Friday, July 30, 2010

Socialist Alliance election calendar

The following events are priorities for WA Socialist Alliance during the election period. We would like to encourage your attendance and support at any or all of these events.

Sun 1 Aug
PERTH BBQ and letterboxing effort
12-1pm BBQ at Barton Park, Maylands (followed by letterboxing)
Phone 0432 867 317 for lift from Maylands Station
Sat 7 Aug 12noon, Murray St Mall (near Forrest Place)
Tues 10 Aug
FREMANTLE candidates debate
7:30pm, Notre Dame Drill Hall (cnr Mouat & Croke Sts, Fremantle)
This debate will feature all (?) Fremantle candidates and will be hosted by ABC reporter Peter Kennedy.
Thurs 12 Aug 6pm, La Tropicana Cafe, 177 High St, Fremantle
Forum featuring Socialist Alliance, Greens & First Nation Political Party candidates
Thurs 12 Au
7pm, Curtin Graduate School of Business (78 Murray St, PERTH CITY)
Sat 14 Aug
Equal Love national day of action
1pm, Forrest Place, Perth city
Sun 15 Aug
Walk Against Warming
12noon, Fremantle Esplanade
Sat 21 Aug
We need your help on polling day!!
Sat 21 Aug
Election Night Party
6pm til late, Perth Activist Centre, 15/5 Aberdeen St, East Perth (next to McIver station)

Red, Green and Black - the real alternatives 12 Aug 2010

Fremantle City Councillor and community activist Sam Wainwright is inviting all those seeking a real alternative in the coming election to meet and speak with progessive candidates.

Chair: Sam Wainwright

Sanna Andrew, Socialist Alliance candidate, Fremantle
Kate Davis, Greens candidate, Fremantle
Marianne Mackay, First Nations Political Party senate candidate

“The two big parties are competing to see which one can move most to the right while climate change is ignored & refugees are treated like dirt. Everyone can see that deep changes are needed & we have to work together. This meeting will profile the progressive candidates standing in the coming election with a view to building up the mutual support and united efforts of all those campaigning for a better world.”

Thurs August 12, 6-8pm
La Tropicana Cafe, 177 High St Fremantle
For further information contact Sam Wainwright on 0412 751 508 or

Attend on Facebook

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Soubhi Iskander (NSW Senate candidate) interviewed on SBS

A former refugee from Sudan who is contesting a Senate seat is accusing both major parties of policy failures.

Soubhi Iskander is a Senate candidate for New South Wales for the Socialist Alliance Party.

He accuses successive Australian governments of running away from the country's obligations under the United Nations Refugee Convention.

Mr Iskander told Erdem Koc his interest in politics evolved during his university years in Sudan, where he was jailed and tortured because of his political leanings.

Listen to this interview here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Latest film on the coup in Honduras

Quien Dijo Miedo
(We are not afraid)
Perth premiere of a new film about resistance against the coup in Honduras

6:30pm Friday 30 July
Perth Activist Centre
15/5 Aberdeen St, East Perth (next to McIver station)

entry by donation

Phone 9218 9608, 0413 976 638.

The people of Honduras are continuing their struggle for democracy more than one year after the June 28 military coup that overthrew elected President Manuel Zelaya.

The dictatorship tried to legitimise itself with fraudulent elections that brought President Profiro Lobo Sosa to power. The United States government, which was complicit in the coup, recognised the results despite almost no other government doing so. The US has since fully restored military assistance.

An ongoing mass movement with deep roots throughout the county has erupted to fight for democracy and social justice. Organised by the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP), the movement’s key demands are for the restoration of democracy, justice for the victims of the coup and for an elected constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution.

Dozens of people have been assassinated or disappeared since the coup, and many more detained and tortured for the crime of opposing the dictatorship. Ida Garberi, a journalist for Lawyers on Line, wrote the article below on July 5 on the persecution of a resistance activist. It has been translated by Warwick Fry and is reprinted from the website of the FNRP. This version is from last week's Green Left Weekly and gives a good feeling for both the injustice of the coup and the struggle against it.

* * *

When I woke up this morning, it wasn’t one of the best days of my life. After a year of struggle following the June 28, 2009 military coup that violated the constitutional rights of the Honduran people, one should be used to it — but no.

No one should ever get used to torture, to human rights violations. As the Argentinean-born revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara said: “Above all, always be able to feel profoundly any injustice committed against anyone, anywhere in the world. It is the finest quality of a revolutionary.”

