Zombies raised concerns over climate change on Halloween in Newcastle. The demonstrators sought to raise awareness about the coming “climate apocalypse.”
Dozens of climate activists sprinted across mountains of coal, swarmed a massive coal loader, locked on to critical parts of the machine and shut down the largest coal terminal in the world, in Newcastle on September 15.
On September 13, Micah Weekes, once a coal miner and now an anti-coal activist stopped a coal train heading into the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle.
A former scaffolder from the Central Coast, Weekes worked in the coal industry for nearly 10 years. He said he was taking action because of the coal industry’s toxic impact on people’s health.
“You don’t have to work in the industry to get sick from this. My kids are going to get sick. It’s already happening. People in my community have reoccurring respiratory illnesses, cancers and tumours.”
Newcastle youth Ceder locked on to the side of a coal train in Newcastle, halting all supply heading into the world's largest coal port on September 7. Ceder was later cut loose and taken into police custody. This was the third protest action this week organised by Frontline Action on Coal against Australia’s coal industry and its contribution to global climate change.
Newcastle Police arrested a young man and woman for filming a peaceful protest on September 3, along with Sarah Barron, a Newcastle local, who had blocked all coal trains heading across Sandgate bridge for three hours. All three were taken into custody by around a dozen police, with the two who filmed the event being charged with “aiding and abetting”.
Barron was participating in “Act Up Newcastle” as part of the #EndCoal campaign initiated by Climate Justice group Frontline Action on Coal (FLAC), in collaboration with Newcastle Climate Justice Uprising.
Sometimes I wonder if New South Wales transport minister Andrew Constance thinks he is a comedian.
“Join your union and bargain together” is the lesson from the recent pay campaign by EDI-Downer workers, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) NSW assistant secretary Corey Wright told Green Left Weekly.
A three-day strike involving mass meetings, rallies and a march of 200 workers down Newcastle’s Hunter Street, encouraged the company to start serious discussions with the union after six months of stalling.
I happily admit that I will take any opportunity to parade down the street waving a red flag, and the May Day march in Hamilton on Sunday will be one of those opportunities.
Since the 1850s, when the first workers’ associations were formed in the Hunter, trade unionists and their families have put their demands forward on occasions such as May Day.
New South Wales transport minister Andrew Constance should note the observation by Victor Hugo, the French novelist, that the worst thing a minister can do is have policies that upset people so much that they protest publicly and loudly about them.
Any one of the 1000 people who attended a rally at Belmont on February 19 could have told their own horror story of bus privatisation.
Speaking on behalf of many, several community members exposed the lie that privatised bus services make it easier for people to get around.
New mother Kimberley Anderson described how she and her three-month-old baby, on the way to a medical appointment, waited in the rain for a bus that never showed.
For another parent, Bec Cassidy, the new timetable and service cuts meant she had to change her daughter’s primary school.
Socialists polled well in the Newcastle council elections on September 9. Steve O’Brien, Samantha Ashby and Gayle Dedman won 891 votes (4.13%) in Ward 1.
Their vote was more than 4% in five of the 13 booths, with the highest being in Newcastle East at 7.5%. O’Brien also won 2.10%, or 1909 votes, for Lord Mayor.
The “Community need not developer greed” platform resonated in a context where Labor boasted it would help developers, ignoring the impact on communities.
Newcastle’s bus drivers have been repeatedly underpaid since the city’s public transport system was privatised on July 1.
About 70 workers have been underpaid between $200 and $600 since then.
The NSW government awarded Keolis Downer a 10-year contract to operate Newcastle’s public transport system of buses, ferries and the new light rail last year.
It was the first time in Australia that one company was awarded a contract to operate a city’s entire transport system.
In the 1960s, Joy Cummings, a Labor Party activist, locked onto a row of Moreton Bay figs in Islington Park, Newcastle. The majestic trees, which had been earmarked for the chainsaw to widen the road, were saved and still stand today. Cummings went on to be elected to Newcastle Council and in 1974 became Australia’s first female Lord Mayor.
Students of Sustainability (SoS) is an annual student conference organised by the Australian Student Environment Network (ASEN).
This year’s SoS conference was held in Newcastle on Awabakal and Worimi land at the Hunter TAFE campus from June 30 to July 5. Conference attendees camped on the campus oval for four days of workshops and plenary sessions, stunts and actions, film screenings, field trips, guerrilla gardening, an anti-fashion show, an open mic night and a dance party.
Speakers at Newcastle’s refugee week rally on June 24, including Rafi, a detainee on Manus Island who spoke via telephone, called for activists to keep up the pressure on the government’s inhumane refuge policies.
Gleny Rae, Go back to where you came from; Fr Rod Bower, Gosford Anglicans; Dr Kate Murton, Doctors for Refugees; Keira Dott, Students Against Detention; Ian Rintoul, Refugee Action Coalition; Rafi, from Manus Island via telephone; Councillor Therese Dole, Newcastle City Council and others spoke about maintaining the rage.
The V8 supercars race due to run through Newcastle streets in November places “private profit over the common good and social justice” according to the Newcastle East Residents Group (NERG).
In a recent leaflet NERG points out that residents continue to be sidelined by Newcastle City Council, Destinations NSW (a government tourism body) and Supercars Australia Pty Ltd.
The race deal was worked out in a private briefing and closed council meetings without community involvement last year.