Friday, June 29, 2012

Buster the Fun Bus safe for now

Local parents have successfully spearheaded a Fremantle community campaign to save a service called “Buster the Fun Bus”.

Buster is a van staffed by two community workers from the City of Fremantle. It makes stops at various parks in the Fremantle and Melville area, setting out activity tables and toys for children to enjoy outside.

The focus of the service is community building. It brings parents together and gives them relaxed access to community workers.

The service is co-funded by the Cities of Fremantle and Melville and the state government. In early June, the Department of Community Services announced it would cut its annual $60,000 contribution.

The service had been running for 26 years and has been a source of information, support and help to many parents who do not fit into traditional playgroup structures.

Coolbellup stay-at-home dad Mark Abberton, who regularly attends the service, told Green Left Weekly: “It’s a great thing for carers, an opportunity to relax while the kids play. It’s mostly mums, but I find it easy to fit into because it isn’t some pre-organised group. There’s no other service like it.”

Friends of Buster quickly took action, starting an online petition and notifying the local papers. Support for the service came quickly from local politicians including Peter Tinley (ALP), Lynn MacLaren (Greens) and Adele Carles (independent).

Unions WA secretary and ALP candidate for Fremantle Simone McGurk also offered support as did Socialist Alliance member and Fremantle councillor Sam Wainwright, whose resolution in support of Buster was supported unanimously by Fremantle council.

Wainwright told GLW: “Community services like these are priceless for the people who rely on them. Council should look at the huge level of community support for services like Buster and pro-actively pursue funding opportunities to expand and promote them. We need more support for programs like this, not less."

A week into the campaign, hundreds of people had signed the petition and the Fremantle Herald ran the story on its front page with the headline “[WA premier Colin] Barnett kills kids’ fun bus”. Pressure mounted on government backbenchers as the local Uniting Church, Catholic Church and the Maritime Union of Australia helped collect signatures.

After two weeks, the minister back-flipped. After first saying funding for the bus did not meet new guidelines, community services minister Robyn McSweeney told the June 23 Fremantle Herald: “I’m pleased to give the Fremantle community assurance that Buster the Fun Bus will be funded once a workable proposal is developed.”

This is a big win for the community. However, it is not the only service in the Fremantle area under a cloud. Other services co-funded by the City of Fremantle and the state government are threatened with funding cuts. Some may be cut altogether.

These include the Warrawee women’s refuge, Australia’s first purpose-built shelter for victims of domestic violence. State funding for the service has fallen in real terms as the government has refused to increase its contribution to cover inflation.

The state government’s contribution to the Fremantle Volunteer Service is also uncertain. The service provides information, support and coordination to people who want to volunteer for non-profit community groups.

The WA government is making cuts to all government departments, despite it being in Australia’s “boom state”. It imposed a 2% spending cut in its first budget in 2009 and has cut a further 1% every year since.

Wainwright said: “Hopefully the Save Buster campaign can act as an inspiration for other sectors of the community who need to fight to protect their services against government cuts.”

[This article by Justine Kamprad first appeared in Green Left Weekly. Justine is a Fremantle parent, a coordinator of the Save Buster Campaign and a member of the Socialist Alliance.]

"Christmas Carol Criminals" walk free

The prosecution case against two activists dubbed the ``Christmas Carol Criminals'' collapsed when a Perth magistrate dismissed all charges on June 29.

Alex Bainbridge and Miranda Wood from the Friends of Palestine WA (FOPWA) had been charged with trespass in relation to a December protest outside Israeli cosmetics company Seacret. Seacret benefits from the illegal occupation of Palestine by stealing resources from the Dead Sea to use in its products.

The company has been targeted by FOPWA and other campaigners around Australia as part of the BDS (boycott, divestment & sanctions) campaign against Apartheid Israel.

"This [acquittal] is a tremendous victory for freedom of speech and the right to protest," Bainbridge told Green Left Weekly.

"The court action against the Max Brenner 19 in Melbourne and recent attempts by NSW police to prevent a pro-Palestine demonstration from taking place in Sydney demonstrate that there is a notable pattern of legal harassment against the BDS movement," he said.

"In the current climate, Palestine activists have to fight not only for justice for Palestine, but also for the very right to protest," he said.

These FOPWA arrests were part of the same pattern. Evidence presented in court demonstrated that the arresting officer was targeting individual activists and that he did not given them any time to comply with a direction to leave the shopping centre. The latter point was explicitly endorsed by the magistrate in his summation and was one of two reasons the prosecution failed.

