Artist Doreen Chapman at the opening night of ‘We Call It Home’. We Call It Home Spinifex Hill Artists exhibition, FORM gallery, Perth September 3 to November 30 Many of the Martu people of Western Australia’s Pilbara region, extending out into the Great Sandy, Little Sandy and Gibson Deserts, only ceased living a pujiman (entirely traditional) life as late as the 1960s. Many also took part in the huge Aboriginal stock workers strike of the late ’40s.
"Boat turn backs, mandatory detention, offshore processing and indefinite limbo do not save lives." This was the comment made by Refugee Rights Action Network activist Michelle Bui before the 1000-strong #LightTheDark vigil for refugees in Perth on September 7. "You have to understand," she said that "no one puts their child on a boat unless the water is safer than the land."
The Canning byelection is attracting national attention as the possibility that the Liberals may lose the seat they hold by a 12% margin is openly discussed. A loss would be a severe blow to the Coalition government — already reeling from controversies ranging from the Border Farce stunt in Melbourne to the choppergate scandal — as well as to the leadership of Tony Abbott.
Well over 1000 people attended the Bersih 4.0 rally in Perth on August 29. This was more than double the number who attended Bersih 3.0 in Perth in 2012.
The Friends of Palestine WA (FOPWA) led a 50-strong protest of students, activists and Palestinians to boycott the opening of the Israeli Film Festival in Perth on August 20.
Almost 50 people marched from Parliament House to Dumas House (where the state treasury offices are located) to present petitions to treasurer Mike Nahan on August 14. The petitions called for the removal of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on tampons and other women's sanitary products. Protesters pointed out that products more commonly used by men including condoms and shaving cream are not taxed yet tampons and pads are.
'Put the bill, pass the bill' was the message as 700 people marched through the streets of Perth in support of marriage equality on August 9. The rally began with a new song by Luke John O'Dell and featured speakers including Joey Cookman from Playgroups with Pride, trans activist Jayne McFadyen and Greens parliamentarian Lynn MacLaren.
The anniversary of the death in custody of 22-year-old Aboriginal woman, known as Julieka Dhu, was marked around Australia on August 4. Dhu died while in police custody in Western Australia’s Pilbara region for non-payment of fines that totalled about $1000.
The Bandyup Action Group (BAG) held its most recent speak out on July 18 to protest against conditions in Bandyup Women's Prison. There has been a dramatic rise in incarceration rates, particularly for non-violent acts such as non-payment of fines. About 30% of women detained at Bandyup are there because of unpaid fines; 30% have existing and severe mental health problems; and 90% have been physically and/or sexually assaulted at some point in their lives.