Australian News

GLW Issue 933

Refugee rights supporters gathered in Melbourne on August 12 in a protest organised by the Refugee Action Collective (Victoria) to demand no offshore processing of refugees.

Protesters gathered in Perth on August 11 as part of a national day of protest that called on the Australian government to reject the FV Margiris, one of the world's biggest fishing trawlers, from fishing in Australian waters.

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Footage by Zebedee Parkes

National round up from the August 11 equal marriage demonstrations marking the 8th anniversary of the Liberal-Labor ban on same-sex marriage. Footage includes Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Hobart, Brisbane and Adelaide rallies, and features Greens MP Adam Bandt (Melbourne rally) , prominent gay rights campaigner Rodney Croomb (Hobart rally), SYdney MUA secretary Paul McAleer (Sydney rally) plus more.

About 2500 people rallied in Melbourne for equal marriage rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people on August 11. A mass illegal wedding was held in defiance of the federal marriage ban.

About 200 past and present students, teachers, local residents and local traders rallied to save Swinburne University of Technology’s Prahran TAFE campus on August 5. The event was organised by the National Tertiary Education Union and former staff and students.

Former Swinburne executive director of educational development Judy Bissland has worked at the campus for 30 years.

“I am still involved with campus through working with disengaged youth,” she told the crowd. “Funding cuts to TAFE and the vocational sector [are] disastrous. We need to take action to stop cuts or modify cuts.”

The Sea Shepherd boat the Steve Irwin docked in Broome on August 6 to join community protests against the $30 billion gas hub proposed for James Price Point, in Western Australia’s Kimberley region.

Sea Shepherd, a marine conservation organisation, said it undertook the trip “to highlight the significance of the James Price Point marine environment as a habitat and feeding ground for humpback whales, dolphins and turtles”.

Tasmanian logging company Gunns now doubts its $3 billion pulp mill, planned for the Tamar Valley, will ever be built.

The company told the Australian Securities Exchange on August 6 that its debts were somewhere between $50 million and $150 million. It said the steep decline in the price of woodchips and the high Australian dollar were to blame for its financial woes. Gunns said this meant the “board has been unable to reach a view” that the pulp mill project could go ahead.

The Congolese Community of Australia held a rally on August 10 calling for an end to violence in the Congo. It focused on recent violence in eastern region led by the M23 Rebellion.

Patrice Neyembo, president of the Congolese Community of Australia, said: “The M23 Rebellion is not really a rebellion, it is an invasion by the Rwandan government with the backing of Western allies. The aim is to take the land and legalise the exploitation of minerals in the so-called ‘neutral’ area.”

The Beyond Nuclear Initiative released the statement below on August 7.


Calling for tender to design a remote radioactive waste facility while the only proposed site is under federal court challenge is putting the radioactive cart before the horse, the Beyond Nuclear Initiative (BNI) has said today.

More than 30,000 Victorian teachers and 40,000 Queensland teachers are set to strike in September and October, in defence of teacher pay and conditions under threat from conservative state governments.

FWA rules Qantas can outsource jobs

Fair Work Australia (FWA) rewarded Qantas CEO Alan Joyce for his October grounding of the airline's fleet and lockout of the workforce, announcing on August 8 that it would place no restrictions on it outsourcing jobs.

Joyce responded by announcing on the same day that the airline will axe 2800 jobs — or more than 10% of its workforce — during its “transformation plan”.

Cuba solidarity activists, members of Australia’s Latin American community and leftists from around the country will take part in a two-day conference in Sydney to pay homage to Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro.

Video messages of support for Fidel from renowned leftist personalities will be screened alongside a full agenda of talks focused on Castro’s ideas, thoughts and legacy for the 21st century.

The Socialist Alliance NSW released the statement below on August 9.

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The Socialist Alliance (SA) has announced its candidates for the Woodville ward of Parramatta City Council, citing public transport, better community services and opposition to racism as its three key campaign issues.

Under the banners "Community need, not developer greed" and "For a Community Council" SA will stand local community activists John Coleman, Kerryn Williams and Ross Geary.

GLW Issue 932 released the statement below on August 6.

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A “Welcome to Aboriginal Land Passport Ceremony” will take place on September 15 at the Redfern Community Centre on the traditional lands of the Gadigal people.

More than 200 people, including newly arrived asylum seekers, will receive an Aboriginal passport. The passports will be issued by Robbie Thorpe of the Treaty Republic and Ray Jackson, President of the Indigenous Social Justice Association.

The campaign for marriage equality in Australia has been waged for almost a decade. That federal parliament, despite repeated polls showing support for equal marriage rights regardless of sexuality, has failed to legislate for marriage equality has caused widespread anger.

