Sydney

For nine months I have volunteered at the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney.

For the past few months, an African woman has also been visiting the centre. She is Somalian and was once in detention in Villawood. Before that she was on Christmas Island, and before that on Nauru.

On this day we all sat together laughing, as volunteers do. This was the first time I had properly spoken to her. She seemed happy, calm and free.

I was one of the “pro-Palestinian hecklers” that faced off against Alan Dershowitz at the Darling Harbour Convention Centre on February 25.

I heckled because there was no freedom of speech in that United Israel Appeal (UIA) propaganda event. The issues of the stealing of Palestinian land and the killing of Palestinian people were not addressed. I have strong Jewish connections as well as Palestinian friends, some of whom were demonstrating outside, together with the valiant Jews Against the Occupation.

Pacha Guzman, a leading activist with Venezuela’s largest peasant-based organisation, the Ezequiel Zamora National Campesino Front (FNCEZ), told a public meeting in Sydney on March 21 that despite serious challenges, Venezuela’s pro-poor "Bolivarian Revolution will win".

Guzman also reaffirmed the continued strength of the popular movement for socialism launched by former President Hugo Chavez and said she expects his successor, President Nicolas Maduro, to win the May 20 presidential elections.

Sydney is in the grip of "tollway madness" and urgently needs a planning overhaul if it is to become a healthier city, the recent FitNSW forum for planning and health experts was told.

There were multiple demonstrations on the weekend of March 17–18 while a host of dictatorial leaders from the region were welcomed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to a Special Summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

 

Anna Hush is a former Women’s Officer at Sydney University. She has worked with End Rape on Campus Australia, and with journalist and advocate Nina Funnell she co-authored The Red Zone Report, which was released last month. This is an abridged version of a talk she gave at Sydney University at the Women’s Legal Service Feminist Legal Perspectives Seminar on March 7.

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The following is a slightly abridged speech given by Jessika Faithfull to a pro-choice protest on March 18 called by the University of Sydney Women’s Collective.

The protest outside St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney was called to counter the annual anti-abortion “Walk for Little Feet” rally. A large contingent of NSW Police unsuccessfully tried to shut the pro-choice protest down.

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Protesters gathered outside the Sydney studio where Channel Seven broadcasts its breakfast show Sunrise on March 16.

They were there to express their outrage at comments made by two panellists, neither of whom are Indigenous, on the show on March 13. They, and many on social media, objected when one, who had no experience in child welfare or Indigenous affairs, argued the Stolen Generations were justified because Indigenous children were being abused by their parents and a second Stolen Generation was needed.

There were multiple protests on March 17 in Sydney as Australia hosted the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) 2018 Summit. Australia is not a member of ASEAN but its government was keen to cosy up to the leaders of several undemocratic governments.

While the ASEAN leaders gathered within the boundaries of Darling Harebour (declared a protest no go zone) the Summit there were protests elsewhere in the city around human rights in Cambodia, Vietnam, Myammar, Malaysia, Indonesian and the Philippines.

More than 200 residents and supporters gathered at the Moorefield Bowling Club in Rockdale on March 3 to protest the proposed F6 Extension to the controversial $18 billion Westconnex tollway, linking the south-western suburbs to Wollongong.

If the F6 motorway is built, residents from the suburbs of Arncliffe, through Rockdale to Sans Souci and all the way to the Royal National Park, will face immense environmental and social disruption.

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