When my colleague Dina Meza, a journalist from Defenders of Human Rights Online for the Committee for the Families of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras (COFADEH) called me to tell me that, for the umpteenth time, Edwin Espinal had been taken by the police without any charge, tortured, insulted and threatened with death, a huge rage grew within me.

What does the coup regime want from him? What is their problem? Can't they understand that a soul as bold as Edwin’s can’t be turned to betrayal, or bought?

They have already taken the life of the person he loved and brutally destroyed a future family by murdering his wife Wendy Elizabeth Avila.

Edwin is paying for having taken part in the peaceful resistance movement and helping to organise his neighbourhood Flor de Campo. Above all, he is paying for having been a witness to the murder of Francisco Alvarado, brutally killed by three police in Flor de Campo on September 22.

That same night, his car was raked with gunfire.

Four days later, the teargas of the murdering regime asphyxiated Wendy when troops were deployed around the Brazilian Embassy in which the legitimate president Zelaya was sheltered.

From that day on, Edwin’s life was totally destroyed. But he kept his head up, kept up the peaceful struggle as part of the resistance with one more motivation; not to let the killers of Wendy sleep in peace.

There will be no forgetting and forgiving for them.

I believe the coup-masters fear his spirit, his example and his ability not to be broken by all his arrests (of which there have now been more than 10, none with a valid excuse). In spite of everything, he didn’t go into exile, and he didn’t lock himself in his room and cry.

When I arrive at my office of COFADEH, my heart warms: Edwin is sitting on a chair, in pain, blinded by toxic gas spray, recognising my voice.

I am fierce with the impotent rage I feel. I cannot and never will understand unprovoked violence.
He tells me that the police stopped him at 11.30pm last night for drunk driving. When the police detained him, he was standing outside the car chatting with a friend. He wasn't even sitting behind the steering wheel.
I should add that he is virtually a teetotaller.

Edwin told me: “The officer who made the arrest is called Vargas. He is new to the neighbourhood, but with him were the three police I had reported as killers.

"When I declared that I wouldn’t accept being detained for no reason, Vargas sprayed gas in my eyes and the others began to beat me up and threw me into the patrol van.

“When we arrived at the station, the police began to torture me with electric shocks. They put a gun to my ears and fired shots from it. It feels as though your brain is being shaken up.”

We were able to find Edwin alive thanks to the reports of neighbours present at the arrest, the questions asked by Dina and, above all, the fact that COFADEH coordinator Bertha Oliva personally went to the police station.

Dina told me the police were very cynical, making fun of her and joking about Edwin’s delicate health.
Edwin confided: “They laughed in my face and threatened me, saying that if they hadn’t killed me this time, they would the next; that the police would kill off all the resistance because they knew we all hated anyone in uniform.”

When will the Washington-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights truly respect the preventative measures that they advocate? How can one respect a police force which is committed to persecute the same citizens that they should genuinely be protecting from crime?

What can we hope from people corrupted and bought off by fascism?

Video from David Rovics concert in Perth

David Rovics live in Perth singing "All Aboard the Mavi Marmara" - the public debut for the song. This concert was hosted by Green Left Weekly ( & Friends of Palestine ( on 25 July 2010. The video can be seen on YouTube here.

More songs from the concert:

The Last Lincoln Veteran


Song for the Eureka Stockade

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Help spread the word about our campaign

Letterboxing is now well underway for our candidates in Perth and Fremantle and the senate. Click on the images below to view our election leaflets.

You can help by contacting Angela in Fremantle (0408 321 327) or Tarryn in Perth (0427 161 500). To volunteer in any other way, phone Alex (9218 9608 or 0413 976 638).

Sam Watson: Election fund appeal

Dear member or friend of the Socialist Alliance,

Although it might have been little surprise to you, many have been disappointed just how little things have changed for the better since we got rid of the hated Howard government. And now Labor’s new change of face comes with an ugly, racist shift to the right and a capitulation to the greedy mining billionaires.

The apology to the Stolen Generation was welcome, but actions speak louder than words. Labor has expanded the Howard government’s Northern Territory intervention — the most vicious attack on Aboriginal rights in decades. The gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians has grown and our young men are still dying in custody.

Although Labor promised a new approach to asylum seekers, mandatory detention remains and the Curtin prison in WA has been reopened. Labor replaced the “Pacific solution” with the “Indonesia solution” and now the “East Timor solution”. The visa freeze on refugees fleeing wars in Sri Lanka and Afghanistan was another disgrace.

