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This is an account of an encounter I had with police officers on March 6 outside the federal Parliament House. At about 3.30pm that day, I went there with the intention of standing in the forecourt and holding up a “Bring David Hicks Home!” poster.
While all eyes have been focused on the terrible plight of David Hicks, Willie Brigitte has been convicted and sentenced in France, nine Muslim men are undergoing a committal hearing in Sydney, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed has allegedly confessed to a multitude of terror attacks and calls to ban the Muslim group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, in Australia have become more strident. This is all cause for concern, not because of a sinister threat by “terrorists”, but from the government-driven “war on terror”.
Workers and concerned community members are continuing to hold rolling protests outside Preston Motors sites across Melbourne after the company’s refusal to negotiate a wage increase for its warehouse employees.
Sixty students and staff rallied in the Queensland University of Technology Kelvin Grove amphitheatre on March 15 to protest against the recent arrest of four QUT students for “unauthorised” political activity on campus.
Emboldened by the current right-wing security environment, spy agencies are attempting to recruit at Australian universities.
On the National Day of Shame — March 26 — more than 100 supporters of voluntary euthanasia from across Australia came together at Parliament House, chanting “Not the church, not the state, let the people decide their fate”. A Freedom Ride from Sydney to Canberra marked the 10th anniversary of the federal government’s overturning of the Northern Territory’s Rights of the Terminally Ill Act.
On April 4, students at the University of Sydney will protest against the $50-$100 million development of the United States Studies Centre (USSC), a “think tank” designed to “strengthen the relationship” between Australia and the US.
“Democracy remains a great danger to those who have privilege and control. When you are part of the top 1% of the population that has as much income as the bottom 75% of the people, democracy is a permanent threat to your interests.”
Tasmanian Labor Premier Paul Lennon’s Pulp Mill Assessment Bill, which fast-tracks approval of timber giant Gunns Ltd’s proposed $1.5 billion Tamar Valley pulp mill, was passed by the Legislative Council, the state parliament’s upper house, on March 29. Seven days earlier the bill had been passed by the lower house.
The following is abridged from a statement received by the socialist youth organisation Resistance from the Frente Francisco de Miranda (FFM), an organisation of revolutionary youth at the forefront of Venezuela’s socialist revolution.
On March 28 and 29, a series of rightist mobilisations took place in Jakarta, including a 500-strong mobilisation aimed at disrupting a march and rally organised by the National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas). The Papernas rally was protesting foreign domination of the Indonesian minerals sector and demanding its nationalisation. The right-wing thugs were armed with scythes, knives and canes. This was the fourth time in the last six months that Papernas has been targeted.
After five years of solitary confinement in a small metal cell, David Hicks pleaded guilty on March 26 to one of the two charges brought against him by US military prosecutors on March 1, to finally get out of the notoriously brutal US military prison at Guantanamo Bay. Hicks’s case has revealed just what a sham the US-led “war on terror” really is.