Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Challenging the Two Party System 30 June 09

Challenging the "Two-Party System"
How far can we go?

Kevin Rudd has given us:
* WorkChoices-lite
* Continuation of the police-state ABCC (Aust Building Construction Commission)
* A bogus carbon pollution scheme
Is Kevin Rudd just "Howard-lite"?

This forum will discuss the Fremantle election result and the prospects for building a workers' alternative to Labor.

Adele Carles (Greens member for Fremantle)
Les McLaughlin (CEPU Electrical division state secretary)
Sam Wainwright (Socialist Alliance state co-convenor)

Tues 30 June
6.30pm, Fremantle Education Centre
(cnr Cantonment & Parry Sts, Fremantle - next to Clancy's)

Entry by donation. Ph 9218 9608, 0412 751 508.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

ACFS Santiago de Cuba Carnival 25 July 2009

Just a reminder for you to pencil in your diaries Saturday 25th July for the celebrations in Kulcha: www.kulcha.com.au of the Assault of the Moncada Barracks in July 1953.

This time we invite you to celebrate with RUMBA & CAFE as well as learn to salsa de night away with Liliana Sputore.

Tickets are on sale now by visiting the Kulcha website or by phoning BOCS or ACFS on 0419812872.

Please book early to avoid disapointmente. Tickets will be also available at the next ACFS monthly meeting on Monday 6th July at the Resistance Centre from 6:30pm.

Feel free to circulate this information and invite all of your family and friends.

Viva Cuba!
Free the Cuban Five!
Yours in friendship,

Vinnie Molina
Branch President, Australia-Cuba Friendship Society


5:30pm Sound check
7:30pm Doors open
8:00pm Welcome/bienvenida
8:45pm Liliana Sputore (dance lesson)
9:30pm RUMBA & CAFE
10:15 Raffle draw
10:30 RUMBA & CAFE
11:30 END

For more information call 0419812872 or Kulcha on 93364544 Email:

Community Solidarity: Campaigning against the ABCC

[Info below from Community Solidarity]

To supporters of workers rights

This week there will be a workers breakfast and protest to support the rights of construction worker Ark Tribe and to protest the intention of the federal Labor government to keep the draconian ABCC powers. The event will coincide with an address by Deputy Prime Minister and Industrial Relations Minister Julia Gillard to a bosses' function at the Hyatt Regency.
Tell Gillard loud and clear: One law for all!
Thursday July 2, 7am
opposite the Hyatt Hotel, 99 Adelaide Terrace
To read more about the ongoing campaign against the ABCC powers and the case of Ark Tribe read the summary below or go to the website www.rightsonsite.org Community Solidarity will be organising actions here in Perth to coincide with a protest in Sydney outside the ALP National Conference on Friday July 21 and when Ark next fronts court in Adelaide on August 11.

From the RightsOnSite website:
Thank you for your support of Ark Tribe, a construction worker facing six months imprisonment - charged with failing to attend an interview with the ABCC.

As a result of your support and Ark's trial, construction workers and the unions that represent them have been headline news over the past week.

Despite this, Julia Gillard has introduced a bill in Parliament to replace the Australian Building and Construction Commission with a new Building Inspectorate, which will retain the coercive powers of the ABCC.

The powers that will be transfered to the Building Inspectorate:
- compel a worker to attend an interrogation or face fines and imprisonment
- mean construction workers will not have the same rights as all other workers

Your support for rights on site has made a difference. There have been some changes proposed to the bad laws.
But the coercive powers remain, and we will continue to campaign so there is one law for all workers.

Your support for Ark has been overwhelming, with nearly a thousand messages of support.

Watch the video of Ark's first day in court

Ark Tribe is a reminder of why there should be no coercive powers for construction workers.

Ark will be in court again on 11 August, and we'll be campaigning to make sure workers don't end up in court - just for standing up for their rights on site.

Dave Noonan and the Rights on Site team

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Working class politics & the Communist Party in 1940s Australia

Guest speaker:
Jonathan Strauss
PHD candidate & Socialist Alliance member from Cairns

6.30pm, Wed 8 July
Resistance Centre
, 15 / 5 Aberdeen St, East Perth

Jonathan will discuss the rise and fall of working class radicalisation at the end of WW2, how the Communist Party related to this radicalisation and the lessons and implications for socialist tactics.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Racism No! - Darlington Review column

Racism: NO

On June 20 there were rallies across Australia in support of Aboriginal rights. The Perth rally was about Warburton elder, Mr Ward, who died of heat stroke in the back of a prison van on January 27 last year. Despite searing temperatures, he was without air conditioning or pit stops for over 3 1/2 hours.

