Thursday, January 31, 2013

Forum: The case for public ownership of the mining industry

Public meeting - all welcome

The case for public ownership of the mining industry

Socialist Alliance is contesting the coming state and federal elections on a platform of bring the mining, banking and energy sectors under public ownership. The aim of this policy is to achieve environmental goals and to use the wealth generated for social good rather than private profit. But is this policy even possible?

This forum will discuss different aspects of the mining in WA and outline a case for bringing the mining sector into public ownership.

Speakers include:
Al Rainnie (Curtin Uni academic)
   Corporate decision making processes versus democracy and community interest
Mia Pepper (Anti-Uranium campaigner)
   The Environmental record of the mining industry in WA
Sam Wainwright (Socialist Alliance candidate for Willagee & Fremantle City Councillor)
   Wealth redistribution, workers rights and the case for public ownership
Farida Iqbal (Socialist Alliance candidate for Perth & No Fracking WAy activist)
   The gas fracking industry: a case study

3pm Sat 16 February

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

Attend on Facebook:

Please use the Twitter hash tag: #Mining4PeopleNotProfit to comment on this topic or simply Tweet This!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Protest for Refugee Rights

The Refugee Rights Action Network has organised a protest outside the Department of Immigration as its first protest action for 2013. (This is in addition to the major Refugee Rights convergence to the Yongah Hill Detention Centre near Northam 25-28 April.)

Protest: Free the Refugees - End the Pacific "Solution"

12 noon, Fri 15 March

Department of Immigration
836 Wellington St, West Perth

Attend on Facebook here

WA Sustainable Transport Forum: Thurs 31 Jan

Socialist Alliance candidate for Willagee Sam Wainwright will represent the party at a WA Sustainable Transport Future Forum organised by the Fremantle Road-To-Rail campaign and hosted by the City of Fremantle:

WA Sustainable Transport Future Forum

Fremantle Town Hall
William Street, Fremantle

Thurs 31 Jan


Advocates Panel:
Peter Newman (Curtin Uni Sustainability Policy Institute)
Scott Ludlam (cycling advocate)
Jane Fuchsbichler (Wheatbelt Rail Retention Alliance)
Gaye Page-Burt (Fremantle Road to Rail)

Political Party Panel:
Troy Buswell (Liberal Transport minister, invited)
Ken Travers (ALP)
Lynn MacLaren (Greens)
Sam Wainwright (Socialist Alliance)
Max Trenorden (National dissident)

Followed by Q & A session

More information: Leonie Lundy at 0439 475 174

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Last day of freedom

The Nyoongar Tent Embassy and Black Action Group organised a ``Last day of freedom'' event on January 25.

``We had a big celebration and corroboree,'' organiser Preston Colbung told Green Left. The day chosen was symbolic as the day before Invasion Day and therefore a day of freedom.

Events included bands, local and young artists, displays and cultural activities. Women's and men's circles were each held and a women's smoking ceremony was held to cleanse the island.

The event was held at Matagarup (Heirisson Island) where the Nyoongar Tent Embassy was established last year.

``You can feel the calmness and peacefulness [at the event],'' organiser Marianne Mackay told Green Left. However she said that ``we won't be camping here for a while'' because ``we need to smoke the island and cleanse it'' due to the negative energy from last year.

This refers to the vicious actions by police and Perth City Council to close down the Embassy over several months last year.

``The whole purpose of today was to celebrate women,'' Colbung told Green Left. ``As Matagarup is a birthing site, the aim of today was to celebrate indigenous women in Australia – how far we've moved forward and to keep our sovereign rights going.''

Mackay said that the organisers want to make this an annual event. ``We want to make sure that everybody gets involved – wadjalas [white people] too.''

``It's wicked to see so many mobs here today,'' she said projecting that in future years the event will get bigger and bigger.

[This article by Alex Bainbridge was written for Green Left Weekly #951.]

The video below has been produced by Green Left TV in the spirit of solidarity with Aboriginal people asserting their sovereignty and campaigning for justice

No verdict from trial of protester

The second day of the trial of Perth protester Kamala Emanuel ended on January 24 with no verdict from the magistrate.

Emanuel was charged with failing to comply with a police officer's direction to leave a legal, peaceful rally last April.

Twenty people protested outside the court in support of the right to protest without police interference.

Emanuel was issued a move-on notice when she had her hand on a banner that Perth City Council rangers were trying to seize. They claimed that the protesters were violating Council by-laws that prohibit the display of hand-held signs without approval of the Council.

The police officer issuing the move-on notice claimed that Emanuel was disorderly. Emanuel's defence team is arguing that the move-on notice was invalid because the police officer had no reasonable grounds to believe that that was the case.

The two police witnesses who gave evidence on January 24 both testified that they did not pay full attention to the relevant part of the episode with the banner, or that Emanuel was not disorderly at that time.

Since the April rally, Perth activists have mounted a successful campaign for free speech. Rangers have not harassed any activist event since the free-speech campaign began.

In addition to this on-the-ground victory, the defence is also arguing that the City of Perth signs local law does not empower council rangers to seize banners from protesters.