Labor was swept to power by mass opposition to Howard’s Work Choices and its promises to bin it. Instead, Julia Gillard kept much of the hated anti-union laws — ‘Work Choices lite’ — and refused to dump the ABCC, the building industry secret police. We salute Ark Tribe, the South Australian building worker, who is now on trial and threatened with jail for refusing to cooperate with the ABCC interrogators.

Then, of course, there’s climate change — the “greatest moral challenge of our time”. While many hoped Labor would take action, that opportunity has been squandered away on the false premise that Australia cannot show leadership. Meanwhile, carbon emissions continue to rise and Labor state governments plan new coal mines.

Now the election is upon us and with it the chance to put forward alternative policies to those of the two parties of big business — policies that put people and the environment before profits.

It’s important that we get the socialist message out far and wide. The stronger the vote for the Socialist Alliance (and the Greens), the clearer the message that people don’t want the profits first policies of Labor and Liberal.

Just as importantly, success in the elections will strengthen the Socialist Alliance’s ability to build future struggles “on the ground” — the better placed we will be to continue the struggles for environmental sustainability, civil liberties, workers’ rights and justice for Indigenous Australians. That will be true whichever major party wins government.

The Socialist Alliance election campaign is already under way.

But how much more we can do depends directly on you. To run a reasonable campaign we need at least $50,000, and to make a serious splash $100,000.

While Liberal and Labor rake in millions from the public funding of parties and from their corporate friends, our election campaign depends totally and exclusively on the support we get from members and supporters.

Your donation will make a difference, for this election campaign and beyond (see below for some ideas of how much your donation would buy for our campaign). And remember, all donations up to $1500 are tax deductible.

Please give as generously as you can manage, and make an investment in the socially just and environmentally sustainable world to which we are all committed.

Yours in solidarity,

Sam Watson                               
July 2010

The more you can give, the more our socialist message will be heard!

How much will my donation help the 2010 Socialist Alliance election campaign?
1000 profile stickers        $150
Deposit to run one House of Representatives candidate         $500
How to votes for one electorate        $600
Deposit to run one Senate candidate                $1000

Donations to the WA campaign team can be paid by:
* Deposit or Transfer to: Socialist Alliance State Committee [CBA, BSB: 066 003  Account: 1014 0921]
* Post cheque or money order made out to "Socialist Alliance" to PO Box 204, Northbridge 6865
* Come into the Activist Centre (15/5 Aberdeen St, East Perth - next to McIver station) (we're there most of the time but may be best to phone first to check 9218 9608 or 0413 976 638.)
* Make a credit card payment over the phone (ph 9218 9608 or 0413 976 638)

[IMPORTANT: If you transfer or deposit directly into our account, we need you to email (perth[at] or phone (9218 9608) your details because we can't accept anonomous donations.]

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

WA: New coal power stations responsible for most emissions

On July 12, state environment minister Donna Faragher approved an additional three coal-fired power stations in Western Australia. These power stations will contribute to a 75% increase in the state’s greenhouse emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Authority.

Of the three power stations, one is a brand new private sector development. The other two are older power stations that were built in the 1960s and have not been in use for some time, which will be expanded and refurbished. This will more than double the number of coal-fired power stations in Collie.

Conservation Council director Piers Verstegen said the decision “will be seen as one of the biggest mistakes of the [Premier Colin] Barnett Government for many years to come”.

A new website set up by the Conservation Council ( collected more than 1000 protesting against the decision in 48 hours and sent more than 1500 messages to the premier and environment minister. It is now directing messages to the federal government calling for an intervention to stop the expansion.

Ironically, on the same day that this decision was made, Trent Hawkins from Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) in Victoria was presenting plan for 100% renewable energy by 2020 to the WA-based Sustainable Energy Now.

BZE has convincingly demonstrated not only that renewable energy can meet all of our energy needs in Australia (including “baseload”), but that this can be achieved in a 10-year emergency push.

Kamala Emanuel from Safe Climate Perth told Green Left Weekly the 10-year time frame was important.
“Because Australia has the highest per capita emissions in the industrialised world and because there is already too much carbon in the atmosphere, we need an emergency push to sharply reduce our greenhouse pollution as quickly as possible”, she said.

Safe Climate Perth and the Conservation Council will campaign to have Faragher’s decision reversed. Opposing the new power stations will be a central theme of the Walk Against Warming on August 15.

[Alex Bainbridge is the Socialist Alliance candidate for Perth and is active in the campaign for 100% renewable energy. Photo from: ]

Reminder: Protest against the Australian Uranium Conference tomorrow at 8am

THIS WED 21st July 8-9AM. 


