Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sanna Andrew included in Fremantle Herald election cartoon

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Free the Cuban Five - protest Sunday 12 September 2010

[The information below is from the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society.]

The Australia Cuba Friendship Society (ACFS) has organised a rally to protest the incarceration of Five Cuban anti-terrorists known as "The Cuban Five". They have been in US prisons for 12 long years for no crime ever committed.

Join us on Sunday 12th September from 12:30pm at the Wesley Church grounds for a peaceful protest rally, calling for freedom of the  Cuban Five.

The Cuban Five are five Cuban men serving four life sentences and 75 years collectively in US prisons, after being wrongly convicted in the US federal court in Miami, on June 8, 2001. They are Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González.

The Five were falsely accused by the US government of committing espionage, conspiracy against the United States, and other related charges. But the Five pointed out vigorously in their defence that they were involved in peacefully monitoring the actions of Miami-based terrorist groups, in order to prevent terrorist attacks on their homeland Cuba.

For more than 40 years, Cuba has been the target of terrorist attacks by anti-Cuba terrorist organizations based in Miami. Such groups operate with complete impunity from within the United States to attack Cuba—with the knowledge and support of the FBI and CIA.
More than 3,000 Cubans have died as a result of these terrorists’ attacks.

But instead of arresting the terrorists, the FBI arrested the Cuban Five anti-terrorists on September 12, 1998. The Five were illegally held in solitary confinement for 17 months in a Miami prisons.

The campaign for the release of the Cuban Five has been supported by declarations from hundreds of parliamentarians in Britain, Italy, and the European and Latin American Parliaments. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, with five judges, ruled that there were irregularities in the Five’s trial and arrest, effectively denying them a fair trial and calls on the US government to remedy this injustice.
Around Australia, Australia-Cuba Friendship Societies have been working hard to raise awareness about their case. The rally we will hold on September 12, will be a peaceful assembly and distribute fliers to raise awareness of the case.

More information on the campaign can be found at http://www.freethefive.org.


Yours in solidarity,

Vinnie Molina
Branch President
Australia-Cuba Friendship Society

Death in detention - Take action Friday 27 August

On Sunday 22 August, a 30-year-old man died after being found unconscious at the Curtin Immigration Detention Centre in WA's remote North West.

On Saturday 21st, he was taken by ambulance to Derby Hospital and transferred by air overnight to Perth's Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital where he later died.

This is the reality of detaining people in remote locations. This is the complete abrogation of DIAC's duty of care.

Asylum seekers imprisoned in Curtin detention centre, like those detained on Christmas Island, like those held at Leonora, are isolated from medical care, psychological and other support structures that traumatised people coming from war zones are likely to need.

Putting people in these remote prison camps puts them at risk. Out of sight, out of mind - for political expediencey. But no longer!

Come and let DIAC know that we can see beyond their fences and information smoke screens.

Refugee Rights snap action:
12 noon, Friday 27 August
Outside Department of Immigration and Citizenship
(Wellington Central - 836 Wellington St, West Perth WA)

Organised by Refugee Rights Action Network - www.rran.org. Ph 0417 904 329

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

After the elections...

Firstly, I'd like to say a huge (if slightly belated) thank you to all of the people who helped the Socialist Alliance campaign at the election! With counting not yet complete we polled 491 votes in Perth and 570 votes in Fremantle (both .8 per cent). We averaged just over 1% across the lower house seats we contested and have so far polled almost 25,000 votes in the senate. In almost every case our (modest) vote has increased.

Secondly: what an interesting (and encouraging) election result! The big increase in the Green vote (and representation) plus the first Green elected to the lower house at a general election are good news for the whole progressive movement and every social justice campaign.

Check out the Green Left article: 'Greenslide' a shift to the left - neither major party wins majority mandate and join the discussion there. You might be interested in Tim Anderson's comments on Creating the democracy we don't yet have and other articles on the election here and here.

Socialist Alliance will be discussing the election result, what it means and where to from here at our next meeting in Perth tomorrow night (6:30pm, Thurs 26 August at the Perth Activist Centre, 15/5 Aberdeen St, East Perth - next to McIver station). You are more than welcome to come along and join the discussion and encouraged also to get actively involved in the Alliance if you want to help fight for the progressive changes we so desperately need.

Alex Bainbridge
Socialist Alliance

Friday, August 20, 2010

Vote Socialist, Greens & ESJAP, put Abbott last

Ben Peterson, Socialist Alliance candidate for the senate, today called on people to vote for the Socialist Alliance, Greens and ESJAP candidates.

"There is a lot at stake in this election for young people, for instance climate change," said Peterson. "We've had floods in Pakistan, fires in Russia and we've just had the hottest 12 month period every on record."

