The “Say NO to Racism in Moreland” rally on May 28 was originally conceived early this year and organising for it started back in February. We wanted to offer residents and communities an opportunity to take a public stand on the racist policies of the major parties: their Islamophobia, xenophobia and fear mongering. We also wanted to stand in solidarity with First Nations peoples, who are on the receiving end of institutionalised racism.
The Socialist Alliance has selected a Victorian Senate team of Lalitha Chelliah and Tim Gooden, and candidates Zane Alcorn for the seat of Wills and Sue Bull for the seat of Corio.
More than a hundred people attended a public meeting in Coburg on March 10 to oppose the construction of residential towers, including a 19-storey tower, on the Pentridge prison site. Save Coburg organised the meeting. A number of resolutions were passed at the meeting, including one to set up a community campaign group. This is a vital step as state government and local council have proved themselves incapable of defending the rights of the community on this issue and have allowed developers' greed to rule.
Not for some years has there been so much justifiable outrage over bipartisan cruelty towards refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. The groundswell of community organising to keep the 267 asylum seekers, being threatened with deportation to Nauru and Manus Island, is a bright spot on an otherwise bleak horizon.
Moreland councilors voted on October 26 to elect Sam Ratnam as the first Green mayor. Left Labor councilor Lita Gillies was voted in as her deputy. I voted for the Green mayor to break the stranglehold of the two big-business parties, Liberal and Labor. The Labor Party has controlled the Moreland council for many years. However I was surprised that, immediately after electing the mayor, the Greens councillors voted for Liberal Party councillor Rob Thompson to be her deputy.
About 300 anti-racism protesters rallied in Bendigo on October 10 as part of the Bendigo Action Coalition's Say no to racism and fascism campaign. Local residents and activists from across Victoria mobilised at the Bendigo Town Hall to oppose the far-right United Patriots Front (UPF) who paraded in Rosalind Park opposing the construction of a mosque in town. The UPF had called a national mobilisation in Bendigo on October 10, with members coming from Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. About 400 attended the racist protest.
A planned strike set for September 22 was cancelled when the tram and bus division of the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) struck a deal with Yarra Trams. Workers had to take industrial action to win an agreement — they had non-uniform days, they banned short-running on tram routes and they had two four-hour strikes. They were about to go on strike again for four hours when the negotiations reached a resolution.
Industrial action taken by tram workers has already had an impact on Yarra Trams. The company has withdrawn some of its proposals for stripping the working conditions of tram workers.
The announcement on September 9 that Australia will accept only 12,000 refugees from Syria and that the government will seek to discriminate on the basis of ethnicity and religion is further proof that the government is lying about leading the world in welcoming refugees.
Socialist Councillor: "Reject Abbott's lies: Australia can do more to respond to the refugee crisis"
Vienna, September 1. “Tony Abbott's bizarre proclamation that Australia is leading the world on a per capita basis in welcoming refugees is a lie,” says Sue Bolton, Socialist Alliance Councillor.