A small but spirited group of protesters braved driving wind and rain outside Fremantle’s Notre Dame University on the evening of June 30 to express their opposition to the university playing host to British climate change denier Christopher Monckton. Earlier that day, Perth's daily newspaper The West Australian had obligingly provided free publicity for Monckton’s impending speech in an article occupying most of its front page.
It was a good thing when 14 Labor members of the Western Australian parliament and the federal member for Fremantle, Melissa Parke, publicly voiced their disgust that unaccompanied children would be sent to Malaysia as part of the Labor federal government’s refugee swap. The claptrap used to sell this cruel and illogical farce is deservedly collapsing in on itself. Federal Labor’s contradictory flip-flopping on this issue has been excruciating to watch. It’s not guided by any rational policy making, but political imagery.
About 100 maritime workers and community members rallied at Fremantle's Victoria Quay on March 4 to demand the federal and state government act in support of the human rights of the crew of the Bader III, a live sheep carrier. The workers on the Bader III and its sister ship, the Maysora, are owed about $400,000 in back pay. Their employer said it will only pay them out when they complete their contracts, which are typically nine to 12 months long.
Wharfies employed by stevedoring company Patrick at four different ports across Australia took strike action in the last week of January in pursuit of a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA). It was the most significant industrial action on the wharves since the 1998 Patrick lockout. In recent ballots organised by Fairwork Australia, workers at the strike-affected ports voted (by margins of 94% to 100%) to take a range of different forms of industrial action to press their claim.
Fremantle Council is grappling with the rights and conditions of the workers who it expects to implement the city’s projects. I’ve proposed a policy called “Employment Values for the City of Fremantle”. For supporters of workers’ rights, the policy is straightforward and modest. It seeks to entrench the following principles: 1. Respecting the right of workers to union organisation and representation. 2. Limiting the use of fixed-term contracts and creating a guaranteed path to permanency. 3. Remunerating employees on the basis of equal pay and conditions for work of equal value.