Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Video from police attack on Nyoongar Tent Embassy

This video is from Thursday February 23 By Seamus Doherty.

See report about related events.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Growing Change screening in Perth

[We like to encourage you to check out this screening of Growing Change - a film by Socialist Alliance member Simon Cunich - at City Farm on Thursday 1 March. Details below.]

Perth City Farm Food Film Festival
Thursday March 1, 7pm.

Growing Change is an inspiring documentary that looks at one of the most exciting experiments in the world to grow a fair and sustainable food system.

In Venezuela, from fishing villages to cocoa plantations to urban gardens, a growing social movement is showing what’s possible when communities, not corporations, start to take control of food.

Connect with Growing Change filmmaker Simon Cunich via Skype for Q & A after the screening of his award winning documentary.

Cost: $15/$10 (full/concession).

Location: City Farm, East Perth.

Harmony Day 2012

[Information below from Ilankai Tamil Sangam.]

Ilankai Tamil Sangam is organising Harmony Day Celebrations on 18th March 2012 as its contribution to Celebrate the Harmony Week ending on 21st March 2012. The Flyer for the Event is attached. Please circulate this to all those who are likely to be interested.

We are also inviting as many communities as possible to participate as well as to contribute to the success of the event which is intended for all of us to Enjoy Multiculturalism and to Develop Hamony. In order to explain to those who may not be familiar, a short Note on Harmony Day is given below:

The Harmony day (21st of March) was declared by the United Nations general assembly to commemorate the tragedy of police killing of 69 people who were taking part in a peaceful protest against the apartheid “pass laws” in the township of Sharpeville in South Africa on 21st March 1960. The day had been dedicated as the International Day for elimination of Racial Discrimination. Western Australia has embraced Harmony Week, a week leading up to 21 March as a time to embrace our diversity and value the benefits it brings. As well as promoting positive community relations, Harmony Week is about saying “no” to racism and discrimination. No doubt that the Harmony Week has very great relevance to the Members of all the Stateless Nations and we need to harmonise with the peoples all over the World who are fighting for Harmony in its broadest sense.

More information is available in the website of the Office of Multicultural Interests, Department of Local Government, WA (

Huge rally to save Perth foreshore

 A rally to oppose the Barnett government's plans to redevelop the Perth city foreshore attracted around 1000 people on February 26.

The government plan would involve flooding the Esplanade and building significant high rise developments on the new water's edge.

Issues taken up at the rally include that: there was no public consultation about the plan before it was presented; the plan involves cutting Riverside Drive leaving only one east-west thoroughfare through the city; and the heritage value of the Esplanade.

The video below is an interview with UWA history professor Jenny Gregory about the heritage aspects of the Esplanade based on her talk to the rally.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Capitalism Versus the Environment

A special education and multimedia presentation on "What every environmentalist needs to know about capitalism"

3pm Sat 3 March

Perth Activist Centre, 
15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth (next to McIver station)

Hosted by Socialist Alliance and Resistance.

All welcome

Ph 9218 9608, 0413 976 638, 0415 922 470.

Attend on Facebook:

Uni forums: Fighting for equal marriage rights

The fight for equal marriage rights is a fight for an important democratic right.

Equal Marriage campaigner and Socialist Alliance member Farida Iqbal will be presenting at UWA and Murdoch this week.

1pm, Tues 28 February
Rm 1.61 Social Sciences Building
Ph Farida: 0412 109 160

12:30pm, Wed 29 February
Rm SS2.055, Social Sciences Building
Ph Zeb 0405 179 113

Saturday, February 25, 2012

International action against Serco - March 9

Keep public services in public hands

International day of action against Serco and the privatisation of public services

Perth solidarity action:

Friday March 9 at 12 Noon

Outside the Perth Offices of SERCO at 225 St Georges Tce.

A broad coalition of social justice groups and Unions are encouraged to participate in this peaceful public rally:

We unite around 3 mutual concerns:

1) Keep essential services in public hands
2) Full Public disclosure on Public/Private bidding processes & public auditing of all Serco contracts
3) End Serco's profiteering off human misery.

