Rachel Evans

To mark the sixth international March Against Monsanto activists in Sydney organised an event on May 20 to raise awareness about the dangers of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) food technology.

This year the focus was on Monsanto’s “Roundup” herbicide, an organophosphorus compound the company patented in 1974. In 2105, the World Health Organization urged people to stop using it due to its extreme toxicity saying that glyphosate “probably” causes cancer. The use of glyphosate has increased 16-fold since the mid-1990s when GMO crops were first introduced.

A packed audience listened as young Aboriginal women spoke about the rise of the Aboriginal rights movement and the struggle for Treaty at the Redfern Community Centre on March 22. Chaired by Jeff McMullen, the discussion was held as the federal government organises an Indigenous-led Referendum Council meeting to be held in Uluru in May.

Lynda-June Coe from Fighting in Solidarity Toward Treaties (FISTT) opened the forum by saying Treaty was the way forward and land rights were key.

A rally for justice for David Dungay-Hill junior, a Dunghutti man from Kempsey, was organised by the Indigenous Social Justice Assocation last December 29.

Dungay-Hill, a 26-year-old Aboriginal man, was an inmate in Long Bay Prison. A sufferer of chronic diabetes, Dungay-Hill ate a biscuit in his cell to restore his blood sugar levels. For this “crime”, eight officers restrained him while another administered a sedative. Seconds later he cried “I can't breathe” and within a minute he was dead.

A rally for justice for David Dungay-Hill Jnr, a Dunghutti man from Kempsey, was held in Sydney on December 29.

Dungay-Hill was a 26-year-old Aboriginal man who was an inmate in Long Bay Prison. A sufferer of chronic diabetes, Dungay-Hill ate a biscuit in his cell to restore his blood sugar levels. For this “crime”, eight officers restrained him while another administered a sedative. Seconds later he cried “I can't breathe” and within a minute he was dead.

In a statement at the time, Corrective Services NSW said police were not treating the death as suspicious.

Mardi Gras — now the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, (LGBTQI) pride march in the world — started in June 1978 when New South Wales police viciously assaulted queer people dancing through Oxford Street. 

A defiant action was organised on October 22 to protest the recent murder in custody of Wayne “Fella” Morrison.

Morrison died at Royal Adelaide Hospital on September 26, three days after a beating by prison guards at Adelaide’s Yatala Labour Prison left him brain dead.

The campaign to Save Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) has forced the Dean of the College to resign. It was a major demand of the fight to retain Sydney University’s unique, studio-based arts college in the heart of Callan Park — the jewel of Sydney's inner west.

Colin Rhodes announced his resignation on September 13. He will be replaced by SCA teacher Margaret Harris. 

The announcement came as the student occupation of SCA's administration building entered its third week — the longest occupation against management dictates, in USYD history. 

Anti-deportation activists were unable to stop the deportation of Tamil refugee Raj Kumar (not his real name) on August 31.

At short notice, refugee rights activists and members of the Tamil community gathered outside Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney to protest the deportation. An application for an interim ban on the deportation was filed but not heard in time to prevent the deportation.

As we go to print, the students occupying the Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) administration building at Rozelle can proudly say that theirs is the longest occupation in the history of the University of Sydney.

It has now surpassed the 10-day occupation, in 1983, of the Department of Political Economy.

The occupiers want the university to guarantee it will let SCA stay at Callan Park, drop its proposal for a 60% staff cut and reinstate the Bachelor of Visual Arts (BVA).

“I look at the body I have, which is a male body, and I want a female body”, Alexis Greenwood, a young woman transitioning from male to female, told Green Left Weekly.

Greenwood is speaking up about the barriers she faces because she wants more people to ask questions. She wants more people to be less ignorant about being transgender.

Greenwood said she “always knew something was wrong”. At 16 years old, while performing a monologue in her drama class about a transitioned person, she thought: “This feels right, this is me”.

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