Analysis

It was a cold and blustery day in Sydney on June 23 when poet Candy Royalle laid down her warrior gloves and breathed her last. The queer, Arabic, literary and protest worlds bowed their heads in shock and lamented her loss.

Candy was a proud Palestinian-Lebanese queer woman and an electric poet and performer. She was ferocious on stage, offering audiences a heady mix of lesbian sexual liberation and searing anti-colonial orations.

 

A "Fix NSW Transport" lantern walk will be held on August 11, beginning at Town Hall and proceeding through city streets, to highlight community opposition to tollways, especially WestConnex, and the crisis of public transport in the state.

Initial endorsements included activist groups No Westconnex: Public Transport Not Motorways; EcoTransit; Friends of Erskineville; Keep Sydney Beautiful; Rail Tram and Bus Union; Netwown Residents Against WestConnex, National Tertiary Education Union; Restore Inner West Line; and Westconnex Action Group.

The federal government, supported by the Labor Party, successfully amended the Criminal Code Act 1995 by passing the National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2017 on June 28 to introduce new espionage offences. Green Left Weekly’s Pip Hinman asked NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon about the laws’ possible impact on those struggling for a better world.

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Will the changes make it more difficult to protest? Do they criminalise dissent?

Another fundamental liberty of the people of New South Wales took a hit on July 1.

On that day a new regulation under the Crown Land Management Act 2016 took effect, granting the NSW government wide powers to disperse or ban protests, rallies and virtually any public gathering across about half of all land across the state.

The powers apply on any Crown Land — land owned by the state government, including town squares, parks, roads, beaches, community halls and more.

The latest round of penalty rate cuts, which reduce weekend and public holiday penalty rates for staff in the retail, hospitality and pharmacy sectors by 10–15% from July 1, is estimated by the ACTU to affect 700,000 workers.

Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association national secretary Gerard Dwyer said the penalty rate cuts would cost many retail and fast food workers between $2000 and $6000 a year.

As a lesbian feminist in the early 1970s, I worked in coalition with gay men to bring about change, not only to gain equal rights but to change the world views on institutions that supported male privilege and men having more power than women.

Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions Sarah McNaughton SC recently filed criminal charges against Canberra lawyer Bernard Collaery and his client, a former officer of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS).

“Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here” is a chant that has been synonymous with the refugee rights movement in Australia since I became active some years ago.

That was a time when putting children in detention was, to some extent, something to hide — not a policy to win support from your voting base.

“Cultural insurgency” is all the buzz these days, but it is also a very real phenomena in the age of mass disillusionment with neoliberal capitalism.

People are not only sick of the market-knows-best mantra being shoved down our throats by corporate and political elites but are sharply aware that cultural spaces are being increasingly monopolised and manipulated by big business.

Whenever the Coalition and Labor stop bickering and agree in serious tones that something must be done in the “national interest” you can be sure they’re up to no good.

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