More than 400 people protested against Prime Minister John Howard’s anti-union government outside Bathurst’s Carrington restaurant on May 25. Howard was in town to address a fundraiser, part of a desperate attempt to save Liberal MP for Macquarie Kerry Bartlett from likely defeat at the federal election.
Friends of the Earth Australia has called on the Australian government to commit $1.8 billion a year in funding for adaptation to climate change following the release on May 29 of an Oxfam International report Adapting to Climate Change: What’s Needed in Poor Countries, and Who Should Pay.
On May 29, a public meeting was held at Shellharbour, south of Wollongong, to oppose the NSW Labor government’s plans to allow private development in the Killalea State Recreation Park. The meeting was attended by 160 local residents, unionists, environmentalists and Indigenous people, following a call by the South Coast Labor Council.
On May 24, the Peel Hotel in Collingwood was granted an exemption to the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act, allowing the venue to refuse entry to all women and heterosexual men.
A new report on the effects of the cluster bombs used against Lebanon by Israel during its July-August invasion last year was launched at the Northcote Town Hall on May 29. Around 100 people attended, including members of the Lebanese community, politicians, local councilors and activists.
KATOOMBA — David Bradbury’s latest anti-nuclear documentary, Hard Rain, attracted more than 40 people to a screening in the Blue Mountains on May 28. Bradbury’s film thoroughly debunks the many myths now being pushed hard by big business and the major parties, and documents how immensely dangerous and destructive to human beings and the natural environment both uranium mining and nuclear power are. The film prompted a wide-ranging discussion about alternatives to nuclear power and solutions to global warming. The event was organised by the Socialist Alliance and Green Left Weekly.
More than 55 people met at the University of Technology, Sydney on May 28 discuss the upcoming “Stop Bush!” demonstrations, which will be held during the September APEC summit in Sydney. The meeting was a promising sign that people believe APEC is an important opportunity to build the campaigns that can challenge Prime Minister John Howard and US President George Bush’s neoliberal agenda.
KURANDA — More than 100 people took part in a march and festival to mark Recognition Day on May 27. The march was organised by the Kuranda Women’s Group. Speakers at the festival opening included Judi Enoch, secretary of the Ngoonbi Cooperative Society, Terry O’Shane and other local Indigenous activists and elders. They highlighted the need to be conscious of Indigenous people’s history of struggle and the sharp attacks on their rights and living conditions in the decade the Howard government has been in power.
A June 1 student conference held at Sydney University resolved to make George Bush’s visit to Australia and the September APEC summit in Sydney a focus for the anti-war and environment campaigns on campus.
On May 30, an Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network forum heard from Adam Leeman and Federico Fuentes, two participants in this year’s May Day brigade to revolutionary Venezuela.
“These are exciting times for Resistance”, Emma Clancy, a member of the socialist youth organisation’s national executive, told Green Left Weekly. “In the past year we have gone from strength to strength.” Clancy is helping to organise the 2007 national conference of Resistance, which will be held at Sydney’s Glebe Town Hall from July 5 to 8. The conference will involve “in-depth strategic discussions about all of the protest movements in Australia”.
On May 31, the nine Sydney men who were arrested in raids on their homes in November 2005, and who have been incarcerated in Goulburn maximum security prison since, finally faced a hearing in the Supreme Court. The nine men pleaded not guilty to the charge of conspiring to organise a terrorist act under the Howard government’s so-called anti-terror laws.