Australian News

GLW Issue 945

This rally and march on October 31 to protest moves by the Sydney University administration to weaken the Koori Centre has already won some ground. According to Rachel Evans, after the protest Professor Shane Houston, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Services), promised to return the support staff to the Koori Centre and ensure the Koori students' common room remains open. Video by Peter Boyle/Green Left TV.

Inside Sydney Town Hall on October 31, guarded by suited security, the bankers and biggest property owners were meeting in the elite Property Congress. Outside some 200 cleaners were the voices from below. Their families struggle to survive on wage rates of just $17 an hour while those at the Congress planned to spend more than a month's pay for a cleaner just on lunch today. Video by Peter Boyle/Green Left TV.

At an October 31 demonstration at University of Sydney, Aboriginal students and their supporters rallied to demand the university’s Koori Centre remain open and won important concessions from the university management.

Despite officially acknowledging the Cadigal people of the Eora nation, on whose land the university was built, the administration has pushed ahead with a new strategy for Indigenous education despite serious concerns raised by the students.

The Refugee Action Coalition Sydney released the statement below on November 8.

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An ASIO negative Tamil refugee attempted to hang himself at the Villawood detention centre overnight. The man has been in detention for over three years.

He was taken to the emergency department at Liverpool hospital and has now been admitted to the hospital.

A protest in solidarity with hunger striking refugees on Nauru took place in Perth on November 8. It was organised by the Refugee Rights Action Network.

The Refugee Action Coalition Sydney released the statement below on November 5.

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The hunger strike by asylum seekers on Nauru is now in its fifth day, still with around 300 asylum seekers refusing food. The asylum seekers report that they have the signatures of 300 people who are taking part in the hunger strike but they have been prevented from scanning the document to send to the media.

Today, at least five people have been taken to the medical centre, taking the total people treated over the course of the hunger to 60.

A delegation from the Socialist Alliance had an initial meeting to discuss left unity prospects with a delegation from Socialist Alternative on November 4.

The meeting was cordial and constructive. A short joint statement was issued that night, which noted that “the basis exists to begin a process of discussion to clarify our respective political positions and engage in collaborative work, with the aim of establishing if unity is possible”.

GLW Issue 944

The petition below was released by Trisha Morton Thomas, a family member of Kwementyaye Briscoe, on November 5. Click here to sign the petition on

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Mr Briscoe was taken into Police custody against his will, purportedly for his own protection, yet died directly as a result of a shocking indifference on the part of NT Police officers to his wellbeing.

Asylum seekers imprisoned on Nauru released the statement below on November 5. The asylum seekers are currently on hunger strike, demanding that the Australian government process their claims for refugee status.

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Today, dated 5/11/2012, we all asylum seekers in Nauru Hell are on hunger strikes. Today is our 5th day of hunger strike, and this is very clear from our hunger strike that in which conditions we are.

Organisers of the Groundswell Gloucester conference released the statement below on October 29.

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More than 100 delegates from coal and coal seam gas (CSG) affected communities across NSW have called “Groundswell Gloucester”, the inaugural NSW Coal and CSG Community Conference, a resounding success.

Delegates represented groups from as far afield as the Northern Rivers, the Liverpool Plains, the Hunter Valley, metropolitan Sydney and the NSW Southern Highlands.

The statement below was released on November 5 by community groups that took part in a protest outside the NSW government’s Community Cabinet meeting in Tamworth.

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Residents of north-west NSW have united in numbers outside the NSW Community Cabinet being held in Tamworth to expose the Barry O'Farrell government’s broken promises on protecting farmland, water catchments and sensitive environments from coal and gas mining.

Refugee Action Collective Victoria organised a protest outside Maribrynong Detention Centre on October 31. This action was part of the successful campaign to stop the deportation of a Tamil refugee back to Sri Lanka where he would have been at serious risk of harm.

The Melbourne media have ignored the raised vote for socialists in the October 27 local government elections.

The Socialist Party’s sitting councillor Steve Jolly increased his vote from 29.2% in 2008 to 34.24% in the inner-city City of Yarra council. In other wards of Yarra Council, the Socialist Party increased its vote but did not retain its other sitting councilor, Anthony Main.

Since Jolly was elected, his vote has continued to rise. This is because he and the Socialist Party have used the council position to build campaigns in the local area.

If a casual observer glanced at the results for the mayoral elections in Geelong, they could be forgiven for thinking that they were a victory for apolitical and conservative politics.

The winner, Keith Fagg, comes from a local business family whose name is as close as you could get to landed gentry in Geelong. The next highest pollster’s claim to fame was that she, Stephanie Asher, had worked for BHP Billiton.

All of this in a working class town.

The refugees now holding an indefinite hunger strike in the Nauru detention camp released the statement below on November 2, updating the situation and explaining that several have been taken to the medical room and some have lost conciousness.