Health, Justice, Schools, Corrective Services, Children's Services, Transport, etc are social services that belong in Public hands to deliver a public service with the publics tax dollars. These services should not be in private hands with Serco making a profit off the public's money via secretive contracts & without accountability.

Nyoongar Tent Embassy enters third week, despite repression

Despite heavy police intimidation and media racism, the Nyoongar Tent Embassy at Matagarup, otherwise known as Heirisson Island in Perth, is still standing strong. The Tent Embassy was founded by local Aboriginal people to voice dissent against a proposed deal with the state government that would involve them giving up their native title rights.

The embassy is also about asserting Aboriginal sovereignty. The embassy’s Iva Hayward-Jackson told Green Left Weekly the embassy is about asserting Nyoongar sovereignty and protecting sacredness of Aboriginal culture.

“We have support from all corners of Nyoongar society now,” he said.

“People who in the past have not got on are all joining together in unity now. They are standing together for the protection of this site, for the protection of the embassy and protection of our laws, traditions and customs.”

Matagarup is in the middle of the causeway that crosses the Swan River linking the Perth CBD and Victoria Park. It is a registered Aboriginal site.

In the past, the Perth City Council has paid lip service to supporting Aboriginal rights in relation to the area. For instance, in the 2009 Heirisson Island “sculpture park” plan, it wrote: “In particular, the contribution the local Aboriginal groups associated with the area will be highly valued in the refinement and enrichment of the design.”

But when Aboriginal people came to practice their culture and assert their rights on the island, the response of the Perth City Council has been consistently aggressive and disrespectful.

After several threats in the preceding few days, armed police came in large numbers on February 19 in a dawn raid to force the Tent Embassy to remove cars and tents from the site. Even though this was an attempt to break the embassy, people were not asked to leave the island.

In response, Tent Embassy protesters built traditional shelters from tree branches. Two days later, tents went back up again.

On February 23, police returned to again force people to take down their tents. They caused particular offence on that occasion by deliberately extinguishing the embassy’s sacred fire. One person was arrested and several tents were confiscated.

In an act of defiance, one tent was re-erected that same night in front of the media.

Police returned the next day and again removed the tents. In addition, a public car park near the embassy site has been closed, making access to and from the embassy more difficult. Police forced people to move their cars and one car was impounded.

The police and Perth City Council claim that embassy staff are breaking council by-laws by erecting tents on Matagarup. However, the Nyoongar Embassy is simply asserting Aboriginal sovereignty. Nyoongar people have the right to practice their own culture as they please on their own land.

Even under whitefella law, Matagarup is a registered Aboriginal site. Forcing people to pull down their tents is also an obvious attack on the symbolism of the embassy, as the phrase “Tent Embassy” does not make sense without tents.

The embassy has fought back by continually standing up to the intimidation and aggression. On February 21, an important protest march to government house was organised, demanding recognition of Aboriginal sovereignty over the south west of the state. The protest marched on the road, stopping traffic.

On February 22, the Socialist Alliance and Resistance organised a forum titled “Why Aboriginal people are right to resist”. Thirty people attended the forum, which was addressed by Aboriginal woman Natasha Moore from Socialist Alliance and Eddie Ware from the Tent Embassy. Socialist Alliance members have visited and/or slept at the Embassy every day since February 14.

Occupy Perth has held one general assembly meeting at Matagarup and has encouraged others to support the cause.

In particular, the embassy needs fire wood, ice, foam mattresses, old tents and mosquito repellant.

The embassy now has a letterbox and street sign. People wishing to write letters of support can send them to 1 Nyoongar Way, Matagarup (Heirisson Island) WA 6004.

[This article by Farida Iqbal and Alex Bainbridge was first written for Green Left Weekly #912.]

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Socialists Expand in Freo Herald

The attached article is the report from the February 18 issue of the Fremantle Herald about the new Fremantle Activist Centre.

