Australian News

GLW Issue 923

Activists expected that a new “anti-association” law would be passed by the Western Australian parliament on May 1. Instead, the law has been debated inside and outside parliament since then.

The new law would give power to a judge to declare an organisation to be a “criminal association”. Members of declared organisations can be given “control orders” restricting their contacts with other people and could even prohibit their use of telephones or email.

More than 100 people rallied in King George Square on May 18 to commemorate the Palestinian Al-Nakba (The Catastrophe), when Israel was established with the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their villages and homes. Protesters held placards with the names of villages that were destroyed by Zionist forces in 1948.

Speakers condemned the Apartheid policies of the Israeli state from then until now. The rally was followed by a procession through city streets in double file.

Photos by Ali Bakhtiavandi

Photos by Ali Bakhtiavandi

The Australian Council of Trade Unions unanimously passed a motion supporting self-determination for the people of Western Sahara at its national congress over May 15-17.

The motion also called for the Australian government to push local companies to “end the importation of phosphate”, which is plundered from Western Sahara by Morocco.

Saharawi human rights activist Malak Amidane spoke at a public forum in Sydney on May 17 as part of a national speaking tour, organised by the Australia Western Sahara Association and the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.

More refugees confronted with a lifetime in immigration detention because of an “adverse” security check by ASIO are being driven to suicide attempts and self-harm.

More than 200 police staged a dawn raid on the peaceful Aboriginal Sovereignty Embassy in Musgrave Park, South Brisbane on May 16. They evicted the 80 people defending the site and arrested about 30.

More than 100 protesters outside the wire fence surrounding the park rallied in support, despite a police blockade of all streets around the area from 6am.

About 70 people gathered for a vigil in Melbourne on May 15, in support of the community campaign against a gas hub in the Kimberley region, WA.

Earlier, more than 100 police arrived at the site of a peaceful blockade near James Price Point to crush the ongoing protest.

The organisers said: "We need as many people as possible to show our support for those blockading, and send a message to police and Joint Venture Partners that brutality and intimidation will not discourage us; it will only make us stronger."

Thirty people attended a May 15 rally on the steps of South Australia’s Parliament House to protest the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration (Registration of Still-Births) Amendment Bill, also known as Jayden’s Law, introduced by Family First MP Robert Brokenshire, which was to be voted upon the next day.

However, in the face of community concerns regarding the intentions and wording of the amendment and a campaign organised by the South Australian Feminist Collective (SAFC), Brokenshire has delayed the vote for several weeks.

Beyond Nuclear Initiative released the statement below on May 17.

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Muckaty traditional owners have welcomed news that Australia’s peak trade union body, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), has today committed to actively support the campaign against a proposed radioactive waste dump at Muckaty, 120 kilometres north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory.

Protesters erected a giant “radioactive barrel” outside Queensland parliament on May 15, the first session under the new Liberal National Party (LNP) state government. The protest, sponsored by Friends of the Earth Brisbane’s Peace Anti-Nuclear and Clean Energy Collective (PACE), was held to oppose a push for uranium mining in Queensland, banned under the previous Labor government.

The Socialist Alliance Western Sydney released the statement below on May 16.

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Parramatta RSL management took the extraordinary step on May 15 of banning John Coleman, a Socialist Alliance candidate for the upcoming Parramatta local council elections, from attending the Climate Commission public forum held on its premises.

Coleman, a Granville resident and campaigner for action on climate change, denounced the move as an “outrageous attack on democratic rights and freedom of speech”.

More than 200 Queensland police evicted the Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy from Brisbane’s Musgrave Park early on May 16 on the orders of Brisbane City Council. Police arrested about 30 activists.

A crowd of more than 200 people, including Aboriginal protesters from the embassy together with community and union supporters, later marched to state parliament to protest the eviction.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Congress passed the motion below on May 16 in support of the Brisbane Sovereign Embassy.

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Photos by Kiraz Janicke and Pip Hinman.

GLW Issue 922

Melbourne, May 12. Photos by Ali Bakhtiavandi

Melbourne, May 12. Photos by Ali Bakhtiavandi

The Wilderness Society released the statement below on May 15.

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Rallies will be held around the country tomorrow (Wednesday, May 16) to protest the outrageous use of police resources to crush community opposition to the proposed James Price Point gas industrial complex in Western Australia’s Kimberley.

The NSW Teachers Federation (NSWTF) has called on its members to stop work for two hours on May 18. The union says it has made the decision because “the future of public education in NSW is at stake”.

The federation said: “The purpose of the [stop work] meetings will be to hear detailed reports on the very serious impact that Local Schools, Local Decisions and other state government policies will have on working conditions, student learning opportunities and the resourcing of our schools.”

A group of protesters stage a "die-in" action on day one at the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration (APPEA) conference held at the Adelaide Convention Centre on May 14.

The statement below was released by Ray Jackson, president of the Indigenous Social Justice Association on May 15. Jackson tried to visit Tamil refugees in Villawood detention centre, who have been given adverse security checks by ASIO and cannot be released from detention.

Jackson planned to present two men with Original Nation Passports, issued by elder Robbie Thorpe of the Treaty Republic, to let them know the local Aboriginal community welcomed them to Australia.

Supporters of the Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy in Brisbane’s Musgrave Park released the statement below on May 14.

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Brisbane City Council has turned its back on negotiations with the Brisbane Sovereign Embassy over its right to exist in Musgrave Park, South Brisbane.

This afternoon at around 4pm, Luke Bell from Brisbane City Council told the Embassy by phone that negotiations were off and that Council would be forcibly removing the Embassy in the near future.

The Wilderness Society released the statement below on May 14.

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• 250 police sent to Broome; 276 to Eureka Stockade.
• Joint venture partners must speak out or be tainted by Premier’s actions.

Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett has sent 250 police officers to Broome to crush community opposition to the proposed gas industrial complex at James Price Point, not far off the 276 police and soldiers sent to the Eureka Stockade to crush the miners.

CSG Free Northern Rivers brought 7,000 people to the streets of Lismore on May 12 in a colourful and outspoken show of solidarity against Coal Seam Gas Mining in the region. And concerns over coal mining loom not far behind in a groundswell push to renewable energy sources.

Filmed & edited by Sharon Shostak.

After protests against across-the-board staff cuts at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, a new major "restructuring" has been proposed for the School of Music.

The university has two music programs. It announced one would be cut while the other would undergo significant changes, focused on "professional development" and the "portfolio career" rather than the fostering of musical abilities.

Huon Valley Environment Centre last night participated in a peaceful action on the Hobart waterfront. Activists used a projector to place images and messages about Ta Ann on the side of a vessel that was in port loading veneer.

A May 10 rally against TAFE cuts announced in the Victorian budget attracted more than 2000 protesters in front of Premier Ted Baillieu’s office.

“Lock up Baillieu, throw away the key, we won’t stop until TAFE is free” was just one of chants the crowd roared. Lecturers, teachers, students, support staff, community groups, the Australian Education Union (AEU) and National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) joined forces to fight against the $300 million cutbacks.

Organisers of a Sydney Palestine solidarity protest — Commemorate Al-Nakba: Protest Against Israeli Apartheid! — released the statement below on May 12.

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NSW police initiated a Supreme Court action against the pro-Palestine Al-Nakba commemoration march to be held in Sydney on May 15. The police are seeking a court order prohibiting the public assembly and procession. Protest organisers state that they will not be intimidated and will defend the right to protest in court.

ANZ: Customers just need education

An ANZ spokesperson told the Age the bank’s interest rate policy had created “public relations” challenges, but said: “We are in it for the long haul and part of that is an education process for our customers and us.”

About 40 unionists protested outside the annual meeting of mining giant Rio Tinto's board meeting on May 10 against the company's involvement in the London Olympic Games. Rio Tinto is manufacturing medals for the games.

At the same time, the mining corporation has staged a lock-out of 800 mine workers at the Alma smelter in Canada. Unions say the lock-out began after the Canadian workers refused contracts that would cut wages of new workers by half.