union has disaffiliated from the Labor Party, and possibly the first time a union has conducted a ballot of members on the issue.