Brave the cold to warm your heart with this inspired group of people for a nuclear free sustainable future!!

What: Protest against the Australian Uranium Conference

When: This Wednesday 21st July from 8am- 9am

Where: Outside the Esplanade Hotel, corner of Marine Parade and Essex St, Fremantle (~10 minutes walk from Freo Station)

Why? In response to the aggressive push from the nuclear industry and State Government to develop uranium mining in WA which has occurred without a transparent public debate and without the support of communities that will bear the brunt of this toxic industry. 
WA is in the spotlight with over 137 uranium mining companies with uranium interests in WA, and many uranium deposits. There is still no operating commercial uranium mine in the State and there never has been, now’s the time to turn this around and keep WA Nuclear Free!!!

SPEAKERS INCLUDE Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlum, Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettit, AMWU State Secretary Steve Mc Cartney with entertainment by the Raging Grannies and Ziggy Switkowski!!!!!!

The Australian Uranium Conference is a meeting that brings together industry, government and investors to plan and facilitate the exploitation of Australian uranium. It’s time to stand up and say NO to uranium mining in WA, let’s keep WA nuclear free. Uranium mining in Australia is a bad investment for many many reasons; just a few of these include:
• Uranium is radioactive and the mining of it leaves behind highly radioactive tailings which stay in our environment for hundreds of thousands of years- a management nightmare!
• Uranium mining is a thirsty business, the Olympic Dam Uranium mine alone uses 35 million liters of water every day! This is an unsustainable and irresponsible use of our water.
* Despite popular belief there are communities of people that live all through Australia’s vast outback, these communities are significant and have rights to clean water, clean air and the the right to say NO to uranium mining in their backyard.
* The end result of uranium mining is weapons grade material and radioactive waste.
* There is still no National Radiation Dose Register for uranium mine workers, despite a promise from Mines Minister Martin Ferguson in September 2008 to have one established by the end of 2009! since which time there have been two leaks at Ranger Uranium mine and polonium scare at Olympic Dam Uranium mine

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sanna Andrew speaking at rally for Mr Ward

This video can be watched on YouTube here.

Read report from the rally here and in Green Left Weekly.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Elections Aug 21: Battlestations!

Julia Gillard has called the election for Saturday August 21!

Our election campaign is already underway, but now is the time to shift into a new gear.

There are three things that we need now from our supporters:

1. A commitment to help our election campaign on polling day, especially in the electorates of Perth or Fremantle.

2. All donations large and small are welcome and still necessary (thanks to those who have already contributed).

3. Help with letter boxing and general campaign help.

Please contact Alex on 9218 9608 or 0413 976 638 if you can help in any of these ways.

Also remember to make sure you are on the electoral roll at your correct address. You have until 8pm Monday 19 July (tomorrow) to enroll to vote if you're not on the roll, and until Wednesday to change details like your address. Capital city AEC offices are open today.

Finally, it is worth remembering that our general campaigning does not stop just because an election has been called. Other important upcoming events include the rally for Adelaide construction worker Ark Tribe on Tuesday 20 July and the benefit gig for Green Left Weekly and Friends of Palestine with inspirational US songwriter David Rovics on Sunday 25 July.

In solidarity

Alex Bainbridge
Socialist Alliance

Pictures and report from rally for Mr Ward

Five hundred people rallied outside the Perth Supreme Court Gardens on July 11 to demand that the coronial investigation into Mr Ward's tragic death be reopened.

Mr Ward, a respected Aboriginal elder, was literally cooked to death in the back of a prisoner van while being driven from Laverton to Kalgoorlie to face court for a traffic offence in January 2008.

The coroner found that temperatures inside the van reached 47° Celsius and that metal surfaces in the van would have reached 56°C.

On June 28, the department of public prosecutions said it would not to lay charge against the two private security guards who were responsible for transporting Mr Ward under these conditions.

The rally also called for the evidence used to be tabled in parliament, for an independent review of the decision, for the contract with private prison company G4S to be terminated and responsibility for prison transportation to be returned to corrective services personnel.

The rally held a minute's silence to mark the passing of Mr Ward before the speakers addressed the crowd.

Daisy Ward, Mr Ward’s cousin, said: “We are just human beings like anybody else.” She demanded justice for her family.

Western Australian Greens MP, Alison Xamon, quoted the coroner's report stating that the death of Mr Ward was “wholly unnecessary and avoidable”.

Glenn Moore from the First Nations Political Party also spoke.

