Perth

Thousands of people rallied in cities and towns around Australia on March 19 in opposition to the planned closure of around 150 remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia.

The issue was thrust into the spotlight in September when the federal government — without consultation — announced that it would stop providing funding to these homeland communities from July 1 this year.

An Aboriginal encampment returned to Matagarup (also known as Heirisson Island) on March 1. Police moved in on March 13 to close it down but were unsuccessful.

This week RE-fugue is happening. An artistic residency by Marziya Mohammedali about the intersection between art and activism. It's aimed at amplifying the voices of refugees, including those currently in detention and inspiring people to get active.

As you enter the space you're confronted with an installation that resembles a tent from Manus Island detention centre. Depending on when you attend the residency, you might get to help out creating the installation — though you've missed the really fun part of getting the tarpaulins up.

A crowd of up to 80 people rallied on the steps of Western Australian parliament house on February 25 to demand justice for the family of Miss Dhu.

Dhu was a 22-year-old Aboriginal woman who died in police custody on August 4 last year. She was imprisoned in Port Hedland for non-payment of fines.

Aboriginal activists rallied on the steps of parliament house in Perth on November 12 to protest against the Western Australian government’s plan to close 150 remote Aboriginal communities. The rally also condemned the federal government’s plan to cut funding to 180 remote indigenous communities in Western Australia.

READ MORE: COLIN BARNETT 'HELL-BENT' ON DESTROYING COMMUNITIES

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.

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