A sign of the growing momentum for marriage equality came with the announcement at the Tasmanian state Labor conference on August 4 that the Labor-led Tasmanian government would aim to pass legislation this year to legalise same-sex marriage in the state, should federal parliament fail to do so.

The University of Sydney Student Representative Council (SRC) has condemned university management’s plans to “dismantle” the Koori Centre, which has supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at the university since 1989.

The Koori Centre also coordinates the teaching of Indigenous Studies.

The university says the Koori Centre’s functions will be incorporated into a broader “Centre for Cultural Competencies”. Management has assured staff no jobs will be lost in the process, but many students and staff feel that have been inadequately consulted about the changes.

Student activists at La Trobe University have begun a campaign against a proposal to slash funding to the Humanities and Social Sciences faculty.

About 150 students and staff protested at the university’s Bundoora campus in Melbourne’s northern suburbs on July 31. Students marched to the administration building where security guards wrestled with a protester and locked the students out.

Undeterred, students marched to the office of Humanities and Social Science dean Tim Murray where they were also locked out but occupied the corridor outside the office.

Queensland’s Liberal National Party government axed 2000 state transport jobs and more than 300 QBuild jobs on July 31, in another day of mass sackings in the state.

Premier Campbell Newman boasted that 4400 full-time positions have been cut out of the 6000 jobs lost so far. Up to 20,000 public servants are in the firing line.

The latest cuts amount to 1 in 5 transport workers, with Labor transport spokesperson Jackie Trad warning such cuts would “bring the public transport network in Brisbane and in every region to its knees”.

This winter, I experienced the hospitality of Jarrod McKenna, Teresa Lee and their son Tyson. They’re a family of peace activists, who ruggedly live out communal economics and radical permaculture in Peace Tree Community in Perth. They opened their home to me so that I could take a week out to write in peace.

Workers on Bovis Lend Lease building sites across the country have won site allowances and improved pay and conditions. Union and community action forced the company to complete negotiations on a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) with unions on July 31.

Strikes and protest action across 22 Lend Lease sites were launched on July 25, after the company failed to reach agreement with unions on conditions including restored site allowances, improved job security, improved pay and conditions for subcontractors, and union right of entry.

More than 500 people attended a public meeting at the Bulli Masonic Hall in the northern suburbs of Wollongong on July 29 to save the Bulli Hospital Emergency Department (ED). A PA had to be set up outside the packed hall so hundreds of people gathered outside could listen in.

Residents are opposed to the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District's (ISLHD) proposal to downgrade the ED to an “urgent care centre”.

Quit Coal released the statement below on July 27.

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It can be easy to despair when you are campaigning so hard on an issue for so long. Sometimes you can feel like the government just isn’t listening to you and that all your efforts are a bit pointless … but not today.

We have been campaigning for over a year against the proposal by company HRL to build a dirty brown coal power station in Victoria.

More than 100 students, teachers and union activists heard speakers slam private-sector training at a August 2 protest against TAFE cuts at RMIT’s city campus.

Steve Roach from the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union’s Health and Safety Unit said he was concerned that the decline of TAFE — and the subsequent privatisation of building industry training — would lead to unsafe working conditions.

He said: “We find dodgy tickets of competency floating around our industry ... where all [the students] did was give somebody $140 and they come back in with a card the next day.”

On July 25, Tamil refugee Dayan Anthony (formerly known as "Mr X" in Australia in an attempt to protect his identity from Sri Lankan authorities), was deported from Melbourne. Australian authorities handed him over to the Sri Lankan intelligence forces - who had held Mr Anthony in custody for years, and had tortured him.

Students, teachers and union activists protested against the Victorian governments' cuts to TAFE at Melbourne's RMIT campus on August 2. The rally was jointly organised by the National Tertiary Education Union Victorian Division and the Australian Education Union (AEU). Film by Squirrel Main,

This month, the Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA) will mark 100 weeks of protest against the sale of cosmetics containing minerals extracted from the Dead Sea — in Palestinian territory under Israeli military occupation — by Seacret.

Seacret says on its website: “We believe everything we do must embody honesty and reflect purity.”

Its products are made with “the ancient, and some say mystical, salts and minerals found only in one place on earth, the Dead Sea”.

Ray Jackson, President of the Indigenous Social Justice Association, speaks about on deaths in custody, shackling and tasers. Filmed by Peter Boyle for Green Left TV at a protest in Sydney on July 27 to mark the death in custody of Peter Clarke in the Northern Territory.

The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network released the statement below on July 31.

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The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) has called for an overhaul of the Department of Immigration’s character test procedures for refugees following the appearance today of a refugee at the Darwin Magistrates Court on minor property damage charges.

GLW Issue 931

Resistance national conference motion in solidarity with Pakistani political prisoner Baba Jan. Moved 22 July 2012. Adelaide South Australia.

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