More than 40 activists joined Father Christmas in attending a support action for the "Christmas Carol Criminals" as their court case began on June 28.

[Friends of Palestine meets fortnightly at the CitiPlace Community Centre. For more information visit]

Photos by Zeb Parkes

Video from Fracking conference protest

A protest took place outside a $1000 per head fracking conference in Perth on Thursday 28 June.

The protest was organised by No Fracking WAy.

Photos and Video by Zeb Parkes

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Book launch by Jewish Peace Activist

Personal stories of Jewish Peace Activists with editor Avigail Abarbanel

There is an expectation in Jewish communities around the world that Jews embrace Zionism and offer unquestioning support for Israel, ‘right or wrong’. Jewish identity and Zionism are commonly and deliberately blurred. Jews who express sympathy for the plight of the Palestinian people, risk being branded as traitors and accused of ‘supporting the enemies of Israel’.
Beyond Tribal Loyalties is a unique collection of twenty-five personal stories of Jewish peace activists from Australia, Canada, Israel, the United Kingdom and the US who have become supporters of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.

Thursday 28 June 6.30pm

Alexander Library Theatre
(Cultural Centre Northbridge)
Organised by Friends of Palestine WA
For more info, ph: 0449 028 894
email: FriendsOfPalestineWA [at]
or visit:
Recommended donation: $10/$5

Protest the Frackers' conference

On June 28-29, the Fracking industry in WA is having an “educational” event. It costs over a thousand dollars to attend and is clearly aimed at people in the industry with money - rather than the rest of us who will be affected by this toxic industry.

The conference program is all about developing the industry, from finances to legal issues and overcoming environmental protections - without going into any of the environmental or health issues that fracking causes.

Protest: 11:30am for 12 noon , Thurs 28 June

Seasons of Perth Hotel 37 Pier St Perth, WA

Protest organised by: No Fracking WAy | info [at]

Other Upcoming Events:
  • Meet 5pm every second Tuesday - see website for more details
  • Rally against fracking: 1pm Sat 18 August, Murray St Mall
  • Sustainable September, Gasland screening. [Details to be announced]
  • October 13 National day of action against fracking. [Details to be announced]

Russian Revolution part 2: why we reject Stalinism

The Socialist Alliance and Resistance meeting this week will take up the second part of the Russian Revolution - how it was defeated and why we reject Stalinism.

Guest Speaker: 
Rob McKenzie (Socialist Alliance)

Wed 27 June
6pm meal, 6:30pm meeting

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

Ph 9218 9608, 0413 976 638.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Welcome Refugees Fiesta/Walk Together in Fremantle

Hundreds of people attended a Refugee Welcome Fiesta organised by the Fremantle Greens and an associated "Walk Together" event in Fremantle on Saturday 23 June.

Photos and video by Zeb Parkes.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Green Left TV - a new weapon for social change

Have you heard about Green Left TV, a new online video resource to complement Green Left Weekly's newspaper and website?

Instead of the mainstream TV diet of (un)reality crap, refugee and welfare-bashing “current affairs”, and “info-mercials” for news, Green Left TV is about providing desperately needed pro-people, pro-planet, inspiring, informative and even entertaining viewing!

Check out the first episode of the Green Left Report above.

Green Left TV is in its early days, but you can already view highlights such as:

Green Left TV includes a range of coverage from WA including:

International coverage includes:

Green Left TV also includes satire and humour like:

Check over the expanding range of Green Left TV videos and subscribe to the GreenLeftTV YouTube channel.

This is just the beginning for Green Left TV. But we need your help!

We don't have money nor positions of power - but working together we can change the media, and help change the world.

5 ways you can help Green Left TV:

1. Watch it! Subscribe now to GreenLeftTV's YouTube channel. It's free, only takes a moment, and you'll receive notice of new content. Content will also feature at the GLW website.

2. Share it! Green Left TV content is simple to share via Facebook, email, Twitter or simply to tell people about. Of course we don't have million dollar advertising budgets, so this grassroots promotion is really essential (there is no point making the videos unless they are seen!). It would also be great if you can "like" and "share" Green Left TV content on Facebook and YouTube, which increase its ranking and thus the likelihood it will be seen by others.

3. Brainstorm it! We need ideas for content, for production, for corporate ads that need to be 'busted' and much more. Send your ideas to: paulb [at]

4. Make it! Green Left TV supporters around the country will be our eyes and ears (read camera people and editors!). You don't need experience - we can help with 'activist film skills', with the backing of Art Resistance, which is experienced in making quality videos. And you don't need fancy equipment - a basic camcorder or even video from a phone or digital camera, following some basic guidelines, is enough to get started.

