Australia

BY PAUL BENEDEK
SYDNEY — "Sometimes the left spends more time fighting other socialists than fighting the establishment", Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) leader Alister Black told a May 29 public forum at the Gaelic Club, organised by the

GEELONG — Workers at Geelong Wool Combing (GWC) are maintaining their 24-hour picket outside the gates of their employer. The 110 workers have been overwhelmed by the level of support they have received from the community.

Adrian Van Doren, workplace delegate for the Textile Clothing and Footwear Union (TCFUA), told Green Left Weekly that the workers were locked out on April 28. "We've been here all this time and if it hadn't been for the support from our union and all the other great unions, who knows what would have happened?"

170 people rallied outside Queensland parliament on March 1 - the day two abortion law reform bills were due to be debated. Instead, the bills were withdrawn by the mover, Rob Pyne, who secured a promise by the government that the issue of abortion rights would be referred to the Queensland Law Reform Commission.

Introducing the rally, Anna McCormack of the Womens Abortion Rights Campaign said "we're very, very disappointed about what has happened and we're more than a little angry by recent events".

Sex workers and their allies held their first public rally for law reform and an end to stigma in Brisbane on March 8.

[Photos by Kamala Emanuel. Full report here.]

A hastily called International Women's Day rally attracted around 150 people in Brisbane on March 11. Speakers condemned the state parliament's failure to pass laws decriminalising abortion, expressed solidarity with transwomen and Muslim women and pointed to the many ongoing attacks and campaigns for women's liberation. One person carrying a transphobic sign was answered by an expression of trans solidarity from the rally platform, widely and enthusiastically supported in the crowd.

Alomst 200 people marched through Brisbane on March 25 as part of the March in March mobilisation.

About 50 Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) members and supporters occupied the foyer of the Brisbane offices of Rio Tinto on March 28.

Rio Tinto has reneged on its agreement with the MUA to have 70–80% Australian crew on its coastal fleet. Instead it is using exploited foreign workers who are paid $3–4 per hour. This is despite posting a $6 billion profit last year.

Queensland branch secretary of the MUA Bob Carnegie said: “No Australian should be locked out of Australian jobs so foreign workers can be exploited and paid below a minimum wage.”

Over 80 protesters promised they would stop the Carmichael coal mine outside a March 31 appearance at the Hilton Hotel by Adani boss Jeyakumar Janakaraj. Protesters said they would #StopAdani in solidarity with traditional owners who are opposed to the development. Saving the reef and tackling climate change were other reasons given to stop the mine.

The #StopAdani protest was organised by 350 Brisbane which has pledged to build a people's movement against the mine, including targeting banks such as Westpak who have refused to reject funding the mine.

Since March 22, refugee activists have maintained watch at Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney to stop the deportation of Saeed (not his real name), a 60-year-old Iraqi man.

Below is a photo essay by Zebedee Parkes.

Read more about the campaign here and follow the Facebook page here.

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