As a sagging economy cruelled their electoral chances, right-wing parliamentarians and power-brokers in the South Australian Labor Party decided in late 2014 that it was time to ditch a once fiercely-defended point of policy. The party's remaining opposition to the nuclear fuel cycle would have to go. Labor Premier Jay Weatherill soon came on board, and by March last year the state's Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission was under way.
Anti-Poverty Network SA hosted the “Stand Up! Speak Out!” conference in Adelaide on October 16 and 17. The grassroots gathering of welfare recipients, community workers and activists from South Australian and Victorian groups was part of Anti-Poverty Week. One of the highlights was the “War On The Poor” session. Rob Graham from Green Left Weekly and Pas Forgione from Anti-Poverty Network SA spoke to Owen Bennett from the Australian Unemployed Workers' Union and Kerry Arch from the Australian United Sole Parents Network about the attacks on welfare recipients.
The Anti-Poverty Network South Australia hosted a conference, “Speak Out! Stand Up! Ideas, Stories, and Action Against Poverty” on October 16 and 17. The event, part of the nation-wide anti-poverty week of activities from October 11 to 17, was a unique gathering of activists, community workers and welfare recipients who face constant attacks on their rights as they struggle with below-poverty-line incomes and few job openings. Significantly, it was the only anti-poverty week event organised and run by low-income people.
"Making Solar Thermal Happen" was the theme of a forum on August 5 at the University of South Australia, hosted by Repower Port Augusta and Climate Emergency Action Network of South Australia (CLEAN SA). Speakers explored the benefits of the community proposal to build solar thermal power stations in Port Augusta from the point of view of jobs, manufacturing, health, climate and regional development. The discussion was timely, with Port Augusta’s future remaining uncertain after the recently announced forthcoming closure of its coal-fired power stations.
On November 27, early in the morning, Jorge Castillo-Riffo was found on the scissor lift at the new Adelaide Hospital construction site. He had been crushed against a beam and died the following day. Castillo-Riffo cared about his fellow workers and was diligent about Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) at his work site. About 1400 construction workers walked off the site and did not return to work until the following Monday.
Two teenage asylum seekers have been taken from their homes in a community detention program in Adelaide’s inner-northern suburbs and sent to a closed detention centre, causing other young asylum seekers to run away from their homes in fear. On June 26, two young Vietnamese asylum seekers, who attended Woodville High School, were taken from their homes and detained by the immigration department.
Adelaide's annual Green Left Weekly dinner fundraiser on November 10 brought together supporters from unions, social justice groups and the activist community, raising more than $1000 for the paper. This year, Sue Bull from the Geelong branch of Socialist Alliance delivered an impassioned keynote speech on the rising electoral support for socialists nationwide. Assistant Secretary of Australian Services Union (SA/NT) Joseph Scales also addressed the event, praising GLW for its support of workers' struggles.
The Adelaide Pride march snaked its way through the Adelaide CBD on November 10, bringing traffic to a standstill with blasting music, dancing and some wild outfits. The annual march celebrates the opening night of the Feast festival but, according to some attendees, it is also an opportunity for self-expression. “It allows us to be us. [We] don’t have to hide who we are,” marcher Sasha Delight told Green Left Weekly. First-time marcher Chloe Bleakley said: “Seeing everyone in the same place reminds us we're not alone.”
About 350 women took to the streets of Adelaide on October 26 as part of a Reclaim the Night protest. No march was held last year, so it was inspiring to see women of all ages marching through the central business and nightclub districts of Adelaide chanting, “whatever we wear, wherever we go — yes means yes, no means no”, and “women united will never be defeated”. The event was a women’s only space. Male supporters were encouraged to show support from the footpath along the march route.
Socialist Alliance activist and feminist Liah Lazarou gave the speech below to Adelaide’s Reclaim the Night rally on October 26. * * *