On May 6, women gathered in Melbourne dressed in pyjamas and hair curlers, ready for the Mothers’ Day breakfast in bed that they never get because of poverty and the stress of being a single parent. The action was to call for an end to poverty for single mothers. Council of Single Mothers and their Children (CSMC) project worker Kerry Davies told the protesters that “single mothers and their children are Australia’s poorest families and are now the single highest group of homeless people in this country”.
MELBOURNE — At a mass meeting and protest rally outside Telstra’s main shop in Melbourne on May 5, Telstra workers voted unanimously to continue their campaign of strikes, bans and other disruptions, aimed at winning a new enterprise agreement and defeating Telstra’s attempts to discriminate against its unionised workers. Marching through the Melbourne CBD, the workers, who are members of the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) communications division, demanded equal pay with the non-union workers in Telstra.
In a turbulent meeting on April 20, City of Yarra councillors voted to reinstate a ban on public drinking, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The motion was passed by a coalition of Labor councillors and independents, five votes to four. The votes against were from the Socialist Party councillor and three Greens. It overturned a March decision to lift the drinking ban during daylight hours. The ban, known as Local Law 8, was passed in October and implemented in December.
Twelve groups supporting refugee rights met on April 10 to discuss the possibility of joint actions.
Prominent Iranian left-wing activist Jamal Saberi (Jalal Amanzadeh Nouei) is facing deportation to Iran from Japan, despite having lived there for 18 years, being married to a Japanese woman and having a child there.
The National Trust, Planning Backlash and Protectors of Public Lands Victoria joined forces to rally against the redevelopment of the historic Windsor Hotel, which is located in the parliamentary precinct.
On March 16, Yarra City Council amended the racist Local Law 8, which bans drinking in public places. The law was originally passed on October 20 with the ALP, Greens and independent councillors voting for it. Socialist Party councillor Stephen Jolly was the only councillor to oppose the law.
Since 2006, a group of activists in Melbourne have gathered on January 20 to commemorate two Aboriginal freedom fighters, Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner, who were hanged on that day in 1842.
After being confronted by protests in New Zealand, Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer was met by a protest organised by Australians For Palestine at the Australian Open in Melbourne on January 19.
In an interview with Green Left Weekly, one of the Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers who have been stranded on a boat at the Indonesian port of Merak since October 11, Sanjeev “Alex” Kuhendrarajah, said conditions on the boat are dire.
The Sydney-based Refugee Action Coalition's Ian Rintoul has sent a letter to the International Organisation of Migration in Indonesia asking that it urgently intervene to provide medical care to the asylum seekers on the boat at Merak.
On a 35-degree day, community services workers in not-for-profit organisations mobilised from across Victoria to call for equal pay. The Australian Services Union, which covers the workers, estimated almost 4000 people rallied.