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The first marriage equality rally in Nowra, south of Wollongong, was held on September 6. About 100 people attended the rally and chalk rainbows were drawn on the footpath.

Rally organiser Tobi Harris told the Illawarra Mercury: “The seat of Gilmore has been held by the Liberals for 17 years, and we want to remind them to stand up for the gay community.”

Long-time queer rights activist Paola Harvey addressed the crowd. Her speech is reprinted below.

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The fight to defend public education is shaping up to be a key campaign against the cutback agenda of the Colin Barnett government in Western Australia. Thousands of teachers and education assistants rallied outside state parliament on September 3 in two separate mobilisations and further industrial action is planned.

The government claimed it has not cut education funding. However, the central issue is not about overall funding but the cuts to staffing levels. In August, the government announced they were planning to cut 500 education assistants and other support workers.

“The worst genocide of this century” was how Paul Newman, professor of human rights at the University of Bangalore, described what has happened to the Tamil people in Sri Lanka.

Newman was delivering the Eliezer memorial lecture, in memory of Professor CJ Eliezer, the founder of the Eelam Tamil Association of Victoria, at Monash University on August 25.

Newman was speaking on democracy in south Asia. He began by outlining some common features of the south Asian countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, before discussing Sri Lanka in more detail.

Pro-choice activists fear that a new bill, soon to go to NSW parliament, will pose a threat to women’s reproductive rights. “Zoe’s law” will create a new offence that recognises crime or harm against a foetus.

The Crimes Amendment (Zoe’s Law) Bill 2013 No. 2 was introduced by Liberal MP Chris Spence. It is named after the stillborn daughter of Brodie Donegan, who was 32-weeks pregnant when she was hit by a car on Christmas day in 2009 near Ourimbah on the central coast. Donegan suffered severe injuries and an emergency caesarean was too late to save the foetus.

Just before the federal election that put Tony Abbott in power, his soon-to-be immigration minister Scott Morrison said the government may stop telling the public when asylum boats arrive in Australia.

Instead, reporting details about boat arrivals — including numbers on board, their nationalities and whether any are children — would be an “operational decision” of the defence officers in charge of the Coalition's “Operation Sovereign Borders”.

Supporters of the Freedom Flotilla to West Papua, including the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy, gathered outside the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Brisbane on September 2.

They were protesting against the arrest of four supporters of the Freedom Flotilla in the West Papuan city of Sorong on August 28 and who are now facing charges of treason for raising the West Papuan Morning Star flag.

The West Papua Freedom Flotilla released this statement on September 12.

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Evading the Indonesian navy, two tiny boats met near the Australia-Indonesia border to ceremonially reconnect the indigenous peoples of Australia and West Papua. The ceremony was the pinnacle of a 5000 kilometre journey beginning in Lake Eyre, in which sacred water and ashes were carried and presented to West Papuan leaders.

Aboriginal Australians awoke on Sunday morning to find they had a new “Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs”, a pledge Tony Abbott delivered during the 2013 election campaign.

One problem — noone, including within the media, ever stopped to ask Aboriginal people if they actually wanted a “Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs”, and in particular whether they wanted Abbott.

As it turns out, they apparently don’t.

The NSW firefighters union has slammed the Barry O’Farrell state government for recent budget cuts that left five fire stations closed as more than 60 bushfires raged across the state on September 10.

Well, turns out some bastards won the federal elections. I knew some bastards would win. I said it beforehand, I said: “Some bastards are going to win this one, you wait and see.”

I was right. I even tried to put some money on some bastards winning, but no bookies would give me odds.

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