5. Donate to it! Green Left TV, along with Green Left Weekly newspaper and website, need all the support we can get. Please consider donating here.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sam Wainwright on 457 visas and migration

Socialist Alliance member on the Fremantle City Council, Sam Wainwright discusses the "boom", 457 visas, training and migration to Australia.

Visit Sam's website:

Read Sam's articles in Green Left Weekly.

More videos from Green Left TV.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

World Refugee Day rally in Perth

Over 200 people rallied in Perth to mark World Refugee Day and to say that 20 years of Mandatory Detention is 20 years too long.

National round up in Green Left Weekly

View the Green Left TV report above. Photos below by Zeb Parkes.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

No Gas Hub in the Kimberley

A Socialist Alliance and Resistance meeting

Speaker: Zeb Parkes

Zeb has recently spent time in the Kimberley including staying at Camp Waldaman and participating in the thousand-strong community rally in Broome.

6:30pm Wed 20 June

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

Ph 9218 9608, 0413 976 638 for more info

NB: This meeting will also discuss the outcome of the Greek elections scheduled for 17 April 2012.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Second Victorious Free Speech Speakout

Eight community groups set up stalls in the Murray St Mall on June 9 and a number of people got up and spruiked their cause.

Council rangers came by, phoned their superiors and then left us alone.

Another victory for Free Speech in Perth!

The next steps in the campaign include a planning meeting at 6:30pm on Friday 15 June at the CitiPlace Community Centre and the major Festival of Free Speech from noon in the Forrest Place on July 7.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Free the refugees Tshirts available now

Socialist Alliance has produced "Free the refugees" T-shirts with the slogan "Justice not racism" as per the design on the left.

The T-shirts are available at your local Activist Centre or Resistance Bookshop for $20.

Alternatively, we can post you a shirt for $25.

Sizes available: S, M, L, XL

For further info: Perth Activist Centre, 15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth (next to McIver station). Ph 9218 9608 or 0413 976 638.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Racism, Immigration and Refugees

A Socialist Alliance and Resistance meeting

In the lead up to the World Refugee Day rally, this meeting will discuss the origins and causes of racism and how that comes to play in contemporary issues such as the rights of refugees.

Guest Speaker:
Chris Jenkins
Socialist Alliance

Wednesday 13 June 2012
Cheap meal: 6pm, Meeting: 6:30pm

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

Ph 9218 9608, 0413 976 638 for more info.


Please don't forget also, the World Refugee Day Rally on Saturday 16 June.

Defend Free Speech speakout: Sat 9 June

The next speak-out for free speech will be on this Saturday:

1pm, Murray St Mall, Sat 9 June.

If you're concerned about defending free speech and defending the right to protest, get down to the Free Speech Speak-Out on Saturday 9th June.

When the rich and powerful want to get their message across, they buy a billboard, or a TV station, or a politician. For the rest of us, we cannot even hold a placard without facing fines. City of Perth by-laws prohibit the "display [of] a hand held sign on ... a public place [without approval]".

Bring your stalls, leaflets, posters and your voice! This is an event for those who think free speech should be free and who want to assert the power of society over the power of money.

This is an event in solidarity with every progressive group seeking to make their voices heard. This is an anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic event.

In particular, we will be promoting the major Festival of Free Speech on July 7 in Forrest Place.

Organised by Defend Free Speech Perth

World Refugee Day: Rally for refugee rights

World Refugee Day - Sat 16 June
March to End the Mandatory Detention of Refugees

1pm Sat 16 June 2012
corner of William and Hay Streets,
Perth (outside the Wesley Uniting Church)

2012 marks 20 years since the policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers was introduced in Australia. This barbaric policy is at the core of the problem with our refugee system. This year, refugee supporters are coming together across the country to say mandatory detention must go!

Join us on World Refugee Day and make your voice heard.

This rally is organised by the Refugee Rights Action Network (RRAN).

Ph 0417 904 329 for more info


RRAN will also be organising an information forum on 16 July about the twenty year history of Mandatory Detention and how that policy can be ended. That forum will take place on Monday 16 July at the Uniting Church Hall, (upstairs) 97 William St, Perth.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Case of the Christmas Carol Criminals

Friends of Palestine members Alex Bainbridge and Miranda Wood will be facing court for a charge of trespass for singing modified Christmas carols last December at a protest against cosmetics company Seacret. The two day trial begins Thursday 28 June.

