The Socialist Alternative club at the University of Western Australia had its “club privileges” suspended on August 13. In effect, this amounts to a suspension of the club's affiliation to the Student Guild, which could be a prelude to complete disaffiliation. The issue seems to have flared over posters produced for a campus forum on the topic “Why Israel is a terrorist state”. After initially approving the posters, and allowing them to be displayed in Guild areas on campus, on the day of the forum the Guild sent an email to the club saying that all the posters had been removed.
The Western Australia senate election re-run has resulted in a big drop in support for the major parties and significant swings to the Greens and the Palmer United Party (PUP). Greens, PUP and Labor have won one seat each while the Liberals have won two seats. The final seat will be decided by preferences and is expected to go to either Liberal or Labor.
“Steve's case is really a case about all of us,” renowned Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva said in support of organic farmer Steve Marsh. It is about the right to “have the freedom to eat healthy, safe organic food”. Marsh lives in Kojanup in Western Australia, and is embroiled in a landmark “David v Goliath” legal case about the effects of genetically modified (GM) crops on his farm.
Photo: Alex Bainbridge A large gathering of people from the Vietnamese and Catholic communities - alongside supporters of refugee rights - gathered at the St Mary's Cathedral in Perth on November 8 to highlight the situation of Vietnamese refugees in the Yongah Hill Detention Centre. About 700 Vietnamese refugees have arrived in Australia in recent years complaining about religious persecution in Vietnam.
Representatives from the Nyoongar tent embassy gave a presentation forum on Nyoongar native title at Murdoch University on October 15, hosted by the Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre. The focus of the forum was the ongoing negotiations between the Western Australian state government and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (SWALSC) to extinguish native title in the Nyoongar territories of WA (roughly the region south of Geraldton and east to Esperance) in exchange for a $1.3 billion cash and land package.
Socialist councillor Sam Wainwright is one of three Fremantle councillors facing a challenge in the local government elections that open on September 26. Mayor Brad Pettitt, a member of the Greens, also faces a challenge from defeated federal Liberal candidate Matthew Hanssen. The city of Fremantle has a relatively progressive council. All the challengers are more conservative than the incumbents.
Socialist councillor Sam Wainwright has vowed to run a fierce campaign for the seat of Fremantle aimed at winning public support for confiscating the wealth of the mining billionaires and the big banks. “The mining boom reveals starkly the manifest inequality of capitalism in Australia today,” Wainwright told Green Left Weekly. “On the one hand, we have Gina Rinehart — who has become the richest person in Australia — and on the other hand we have homeless people on the streets of Fremantle.
In the WA election the Socialist Alliance ran in the seats of Perth, Fremantle and Willagee and won 0.9%, 1.2% and 2% of the vote respectively. Willagee candidate Sam Wainwright said: "While small votes in absolute terms, for us they represent a modest increase and contain some important indicators." Wainwright, a City of Fremantle councillor representing the Hilton ward, said that this was the first time the Socialist Alliance had run in Willagee, most of which has a more working-class character and more state housing tenants than Fremantle.
Socialist Alliance WA co-convener Alex Bainbridge has hit out at legal threats issued by lawyers acting on behalf of Recall management. Recall is a document storage company whose workers have entered their fourth week on strike for an agreement that recognises union rights. “Yesterday we received a letter indicating that Recall's lawyers are seeking to subpoena documents from the Socialist Alliance regarding the dispute,” Bainbridge told Green Left Weekly.
About 10,000 nurses and midwives across Western Australia were threatened with disciplinary action and deregistration by the state’s director general if they went ahead with a 24-hour strike on February 25. The evening before the planned action, WA premier Colin Barnett intervened to offer the nurses a 14% pay rise over three years. Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) members accepted the offer after voting at a mass meeting on February 25.