Naarm/Melbourne

Jasmine Pilbrow faced court on April 7 after she stood up for a refugee who was being deported on her Qantas flight.
Monash University's draft Environmental, Social and Governance statement has ruled out directly investing in fossil fuel production — currently about 10% of their investments — and commits to phase out indirect investments in coal production over the next 12 months. While this is a great first step, the bad news is there is no mention of gas or oil. The statement comes after more than a year of sustained pressure from staff and students for the university to divest from all fossil fuel investments and commit to completely ending their ties to the fossil fuel industry.
Jafri is an anti-racism campaigner who protests with his distinctive sign every Friday outside Melbourne's Flinders Street Station. This is his story. * * * I started doing this campaign last year. I was racially abused at the Royal Melbourne Hospital by a doctor. I complained to the hospital but they denied it. So I complained to the Health Service Commissioner and after contacting the hospital, no one could help me.
Several hundred people joined a rally against racism in Melbourne on April 3. Neo-nazis had threatened the rally but in the end were too scared to show up. The rally was organised by the Campaign Against Racism & Fascism. Speakers included Viv Malo from First Nations Liberation, Nazir Yousafi from Victorian Afghan Associations Network and anti-racism campaigner, Jafri.
An inner city girls' school will fly the rainbow flag in Melbourne to show its support for the same-sex attracted and gender diverse community. Greens MP Adam Bandt purchased the flag after putting a call out for donations last month so schools could fly the flag in support of young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and inter-sex (LGBTQI) people. Melbourne Girls' College in Richmond will raise the flag when school resumes from holidays.
A recent study, led by Victoria University and West Justice Youth Office, has revealed that students from low socioeconomic families cannot afford to travel on public transport, or pay the fines they incur for travelling without a valid myki card. West Justice chief executive Denis Nelthorpe said: “Up to 80,000 Victorian students a year were unable to pay fines, resulting in many of them skipping school.”
Activists from the Homeless Persons Union (HPU) began occupying vacant properties in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood on March 30 in a protest at the lack of public housing.
Swastikas and white power slogans were sprayed onto a number of Indian-owned and other stores and restaurants in West Footscray, Melbourne, in the early hours of March 5. However, within hours a team of volunteers appeared to scrub out Nazi symbols and slogans such as "white power" and "niggers must die" from Barkly Street shop and restaurant windows and fences. Brett Long, who organised the clean-up, said he wanted to send the message that the local community overwhelmingly supported the businesses and those who ran them.
More than a hundred people attended a public meeting in Coburg on March 10 to oppose the construction of residential towers, including a 19-storey tower, on the Pentridge prison site. Save Coburg organised the meeting. A number of resolutions were passed at the meeting, including one to set up a community campaign group. This is a vital step as state government and local council have proved themselves incapable of defending the rights of the community on this issue and have allowed developers' greed to rule.
LGBTIQ activist Sally Goldner was inducted into the Victorian Women’s Honour Roll on March 7. The Honour Roll acknowledges and celebrates the outstanding achievements of Victorian women. Goldner is the first trans woman to be inducted into the Honour Roll. She said: “It’s really affirming for myself and for trans and bi woman that this recognition has happened. To be in the company of such a diverse range of women is very empowering.”
On the evening of March 12, during Melbourne's Moomba festival, there was a disturbance involving crowds of young people around Federation Square. One passer-by was hospitalised, and discharged later the same evening. Four youths were arrested: two for drunkenness, one for carrying a stun gun, and another for allegedly knocking a police officer's radio or phone into their face. Some tables and chairs outside cafes were overturned, and crockery smashed.
Hundreds of people marched for International Women's Day in Melbourne on March 8.