The Perth community has witnessed in past weeks an inspiring mobilisation of people affected by homelessness or as they like to be called, the “streeties”. It started as a small rally to protest against the treatment of those living on the streets during the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM), and against insensitive comments made by Liberal police minister Rob Johnson. Now it has broadened to challenge the government on homelessness.
Resistance members in Perth took part in a protest outside the office of Melissa Parke organised by the Refugee Rights Action Network on July 1 to demand an end to mandatory detention and the immediate release of 16-year-old Indonesian Hadi Kurniawan from the Hakea adult prison.
Since March 2009, it has been unclear whether promising footballer Rex Bellotti Junior will need to have his leg amputated after he was run over by a police four wheel drive in Albany, Western Australia. The Indigenous boy, then 15, was leaving a wake when the police vehicle, driving on the wrong side of the road, struck him with sufficient force to drag him under the van, breaking his right femur and inflicting lacerations to his legs.
Members of various activist groups joined a roadside anti-privatisation protest in Booragoon, Western Australia on June 3. The groups responded to the call by the “In Public Hands” campaign group to campaign for public ownership of the soon-to-be-built Fiona Stanley Hospital. Protesters held placards reading “Don’t privatise our hospitals” and “Honk if you support anti-privatisation”, which received plenty of responses from passers-by.
More than 60 people rallied outside parliament house on June 2 in support of rights for homeless people. This was the largest of three protests organised since the issue was raised in state parliament in April in relation to the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). Police minister Rob Johnson said on April 7 that homeless people would have to “sleep somewhere else'', implying they would be swept from the streets during CHOGM.
Thirty people marched from the Stirling Gardens to parliament house on May 17 to protest the state governments plans to remove homeless people from the city centre for three days during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). Protesters were angry about the fact that $9 million dollars had been earmarked for the refurbishment of Frasers Restaurant in Kings Park for a CHOGM leaders social function. In addition, tens of millions of dollars have been allocated to refurbish ministerial offices. Meanwhile, 55,000 people are on the Homeswest waiting list for public housing.
A dozen activists gathered at Carousel shopping centre on May 2 as part of a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) action against cosmetics company Seacret. Friends of Palestine WA (FOPWA) called the action in support of the international BDS campaign called for by Palestinian civil society. The aim is to place pressure on Israel to adhere to international law and to end the illegal occupation of Palestine. This pressure can be created by such actions as boycotting Israeli products.
Twenty five people joined a demonstration organised by homeless people to protest plans by the Western Australian government to remove homeless people from the city during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in October. on the street.” A parliamentary debate on April 7 revealed that homeless people would be directed away from CHOGM security areas in the city. Protesters were upset the government wanted to keep them out of sight during the CHOGM summit without doing anything to tackle homelessness.
Campaigners won a stunning victory on March 21 when the WA Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) announced that there is “adequate information to demonstrate that Vasse Coal Management’s coalmining proposal is environmentally unacceptable”. EPA Chairperson Paul Vogel said: “In effect, this is an EPA ‘no’ to the proposal.” The proposed Vasse coalmine was to have been 15 kilometres from the popular tourist destination, Margaret River. Internationally renowned as a wine-growing region, Margaret River is in the south-west of Western Australia.
About 50 people gathered at Murray St Mall, Perth on March 22 to participate in a speak-out called by the Refugee Rights Action Network. The protest was called in response to the deteriorating conditions inside the detention centres and the recent use of tear gas and rubber bullets against the Christmas Island protestors.