Prominent Aboriginal rights activist Marianne McKay said the movement “would never stop until justice was achieved!”

The rally then marched through Perth city.

[This article was first published in Green Left Weekly.]

Friday, July 16, 2010

Rally to support Ark Tribe Tues 20 July! Tell Gillard to scrap the ABCC!

Adelaide construction worker Ark Tribe faces sentencing (and a possible jail term) next week for his refusal to cooperate with the Howard-era Australian Building and Construction Commission and its draconian star chamber powers that breach Australia's ILO convention obligations. We must defend Ark and demand that Gillard drop her support for the ABCC. Come to the next protest:
10am Tuesday July 20
Perth Esplanade
then march to ABCC headquarters QV1 Tower (Cnr St Georges and Milligan)

For more info check out the CFMEU WA You Tube page and Please pass details of the rally on to your friends and we'll see you there.
See below, Socialist Alliance councillor Sam Wainwright speaking out for Ark Tribe at a rally last year.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Photos from protest against Gillard 9 July 2010

30 people protested for two hours in the rain and cold outside Julia Gillard's Perth speech on Friday 9 July 2010. Most took up Gillard's recent attempt at an "East Timor solution" for refugees whereas we were chanting "open the borders, close the camps, free the refugees". A dedicated crew supporting the Conservation Council campaign to protect SW WA marine life were there as well.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Justice for refugees NOT Gillard's "East Timor solution"

Socialist Alliance candidate for Perth, Alex Bainbridge, has described PM Julia Gillard's speech at the Lowy Institute today as advocating more detention instead of genuine compassion and justice for refugees. He will protest outside Julia Gillard's breakfast speech on Friday morning along with others from the Refugee Rights Action Network.

"The essence of Julia Gillard's policy announced today is to establish an 'East Timor solution' which is a direct continuation of the approach of John Howard and Kevin Rudd," said Bainbridge.

"The real policy we need is one based on compassion and justice - that is resettlement in the Australian community," said Bainbridge.

"The simple fact is that detention is detention - regardless of whether that detention is at Christmas Island or Leonora, East Timor or Nauru."

"People fleeing persecution and hardship need freedom - and that is the one thing that Labor and Liberal governments in Australia are refusing to give them."

"For ordinary people in this country trying to work out which is the best policy to support, one basic principle should guide us: you can't expect justice for yourself unless you support justice for others as well. That means we should welcome refugees."

"I will be joining the Refugee Rights Action Network protest outside Julia Gillard's breakfast speech at the Hyatt Hotel on Friday morning. It is only by speaking out and protesting that a better policy can be won."

For further information and comment:
Alex Bainbridge 0413 976 638

NB: The protest will be 7-9am, Friday 9 July, Julia Gillard's breakfast speech, Hyatt Hotel, Adelaide Terrace, Perth.

[This media release was sent by Alex Bainbridge on Tuesday 6 July 2010. Protest details updated Wed 7 July.]

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Gillard caves in to mining giants

From the standpoint of conventional political ``analysis’’, Julia Gillard has had a spectacular start to her reign as prime-minister. She wrested the position from Kevin Rudd with minimal bloodshed, announced she was going to neutralise the mining tax controversy by negotiating with the mining billionaires and was rewarded with a dramatic turn-around in the opinion polls.

On July 2, her deal with the three biggest multinational corporations in the mining industry – BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata – was revealed. This deal gave enough compromises to these corporations to the point that they called off their advertising war against the government. However, the deal will still result in $10.5 billion in extra revenue for the government (compared to $12 billion expected from the original proposal) meaning the government doesn’t have a huge budget black hole to contend with.

On the face of it, this is a win-win deal for everybody except the Liberal party whose chances of winning the coming election now appear to have evaporated.

However, Gillard’s and the ALP’s folding before the mining bosses is nothing more than a continuation of a ``business as usual’’ which is not in the interests of the working majority in Australia.

It is not that Labor’s original mining tax proposal under Rudd was particularly radical. At best it was a modest reform (although in this era where counter-reform is much more common, a modest step forward is not to be sneezed at). Nevertheless, it could more accurately be described as ``populist’’ than truly ``progressive’’.

Rudd launched his proposed tax under the banner of attacking super profits in the mining industry. However, in addition to returning the federal budget to surplus, the proceeds of the tax were to be spent on reducing the already low corporate tax rate from 30% to 28% and funding a range of new subsidies to the mining industry itself.