"The Socialist Alliance has opened an Activist Centre in Fremantle," the paper reported.

"For decades the party has had a HQ in Perth but Socialist Alliance member and Fremantle Councillor Sam Wainwright says Fremantle is now ripe for one too."

The article also reports that Socialist Alliance has commenced a membership drive to collect names for electoral registration in WA. The Alliance is already registered federally and the current push would mean we're registered for WA state elections also.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Murdoch Resistance Film: Capitalism: A Love Story

Murdoch Resistance is screening Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story

Thursday 23 February
4:15pm, ECL 4
Murdoch Uni

Ph Zeb 0405 179 113 for more info

Nyoongar Tent Embassy marches on government house

Forty members and supporters of the Nyoongar Tent Embassy marched on Government House early on February 21. The march was an important public statement for the Embassy after an operation by more than fifty armed police on Sunday to clear tents and vehicles from Matagarup (Heirrison Island) where the Embassy is located.

Some media reports have falsely given the impression that that was the end of the Embassy. In fact the Embassy remains strong.

Prior to the march beginning, Embassy representatives were buoyed by the news that Perth City Council has publicly said they they have ``no plans to ask protesters at the Tent Embassy to stop camping at the site''.

The purpose of the march was to present a letter to the governor asserting sovereignty and calling on the governor to show proof if sovereignty was ever ceded by Nyoongar people.

The marchers walked down the middle of the Causeway and Adelaide Terrace marshalling themselves and at least eight children effectively.

Government House officials initially refused entrance to the group but eventually a delegation of five elders and an official photographer were allowed in to present the letter.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Nyoongar Tent Embassy defies police eviction

Over fifty police and half a dozen council rangers moved in to try to evict the Nyoongar Tent Embassy before 6:30am this morning (January 19).

Police marched in in force ("an armed military operation") and went tent to tent to force people to pack up.

This move was an outrageous attack on Aboriginal sovereignty, on the right to protest and on common decency. Shame on Barnett who was invited personally to come down to the Embassy to discuss the issues involved. Instead of taking up the offer, he sent in the police.

In the circumstances, people in the Embassy decided to take down tents and remove vehicles. However the Embassy remains strong and shows no signs of giving up.

It is still important for people to come down to the Embassy to give support.

Video: Police threaten to impound vehicles (19 February 2012)

Video: "This is about sovereignty!" (17 February 2012)

Photos: Embassy standing up to eviction (By Zeb Parkes)

Forum: Why Aboriginal people are right to resist

Public forum with:
Marianne Mackay (Nyoongar Tent Embassy)
Natasha Moore (Socialist Alliance)
and other speakers from the Nyoongar Tent Embassy

Establishment media have tried to vilify Aboriginal protesters at the 40th anniversary commemoration of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, and more recently in WA.

The Nyoongar Tent Embassy has been established partly to protest against an unfair land deal the Barnett government wants to push through. More fundamentally, it is about sovereignty for Aboriginal people.

This forum will discuss the recent developments, the legitimacy of Aboriginal resistance against genocide and how best solidarity can be built.

6:30pm Wed 22 Feb
Perth Activist Centre, 15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth (next to McIver station)

Attend on Facebook:

Ph 9218 9608, 0413 976 638.

Hosted by Socialist Alliance and Resistance.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Support the Nyoongar Tent Embassy

A Nyoongar Tent Embassy was established on Perth's Heirisson Island on February 12 in the wake of a proposal by the state government to extinguish Nyoongar Native Title. Urgent support has been requested after a second threat by Perth City Council to close the embassy down early on February 17.

Many taking a leading role in the Embassy are local Aboriginal activists recently returned from the 40th anniversary commemoration of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra.

Many Nyoongars have been outraged by premier Colin Barnett’s plans to make a $1 billion deal with the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council involving complete and permanent surrender of all Native Title claims by Nyoongar people.

The Embassy has claimed its objective as being for sovereignty, rejecting any deals with the government that involve ceding rights over land.