1,000 passionate people filled Forrest Place to demand an end to Deaths in Custody, no to racism, no to privatisation of prison vans and for the implementation of the recommendations of the WA coroner's report around prisoner transportation. The rally called for charging those whom the coroner concluded to have contributed to Mr Ward's death: the Department of Corrective Services, Global Solutions Ltd (now G4S), and the van drivers.

After hearing from the family, Nyoongar elders and members of the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee, the crowd marched through the centre of Perth.

While the rallies in other cities showed solidarity with the Ward family, the Northern Territory National Emergency Response (or "the Intervention") was the main focus. Introduced 2 years ago by the Howard government, nominally as a response to the Territory government's publication of Little Children are Sacred, it has implemented few of the report’s recommendations. It promised improved health, housing and education, but residents, health and community workers alike say it has undermined Aboriginal control and caused greater social problems. “A key aspect has been the compulsory acquisition of Aboriginal township land for five years. Housing assets have been forcibly transferred from community councils to the NT public housing agency” (http://stoptheintervention.org/).

We must all oppose the racism and land grabbing inherent in the Intervention. Community consultation, self determination and adequate resources are the only means of achieving healthy communities and human rights for Aboriginal people. View our Charter at www.socialistalliance.org/page.php?page=207.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Rallies demand justice for Mr Ward

Alex Bainbridge & Annolies Truman, Perth 20 June 2009

In the wake of the inquest into the shocking death in custody of Aboriginal elder Mr Ward, more than 1000 people rallied in Perth in rainy weather on June 20. Ward was roasted in a prison van on a four-hour journey on a 42ºC day.

The rally was widely supported by members of local Aboriginal communities, union leaders, Green parliamentarians, and progressive campaigners.

Teddy Biljabu, representing Ward’s family, expressed relief that so many white people were in attendance, which showed the family is not alone. He said the family would continue fighting for justice until the systematic racism that led to Ward’s death was fixed.

Associate professor Ted Wilkes said this was more than just a death in custody issue. It was a broader issue of injustice and racism. The “gap” in life expectancy between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians is greater in WA than the national average.

Marianne MacKay got a rousing cheer when she called for programs to help keep Aboriginal people out of jail.

Other rallies took place across the country to mark the second anniversary of the announcement of the racist intervention into Northern Territory Aboriginal communities. They also acknowledged that the attacks on Aboriginal people are not restricted to the NT.

MORE on this article

Racism Kills: Demand justice for Mr Ward

One lesson of an awful death: No to prison privatisation

Racism kills: Demand justice for Mr Ward

Alex Bainbridge, Perth 20 June 2009

“I would have been concerned if it was a dog or some other animal who died in those conditions, but since it was only a black-fella …”

This was one comment was made to a campaigner for Aboriginal rights in a discussion of the case of Mr Ward — an Aboriginal elder killed in custody in 2008.

The anecdote was reported to the June 17 meeting of the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee/Justice for Ward campaign. It reveals the level of racism that still exists in sections of Australian society — the same kind racism responsible for Ward’s death in the first place.

Ward’s case is particularly shocking because he was literally cooked to death during a four-hour journey in the back of a prison transport van on a 42ºC day.

The van compartment was metal. It had neither ventilation nor functioning air conditioning. It’s estimated the surface temperatures inside the van would have reached up to 56ºC.

An alternative, yet still secure compartment in the vehicle was available. Yet custodial staff did not place him in it, citing company policy as justification. The staff did not make any check on Ward, or offer a comfort stop during the journey.

There were multiple problems with the so-called bail hearing that led to Ward being taken on the four hour journey from Laverton (957 kilometres north-east of Perth) to Kalgoorlie.

Barrye Thompson, the Justice of the Peace who conducted the bail hearing, had not attended the relevant training and was not aware of his responsibilities.

Police had made two presentations about the case to Thompson without Ward being present. Ward was therefore unable to challenge the police statements — a violation of his right to natural justice.

Most importantly, the bail hearing was held without proper authorisation and in violation of several points of the legislation.

The report by coroner Alastair Hope stated: “a question arises as to whether or not the deceased was lawfully in custody at the time of his death.”

Police ordered the transport van the day before the supposed bail hearing took place. In the words of the coroner’s report, “it would appear to have been taken for granted that the deceased would not be granted bail”.


This fact is one of several that raise the question of racism. It is difficult to conclude that a white person in the same circumstances would face the same treatment (being held in custody overnight then transported in a sub-standard van for four hours) for a mere traffic violation (drink driving).

Ward had considerable community connections in his home town of Warburton and was a respected elder. Thompson told the coroner that he knew nothing of these connections.

