Melbourne

Hundreds of students attending the Students of Sustainability (SOS) conference, together with activists from Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance (WACA) and Disarm Universities occupied three sites in Melbourne on July 11 to highlight corporate, government and university complicity in the cycle of war, climate destruction and abuse of refugees.

Nearly 80 workers at Laverton Cold Storage in Melbourne’s western suburbs went on strike for the first time on June 25 when negotiations for their first enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) broke down.

The Laverton workers are the lowest paid cold storage workers in Victoria, with a base rate of $20.50 an hour — only 30 cents more than the minimum wage. They work in sub-zero temperatures ranging from -10°C to -35°C. Laverton Cold Storage recently doubled the size of its facility in Truganina, showing it is not short of money.

More than 100 people attended a rally on June 24 to protest against the impending deportation of a Tamil family.

Nades, Priya and their two children had been living in Biloela, a small town in Queensland, for four years. On March 5 at 5am, their home was surrounded by 40 police and Border Force officers, and they were taken away with only 10 minutes to pack.

Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital (RWH) has decided to halve its funding for the Pregnancy Advisory Service (PAS), a vital Melbourne service.

This decision is particularly baffling in the light of the health minister’s commitment to fund a state-wide service which, by all accounts, would have gone to the RWH. Tragically, the RWH has backed away and instead decided to reduce the service.

The funding was picked up by Women’s Health Victoria to develop 1800 My Options, an online, state-wide phone service providing information on sexual and reproductive health service.

The Victorian Socialists’ campaign to get Stephen Jolly elected to the Victorian Legislative Council ramped up on June 17, as nearly 100 people blitzed the Richmond electoral district in the party’s first major doorknock of its campaign.

Activists, including candidates Jolly, Socialist Alliance’s Sue Bolton and Socialist Alternative’s Colleen Bolger, braved the rain, wind and frigid temperatures to knock on more than 2000 doors. The response received was mostly warm and positive.

The rape and murder of comedian Eurydice Dixon in Melbourne on June 12 has prompted a nationwide discussion about the endemic nature of male violence against women, as well as a push for solutions — short and long-term.

MARGARITA WINDISCH, a sexual assault councillor and educator on family violence at Victoria University, spoke to 3CR on June 18. Below is a transcript of her remarks. The full Podcast can be found here.

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The annual Melbourne Green Left Comedy Debate held in Brunswick Town Hall on June 16 started off on a sad note with a tribute in words and song to Eurydice Dixon, a young woman comedian who was murdered on her way home from a gig on June 12.

I’m pleased there has been a swift backlash to the Victorian police urging women to take responsibility for their safety after the murder of Eurydice Dixon on June 12.

The police response is both ridiculous and misogynist. It puts the onus on women to avoid being attacked.

The logical extension of their approach is for women to stay at home, and only go out with a male chaperone.

At the recent Victorian Labor state conference, the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) delegation and the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU), Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association (SDA) and Labor’s Right faction to close the conference early. That meant that a range of good motions, including for a Shorten government to close the offshore detention centres, were not debated. Union leader John Setka didn't think this was a problem but others, including rank-and-file CFMMEU members, do.

A contingent of Victorian Socialist members at a union rally

Clearing its first major hurdle in emphatic fashion, the Victorian Socialists gained registration as a political party in Victoria for the November 28 state election.

For a party to be registered in Victoria, a minimum of 500 people must confirm with the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) that they are members of that party.

In an email sent out to party supporters, Victorian Socialists secretary Corey Oakley thanked the members who returned their letters to the VEC confirming their membership. The VEC confirmed the party’s successful registration on June 6.

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