FOPWA has called a protest outside the court to defend the right to protest and to support the international boycott, divestment & sanctions (BDS) campaign. Please join us:

9am, Thurs 28 June
Perth Magistrate's Court
501 Hay Street, Perth

For more info: 0449 028 894

Attend on Facebook here.

Help spread the word:
DOWNLOAD: PDF poster (A4)

DOWNLOAD: PDF flyers (double A5)

DOWNLOAD: PDF flyers (double A5 B&W)

Why we boycott Seacret:

Don't forget also: that same evening will be the Booklaunch with Abigail Arbarbanel hosted by Friends of Palestine. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Nibbles, Scribbles & Song

3-5pm, Sun 24 June

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

0417 319662, 9218 9608

Join us in the Perth Activist Centre for an afternoon of activist socialising and culture.

Whether your thing is hip-hop or folk, poetry, instrumental, a capella or dance, performing, participating or watching, come all ye to the Activist Centre for some radical/grassroots culture.

First hour for teaching and learning - songs for the picket-line, or just to sing-along with others. Second hour for performance.

It's all pretty informal, so bring a plate and yourself. Kids welcome.

Gold coin donation to Green Left Weekly.

sing it
rap it
play it
tap it
make it
wear it
bake it
share it

Attend on FB: (More importantly, attend in real life - it's more fun!!)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Confronting rape culture at University of Western Australia

Feminists caused a stir at the University of Western Australia (UWA) this week when posters and stickers appeared around the campus on May 31. Declaring “rape jokes are hate speech,” the posters and stickers were hard to miss.

A sign with the same message appeared on a statue in the Swan River close to the campus.

The same day, the main social club on campus was to hold a party to “celebrate and commemorate the contemporary culture of our fair university/city (As seen on PerthNow).” The reference was to the publication on Perth Now of reports of sexual harassment and assault at a campus orientation camp at the beginning of the year.

The Facebook event page urged people to “Come as a journalist, a feminist, a uni hooligan or anything else that springs to mind when you think of Perth,Now!” – prompting postings like “I’ll cum as a rapist” and “the only way to cum” along with a plethora of other comments purportedly joking about the whole issue.

An activist with the UWA-based Feminist Action Network (FAN) spoke at a May 30 Socialist Alliance forum on women’s rights. She gave a first-hand account of the experiences of women at UWA orientation camps, and the coercion into drinking excessively and participating in humiliating sexual “games”.

She described invasive activities (like male leaders entering the bathrooms and looking at women while they were showering and pouring wine over them) and an atmosphere that led many women to fear they would be forced into having sex against their will. She explained the resistance of the university administration, student guild leadership and responsible club and to take a stand against such behaviour.

In a positive sign, on May 30 the student guild did pass FAN’s motion to establish a working party to deal with the issues of safety on campus and at campus parties.

[This article by Kamala Emanuel was submitted to Green Left Weekly.]

Perth speak-out for Julian Assange

Despite bleak weather, almost fifty people took part in a speak-out protest on May 31 calling on the Australian government to "bring Julian Assange home". The protest took part the day after the British supreme court ruled that Assange, who was the founder of WikiLeaks, had to be extradited to Sweden.

Rally chairperson Chris Jenkins pointed out that "Sweden has not ruled out handing Julian Assange over to the US" where he faces danger due to a sealed indictment with unspecified allegations.

Assange is right to fear for his well being, and even his life, if he were ever taken in to US custody given the vitriolic attacks on him by US politicians. This is confirmed also by the treatment "amounting to torture" that has been meted out to Bradley Manning - an alleged source for WikiLeaks.

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks spoke at the Sydney rally making the point that his experience demonstrated that the Australian government could not be relied on to support the interests of an Australian citizen locked up by the US.

Alex Bainbridge told the speak-out that WikiLeaks exposed government war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. He pointed out that not only Bush and Howard, but also Gillard and Obama are war criminals for their prosecution of illegal and unjust wars. He also said that Australian foreign minister Bob Carr was lining up to be the next war criminal as he joined in an international campaign against the authoritarian Assad government in Syria.

Kamala Emanuel told the Perth speak-out that governments of the world are "afraid of what will happen when we know what they've been up to."

"And the sorts of things they are up to includes rape and war crimes and they are ones who are responsible."

She pointed out that she was not there to denigrate Sweden's progressive rape laws but that "that is not what this issue is about".