No date has been set for the issuing of the magistrate's verdict.

[This article was written by Alex Bainbridge for Green Left Weekly #951.]

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Equal Love sets May 11 for next rally date

The next rally for Equal Marriage Rights will be on

Sat 11 May 2013

The rally will begin in Stirling Gardens (corner Barrack Street & St Georges Terrace) at 1pm.

You can help get the ball rolling by joining and promoting the rally on Facebook.

Photos and video below are from the last rally:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Gas free Kimberley protest in Broome

Photos from Gas-free Kimberley protest in Broome (January 15, 2013)

Photos by Zeb Parkes

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Defend the Right to Protest (part 2) - Thurs 24 January

Perth activist and women’s health doctor, Kamala Emanuel, was issued a move-on notice at an April 2012 rally against “fracking” for holding this banner while rangers tried to seize it.

She was charged with not obeying a police direction to stop taking part in a legal, peaceful protest.

Her trial began on November 28 (preceded by a successful solidarity action ) and is expected to conclude on January 24.

Join the solidarity protest:

9am Thurs 24 January

Perth Magistrates' Court, 501 Hay St, Perth

Attend on Facebook:

More info: 0413 976 638

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Boycott Sri Lankan cricket: no normal sport in an abnormal society

Human rights protest in Sri Lanka in front of a
billboard claiming that Sri Lanka's war-criminal
president is "internationally respected"
While Australia and Sri Lanka battled it out at the SCG on the weekend a Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seeker on a bridging visa living in Hamilton Hill, a victim of torture, died in Fremantle Hospital after attempting suicide last Thursday.

The tragic event played out as momentum grows for an apartheid-style boycott of Sri Lankan cricket, lead by former cricket writer for The Age Trevor Grant.

On the campaign Facebook site Grant explains, “The cricket team has become a propaganda unit for the Sri Lankan Government, with players constantly telling Australian people via press conferences that all is rosy back home. The truth is that this government has committed war crimes against the Tamil people and it still continues to commit horrible crimes against them.”

This truth is leaking out, in part due to the documentary Sri Lanka's Killing Fields made by Britain's Channel Four and screened on the ABC.

It documents how in 2009 the forces of President Mahinda Rajapakse murdered 40,000 Tamil civilians, targeted artillery at hospitals and herded hundreds of thousands into concentration camps.

Former England Captain Mike Atherton wrote in the London Times of his doubt about touring Sri Lanka after seeing how it “...highlighted the systematic killing, torture and sexual abuse of Tamil prisoners of war and civilians.”

How “trophy footage” of soldiers carrying out summary executions and mutilating corpses passed censors I don't know, but it's a reality that every Australian needs to understand.

The orgy of violence in 2009 marked neither the beginning nor the end of the misery that's been heaped on the Tamils. Virulent anti-Tamil chauvinism became the ideological crutch of the mainstream Sinhalese politics with independence in 1948.

Tamils of Indian origin were stripped of their right to vote, even though they had lived in the country for generations. Sinhalese was made the sole official language, even in the majority Tamil areas. Tamil politicians who advocated a separate state were expelled from parliament.

Plus the regular state-sponsored anti-Tamil riots in which thousands were killed, raped or had their houses razed. By the 1980s a generation of young Tamils abandoned peaceful protest and took up the gun.

While the government eventually crushed armed resistance, the cause of the war has not gone away. The Tamil north and east remain under military rule with one soldier for every five civilians and international agencies are refused access.

Hundreds of thousands remain unaccounted for and many prevented from returning to their homes, farms and business; living as internal refugees. The government is transplanting Sinhalese settlers into the Tamil areas in order to wipe the Tamil nation off the map. This meets the legal definition of genocide.

Plenty of victims come from the majority Sinhalese community too. On average one dissident per week is plucked off the streets and never seen again. Thirty-nine journalist have been murdered or “disappeared” in the last eight years.

Yet our government and opposition claim there's no reason for Sri Lankans to seek asylum, that they should be sent back without even testing their claims. They want to help the Sri Lankan navy to stop people from fleeing in the first place. How did such a willfully dishonest and immoral position take hold?

Australia is not alone in turning a blind eye to Sri Lankan government human rights abuses for strategic and business reasons. But the mad mantra about “stopping the boats” has lifted it to whole new level.

Australian policy will not stop people fleeing, but it does require us to pretend that they have no reason to flee. Genocide denial is the result.

That's why we were right to protest Rajapakse at CHOGM and Julia Gillard was wrong to shake his hand. He needs to be isolated and given no credibility.

Canada will not attend CHOGM 2013 in Colombo unless the atrocities of 2009 are addressed. Australia should do the same and embrace the cricket boycott. As Grant says, “There can be no normal sport in an abnormal society”.

Only peace and freedom will stop the flow of refugees from Sri Lanka. Australia needs to help that cause, not undermine it.

[This article is by Socialist Alliance member and Fremantle Councillor Sam Wainwright and has been submitted as a comment piece to the Fremantle Herald. Wainwright is a founding member of Action for Human Rights in Tamil Eelam & Sri Lanka]