When asked about the same matter by ABC’s Four Corners, he said “No. No. He was an Aboriginal in a very drunken state or very groggy state. That’s all I knew him as.”

This is only one of several instances in which naked racism was revealed by the Four Corners report.

Regarding the vehicle in which Ward was transported, the coroner said “in my view any reasonably compassionate person who viewed the prisoner pod in which the deceased was transported would be shocked by its appearance”.

The coroner wrote: “In my view it is a disgrace that a prisoner in the 21st century, particularly a prisoner who had not been convicted of any crime, was transported for a long distance in high temperatures in this pod.”

Further: “The photographs taken of the pod do not adequately depict its appearance and make it appear larger, brighter and less unpleasant than it was on inspection by the court.”

Clearly, it was racist prejudice from many of the people involved that contributed to this outrage.

This racism comes on top of a general prejudice against prisoners, and a disregard for their human rights.


Another factor that contributed to this outrage was the fact that the “custodial services” were provided by the private corporation Global Solutions Limited — now known as G4S.

On June 15 — 17 months after the event — G4S sacked the two officers who transported Ward. However, they were still using the same fleet of aged prisoner transport vehicles that were the subject of damning reports by the inspector of custodial services in 2001 and then again in 2007.

The 2001 report contained a quote from a prison officer that “the vehicles are not fit for humans to be transported in — we are just waiting for a death to happen”.

Despite this, G4S is trying to shift all the blame on to the individual employees alone.

The June 19 Australian reported that “[G4S director of public affairs Tim] Hall said while the company accepted it had failed in its duty of care, it was the two officers who were responsible for Ward’s death”.

By contrast, the coroner found that G4S and the Department of Corrective Services, as well as the two prison officers, had all contributed to his death.

While the two officers should be held responsible for their negligence, the big fish in the department and G4S should not be let off the hook for their parts in this crime. In particular, all privatisation of prisons and prisoner transport must be halted and reversed.

Furthermore, the government should immediately implement the recommendations of the 1991 Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody to ensure such tragedies never happen again.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Climate Emergency Rally in Perth

Download PDF flyer for Climate Emergency rally 13 June 09

National Climate Emergency Rally

- A fair transition for workers and communities
– Rudd's emissions trading scheme won't work
– Destroying forests releases carbon
– Nuclear is no solution

12.30pm, Sat 13 June 09
Forrest Place, Perth

Ph Kamala 0417 319 662, Peter 0438 940 386, Lian 0421 132 044

DOWNLOAD: A3 colour poster PDF (463 kb) [Can be printed on A4]

DOWNLOAD: Colour newspaper advert PDF (1.12Mb) [Fits on A5]

DOWNLOAD: B&W newspaper advert PDF (564 kb) [Fits on A5]

RALLY DETAILS around the country: HERE and HERE

Perth rally speakers:
Adele Carles (Greens member for Fremantle)
Adrian Whitehead (Target 300 - Victoria)
Peter Robertson (The Wilderness Society, WA state coordinator)
Rachel Siewert (Greens Senator)
Sam Wainwright (Socialist Alliance)
Kate Vallentine (Anti-Nuclear Alliance of WA)

Stickers available! Click here.

Local rally sponsors

National sponsors

This rally is also supported by:

[Please email info@safeclimate.org.au if your group should be included in this list.]

VIEW Larger colour JPG image of poster design above.

SEE ALSO info about FOREST POSTERS produced by The Wilderness Society

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New pamphlet on the Tamil struggle for justice

Resistance Books

The Tamil Freedom Struggle in Sri Lanka

Ever since Sri Lanka gained independence from Britain in 1948 the Tamil minority has had to struggle for its basic rights. In the face of mounting repression they took up arms to defend themselves. Backed by the West, China and India — and Australia — the Sri Lankan regime has conducted a genocidal campaign against them. Acting with complete impunity, the racist Sri Lankan government has slaughtered over 20,000 Tamil civilians this year alone. This timely pamphlet gives the essential background to this ongoing atrocity and explains the issues from a socialist perspective. The contents include:

  • Chronology of Key Events
  • The Tamil Struggle in Sri Lanka by Chris Slee
  • Sri Lanka: Genocide of the Tamil Minority by Brian Senewiratne
  • Sri Lanka: A War on Tamils by Brian Senewiratne
  • Genocide of Tamils & Atrocities in Sri Lanka While Australia Looks On by Brian Senewiratne
  • Right of Self-determination of Ilankai Tamils by Vickramabahu Karunarathne

Published by Resistance Books. 40pp, $5. Available from Perth Activist Centre (15 / 5 Aberdeen St, East Perth - near McIver Station - or at Resistance Books.