Susan Price

Around the country, on March 25 (Palm Sunday in the Christian calendar), people will be protesting about the federal government’s ongoing cruelty towards refugees.

They will be demanding an end to offshore detention and boat turn-backs and for asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru to be brought to our shores and offered permanent protection.

Many readers won’t need a reason to join the protests, but here are three new ones.

There is a real estate billboard on the Hume Highway in Sydney that declares: “Un-see this!”. Despite ASIO having seized the Cabinet Files from the offices of the ABC, the glimpses we have had of their contents will remain a reminder of the insidious agenda of successive Coalition governments and ministers.

We can’t “un-see” the evidence now.

A new report from Oxfam, released on the eve of the World Economic Forum, revealed that Australia’s richest 1% owned 23% of the country’s total wealth last year, up from 22% the year before, and more than the bottom 70% combined.

Based on data from Credit Suisse, the report also revealed that Australia now has 33 billionaires, up by 8 in the past year alone.

The Oxfam report shows that inequality is worsening.

The emergency on Manus Island has sparked a renewal in the refugee rights movement, with large numbers of new activists coming to their first demonstrations. It has also inspired a range of creative direct actions, including acts of civil disobedience, which have complemented the large protests in the major cities and significant protest actions across regional towns and centres.

The crisis is deepening on Manus Island. The 600 men remaining at the former regional processing centre compound are being starved out, deprived of medical aid and having fences taken down around them as Green Left Weekly goes to print. Notices have been posted at the centre saying that if the men do not vacate, they will be removed by force.

Activists from all over Australia travelled to be part of the week of frontline action against Adani coalmine. Green Left Weekly spoke to Juliette from Gympie in Queensland and asked her thoughts on the protest.

"I have come up to join all these amazing, strong, empowered people to show my opposition to the Adani coalmine because I really care about our planet, I care about our future.

Consistent work by residents of Melbourne's northern suburb of Fawkner has resulted in a unanimous decision by Moreland Council to reject a development application on a site heavily contaminated with dioxin.

Dioxin is a byproduct of Agent Orange and is one of the world’s deadliest chemicals.

Moreland Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton, who has been supporting residents in their campaign, told Green Left Weekly that without the community campaign such a decision would not have been possible.

"The result was a real example of people power,” she said.

About a dozen neo-Nazis stormed the Moreland Council meeting on September 27 following the council's decision at their last meeting not to celebrate Australia Day on January 26.

Councillor Sue Bolton, a member of Socialist Alliance, told Green Left Weekly she "didn't feel threatened" by the protesters, who "looked like buffoons", but that their actions indicate how provocative and confident they have become.

I had the privilege of spending five days with more than 100 activists from around the country taking front-line action to stop Adani’s Carmichael coalmine in the Galilee Basin from being built. 

We camped just outside Bowen, about 1000 kilometres north of Brisbane, on the Whitsunday coast. A large proportion of the activists were women. There were also babies, kids, campus activists, experienced veterans of campaigns against coal and unconventional gas mining, forest blockaders and Knitting Nannas. 

Activists from all over Australia travelled to be part of the week of frontline action against Adani coalmine. Green Left Weekly spoke to some of them to get their thoughts on the protest.

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