Rudd was apparently gambling (inaccurately as it turned out) that a public stoush with the extremely rich billionaires in the mining industry would enhance his election prospects by boosting his image as a reformer who stood up for workers’ rights against the big bosses. He was expecting that the new subsidies for the mining industry would neutralise the opposition of the smaller mining corporations and the cut in company tax rate would be lauded by bosses in other industries.

It is also clear that Rudd’s strategy always included the plan to compromise on some aspects of the tax. This would enhance his public image as someone who was prepared to take on the big corporations (with the initial headline announcements) but also enable him to cut a deal that would not be too taxing for the big end of town who were his real masters.

The surprise revelation on July 2 that treasury made a ``mistake’’ in calculating how much money the original tax proposal would have generated ($15-20 billion instead of treasury’s forecast of $12 billion) is possibly nothing more than an indication of the amount of ``wriggle room’’ that Rudd was always planning to deal away to the bosses. (Alternatively, it could just reflect that the mining bosses control even more billions than previously thought and should be made to pay more tax!)

Public comment by Fortescue Minerals boss, billionaire Andrew Forrest, reveals that Rudd himself was on the verge of reaching an acceptable deal with the mining bosses before he was unceremoniously dumped by the ALP machine. According to Forrest in the June 30 Sydney Morning Herald online, a discussion paper outlining significant compromises by Rudd was ``24 hours’’ from being publicly released at the time he was dumped as PM.

There is a substantial similarity between the compromises that Forrest negotiated with Rudd and the compromise deal released by Gillard. This reveals that the dumping of Rudd was more about a public relations image for the ALP than a policy change for the government.

Forrest may now be complaining that Gillard only negotiated with the multinational billionaires instead of the Australian billionaires but this is a sideshow from the main issue – Australian workers aren’t getting much if anything out of the new tax - neither in the original nor amended versions.

Much is made of the fact that Gillard has retained the increase from 9% to 12% in the ``superannuation guarantee’’ that is to be funded by the tax. This does mean that Australian workers will get increased superannuation, even under Gillard’s deal.

However, this superannuation measure was never expected to cost more than $240 million. In other words it is spare change in the context of a tax expected to raise more than $10 billion (barely 2 per cent). The inclusion of this measure is more about selling the tax to the public than sharing the wealth currently monopolised by the exploiting class.

It has also been predicted that this increase in superannuation will actually reduce government expenditure over time as less government money will be spent on pensions.

What can progressive people learn from this experience?

Quite a few people will be breathing a sigh of relief that the worrying prospect of a Tony Abbott-led Liberal government seems less likely than it did before.

However in reality, we should be less impressed with the ``clever’’ manoeuvrers by the parliamentary ALP than by the public campaign by the mining billionaires when it looked like they weren’t going to get what they wanted.

Mining bosses, like other bosses, are used to having an open door to government ministers. The parliamentary system is rigged to be more responsive to the big end of town than to ordinary people even if the executives periodically have to pay $5000 or so to attend fundraising dinners with ministers. (Who can forget Forrest’s lament that the prime minister wasn’t returning his calls? His standard expectation is to have a direct line to the PM!)

However, when the mining bosses didn’t get what they want, they launched a public, political campaign to try to change the balance of forces in their favour. Of course their main method of struggle was to pay for a multi-million dollar advertising campaign and they could count on sympathetic coverage in the establishment media (owned by corporate executives just like them).

Our side doesn’t have multi-millions, so our methods of struggle have to be different. If we want to see a genuinely progressive taxation reform – or any other reform for that matter – we need our own public political campaign: public demonstrations, industrial action and civil disobedience.

If the ALP were truly a workers’ party, they would help us wage campaigns like that. Since they’re not, we need to build a party of our own.

[This article was submitted to Green Left Weekly by Alex Bainbridge, Socialist Alliance candidate for Perth.]

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Mr Ward’s family still denied justice

Video from the action

[This video can also be viewed at Green Left Weekly and on YouTube.]

On July 2, 100 people rallied at St Georges Terrace in response to the Western Australian Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision not to lay criminal charges against the two guards involved in the death of Mr Ward.

The emergency action was called by the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee and was addressed by Marianne Mackay and Marc Newhouse from DICWC.

Some wore T-shirts that read: “What Eddie Mabo was to Native Title, let Mr Ward be to the justice system.”

Mr Ward, a respected Aboriginal elder, was literally cooked to death in the back of a prisoner van while being driven 360 kilometres from Laverton to Kalgoorlie to face court for a traffic offence. Temperatures inside the van were in excess of 50° Celsius.

Mr Ward was being transported by private company G4S. In the words of the coroner, he “suffered a terrible death, which was wholly unnecessary and avoidable”.

