Australia

Below is the text of the speech by Tamil refugee and member of the Tamil Refugee Council Lavanya Thavaraja to the Melbourne Palm Sunday refugee rally on March 25.

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I am really happy to see so many people here in support of refugees. This rally is very important for many refugees. This is what gives them hope in the face of danger.

Members of the Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance (WACA) blockaded the Home Affairs Department building and the Wilson Security Car Park in Canberra on March 28.

They were protesting the treatment of refugees held in indefinite detention and at risk of being deported to danger. The activists held banners that read “Border Force Tortures Refugees”, “Deportations = Death”, “#Justice4Refugees”, “#SackDutton” and “All Refugees in Detention are Political Prisoners”.

Seven protesters who superglued their hands to a balustrade in the public gallery of Parliament House were found not guilty on March 29 of intentionally damaging Commonwealth property.

The seven were part of a Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance (WACA) campaign that on November 30, 2016, disrupted Question Time in protest at the government's treatment of refugees. The parliamentary session was halted as security officers removed the protesters one by one.

 

More than 6000 early childhood educators walked off the job on March 27 for the third time in 12 months to demand equal pay. In addition, more than 30,000 parents made other arrangements for their children, or kept them at home, to stand in solidarity with childcare workers.

The walk-off was part of a nationwide day of action called by the workers’ union United Voice prompted by the failure of the federal government to act on equal pay. Early childhood educators are among the lowest paid professionals in Australia.

Members of Sydney's Brazilian community and socialist and LGBTQ activists organised a vigil in Martin Place on March 26 to demand justice for the assassinated Brazilian socialist city councillor Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Pedro. Massive demonstrations have taken place throughout Brazil and solidarity actions have happened around the the world.

Video by Mert Balkanli for Green Left TV.

“If we want to look after people and the land as we repower New South Wales [with renewable energy] we have to fight for it”, George Woods from Lock the Gate told a large rally of First Nations people, farmers and city-dwellers who took over Martin Place near NSW Parliament on March 24.

Thousands of people rallied across Australia for refugee rights at the annual Palm Sunday rallies on March 25. Melbourne had its largest rally in years as people called on the government to close down the detention centres, bring them here and let them stay. Walid Zazai, one of the men on Manus Island, sent this speech to refugee activist in Australia. The speech was read out at Palm Sunday rallies across Australia.

United Voice members working at the XXXX brewery in Brisbane stopped work for one hour, supported by other unionists and community members, on March 26.Damien Davie addresses media at rally

United Voice members working at the XXXX brewery stopped work for one hour supported by large numbers of unionists and community supporters on March 26. Their main demand is for job security in a context where labour hire workers are being brought into the brewery with 25% less pay than regular workers and concerns that the company is shifting production interstate.

More photos on the Green Left Facebook page.

In her March 21 address to the National Press Club in Canberra, ACTU secretary Sally McManus successfully skewered the Malcolm Turnbull government for their woeful disregard for workers' rights.

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