Saturday, March 26, 2016

Perth rally to save Safe Schools

A 'national disgrace' to attack Safe Schools program

Oscar Kaspi-Crutchett speaking at #Perth rally to save #SafeSchools on March 21.#AusPol #LGBTISee more photos and story:

Posted by Green Left Weekly on Friday, March 25, 2016

In Perth the rally on March 21 was an impassioned show of community support for LGBTIQ youth.

A wide range of organisations attended, including PFlag, Transmen of WA, and several trade unions.

The crowd heard from Mt Lawley high school student Oscar Kaspi-Crutchett, who spoke about the recent harassment of students at his school by the Christian Right over the safe schools program. Melissa Scarr, the mother of 11 year old trans boy Jacob Scarr, spoke about how the Safe Schools a Program has made a huge difference for her son.

After the official speakers, a long queue lined up to speak on the open mike. The crowd heard one harrowing story after another of school bullying and prejudice, highlighting the desperate need for the safe schools program.

See more photos and a national report on Green Left online.

Monday, March 21, 2016

WA's Anti Protest Bill: The Fight Continues

A broad coalition of forces continues to challenge anti-protest legislation tabled in the Western Australian state parliament.

If passed, the broad powers of the Criminal Code Amendment (Prevention of Lawful Activity) Bill will make it a criminal offence to be in possession of an unnamed “thing” or to disrupt "lawful activities". The bill also threatens two year's jail and $24,000 fines for impeding lawful activity. Widely criticised by environmental, social justice, and legal campaigners the law smashes free speech and criminalises peaceful protest.

A broad coalition of forces continues to challenge anti-protest legislation tabled in the Western Australian state parliament.

If passed, the broad powers of the Criminal Code Amendment (Prevention of Lawful Activity) Bill will make it a criminal offence to be in possession of an unnamed “thing” or to disrupt "lawful activities". The bill also threatens two year's jail and $24,000 fines for impeding lawful activity. Widely criticised by environmental, social justice, and legal campaigners the law smashes free speech and criminalises peaceful protest.

It is obvious why the Barnett government is trying to introduce anti-protest legislation. It is because mass protest keeps the government on its toes. Several people-powered campaigns have successfully challenged the state government's agenda in recent years, including those against the Kimberley gas hub, the shark cull, Perth Freight Link, and the forced closure of Aboriginal communities. The anti-fracking movement is also gathering steam throughout the state.

How do you defend the right to protest? With protest! 1400 people rallied outside parliament house on February 23 shortly after the bill was passed by the upper house to tell the government the people will resist this authoritarian effort to shut down protest. An alliance of campaign groups attended, including the Maritime Union of Australia, the Nyoongar Tent Embassy, Rethink the Link, Animal Liberation, No Shark Cull and other organisations and community groups. Labor leader Mark McGowan ripped up the legislation and promised to repeal it if Labor is elected.

Pro-democracy activists held an impressive follow up action on March 15, disrupting state parliament itself. Seventeen people stood in the public gallery with the words “Protect Protest WA” spelled across their t-shirts. They stood with their mouths closed before removing the symbolic gags and singing a classic protest song calling for the right to protest to be respected.

The next large rally will take place when the legislation goes to the lower house, which will probably be in the next few weeks.

[This article by Farida Iqbal was first published in Green Left Weekly on March 19, 2016. Photo above from March 15 action in parliament. Photos below from the February 23 rally.]

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Forum: Can Bernie Sanders' "political revolution" happen here?

Socialist Alliance forum - all welcome

Bernie Sanders' "political revolution": can it happen here?

Self described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders has won wide support for his call in the US presidential elections for a "political revolution" against Wall Street and the "billionaire class". In this election year in Australia, this forum will canvass if socialism is coming back on to the agenda and if radical social change can win mass support here.

Featured speaker:
Chris Jenkins (Socialist Alliance candidate for Fremantle)

6 for 6:30pm Thurs 31 March

Perth Activist Centre, 15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth (next to McIver station)
Ph 9218 9608, 0417 319 662, 0415 922 740.

Attend on Facebook:

[NB: This public forum will be followed by a Socialist Alliance senate ticket preselection.]

