women's liberation

Over October 16-17, 120 people participated in lively and informative discussions at the Latin America Solidarity Conference.

“Challenging corporate globalisation: people’s power is changing the world” was organised by the Latin America Social Forum. LASF brings together the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN — Australia), Guatemala Human Rights Committee, Ibiray-Fondo Raul Sendic (Uruguay), Honduras’ National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP), Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network and Socialist Alliance.

The outcome of a trial against a Cairns couple for procuring an abortion has turned the tables on the Department of Public Prosecutions and the Queensland government.

The Cairns jury swiftly returned a “not guilty” verdict on October 14 and the question now being asked is “what real crimes are exposed by this case?”

For many, the real crime is the fact that the anti-abortion laws from 1899 have not been repealed.

I welcome the discussion in Green Left Weekly about the burqa and the question of its banning.

I agree wholeheartedly that banning the burqa is not the answer for women. As in all aspects of oppression, the oppressed are the ones who must liberate themselves, with the support and solidarity of others.

It is not up to the state or religious institutions to impose “liberation” on them.

While the burqa remains worn by women, I support their right to wear it if they choose, for a variety of different reasons.

Pip Hinman has been pre-selected to run for the Socialist Alliance in the NSW seat of Marrickville in the March state elections. She is an activist journalist and stood in the seat in 2007.

Hinman was active in the pro-choice movement in Sydney and Brisbane in the 1980s and 1990s. Below, she responds to the October 14 not guilty verdict in the trial of the Cairns couple charged under Queensland’s abortion laws.
* * *
The not guilty finding of the young Cairns couple should be the impetus for the NSW government to remove abortion from the NSW Crimes Act of 1900.

One hundred people rallied in Sydney on October 9 in solidarity with a young Cairns couple charged with abortion-related offences under Queensland’s 1899 criminal code. The court case begins on October 12, and the couple will be supported by a vigil outside.

The rally was organised by the Women’s Abortion Action Campaign (WAAC) as part of a national day of action coordinated by ProChoice Action Collective Qld: WAAC NSW: and Radical Women Vic. It called for the repeal of all abortion laws from the criminal code and for free, safe and accessible abortion.

On September 23, the Daily Telegraph reported on a wall mural in the Sydney inner-west suburb of Newtown by artist Sergio Redegalli with the slogan “Say no to burqas”.

Redegalli’s mural has sparked protests by local residents who have condemned it as racist. Sydney Socialist Alliance activist Kiraz Janicke says Redegalli’s piece “has no other value than to promote racism”. She has responded with an artwork of her own — a submission to the Live Red Art Awards, titled “Burqa revolution”.

Green Left Weekly’s Angela Walker spoke to Carole Ford, a founding member of Pro Choice Cairns, about the upcoming trial of a young Cairns couple. The couple have been charged under Queensland’s 19th century abortion-procurement laws.

How has the Cairns community responded to this case?

With overwhelming disbelief. I'm sure when most Queenslanders first heard of the charges, they felt as if they had regressed in time.

Efforts to pass laws banning full veils, burqa or chador, in some European countries — particularly France — have put the issue firmly on the agenda in many other Western countries.

Left and feminist positions are being challenged. The dilemma is whether to defend the right for Muslim women to choose to dress as they like (for whatever reason) or to impose the Western perspective that, due to its oppressive nature, such dress should be suppressed.

In the lead-up to the November 27 Victorian state elections, the Council of Single Mothers Action Group has expressed its concern about the right of religious institutions to legally discriminate against gays, lesbians and single parents.

Until amended last year, Victorian Equal Opportunities legislation granted religious bodies many exemptions. This meant they could discriminate against many groups of people in employment and service provision. The amendments did not remove the right to discriminate against gays, lesbians and single parents.

Campaigners for women’s reproductive rights are gearing up for a day of protest on October 9. A young woman and her partner from Cairns face charges under Queensland’s 19th century criminal code for procuring an abortion. The trial date is set for October 12. A National Day of Action (NDA) will be marked by protests around the country, demanding that all charges against the couple be dropped.

The NDA is the initiative of three organisations: the Pro-Choice Action Collective in Brisbane, the Women’s Abortion Action Campaign in Sydney and Radical Women in Melbourne.

Pages

Subscribe to women's liberation