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Few Australian political protests can claim to have made an impact as great or as lasting as the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra. First set up on the lawns of Old Parliament House in January 1972, the embassy has been a focal point for the struggle for Aboriginal rights. Four Aboriginal men, Michael Anderson, Billie Craigie, Tony Koorie and Bertie Williams, launched the embassy in response to then-prime minister Billy McMahon’s refusal to grant Aboriginal land rights. Instead, McMahon had offered to lease stolen land back to Aboriginal people.

If you are an activist peacefully campaigning for a clean energy future, the federal Labor government believes you are a legitimate target for secret surveillance. Fairfax News’ Phillip Dorling reported on January 7 that resources and energy minister Martin Ferguson had asked for federal police help to spy on anti-coal campaigners. Even worse, documents released to Fairfax after a Freedom of Information request showed Ferguson acted after urging from coal industry lobbyists.
The global economic meltdown is yet to hit Australia hard, but 2011 was still a busy year of struggle in this relatively sheltered, wealthy country. The year began with an Australian citizen on the global centre stage. WikiLeaks cables embarrassed governments worldwide, revealing war crimes and treachery, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested without charge. He was detained for all of last year. His supporters fear he will be extradited to the US, where conservatives have openly called for his assassination.
Aboriginal man Terrance Briscoe, 28, died in Alice Springs police custody on January 5. But despite allegations from his family of police brutality, an independent investigation has been ruled out by the Northern Territory’s chief minister Paul Henderson. Aboriginal rights campaigners in Alice Springs said Briscoe was found unconscious in his cell about 2am. He had been “taken in 'protection custody' earlier that night after drinking with friends”.
Refugee rights activists representing groups and individuals from Darwin, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, Wollongong, Sydney, and the Blue Mountains met on December 3 to plan campaign activities for this year. It was the first national gathering of refugee rights campaigners since federal Labor's 2007 election, and fittingly occurred on the same weekend as the ALP's national conference. Labor further entrenched its anti-refugee policies, in particular offshore processing.
The Inland Council for the Environment and The Wilderness Society Newcastle released the statement below on January 13. * * * Environment groups are calling on Premier Barry O’Farrell to take action and stop coal seam gas work in the Pilliga State Forest, as gas giant Santos today released a statement admitting that 10,000 litres of untreated coal seam gas water spilled into the Pilliga Forest in June 2011.
A Perth educator, author and long-time activist, Mary (Mairi) McKenzie, died on New Year's Eve at the age of 94. Mary discovered early what life was like in a society with little welfare and few rights for workers and the unemployed. At the age of 10, she lost her mother to tuberculosis, making her effectively the mother figure for her seven younger siblings. At the age of 13 she left school to undertake their full-time care.
About 40 activists, many from conservation group Forest Rescue and anti-whaling campaigners Sea Shepherd, gathered outside the Japanese embassy in Perth on January 9. They were demanding the release of three Australian men detained on a Japanese whaling ship and for an end to the slaughter of whales. The men had been held on board the Shonan Maru II since the early morning of January 8, when they boarded the vessel off Fremantle's coast to protest the presence of a whaling fleet in Australian waters.
Ollie MC

Ollie MC was an activist and hip hop artist, whose wheelchair was seen from the stage, to the streets, rallies and the coffee shop. Determined and unforgettable, he bore witness to the struggle for truth and justice.

Occupy this Invasion Wed Feb 1, 6pm Little Fish Gallery 22 Enmore Rd, Newtown Submission dates: Thurs Jan 27- Sun Jan 31 Mediums: Any  Email: littlefishgallerycrew@gmail.com Ph: 0449 288 904 Little Fish Gallery is proud to present its latest group show inspired by the global Occupy movement and which marks Invasion Day on January 26. This exhibition transcends political “isms“ and welcomes people with an array of different views to participate in creative dialogue whilst building community through the processes of art.
After an intense year of political activity in 2011, Socialist Alliance members have been preparing for the organisation’s eighth national conference, which will be held in Sydney over January 20-22.

CALL OUT TO THE NATION by Ollie MC.