"We need the strongest policies possible and I would encourage people to check the VoteClimate website [http://voteclimate.org.au/2010_Aus_Federal_Policy_Comparison.html] to see how the parties rate."

"It is not only climate change, there is also the race to the right on refugees, the war in Afghanistan and ongoing attacks on workers' rights and government services," said Peterson.

"It is worth checking out the new Vote-o-matic website [http://voteclimate.org.au/2010_Aus_Federal_Policy_Comparison.html] to see how your views align with different party policies."

"For Socialist Alliance, it is the number 1 vote that matters most. If you vote Socialist Alliance 1, then give preferences to Greens and other progressives and then to Labor before Liberal, you're maximising the chances of electing a progressive candidate and helping to keep the Coalition out of government."

"Most importantly, you're putting pressure on the major parties which will be helpful in the campaigns to come."

"The sad reality is that, regardless of whether Labor or Liberal win, when we wake up on Sunday, Australia will have a prime minister who is dangling on the strings of the coal corporations and and other bosses."

"When you vote for Socialist Alliance, that vote is linked to a plan for ongoing struggle against whichever capitalist party manages to get over the line."

Socialist Alliance how-to-vote recommendations are below.




All throughout WA you can vote for Socialist Alliance in the senate. In lower house seats where we're not running, we are calling for a vote for the Greens or the candidates of the Ecological, Social Justice, Aboriginal Party (Dot Henry in Hasluck or Geoffrey Stokes in O'Connor). It is important to preference all progressive candidates before Labor and for Labor to go before Liberal.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Policy comparison from left to right

2010 Federal Election Policy Comparison

Socialist Alliance advertisement screening on Tasmanian TV

This TV advertisement is screening on TV in Tasmania in support of Denison candidate Mel Barnes. You can watch it on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHCLCXIZEUs

Almost there with election fundraising - can you tip us over the line?

Fremantle candidate Sanna Andrew addressing 300 strong
meet-the candidates forum on August 10.
We have four days to go in this election campaign, and we want to make it a big four days! Can you help?

One important area we need help with is to complete our election fund appeal. So far we have raised over $6000 in WA on top of our regular fund raising efforts, but we need at least $2700 more to cover all our election expenses.

Thank you very much to all of thoes people who have already donated towards our campaign. Every donation - big or small - makes a difference. Any help you can give us in these final days will be very welcome. (All donations up to $1500 are tax deductible.)

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)

Polling Day
Of course your help on polling day will be much appreciated and will make a difference. Contact Alex 0413 976 638 in Perth or Sam 0412 751 508 in Fremantle to register to help.

S*A*N*E election night party
Whatever the result, share the election night experience, cheer the results of all progressive candidates and celebrate in good company. We'll have good food, results on the big screen, music and cheer

from 6pm, Sat 21 August
Perth Activist Centre, 15 / 5 Aberdeen St, East Perth (next to McIver station)

Solidarity guaranteed.

All welcome.

 In solidarity

Alex Bainbridge
Socialist Alliance candidate for Perth

P.S. If you want to do any last minute letterboxing, phone Rob in Perth 0422 709 763 or Angela in Fremantle 0408 321 327

Monday, August 16, 2010

Photos from Walk Against Warming

VIDEO above by Zeb Parkes

PHOTOS above and below by Alex Bainbridge

Friday, August 13, 2010

Compassion Caravan for refugee rights departs

The Refuge Rights "Compassion Caravan" to the Leonora detention centre departed this morning (Fri 13 August). Pictured are some of the dedicated crew who are making the journey to bring solidarity and gifts for the children in detention.

Green Left Weekly's Niko Leika spoke to Phil Chilton from the Refugee Rights Action Network (RRAN) in the lead up to the August 13-15 convergence to Leonora Detention Facility.

GLW: Have you had any contact with people in Leonora?
Phil Chilton: We’ve spoken with locals, the indigenous community in the area, as well as the Mayor. They don’t have a problem with the refugees, they’re happy for them to be there. The kids are welcome in the school.

GLW: Just before they arrived, didn’t an ambulance officer resign, saying she didn’t want to have anything to do with the refugees?
Phil Chilton: Yes, when we mentioned it,  people generally said “Oh, her. The press weren’t satisfied until they could find someone with a negative attitude. They spent a whole day looking for someone like that.”

GLW: The facility is in a disused mining camp. Are they surrounded by barbed wire?
Phil Chilton: Yes, and they have also put up hessian so you can’t see inside. There are no adult males in the camp, but sometimes the women are allowed out, accompanied by a guard.

GLW: Why the barbed wire, the hessian, and the security guards- surely they are not a threat to the community?
Phil Chilton: I think its more to stop the refugees from talking to anyone.