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Murdoch forum: Is capitalism killing the planet? Wed 23 March

Murdoch Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance forum

Is Capitalism killing the planet? the case for ecosocialist change

February 2016 globally was the warmest month ever recorded, smashing the record set by the previous warmest ever month - January 2016! Briefly, the northern hemisphere passed the much talked about 2 degrees rise above the pre-industrial average. In Australia, rainfall zones have shifted between 100 and 400km between 1900-1999 and 2000-2015.

Capitalism is killing the planet and our only hope is radical social change that breaks the power of the big corporations and establishes a new grassroots, people's democracy that can bring into being a socially just, ecologically sustainable world.

This forum will canvass the issues at stake and how such a change can be won.

12:30pm Wed 23 March

ECL 3.007, Murdoch Uni

Ph 0415 922 740 for more info

Attend on Facebook:

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Moort Boodjari Mia maternity centre faces closure

The ABC reported on March 3 that the Moort Boodjari Mia Aboriginal maternity centre in Midland, Perth, part of the North Metropolitan Health Service, is expected to close in June due to lack of funding.

The centre provides antenatal and postnatal clinical care, guidance, support and education to pregnant Aboriginal women and their families. A team of health professionals works with each woman during her pregnancy and for four weeks after the birth. Since opening in 2011, it has cared for hundreds of families.

The achievements of the centre in its first five years of operation are already impressive: a 70% increase in appointment attendance, as well as a marked decline in cigarette, alcohol and illicit drug consumption during pregnancy by the mothers who attend the clinic. In that five-year period, the centre has also won two national health industry awards for its innovative work.

None of this has been enough to convince the state and federal government to continue to support the service.
Dr Jennifer Dodd, who works at Moort Boodjari Mia, is part of the campaign to stop the closure of the centre: "I don't understand why the government doesn't fly a flag, to say, look at us, we are doing an Aboriginal-led, safe, maternity care service. It should be an example to the rest of the nation."

Federal minister for Aboriginal health Fiona Nash officially agrees that culturally-based health care services are essential for Aboriginal people: “It's very important that culture is central to health services. One of the things that is very clear is that Indigenous people need culturally appropriate service delivery. They need to feel safe, they need to feel that it's appropriate, and that's the best way we can get better outcomes.”

Moort Boodjari Mia was established as part of the government's “Close the Gap” initiative, but five years after opening, federal and state governments are pulling the plug on it, citing budget restrictions. The federal government intends to cut $535.4 million from Aboriginal services over the next five years, including $160 million from Aboriginal health, all while repeating the mantra of commitment to “closing the gap”.

In Western Australia, which until recently benefitted from the immensely profitable mining boom, the same excuses of budget constraints are being pedalled by the Colin Barnett government to force the closure of up to 150 remote Aboriginal communities across the state.

This action by the Barnett government has provoked widespread condemnation and protest here and abroad by Aboriginal people, civil society organisations and the broader community.

As well as the deep cultural, spiritual and social harm such closures would entail, it has also been pointed out that supporting these communities would be more cost effective than shutting them down. Despite countless promises to improve the situation in these communities, many essential services are non-existent or remain woefully inadequate, contributing to the health decline and social disadvantage many Aboriginal people continue to experience today.

Despite the rhetoric of “closing the gap”, the actions of the state and federal governments reflect a business-as-usual approach, neglecting to provide services and even shutting down those that people fought long and hard to establish.

Well-funded and culturally appropriate health and community services are urgently needed to improve the quality of life of Aboriginal people. This can only be achieved through a meaningful engagement with communities and elders, a process where decisions are made through collaboration, not from the top as we see now.

Services like Moort Boodjari Mia are making a big difference to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal mothers and babies. That in itself is enough reason to fight to keep it open.

[This article by Amber O'Sullivan first appeared in Green Left Weekly on March 11, 2016.]

Palm Sunday: Walk for Justice for Refugees - Sun 20 March

The Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Refugees is an important rally for refugee rights.

As the horrors of the Nauru and Manus Island detention centres become more widely known and the appalling cruelty of government policy is increasingly seen for what it is, you can make a difference by joining this years Palm Sunday rally:

1pm Sunday 20 March

St George's Cathedral
38 St George's Terrace, Perth

Attend on Facebook:

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Film night: Struggle and Resistance in West Papua

West Papua Film Night

6pm Friday 8 April

For 54 years the people of West Papua have suffered at the hands of the Indonesian colonial army while huge profits are extracted from the resource-laden land.
The indigenous peoples of West Papua are murdered, raped, denied basic rights & otherwise intimidated. Large multi-national corporations destroy the land for profit without regard for indigenous land rights or environmental preservation.
Join us for two films, The Secret War in Asia and Rebels of the Forgotten World about the genocide currently taking place in West Papua. The films will then be followed by a Q&A with Wiwince Pigome.

