Chris Peterson

About 70 people attended a forum on September 27 in Melbourne on Making Melbourne a Hanson free zone. The forum was hosted by the Victorian Trades Hall Council.

Guardian Australia columnist Jeff Sparrow spoke at the forum. He said: "Billions of dollars have been spent on fighting Islam by the Government so recent polls on racism are no surprise. There is a real danger that Hanson could become the new normal, a right wing version of the Greens."

Council workers at the City of Melbourne went on strike for two hours from 3.30 pm on September 27 and rallied outside Melbourne Town Hall. The rally was followed by a protest march along Swanson Street from Bourke to Flinders streets.
The workers are demanding a new agreement with better pay and conditions. City of Melbourne is the richest capital city in Australia.

The Australian Services Union (ASU) said its members will continue with work bans across the City of Melbourne as management refuse to meet to agree upon a fair Enterprise Agreement for its staff.

In a surprise move, the far-right group Reclaim Australia has moved its rally on November 22 from Melbourne’s CBD to Melton, which lies west of Melbourne.

Reclaim Australia is modelled on far-right groups in Europe that target mosques and the Islamic community in order to promote racism and far-right policies.

Reclaim Australia is focusing on opposing the construction of a mosque in Melton.

Reclaim Australia has been outnumbered by anti-racists at the two previous rallies it held in the Melbourne CBD. The timing and move is designed to make it harder for anti-racist

On April 14 hundreds of disability workers rallied in Melbourne against the state government's proposal to privatise disability services.

Privatisation will reduce service quality for people with a disability and make job security and wages and conditions less certain for disability workers.

Before being elected, Premier Daniel Andrews promised he would not contract out public sector disability services.

Despite the immigration minister's attempts to block information and ban journalists from offshore detention camps, information continues to leak out.

Ali Bakhtiarvandi was held in immigration detention for four and a half years in the early 2000s before being recognised as a refugee. He is in regular telephone contact with detainees on Christmas Island.

He spoke to Green Left Weekly's Chris Peterson about the recent events on Christmas Island.

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On April 30, 1500 people rallied in Melbourne calling on the federal government to bring the all the asylum seekers in offshore detention to Australia. The rally was part of a national weekend of action.

The rally was called after the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea ruled that the Manus Island Detention Centre was illegal.

Campaigners hoping to save the Ballerrt Mooroop former Aboriginal school site in Glenroy were in shock after Victorian Labor education minister James Merlino sent them a letter on November 23 announcing that the site would be sold.

Ballerrt Mooroop Working Group chairperson Dorothy Bamblett challenged the government's decision. “It is still possible to save the site,” she said. “The fight isn't over. We have to rally around to stop the government selling off the site. If we lose the site, it will be gone forever. We have to act now.”

About 100 people protested in Melbourne on July 3, International Al Quds Day, as part of a global weekend of action for Palestine.

The date marked 50 years since the Six Day War and half a century of Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

Nasser from Palestine Advocacy Network said: “We have entered 50 years of occupation of the West Bank and it's been 68 years since Palestine's Nakba.

"It represents such a disregard for human rights it is hard to wrap your mind around.

Hundreds of disability workers rallied in Melbourne on December 14 against attempts to privatise the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Victoria.

Dozens of Gippsland dairy workers have been locked out indefinitely by milk producer Parmalat. When workers arrived at the gates of the Parmalat-owned Longwarry Food Park, east of Melbourne, on July 5, they were met with news of the lockout and closure of the site.

The Longwarry workforce is among the lowest-paid in the dairy industry according to the National Union of Workers, and had been calling for improved conditions in their pay deal to bring them in line with other Parmalat sites.


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