Zebedee Parkes

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

The campaign for travel concessions for International students in NSW is featured along with protests for public housing, funding for mental health services in Victoria, the latest anti-racist protests and more.

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.

While the architect of Australia’s detention system Liberal Senator Jim Molan was rehearsing his lines to promote this cruel system on ABC’s Q&A, a woman was arrested for the crime of standing outside and peacefully holding a banner reading “Close the Camps, Bring Them Here”.

David Bradbury is an iconic left-wing filmmaker who has been at the forefront of telling the stories of people fighting against injustice and oppression for the past four decades.

Maritime Union of Australia workers, along with representatives of several other unions, walked off work to protest out the front of the Fair Work Commission offices to demand the right to strike in Sydney on May 29.

Vigil for Salim, a Rohingya man who died on Manus Island after being detained more than five years, suffering epilepsy and denied medical treatment.

Refugees on Manus Island speak out after his death:


Another person who came to Australia seeking safety and security died on Manus Island on May 22. The Rohingya man is the seventh person to die on Manus Island since Labor re-established offshore detention.

The man died after jumping out of a bus — it is being reported as a suicide. Doctors for Refugees had been calling on the government to bring him here for more than a year as he suffers from epilepsy.

Hundreds of people marched through Labor MP Anthony Albanese's electorate calling on him and Labor to oppose the Adani coalmine on May 19.

About 500 people gathered in Sydney on May 15 in support of Palestine, hours after the Israeli military killed more than 50 Palestinians who were peacefully protesting as the US opened an embassy in Jerusalem. Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital.

More than 2700 Palestinian protesters were also injured in the deadliest day of Gaza border violence since 2014.


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