Elders, activists and local Nyoongar people have been camping every night at the site, traditionally an important meeting place. "We'll be here as long as it takes," said elder Uncle Ben Taylor in an interview with 7:30 journalists.

On February 16, council officers came to issue an eviction notice but left after being told they were not welcome. Early on February 17, City of Perth CEO Frank Edwards approached the Embassy, where he tossed the council's eviction notices onto the ground. Embassy representatives have said it is improper for Mr Edwards, as representative of a foreign government, to litter their embassy. Council representatives told media that the embassy would have "until the end of the day".

Sunday, February 12, 2012

WA gov't deal to extinguish native title provokes protest

Supporters of a proposed deal between Nyoongar people and the WA state government say that it has the potential to “close the gap” between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. Yet opponents say the deal is no good.

The state government has proposed a deal that would put $60 million a year for 10 years into a trust fund . After the 10 years, the government says this “future fund”, would be used to develop “economic opportunities” for Aboriginal people.

As part of the package, the state government would pass an act of parliament recognising the Nyoongar people as the original inhabitants of south-west WA. In addition, there would be a transfer of several parcels of Crown land into Nyoongar ownership.

This issue has emerged after a long running attempt by Nyoongar people to establish native title through the courts. In 2006, federal court judge Murray Wilcox ruled that native title continues to exist for the Nyoongar people.

The judgement was later overturned on appeal with the potential that the whole case be heard again. The new proposal is an attempt to resolve the matter outside of the courts.

If this deal is accepted, it would mean that Nyoongar people abandon all future claims of native title in south- west WA.

“For the Nyoongar people, this is relinquishing, surrendering their native title claim forever,” premier Colin Barnett told the AAP on February 4. “So it's a very profound decision that they'll be hopefully be making.”

Barnett said the deal would mean native title claims could not hinder any future mining, agricultural, marine or property developments in south-west WA.

The WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy has welcomed the proposal. The Labor opposition is also fully behind the deal.

In contrast, local Aboriginal activists protested outside the February 8 meeting at which the proposed deal was put to representatives of the Nyoongar land claim.

Aboriginal activist Marianne Mackay, who protested against Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard in Canberra two weeks before, played a prominent role. She has been vilified by the establishment media as a result.

Mackay told Green Left Weekly that the Barnett government had not supported Aboriginal interests in the past and so asked why it should be trusted now.

“Any deal with the government is never going to be beneficial to Aboriginal people,” she said.

Similarly, Nyoongar elder Uncle Ben Taylor described the deal as “useless”. “The deal is no good,” he told GLW.

“All that money: it won't reach Aboriginal people, it won't reach them,” he said. “As far as giving land back, they're giving reserves back. That's what we used to live in.”

Instead of making deals about native title, Taylor told GLW the Aboriginal movement should not give up on the goal of sovereignty. “That's what we were talking about in Canberra [at the Tent Embassy anniversary].”

Aboriginal supporters of the plan have raised expectations that this deal will mean a significant improvement in the lives of local Aboriginal people. However, exactly how the money and land transfers would be administered, and by whom, is still unclear.

One message coming from supporters of this deal is that creating “business opportunities” for Aboriginal people would be a major benefit. Barnett told the AAP that investing in “Aboriginal business development” was a major positive outcome.

South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council executive member Glen Kelly supports the deal and has talked up several opportunities for Aboriginal community development, one of which was “business development”.

However, any attempt to look towards small or medium business solutions for Aboriginal people will inevitably mean some achieve success and prosperity at the expense of others.

Regardless of the intentions and hopes of Aboriginal negotiators, it is not difficult to see that the government will in the future seek to wash its hands of responsibility for Aboriginal services once the cash is paid.

Mackay told GLW: “Everything they're offering is what we should be given as citizens of this country and as the First People of this land.”

[This article by Alex Bainbridge first appeared in Green Left Weekly #910 12 February 2012.]

UPDATE: 13 Feb 2012
Photo by Desire Mallet from Nyoongar Tent Embassy today

Video from Sri Lanka cricket protest

Video by Zeb Parkes

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Breakfast at Barnett's - one year anniversary

A range of people on February 11 2012 had breakfast outside the western australians premiers local electorate office in cottesloe.

They are highlighting a range of issues they are concerned about and oppose. Especially uranium mining, the Kimberley gas hub, logging of forests, destruction of the black cockatoos habitat, the threat of fracking for unconventional gas in WA and various waste issues.

This is the one year anniversary of the breakfast that will continue on throughout the year every Friday morning 7:30-8:30am.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Protest Sri Lankas human rights abuses at the cricket

Australia and Sri Lanka will be playing a one day cricket match at the WACA on Friday 10 February.

The Sri Lankan government is responsible for major human rights abuses against the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka. This includes the killing of over 40,000 people in the space of a few weeks in 2009.

These human rights abuses continue with untold numbers of people in detention and independent journalists are still prevented from reporting on the situation.

Decent people in Australia should not let these crimes go unnoticed and unpunished.

Help raise the issue of justice for Tamil people at the front entrance of the WACA.

12 noon, Friday 10 February 2012
WACA front entrance
cnr Hale St & Nelson Cres

Australia's cricketers should shun Sri Lanka

Despite growing international outrage over the Sri Lankan military’s mass killings of over 40,000 Tamil civilians in 2009, the Sri Lankan government is defiantly refusing to heed international demands for an independent investigation into the atrocities. Instead it is escalating a range of discriminatory and repressive policies towards the Tamil people.

Australia’s cricketers should take a principled stand in defence of human rights and justice, and boycott playing with Sri Lanka until the government there conducts itself according to the rules of international society.

In doing so, they will have the support of the Australian people, the Tamils, and all those, the world over, concerned with human rights, justice, and human dignity.

Australia is among many countries calling for an independent investigation of Sri Lanka’s mass killings — something the Tamil people and international human rights groups have long been demanding.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Freo Socialists open new base and gear up for 2012

Over 40 members and supporters of Socialist Alliance crowded into the new Fremantle Activist Centre on February 4 to celebrate it's opening, collecting over $800.

After being welcomed by WA Co-convenor Sam Wainwright, other members of the Walyalup-Fremantle Socialist Alliance branch spoke of the important movements they are involved in. Freo Road 2 Rail Convenor Annolies Truman discussed the battle to break the state government's fixation with freeway building at the expense of the communities and the environment.

Australian Service Union State Councillor Sanna Andrew discussed the equal pay campaign by community sector workers. Queer rights activist Farida Iqbal explained SA's long committment to same-sex marriage campaign.

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren gave greetings, highlighting the areas activists from the two organisations share common objectives and work well together.

After gathering for a photo, the activists returned for a few more drinks while Chris Bonds punched out some powerful hip hop.

Lynn MacLaren: "From little things, big things grow"

Hip Hop performance by Chris Bonds

Annolies Truman: Road to Rail

Farida Iqbal: Equal Marriage Rights

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Media monopoly and political power

A Socialist Alliance and Resistance meeting

While Gina Rinehart is only one of several corporate media owners, her move on Fairfax raises again the question of Australia’s monopolised media.

What attitude should the 99% take to the media? How can democratic control over the media coexist with a “free press”? Is the corporate media all powerful? What about the ABC and SBS? What media do activists need?

These questions and more will be discussed at the next Socialist Alliance and Resistance meeting

Wed 8 February
6:30pm, Perth Activist Centre
15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth (next to McIver station)
Ph 9218 9608, 0413 976 638, 0415 922 740. * * *

Thursday, February 2, 2012

David Shoebridge greetings to Socialist Alliance conference

This video shows the greetings given by NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge to the Socialist Alliance national conference in Sydney on 22 January 2012.

This appearance has since become the subject of muckraking by the anti-Green The Australian newspaper which is trying to sow divisions and amplify tensions in the Greens.

However, watching the video demonstrates that it is hard to believe that any progressive person could be opposed to what David Shoebridge actually said there.