GLW: What has been the response of the authorities and the company running the camp, SERCO, to the proposed visit?
Phil Chilton: Well the aim of our visit is to show, particularly during this election campaign, that Australians welcome refugees. We plan to bring toys for the children. DIAC (the Department of Immigration and Citizenship) as well as the Federal Police have said its fine. Serco officers have thrown up all sorts of difficulties- that you need the name of the detainee you want to visit. In our experience at Perth Detention Centre, they’ve claimed the particular person is not there, when we know full well they are. Serco officers have claimed that the spelling is different, and therefore it’s a different person. That’s ridiculous, given the names are translated from other languages, such as Farsi- so they can be translated any number of ways. But we’ll find a way around it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Walk Against Warming - Sun 15 August 2010

See you at Walk Against Warming THIS SUNDAY!

Don’t forget to join us this Sunday 15 August – 12 Noon at the Fremantle Esplanade Reserve for the 2010 Walk Against Warming.

This year, it is especially important to attend in order to show opposition to the WA government's planned (approved) expansion of coal-fired power stations.

At a time when it is clear that 100% renewable energy by 2020 is possible and necessary, the state and federal governments are both heading in directly the opposite direction.

Socialist Alliance will be there to show our support for strong climate action and to promote the updated Socialist Alliance Climate Charter. Independent analysis has revealed that this climate policy is the most far-reaching climate policy of any party at this election.

See also: Conservation Council Walk Against Warming page

Perth and Fremantle election advertisements

The two advertisements (above) for our election campaign will be appearing in the Fremantle Herald and the Perth Voice respectively. Check them out this weekend.

We're still collecting donations to cover our election costs so if you can help, please do. (Even a small amount would be welcome.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Friends don't let friends kill peace activists...

This photo shows some of the Friends of Palestine members who attended the launch of “Friends of Israel” in Perth.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Burmese anniversary commemorated in Perth.

On Sunday 8 August 2010, members of the Burmese community in Perth held a commemoration of the democratic uprising that took place in Burma exactly 22 years before.

On the 8/8/88, the entire country rose up against the corrupt and brutal regime of General Ne Win, in power since a military coup in 1962. The uprising all but liberated Burma until September 18 when the military was able to restore control through a bloody crackdown on dissent.

Speakers at the commemoration called for a restoration of democracy in Burma, including liberation for pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and for stronger action from the Australian government.

A solidarity dinner was also held the night on August 7.

[Photo by Alex Bainbridge.]

Support the same-sex marriage day of action 14 August 2010

[The media release below is from Equal Love: www.equallovewa.info]

Activists, policy makers and community members to rally for
Equality on Anniversary of Same-Sex Marriage Ban.
1pm, August 14th Forrest Place, Perth CBD.

On August 14th, Equal Love WA (formerly known as Families for Freedom) will host an event in Forrest Place in the Perth CBD to protest against discrimination and to show their support for Equal Rights for same-sex and gender-diverse couples.  The event will fall one day after the sixth year anniversary of the passage of the ban on same-sex marriage, and will be the third event organised this year by Equal Love as a part of the 2010 National Year of Action for Marriage Equality.

In 2003, Australia took a decisive step backwards when the then Howard Government (supported by the Labor party) amended the 1961 Marriage Act to redefine marriage as ‘existing solely between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.’ As a result, Australia is currently falling far behind other countries in terms of marriage equality for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Transsexual and Intersexed people – with Spain, Portugal, Canada, South Africa and the Netherlands to name a few.

The event will feature speeches from prominent community members and advocates for the rights of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered and Intersex people including Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, celebrated Perth lawyer Patti Chong, Representatives from the Australian Sex Party and Gay and Lesbian Equality Co-Convenor Shane Cucow.  Perth drag sensation Swish Eveready and  community Choir the Gay and Lesbian Singers will be providing the entertainment for the day before a procession through the Perth CBD.
The rally will be appropriate for families and small children and will be accessible by wheelchair. All are welcome to attend and encouraged to bring balloons and wear bright colours.

For more information, visit www.equallovewa.info or email equallovewa@gmail.com
Media Contact: Kitty Hawkins – 0414846153

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Perth Socialist Alliance election launch

"We are running because the Labor and Liberal parties do not represent the interests of ordinary people."

With this comment, Socialist Alliance candidate Alex Bainbridge launched his campaign for the seat of Perth.

"We're struggling to build a movement that can more effectively represent the interests of ordinary people on some of the big issues that we face.

"These issues include climate change, workers' rights, the shameful policies that governments are taking towards refugees and towards Aboriginal people."

"In general it is a question of social justice. If you want to sum it up it is about people before profits."

Other speakers at the launch included Fremantle councillor Sam Wainwright and Socialist Alliance senate candidate Ben Peterson.

Peterson argued that the war in Afghanistan and the treatment of refugees and Aboriginal people are signs of a "sick" world and a sick system but Wainwright emphasised that it is possible to make change by campaigning for it. He pointed out the changes in popular attitudes on such issues as racial equality, discrimination against women and that there now is majority support for same-sex marriage.