THE SECRET WAR IN ASIA: The forgotten land of West Papua is under brutal Indonesian military occupation. Its tribal people are being slaughtered, and their unique environment destroyed. But the world is doing nothing to stop it. In 1963, in violation of international law, Indonesia occupied and colonised the West Papuan homeland in the western part of New Guinea. Since that tragic event the West Papuans are asking for a fair referendum about their independence. At least 100.000 indigenous people lost their lives in this secret war. (15 minute film)

REBELS OF THE FORGOTTEN WORLD offers the first ever insight into the West Papuan independence struggle against the Indonesian Army, which occupied the Western part of New Guinea in 1963. (50 minute film)

6pm for a 6:30pm start. Entry recommended $5 donation.
Dinner will be available for a donation from 6pm. All funds raised will go to to supporting Australia's people-powered newspaper Green Left Weekly

Perth Activist Centre
15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth (next to McIver station)
Ph 9218 9608

Attend on Facebook:

Friday, March 4, 2016

Flashmob and forum for International Women's Day

This year in Perth there will be a #MadFuckingWitches flashmob on Saturday March 5 and a public forum on "Fighting Misogyny Today" on Tuesday March 8 to mark International Women's Day.

The Flashmob will meet:

Saturday March 5
10:30am Perth Activist Centre
11.30am Murray St mall
12:15pm Northbridge Piazza
then surprise locations in greater Perth
3:15pm Fremantle Henderson St mall
[Details here]

The forum will be on:

6pm Tuesday 8 March
Perth Activist Centre
15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth (next to McIver station)
[Details below]

All welcome to both events

International Women’s Day forum:
Fighting misogyny today

Tuesday March 8
6pm, Perth Activist Centre
15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth (next to McIver Station)

Women in Australia confront entrenched inequality and sexism in public and private life. As racism and Islamophobia are used for political ends, and with other intersecting oppressions, many women face added challenges. Yet we’re fighting back!

This forum is to celebrate how far we’ve come, take stock, and look at where to next for women’s liberation.

Michelle Bui (Refuge Rights Action Network)
Sarah Nielsen-Harvey (40 days of love pro-choice vigil)
Kamala Emanuel (Socialist Alliance)
Carol Bahemia (Bandyup Action Group)

Attend on Facebook:

Organised by Socialist Alliance. Ph 9218 9608, 0417 319662

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Murdoch Vice Chancellor joins student #LetThemStay action

Murdoch University's Acting Vice Chancellor, Andrew Taggart, joined a student #LetThemStay action on March 3 after controversial actions by university administration the previous week.

Over 50 students and staff joined the March 3 #LetThemStay photo shoot on the main clubs and societies day at the beginning of semester.

Whereas last week, the tertiary education union NTEU protested that uni management had tried to censor an academic's support for a similar student action on February 24, the latest action was attended by Taggart and tweeted by the university's official account.

The university has also affirmed its support for academic freedom and free speech.

Students for Refugees organised the February 24 and March 3 actions. Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance has supported these actions and organised a photo petition at Murdoch uni on February 22.

Murdoch university rents space to Serco - a private company which is notorious for running immigration detention centres and is complicit in the human rights abuses that take place within them. The university's ongoing association with Serco is controversial to student activists and is sure to be a focus for student activism this semester.

[This article by Alex Bainbridge was first published in Green Left Weekly online on March 3, 2016.]

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Murdoch forum: Why the government hates refugees and why we should #LetThemStay

Murdoch Resistance Forum

Why the government hates refugees and why we should #LetThemStay

All around the country - including at Murdoch Uni [Updated here] - people have shown growing revulsion at the government's plans to deport 267 refugees back to the horrors of the Nauru refugee detention prison.

This forum will discuss why the government is so anxious to spend billions of dollars depriving innocent people of their rights and why we'd all be better off if we #LetThemStay.

11:30am Wed 9 March

Amenities Building 2.021

Ph 0415 922 740, 0450 919 680

Attend on Facebook: