964

Tall Man Written by Angela Betzien Directed by Leticia Caceres La Mama, Melbourne Despite the cold I ventured out to La Mama - a small, quirky and iconic theatre in Melbourne to see Tall Man, a new work by the infamous Melbourne theatre posse Real TV – the partnership of writer, Angela Betzien and director Leticia Caceres. Within seconds I was transported into the hot, seething heart of the Australian bush, deep in the Dee Ranges of Central Queensland.
Austerity almost seems like the defining feature of politics today. Across Europe and the US, crippling cuts to education, health care and welfare budgets are driving millions further into poverty. Even in Australia, where our economy has been spared the worst of the financial crisis, both big parties are raising taxes on ordinary people and applying cuts to welfare and education. Last year, cuts to courses and staff at several universities, including Sydney University and La Trobe University, led to strong campaigns by staff and students to defend their education and jobs.
About 200 people rallied outside NSW government offices on May 3 to protest the decision of the NSW Liberal government to defund the Welfare Rights Centre (WRC), an advice and advocacy service for pensioners, the unemployed and other welfare recipients. The $400,000 cut is 40% of the WRC funding (the rest coming from the federal government) and is seen as an attempt to silence a voice for the poorest sector of society. This follows federal Labor government cuts to sole parent pensions, a step which plunged thousands more women under the poverty line.
The federal Labor government had a rare win when it wedged Tony Abbott and the Liberal opposition into supporting its plan to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) through an increase in the Medicare levy. But will this be enough to stop Abbott from winning the next election? If the bookies know their business, few are game to put money on this. An ALP win is at its longest odds since Sportsbet opened betting on the election result.
Ten thousand building workers walked off the job and rallied in Melbourne's CBD on April 30 to protest against the poor safety record of construction companies such as Grocon. Unionists led by the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) marched from Trades Hall to Grocon's Swanston Street building site, where a wall collapsed and killed passers-by Alexander and Bridget Jones and Marie Faith-Fiawoo.

Economic forecasting agency BIS Shrapnel has reported that engineering work, spurred on by the mining boom, would be about $128 billion in Australia this financial year. It may be easy to suggest that, despite the rumours, the mining boom is set to continue long into the future. However, the report was quite downbeat. ABC Online said BIS Shrapnel predicted that a "slowdown in mining investment and its related infrastructure is expected to reduce activity by 5.4% next financial year … engineering construction will be 20% below this year's peak by 2016-2017."

People of the world, freedom is under attack! And as shocking as it might seem, this threat to liberty is emerging from within the “Land of the Free” itself. Yes, there was actually a bill put to US Congress that sought to increase the background checks on individuals seeking to buy semi-automatic rifles of the sort that Sandy Hook mass murderer Adam Lanza used to gun down 20 children in December.

Moreland Council is proposing to install more CCTV cameras in response to concerns about safety after the murder of Jill Meagher last year. The expansion of CCTV cameras, already a civil liberties concern, would do little to make women safer on the streets at night.

In a different world — in a better world — Jock Palfreeman would not be in a jail serving a 20-year sentence. Instead he'd be awarded a medal for great courage, principle and instinctive support for victims of racist violence. He would not be locked away in a jail in Bulgaria. He’d be toured around as an example of the sort of person we should all aspire to be. One who stands up for the underdog, who refuses to tolerate oppression and injustice.
Years of campaigning and mass protest have culminated in another round of victories for the worldwide movement for equal marriage rights. In the past month, a further three countries have voted to allow people of the same sex to marry. A vote in Uruguay’s parliament on April 11 made it the second country in Latin America to allow marriage equality, joining Argentina, which changed its law in 2010. New Zealand’s parliament was the site of a moving scene on April 17 when galleries packed with supporters burst into song as the parliament passed the Marriage Amendment Bill.
About 50 people attended a community safety forum organised by Moreland City Council on April 24. The forum was organised as part of the debate about how to make the streets safer following the murder of Jill Meagher last year. The state government’s proposal to fund installation of CCTV cameras on Moreland streets was controversial. It was strongly advocated by Moreland Mayor Oscar Yildiz, and supported by federal Labor MP Kelvin Thomson and state Labor MP Jane Garrett.
Social justice and anti-deaths in custody organisations around Australia formed a new national coalition on February 10. The new group will allow for national actions to be organised when a death in custody occurs that requires a national response and coordinated action. The organisations involved include the Indigenous Social Justice Association and the Deaths in Custody Watch committee. Groups in other states and territories have expressed interest in joining the coalition.
The smuggling of cameras inside detention camps on Nauru and Manus Island by the ABC's Four Corners has added to pressure on Labor to answer for the shocking conditions in which men, women and children are being held. Footage that was aired on April 29 showed rows of muddy tents, derelict amenities and ablution facilities and image after image of people who are losing the will to live.
Presentation by Gaye Page-Burt to the January 31 Sustainable Transport Forum in the Fremantle Town Hall. Page-Burt was representing the Fremantle Road To Rail Campaign.
Deep Thought EP Caper April 5, 2013 www.caper.net.au Rapper Caper slams the Native Title Act as a "white bible" on his latest release. The Narungga emcee, who has worked as a Native Title field officer in South Australia for the past 10 years, raps on his track "The Writing's On The Wall": A lot of misconceptions about us owning land We don’t own any, man I work for Native Title The government is a rival Assholes with a white bible
In an article in the Australian on April 20, Adam Creighton asserted that: “Teachers’ unions in Australia and worldwide have been astonishingly successful at hoodwinking the public into thinking smaller classes matter.” As a teacher with over 30 years’ experience and a member of the Australian Education Union, I can say articles such as that display ignorance about what it is really like to be a teacher in front of a class.

Pages

Subscribe to 964