Video from Perth Socialist Alliance election launch 7-8-10. This video features Perth candidate Alex Bainbridge, Fremantle councillor Sam Wainwright and senate candidate Ben Peterson.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sam Wainwright supports Socialist Alliance election campaign

Socialist Alliance councillor Sam Wainwright supports the Alliance's election campaign.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

S.A.N.E. Party

Socialist Alliance Night of Elections (S.A.N.E.) Party

The only S.A.N.E. party around! Join us after polling day for plenty of cooling drinks, warming foods, music & watching the election unfold ... no guaranteed victory but guaranteed solidarity!

From 6pm, Sat 21 Aug
Perth Activist Centre
15/5 Aberdeen St, East Perth (next to McIver station)
Ph 9218 9608 or 0413 976 638.

Social Justice Network election forum

Election Forum: WA Social Justice Network

What have the parties got to offer on social justice in WA?

Thursday 12th August, 7pm to 9pm

Curtin Graduate School of Business, 78 Murray Street (Corner of Pier and Murray), Perth (Note NOT the Bentley Campus)

Alex Bainbridge (Socialist Alliance) 
Senator Alan Eggleston (Liberals)
Gerry Georgatos (Ecological, Social Justice, Aboriginal Party)
Senator Louise Pratt (ALP)
Senator Rachel Siewert (Greens)


For more information contact:
Gavin Mooney 9339 0803; g.mooney@westnet.com.au or
Colin Penter 9272 6137; cpmatrix@eon.net.au

Socialist Alliance election launch Sat 7 August - all welcome

Socialist Alliance Federal Election Launch

Sat 7 August 2010
12 noon, Murray St Mall (near Forrest Place) - all welcome

Ph 9218 9608, 0413 976 638.

Come along and hear from Socialist Alliance candidates and Socialist Alliance's elected Fremantle councillor Sam Wainwright. Help to make a splash for the Socialist Alliance election campaign.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Compensation payment made to Ward family

The family of Aboriginal elder Mr Ward, who died in the back of a prison transfer van in January 2008, will receive $3.2 million from the WA government. It is in addition to the $200,000 interim payment previously given to the Ward family.

The payment comes in the wake of escalating protests organised by the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee (DICWC) in support of the family. The most recent rally was a large march through the city on July 11 in the wake of the Director of Public Prosecutions’ (DPP) decision not to lay any charges in this case.

The payment represents a significant victory for the campaign, which has demanded compensation, termination of the contract with private operator G4S, which operated the van, and that charges be laid against those responsible for the death.

DICWC chairperson Marc Newhouse told the ABC that the payment is welcome but that the committee will continue to push for criminal charges to be laid and for the termination of the contract.

The contract can and should be terminated, he said.

WA Greens MP Alison Xamon told Green Left Weekly: “I’m glad the payment wasn’t any lower because there needed to be a significant payout to reflect the seriousness of what happened.”
But she said, “there is still concern about the amount -- some people think it should have been greater. Of greater concern is that Mr Ward’s birth family have been sidelined in this process. Culturally that is inappropriate.”

Alex Bainbridge, who is standing for the Socialist Alliance in the federal election in the seat of Perth, told GLW that it is good that a significant compensation payment has been made.

But he said: “We must not forget that this payment has come more than two years after the elder’s death and that the government still hasn’t terminated the G4S contract. No doubt the government is hoping that the timing of this announcement will deflect anger away from the DPP for not laying charges in this case, the underlying causes haven’t been addressed.

“Most importantly, the G4S contract has to be terminated immediately.”

Xamon said that the contract “should be cancelled and should be cancelled now”.

“In fact, we should cancel privatisation of custodial services full stop”, she said.

[This article by Jacqui Clee was first published in Green Left Weekly. Photo by Alex Bainbridge from July 11 rally for Mr Ward.]

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Council workers demand better pay

On July 27, Cockburn Shire council workers took industrial action in protest to the managements offer of a pay-rise in this years new enterprise bargaining agreement. The workers for the shire, which is in southern Perth, have refused the offer, which falls sort of what they consider fair.

The workers belong to two unions, the Australian Services Union (ASU) and the Local Government Racing and Cemeteries Employees Union (LGRCEU), which are organising their pay campaign.

The City of Cockburn is one of the lowest paying councils in the Perth metropolitan area. After tax, most outside staff workers get $38,000 a year.

The ASU and LGRCEU tried to negotiate a reasonable deal with management, only to hit a brick wall. The outside staff will not budge in their demands. The unions have organised a barbecue and drinks for the workers — as well as shelter.

Council workers have asked the unions to lodge an application for strike, so the battle has only begun.

[This aricle by Steve Srhoj was first published in Green Left Weekly.]