Geelong

The third Swan Island Peace Convergence was held in Queenscliff, Victoria from September 22 to 26. About 50 peace activists from around the country converged in Queenscliff with the aim to blockade the top secret Swan Island Military Base.

The military base on Swan Island is used as a training facility for SAS troops, a special operations force of the Australian army. This includes troops involved in counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan.

It is also a communications centre for the Australian Secret Intelligence Service.

It was great to see all big health unions in Victoria hold a joint community rally on February 3 to protest against the state and federal governments’ slashing of health funding in Victoria. But any casual observer couldn’t help feeling that a re-elect Labor strategy was lurking.

It was true that all of the secretaries from the key health unions roundly condemned the state Coalition and federal Labor governments for the $107 million cut to be implemented by June this year. The cut will result in more than 300 beds closing, elective surgery delays and job losses in many hospitals.

Protesters at a save TAFE rally in Geelong on October 19 chanted, “No cuts, no second term. We all have a right to learn, learn, learn!”

Almost 200 people took part in the rally. It coincided with the VECCI business convention at the Mercure Hotel in Geelong, which Premier Ted Baillieu was to speak at.

Protesters were angered to learn Baillieu had made his appearance but had left through the back door two hours before the rally began.

About 40 concerned citizens opposed to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan and Australia’s role in the conflict, gathered in Queenscliff on the Bellarine Peninsula, 30 kilometres from Geelong, to blockade the entrance to the Swan Island military base over September 23 to 27.

The Geelong Socialist Alliance released the statement below on September 18.

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The Socialist Alliance has announced today that they will endorse 55-year-old health and safety teacher, Sue Bull, as its candidate for Mayor in the Greater Geelong City Council elections, which take place on October 27.

Bull said: “I’ve decided to run because I can’t see that there are any candidates campaigning against corporate greed and putting the community and the environment first.

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