The first refugees began refusing food on the morning of November 1, and others quickly joined.


Date:02/11/2012 Time:11:00 pm

Fifteen Asylum seekers became unconscious on second day of Hunger Strike in Nauru Hell.

Till 7 asylum seekers have been become unconscious and taken to the medical rooms.

Vodafone Australia said on October 29 it would cut 500 jobs – 10% of its workforce – by the end of November.

Vodafone Australia CEO Bill Morrow said the cuts will make the company "leaner" in an attempt to turn around its performance. Vodafone had a $131 million loss during the first half of this year.

Aboriginal students and their supporters rallied at the University of Sydney on October 31 to demand university management commit to maintaining the Koori Centre.

The Koori Centre provides a supportive place for Aboriginal students to work and study together. Students organised the protest in response to information that the centre was slated for closure.

The protesters marched from the Fischer library to the university administration building, where they handed over petitions calling for management to stop attacking the centre.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal last month approved a deeply unpopular McDonald's restaurant in Tecoma in Melbourne's Dandenong ranges. 

Since the approval the local community has organised to reclaim space and created a garden, maintained an around-the-clock protest vigil at the proposed site and gathered thousands of signatures on petitions against the proposal.

Below is a statement from Murrundindi, Headman of Melbourne’s Wurundjeri nation against the development.


About 60 stevedores and supporters gathered outside the headquarters of Shipping Australia in South Bank, Melbourne, on October 30 to demand that employers agree to introduce a national safety code in the industry.

Last month, 56-year-old Newcastle stevedore Greg Fitzgibbon was killed at work when he was crushed by a 20-tonne pallet. The day after this tragic death, the big stevedoring companies, led by employer organisation Shipping Australia, moved to block the introduction of a national code of safety on the waterfront.

About 350 women took to the streets of Adelaide on October 26 as part of a Reclaim the Night protest. No march was held last year, so it was inspiring to see women of all ages marching through the central business and nightclub districts of Adelaide chanting, “whatever we wear, wherever we go — yes means yes, no means no”, and “women united will never be defeated”.

The event was a women’s only space. Male supporters were encouraged to show support from the footpath along the march route.

More than 50 people came out to Brisbane’s Executive Building on the morning of October 29 in a fiery protest against Premier Campbell Newman’s recent decision to allow uranium mining in Queensland.

Under the banner of Queensland Nuclear Free Alliance, the protest called for a complete ban on uranium mining in the state.

Students from the Koori Centre released the statement below on October 29.

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Join us in saving the Koori Centre.

The Koori Centre puts their collective view.

The Koori Centre is a space in the University of Sydney on the ground floor of the Old Teachers' College that allows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to gather in a community environment to study together.

GLW Issue 943

The statement below was released by the Sydney Refugee Action Coalition on October 31.


At 6.00pm Nauruan time, an Iranian asylum seeker attempted to hang himself from a light pole inside the detention centre. The man jumped from the pole with a sheet around his neck but was other asylum seekers quickly took his weight.

Asylum seekers had gathered around the pole appealing with the man, who was on the pole for around 15 minutes before he jumped. He was crying and saying, “I want to die,” and “I am tired of my life”.

The following “Appeal of asylum seekers” was released by refugees on Nauru on October 31. It was addressed to Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Australian MPs, the Nauru government, human rights commissions and the “rest of the world”.

The men said on November 1 that they would begin a group hunger strike "for unknown time".

"This is a clear message that we are not happy here, we want to go back from this Hell to Australia and we request to the Australia government to start our processing."


Refugee solidarity activists in Melbourne have called for supporters of asylum seekers to join them outside the Maribyrnong Detention Centre. They've been protesting since 7am this morning. Police have arrived to break the community blockade of the detention centre in mass numbers.

The protest is taking place at Maribyrnong Detention Centre, 35 Hampstead Road, Maidstone.

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The Refugee Action Coalition Sydney released the statement below on October 31.

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The University of Sydney ended last year with a $117 million surplus, but is moving close it's Koori Centre. The Koori Centre has supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at the university since 1989. It also coordinates the teaching of Indigenous Studies and provides a library, comfortable meeting space and computers.

The Centre provides support staff whose role was to help Aboriginal students through their degree. Instead of maintaining and expanding the Centre, student says the university is seeking to close it.

About 500 people protested at the Fremantle Reclaim the Night rally, which took place on October 26. The rally demands were: end violence against women, stop victim blaming and consent education in schools.

For details see: Freo holds biggest women's rally for a decade

The statement below was issued by asylum seekers on Nauru following their protest on the afternoon of October 29. Republished from the Refugee Action Coalition Sydney.

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We heard several times from different authorities that the sending of us [to Nauru] is an argument of giving lessons to those who have intention of coming to Australia through the sea by people smugglers.