Friday, February 28, 2014

Notre Dame continues to pressure students

Notre Dame University management's ongoing clumsy attempts at censorship of student activities has once again featured in the Fremantle Herald. The March 1 edition has an article titled "Still Censoring".

"Equal marriage against uni values, but guns okay," the paper says referring to an army recruitment stall that was allowed to operate without hindrance.

Notre Dame student and Socialist Alliance senate candidate Chris Jenkins told the paper that the Socialist Alliance club was twice told to remove equal marriage and pro-choice material.

"When a senior university staff member threatened to confiscate material," the paper reported "SA member Christopher Jenkins said it would, 'make a fantastic photo for the Fremantle Herald'."

"At that point she decided to turn around and leave," he said.

The whole article can be read here.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

March in March in Perth: 16 March 2014

The March in March is a grassroots vote of no confidence in the Abbott government.

Issues being raised by the event include:
* thousands of jobs gone
* unions and working conditions under attack
* threats to Medicare
* ABC under attack
* unjust and secretive refugee policy
* human rights abuses
* NBN gone
* science denial
* complete disregard for the environment
* marriage inequality
* attacks on welfare recipients (but not corporate welfare recipients)
* cuts, cuts and more cuts!

Sunday 16 March 2014
(The day after the Green Left Weekly 1000th issue celebration dinner)

Langley Park, Perth

Attend on Facebook:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Resistance club stall shut down at Murdoch University

Resistance at Murdoch Uni in 2011
Murdoch University administration has acted to close down student club stalls in the academic orientation week prior to classes beginning and the clubs and societies "O-day".

Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance was one club that set up a small stall on February 17. Campus security were called to remove the stall from campus.

Resistance members complied with the request and packed up the stall, settling to hand out leaflets promoting events on campus. Murdoch University then demanded the leafleting stop.

One other club — that doesn't want to be named — was also reprimanded for handing out leaflets on campus.

Management are claiming this is not what orientation week is for, believing it is a "distraction" to first year students.

Staff from the Murdoch Uni Students Guild initially told Resistance that the club would be banned from participation in the clubs and societies "O-day" but then agreed that Resistance could have a stall.

Guild president Roland Belford told Green Left Weekly that the Guild supports students' right to organise on campus and would monitor the situation.

Resistance has since made attempts to book a stall space through the university and has been initially met with an outright refusal from university management. The club was told that a few hours on Thursdays is the only time that stalls may be set up.

Resistance club member Zeb Parkes believes "this is a worrying crackdown on campus culture and the ability of students to organise, especially against the current funding cuts happening to universities nationally."

UPDATE: On February 25, Resistance Club members were distributing leaflets and selling Green Left Weekly on the Murdoch Uni Bush Court and were asked to get approval from the Guild. After getting such approval there was no further harassment. We'll keep you posted about further developments.

[This article by Alex Bainbridge was written for Green Left Weekly issue 998.]

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Two new "Utopia" screenings: Fremantle and Murdoch Uni

Have you missed out on seeing the new John Pilger film "Utopia"?

Due to popular demand we're going to be screening the film in Fremantle on Wed 26 Feb and at Murdoch University on Thurs 13 March added new screenings. Current options include:

6:30pm Wed 26 February
Fremantle Workers' Club (9 Henry St, Fremantle)

3pm  Thurs 13 March
Murdoch Uni (ECL Theatre 1)

Screenings are FREE. (No booking required.)


Monday, February 24, 2014

#LightTheDark vigil for refugees

Over 500 people gathered in Stirling Gardens in Perth on February 23 as part of a series of around 750 nationally coordinated vigils organised by GetUp to protest the government's refugee policy. A further 300 had protested in Perth two days before at a rally called by the Refugee Rights Action Network. A concurrent rally in Fremantle attracted 100 people.

"The consequences of the inhumane policies by successive Coalition and Labor governments to make life as unbearable as possible for asylum seekers are unfolding on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island," writes Jay Fletcher in Green Left Weekly. Read more here.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Forum: Is it too late to save the world? Socialist solutions to the crisis

85 individuals own as much wealth as half the world's population ... fossil fuels are cooking the planet... economic crisis is unresolved ... planetary ecosystem boundaries are being crossed ...

the time has come to ask:
"Is it too late to save the world?"

and to discuss:
Socialist solutions to the crisis

Public forum for all who have joined Resistance and Socialist Alliance at university orientation weeks or who are interested in discussing a realistic plan to save the world

6pm Tues 4 March

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

Organised by Socialist Alliance and Resistance

Ph 9218 9608, 0413 976 638.

Attend on Facebook:

New senate election in WA with Abbott on warpath and no serious opposition

The High Court declared last year's senate election in WA void on February 20 at a time when the government is in damage control about the refugee crisis on Manus Island in which the government lost control of the detention centre and a refugee was killed by Papuan police. In response to this crisis, the Labor "opposition" has barely said "boo".

Western Australians will head to the polls, possibly as early as March 29, to select six senators because the vote in September was incredibly close and 1300 votes went missing. Therefore it is impossible to determine the last two senate spots from that election.

The exact date of the election is not year clear and will be determined by the WA governor, likely at the recommendation of the prime minister.

Coalition senator Michael Ronaldson has told media that "the people of Western Australia ... will rightly be aggrieved that the actions of the Australian Electoral Commission will force them to vote again in a fresh election". This follows a narrative presented by establishment media and politicians that voting is a chore that ordinary people should seek to avoid.

By contrast the Socialist Alliance has been enthusiastic about the prospects of a new election given the unpopularity of the Abbott government.

"Numerous opinion polls have cast doubt on the Coalition's ability to retain the three senate positions they won at the September election," Socialist Alliance candidate Alex Bainbridge told Green Left.

"The reason for this is that people have been able to see at first hand that the policies of the Abbott government represent a sharp escalation of the attacks on ordinary workers, the environment and social services compared to the similar attacks implemented by the previous Labor government."

Mainstream media commentators are trying as hard as possible to present the new election as a challenge for Labor whereas Antony Green – among the more neutral commentators – has written that "[f]or the Abbott government the Court's ruling is a blow... A re-election could put one of the Liberal's seats in doubt."

"While it can't be denied that the democratic nature of our electoral system is virtually negated by the corruption of big money and the major influence of corporate media, any doubts about the electoral outcome should be determined by the people via a new election," Bainbridge said.

A new election makes it very likely that the Greens' Scott Ludlam and Labor's Louise Pratt – arguably the most progressive Labor senator in WA – can both retain their seats.

The loss of one of the three Liberal seats – even if it were won by the Palmer United Party – would make it harder for the Abbott government to get's its reactionary agenda implemented.

The Socialist Alliance will be running an energetic campaign with candidates Bainbridge and Chris Jenkins.

"We don't have a lot of chance of winning but we are running seriously and genuinely asking people to support our campaign," said Bainbridge.

"People in power – both Labor and Liberal and their corporate masters – have misused that power. Now we face the challenge of building a new society in which social and environmental problems can genuinely be solved," he said.

"This means breaking the power of the big corporations and pushing for grassroots pressure for climate action, wealth redistribution, social justice and genuine democracy.

"It is not going to be an overnight victory but Socialist Alliance is the only party that is putting this message forward and anyone who cares about our future should consider giving us support."

[This article by Kamala Emanuel was written for Green Left Weekly #998.]

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Emergency rally for refugee rights: Close Manus Island Detention Centre

Join an emergency rally for refugee rights in response to the latest outrages from the Abbott government's refugee policy. This policy has resulted in the death of a refugee on Manus Island and the serious injuries of 77 more. (See the account below)

Friday 21 February

PERTH: 5:30pm Murray St Mall (near Forrest Place)

FREMANTLE: 4-6pm, Pioneer Reserve (opposite Freo Train Station)

[The following account has been put together and released late on February 18, 2014 from multiple sources that various Refugee Rights Action Network activists have complied after collating a multitude of communications our activists have received over the last few days directly from asylum seekers and staff based on the island. This contests many of the claims by the Australian government.]
Asylum seekers have been staging peaceful protests at least twice daily for over two weeks at the centre. Protests turned violent starting on Sunday the 16th of February. The asylum seekers had a meeting at 2 o’clock in the afternoon with Australian Immigration, PNG Government, The Salvation Army & G4S staff.

Several asylum seekers have reported that a pack of dogs were used as security during the meeting. Although it is not uncommon to use dogs as security in the Pacific, they have especially strong connotations of control and hostility for people from the Middle East.

The meeting was meant to answer questions about their visa processing, and questions raised at a previous meeting on the 5th of February. Asylum seekers had demanded a substantive response to their questions.

There was significant ambiguity in answering questions and strong implications that processing hadn’t started, nor any clear answers about resettlement.

Some asylum seekers have reported they were told they would not be resettled in Papua New Guinea. Others have said they were told they may be resettled in PNG, but it would certainly not happen in the foreseeable future.

The asylum seekers revealed that they discussed the results of the meeting within their respective communities in the internment camp & decided to start a peaceful protest at around 6pm that night. As near as can be determined, all the different ethnic groups were in agreement on a protest that evening.

The PNG locals – both staff working in the center and people living in the vicinity of the camp – started to throw stones over the fence into Mike, Foxtrot and Oscar compounds.

Some of the asylum seekers in Oscar compound escaped through a hole in the fence between Oscar and Mike compounds and went into the jungle. 8 of them were arrested and beaten by the local people before being taken to IHMS (the medical service providers). Two asylum seekers were transferred to Lorengau hospital later in the night.

The guys in Foxtrot compound broke the fences between Foxtrot and Mike compounds and moved into Mike compound.

Following this, the “PNG Special Forces” became involved and the asylum seekers from Foxtrot compound in Mike were forced back into Foxtrot and everything was calm again until 8pm.

At 8pm, the local PNG G4S and other locals attacked Oscar and Mike compounds. They entered Oscar compound and started beating asylum seekers with what has been described as by the asylum seekers as ‘’swords and bats,” which other sources have called “hunting knives.” Around 15 people were wounded at this time. They received wounds in the forms of cuts to their neck, shoulders, thighs, back and head. They were taken to IHMS for treatment of their wounds.

The locals couldn’t enter Mike compound, so they started throwing stones at asylum seekers from 3 sides of the fence. At least 4 people were hit on their head, shoulders and feet by stones. It was reported to RRAN that these locals even managed to hit and injure an Australian G4S officer with a stone thrown over the fence. The asylum seekers had no stones inside the centre to retaliate with. They were stuck inside the compound whilst being attacked.

It was reported by staff in the centre and asylum seekers that the guards had been inside the compounds over the previous week and had cleared out all the stones and all objects that could be used as projectiles.

RRAN also heard reports that staff had moved beds into a central location prior to the conflict, which is where asylum seekers were later treated.

The guys in Foxtrot compound again wanted to go to Mike compound to assist those injured in that compound, but special forces interfered and forced them back.

In Mike compound, the locals and PNG G4S staff weren’t allowed back into the centre or the compounds. The asylum seekers began to clean the compounds and reported that they “were even running the internet and phones.”

The asylum seekers report that staff placed ‘’containers’’ or ‘’iron boxes’’ at the gates “so no one can escape.’’

The following day, Monday the 17th, it was again reported that there were no staff inside the centre. It appears as though all Australian staff were evacuated to a ‘safe” area (Australian Navy vessels).

The asylum seekers left to fend for themselves. This is a similar scenario to that reported in October when the local Police Special Forces Unit (locally known as the “mobile squad” or “death squad”) and PNG military personnel stationed on the island engaged in a pitched battle outside the perimeter fence of the internment camp with rifles, semi-automatic guns, swords, hunting knives and rocks.

The locals are reported as ‘’breaching’’ the fence in Mike compound and the asylum seekers all ran into Foxtrot compound. The locals turned off the power and raided the compounds attacking all clients.

They pulled them out of bed and pulled them from under beds. They found people hiding in cupboards. The asylum seekers in Foxtrot compound were hiding under the containers and were then dragged out and beaten.

3 people were shot but are still alive. Australian workers on the island report that people had serious injuries such as broken legs, arms, stab wounds and wounds to the head from rocks. Advocates heard gunshots ringing in the background of phone calls with asylum seekers on Monday.

Asylum seekers reported that the local used white weapons and bush knives. Unconfirmed reports stated that at this time G4S guards were holding two Iranian asylum seekers in a headlock position whilst simultaneously holding knives. At some point, the asylum seekers started “bleeding profusely” from the neck. There has been no suggestion that G4S intentionally wounded the asylum seekers, although that was certainly the result.

One supervisor tried to help the asylum seekers escape the locals by allowing them to re-enter the compound through a side gate. He then became subjected to the attack by having stones thrown at him. The people inside Oscar tried to defend him by throwing stones back at the locals, but were also surging the gate to escape together. Police then intervened.

One asylum seeker is dead from a head wound after being struck by a rock.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Thousands protest shark culling policy

About 7000 people rallied at Cottesloe Beach in Perth on February 1 to protest against the shark culling policy of the Western Australian Liberal government.

This “catch and kill” policy requires the Western Australian Department of Fisheries to maintain baited drum lines 1.4 kilometres off the coast. Federal Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt granted an exemption for this under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act because it is in the “national interest” of protecting public safety and tourism.

The rally was one of many held around Australia, as well as in New Zealand and South Africa.

At Manly beach in Sydney about 1500 people rallied in solidarity, while 500 people in Melbourne marched from the State Library to Flinders Street station.

The policy has already resulted in the deaths of at least three tiger sharks caught on baited drum lines. No body knows how many sharks will have died from their injuries on the drumlines after being released.

The first was on January 26 when a 3-metre female tiger shark was caught by a fisheries department boat after being stuck on a hook for 12 hours. It was shot four times before being gutted and dumped back into the sea.

The second death was a 2-metre tiger shark that was pulled from a baited drumline off Leighton Beach on the morning of the protest.

Polls show between 80% to 95% of Western Australians oppose the governments culling policy. Greens parliamentarian Lynn MacLaren has 79,000 signatures on a petition to be presented to parliament.

The movement has gained support from a wide cross section of society. At the Cottesloe Beach rally, one of the protestors, Pat Murphy, who swims in the ocean every day, said: “All I can say to Colin Barnett as a Liberal supporter, Colin Barnett you let us down big time.”

Jeff Hansen, managing director of Sea Shepherd said: “People are saying an ocean without sharks is a planet without people. We need to give them the respect they deserve and that’s really humbling.”

Federal Greens leader and Senator Christine Milne slammed the Abbott government and particularly Hunt for complicity in giving the state government the green light for the “catch and kill policy”.

Tim Nicol of the Western Australian Conservation Council said: “There was no science to say the ocean ‘was crawling with sharks’ and no research proving drumlines made beaches safer”.

Author, journalist and shark expert Hugh Edwards called for more research and government funding for policies such as the tracking and tagging of sharks to monitor their movements.

[This article by Alex Salmon was written for Green Left Weekly #996.]

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Even more "Utopia" screenings: Sat 8 Feb

The Nyoongar Tent Embassy and the Green Left Weekly have teamed up to present a series of free screenings of John Pilger's latest film, Utopia.

Due to popular demand we've added new screenings. There are still seats available

2:30pm Saturday 8th February
6pm Saturday 8th February


Book here:

Address: 15/5 Aberdeen Street, East Perth.
Near McIver train station, behind the Aboriginal Legal Service.

Details about the film are posted below

** please note that there is limited parking available. Catching the train is the best option.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Politics in the Club: Cuts and privatisation

Politics in the Club

Cuts & privatisation
Can we stop Barnett’s axe?

"Politics in the Club" is a new initiative in the Fremantle area. Every month we'll be inviting a range of interesting and inspiring speakers to discuss the topics of the day. Politics in the Club will be a genuine community forum encouraging questions and discussion from the audience. Come along and have your say.

The first Politics in the Club will focus on the cuts and privatisation agenda of the Barnett government:

1200 public service redundancies - 500 health jobs cut - 500 disability jobs outsourced - 500 education jobs cut- hospitals outsourced…are Freo hospital emergency and the port next?

Speakers include:
Al Rainnie (Curtin Graduate School of Business)
Janet Parker (Socialist Alliance & workplace delegate, disability services)
Michelle Sheehy (Lead Organiser, Civil Services Association)

Wednesday 19 February 6:30pm

Fremantle Workers Club
9 Henry St, Fremantle

Attend on Facebook:

Sponsored by:
Green Left Weekly

For more info: or 0412 751 508

VIDEO: Building the campaign against Barnett's cuts


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Shark protest numbers swell as thousands protest again

At least 7000 people (some organisers suggest it may have been as many as 10,000) rallied at Cottesloe Beach in Perth on February 1 to protest against the shark cull being carried out under the orders of the Western Australian Liberal government. This follows large protests in January when the plan was first proposed.

Similar actions took place in cities around Australia and New Zealand. About 1500 people gathered at Manly Beach in Sydney, and 500 people rallied at the Melbourne State Library and then marched to Flinders Street station.

The video above records the speech by Sea Shepherd managing director Jeff Hansen at the rally. Photos by Alex Bainbridge from the Cottesloe rally. Check this link for photos from around the country.