The DPP has decided no criminal charges will be laid against any party responsible for Mr Ward’s death.

Mackay, who is also a candidate for the Ecological Social Justice Aboriginal Party, told the protest: "There is no evidence [to charge anybody] because this is a black man [we're talking about], that's why there is no evidence."

Alex Bainbridge, Socialist Alliance candidate for Perth, told the rally that so far every month this year, there has been an Aboriginal death in custody somewhere in Australia. "This is not an historical issue from a long time ago, this is something that is happening right now, today," he said.

In response to the public outrage at the DPP’s decision, DICWC is joining with Mr Ward’s family to demand:
* the coronial inquest into Mr Ward's death be re-opened;
* an independent review of the DPP decision not to bring criminal charges be conducted;
* the evidence and advice the DPP used to make the decision that no criminal charges be laid be tabled in parliament;
* the transportation of detained persons be returned to the Department of Corrective Services and the G4S contract ended;
* there be independent and effective investigation of any future deaths in custody;
* new criminal offences of corporate and custodial manslaughter be introduced into legislation to ensure that parties responsible for any similar deaths in custody in the future cannot escape being held criminally responsible;
* there be an independent public inquiry into institutionalised racism in the WA criminal justice system.

[This article is by Jacqui Clee is from Green Left Weekly #843.]

Photo slideshow

The next action organised by Deaths in Custody Watch Committee will be a major public rally at 1pm, Sun 11 July in the Supreme Court Gardens.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Video from flash mob against stop and search laws

This video is from the Search For Your Rights "flash mob" on 17 June 2010 to protest the "stop and search" laws proposed by the Barnett government.

You can view this video on YouTube here.

See why Resistance and Socialist Alliance oppose the Stop and Search laws here

David Rovics live in Perth

David Rovics is a fantastic US singer/songwriter making his debut appearance in Perth on July 25.

David Rovics - live in Perth
with SugarChild
7pm Sunday 25 July
The Irish Club
61 Townshend Road, Subiaco
$25 ($20 conc)

"Listen to David Rovics..." Pete Seeger
"David Rovics is the musical version of Democracy Now" Amy Goodman
" of the best political songwriters in the English speaking world today." Green Left Weekly

David Rovics grew up in a family of classical musicians in Wilton, Connecticut, and became a fan of populist regimes early on. By the early 90's he was a full-time busker in the Boston subways and by the mid-90's he was traveling the world as a professional flat-picking rabble-rouser. These days David lives with his family in Portland, Oregon and tours regularly on four continents, playing for audiences large and small at cafes, pubs, universities, churches, union halls and protest rallies. He has shared the stage with a veritable of who's who of the left in two dozen countries, and has had his music featured on Democracy Now!, BBC, Al-Jazeera and other networks. His essays are published regularly on CounterPunch elsewhere, and the 200+ songs he makes available for free on the web have been downloaded more than a million times. Most importantly, he's really good. He will make you laugh, he will make you cry, he will make the revolution irresistible.

Phone Alex 0413 976 638 or Victoria 0449 028 894.

Presented by Green Left Weekly & Friends of Palestine WA 

DOWNLOAD: David Rovics Poster A3
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Protest the decision not to lay charges in the Ward case

The Director of Public Prosecutions has announced that they will not lay charges against anyone over the death of Warburton Aboriginal elder Mr Ward.

This is an outrage and a snap protest has been called for tomorrow at 12:15pm outside the DPP offices (26 St Georges Terrace, East Perth).

Please watch this video and hopefully take on board the sentiment expressed and then do your best to come along and join the snap protest tomorrow. The protest was called by Deaths in Custody Watch Committee and is supported by Socialist Alliance, the Ecological Social Justice Aboriginal Party and others.

From the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee:
Dear Friends & Supporters,

Deaths in Custody Watch Committee calls public protest actions
Deaths in Custody Watch Committee (WA) spokesperson, Marc Newhouse today announced a series of protest actions to be held following the Director of Public Prosecutions’ decision not to lay criminal charges against any of the parties responsible for the death in custody of Mr Ward in 2008. 
“We are unmoved in our belief that the Department of Corrective Services, G4S and the two G4S guards all need to be held accountable for their roles in Mr Ward’s death” Mr Newhouse said.

“This is not the end. We will leave no stone unturned in our fight for justice for Mr Ward”.

Emergency Public Protest: Friday, 2 July at 12:30PM
DPP Office ‘International House’, 26 St Georges Terrace


Major Public Protest Rally and March: Sunday 11 July at 1PM
Supreme Court Gardens, cnr Barrack St & St George’s Tce, Perth



Family urged to sue over elder's death
June 29, 2010
A lawyer's group says the family of an Aboriginal elder, who died while being transported by prison guard contractors in searing heat, should sue the WA Government.
Mr Ward died in 2008 after being transported hundreds of kilometres across the Goldfields in a prison van with faulty air conditioning.
The temperature in the back of the van was close to 50 degrees.
The Director of Public Prosecutions has decided not to lay criminal charges against anyone involved in his death.
This is despite a coronial inquest finding that the Department of Corrective Services, the two prison van drivers and their employer G4S were all partly responsible.


Family angry at not hearing decision directly from DPP
JESSICA STRUTT, The West Australian June 29,
The distraught family of an Aboriginal elder who died in the back of a prison van are angry at the decision not to lay charges over his death. Mr Ward's cousin Daisy Ward said yesterday the family were upset that no charges would be laid.
They were particularly shocked to find out the news through word of mouth, rather than from DPP Joe McGrath who only met Mr Ward's wife, Nancy, in Warburton over the weekend to inform her of his decision.
"The prison guards didn't do their duty of care," a traumatised Daisy Ward said yesterday as she broke down in tears while speaking by phone. "I'm really sad. I have a broken heart. We are all upset about it.


Frustrated DPP sees flaws in quality of police probe
JESSICA STRUTT and NATASHA BODDY, The West Australian June 29, 2010
The State's top prosecutor said there were "regrettable aspects" about the quality of the police investigation into the death of an Aboriginal man who died of heatstroke in the back of a prison van.
Defending his decision not to lay criminal charges over the matter, the Director of Public Prosecutions Joe McGrath said yesterday there was not enough evidence to support a case of manslaughter by criminal negligence. And even if there was, there was "no reasonable prospect of conviction".
It came as Mr Ward's family and the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee vowed to hold a public rally at State Parliament in coming weeks to protest against the decision.
Mr McGrath said he had sought the independent opinion of prominent Sydney criminal barrister John Agius and he agreed with the position taken by the DPP.
He would not release the independent advice because it was subject to legal professional privilege. Mr McGrath said he felt "a degree of frustration" about the inability to lay charges.
He raised the prospect of the family pursuing civil action over Mr Ward's death but refused to elaborate.


Mr Ward's family holding onto hope for justice
July 2, 2009
The Director of Public Prosecutions has begun his inquiries into the death of an Aboriginal elder in the back of a prison van, giving his family and supporters hope that charges could be laid.
The victim was 46-year-old Warburton man Mr Ward, who was effectively roasted in the van during a four-hour journey between Laverton and Kalgoorlie in January last year.
A coronial inquest found Mr Ward's death was "wholly avoidable", and State Coroner Alistair Hope recommended charges should be laid over the incident.
The inquest was told that Mr Ward - whose first name cannot be published because of cultural reasons - had endured temperatures in excess of 50 degrees in the pod of the van.
Mr Hope found "inhumane treatment'' led to the elder's death and said the company involved, Global Solutions Ltd (GSL), its two guards Nina Stokoe and Graham Powell, and the Department of Corrective Services had all contributed to Mr Ward's "terrible death''.


Queries over van death witnesses
JESSICA STRUTT and AMANDA BANKS, The West Australian July 1
The failure of police to separate two key witnesses to the death of an Aboriginal elder in the back of a prison van was reviewed as part of an internal WA Police investigation.
Asked whether any officers responsible for not separating the witnesses had faced or were facing disciplinary action, a WA Police spokesman said on Tuesday internal action had been taken.
But he refused to detail the actions or name the officer or officers involved.
"WA Police does not make specific public comment on internal investigation outcomes, which involve counselling, behavioural modification and or disciplinary action," he said.
But yesterday, the spokesman said no officers had been the subject of disciplinary action specifically over the separation of the guards.
He said the failure by officers to separate security guards, Nina Stokoe and Graham Powell, who transferred Mr Ward in the prison van, before they were interviewed by police after his death, was just one part of the police internal investigation.
Details of the investigation were part of a report before State Coroner Alastair Hope.



Diana Buttu speaking in Perth 23 June 2010

This video (above) shows the powerful conclusion to Diana Buttu's speech in Perth on June 23. In this segment she explains why we should support the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel. The forum at which she was speaking was organised by Friends of Palestine WA as part of a national tour.

The video below is a YouTube playlist of the whole of Buttu's talk: