Zebedee Parkes

Dozens of climate activists sprinted across mountains of coal, swarmed a massive coal loader, locked on to critical parts of the machine and shut down the largest coal terminal in the world, in Newcastle on September 15.

Hundreds of thousands of people joined protests around the world on September 8 calling on governments to take serious action on climate change. 

Events over the last few weeks have revealed just how politicised Australia’s immigration policy has become.

Students at universities around Australia are holding protests to demand campuses free from sexual violence on August 1.

It is one year since the release of the Human Right’s Commission “Change the Course” report that found that one in ten women experienced sexual assault while studying in the past two years.

At University of Sydney activists demanded the closure of the colleges, which have a long history of sexual harassment and assault, and to be replaced with affordable student housing.

A wave of humanity that gathered in Sydney’s Town Hall swept past the NSW Labor headquarters and crashed against the Department of Immigration offices.

Thousands of voices defiantly chanted “Bring Them Here” in increasing speed and volume.

"Bring them here: — in other wards, to offer every person in Australia’s detention centres protection and safety in Australia and the ability to apply for it elsewhere, in countries such as New Zealand. We must start dismantling this cruel, inhumane system.

 

Under the banner #UprootTheSystem students and activists, as part of the Students of Sustainability conference, staged actions in the early hours of Wednesday 11 July to protest corporate, government and university complicity in the cycle of war, climate destruction and abuse of refugees.
 
Activists blockaded and occupied Border Force, BHP and University of Melbourne offices in Melbourne.
 

 

Dozens of creative and disruptive actions were held across Australia under the banner of “drawing a red line” on new coal. Organised by Front Line Action on Coal (FLAC) and local Stop Adani groups, people from Auckland to Melbourne and many regional communities protested outside politicians’ offices, dropped banners over freeways and blockaded coal train lines.

Polls show more than 55% of Australians oppose the Adani coalmine, with about 70% opposing government financial support for it.

“Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here” is a chant that has been synonymous with the refugee rights movement in Australia since I became active some years ago.

That was a time when putting children in detention was, to some extent, something to hide — not a policy to win support from your voting base.

The climate crisis is the greatest crisis the Earth faces. It threatens the entire ecosystem that all life depends upon.

The refugee crisis is arguably the greatest challenge humanity faces. It affects hundreds of millions of people and is the dominant force shaping politics across the Earth.

Strong arguments can be made for both these statements.

The interlinking nature of the two crises, both practically and politically, is the key to finding real solutions and raises the question: why do the movements seem so separate?

Two new documentaries that screened at the recent Sydney Film Festival shine a light, in contrasting but powerful styles, on an important, yet often neglected story in the refugee narrative — why people seek asylum.

Pages

Subscribe to Zebedee Parkes