Monthly Archives: March 2011


The Greens and BDS caught up in Israel’s theatre of the absurd

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[Editor’s Note: BDS = Campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights] by Sonja Karkar Australians for Palestine 1 April 2011 “Extreme” seems to be the catchword of the day … Continue reading

The Battle for Bowen Hills


Starting in 1972, inner-city residents of the city of Brisbane in Australia struggled against the Queensland Government’s plan to build a freeway that would destroy their community. The Government was cold-hearted and dismissive of the community’s concerns, plus the residents were offered inadequate compensation for their properties. As their voice went unheard, the residents decided to change tact and joined together in and effort to make the Government “sit up and take notice” of them.

To highlight their case, the residents and their supporters occupied recently evacuated Main Roads Department houses. The State Government responded with a provocative show of strength. They used the police to carry out evictions. The Government also used scab labour to hurriedly demolish houses right before people’s eyes. The protestors were forced into frightening confrontations with baton-wielding police dramatically captured in this film. When the protestors appealed for justice, they were dismissed by the Minister for Main Roads as “fairies” and “a pain in the neck.”

The residents ultimately won the battle. The freeway was never built. Unfortunately their victory came at a price with the partial dismantling of their community in the process.

This film is about winning and how to win. While highlighting the valiant struggle of the people of Bowen Hills, this is also a universal story that may prove helpful to others facing a similar threat.

Know Your Friends, Know Your Enemies – 1977 Latrobe Valley Strike

There are not many films about Australian strikes. This documentary is one of the very few. It tells the story of the Latrobe Valley Power Workers’ Strike in Victoria in 1977.

The response to the strike by the Government and big business was savage. A State of Emergency was declared. The workers were vilified for ‘holding the State to ransom.’ Military intervention in the strike was threatened.

Despite the forces against the workers and their families, the strike built to a strength where it seemed certain to succeed. It had the overwhelming support of workers and the general community all over Australia. It challenged the arbitration and indexation systems.

After nearly 3 months, the strike suddenly failed. This film examines the reason for this defeat by looking at the roles played by key trade union officials representing the workers. The story is told through the eyes of the striking workers and their wives. They piece together why one of the most important strikes of that decade was defeated.

Friends and Enemies expresses the spirit of working people struggling to improve their conditions, tempered by the bitterness of defeat.

A film by Peter Gray and Garry Lane
Music composed and played by Jim Conway and Janie Conway
Narrated by Max Strong
Location Sound by Lou Chin
Format 16mm film

Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action

[Aboriginal News] 31 March 2011

Consultation Process on UPR Recommendations

The Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action (FAIRA) was created in 1977 to pursue rights for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia. It is an organisation controlled by a governing committee consisting of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people elected by the organisation’s membership. While the original objective of FAIRA was to address discriminatory laws and practices in the State of Queensland, our charter has no geographical limitation within Australia regarding its membership or functions. Continue reading

“Australian Documentary: History, Practices and Genres”

“Australian Documentary: History, Practices and Genres”.

12 April · 18:00 20:00

Avid Reader

193 Boundary Street
West End, Brisbane

Free event, but RSVP essential
Call 3846 3422, email or online at

General Flustercluck vs Pfc Bradley Manning

THIS MODERN WORLD – Obama on Bradley Manning and Guantanamo

Ciaron O’Reilly

“The poor tell us who we are,
The prophets tell us who we could be,
So we hide the poor,
And kill the prophets.”
Phil Berrigan

Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity

From: Daniel O’Neill
Subject: The next two 17 group meetings, Wed 2 March and Wed 6 April

The next 17 Group meeting will be held on Wednesday the 6th of April in unit 6 at 20 Drury St West End at 7pm. Continue reading

More Deaths in Custody – this time refugees

They survived rape and torture … will they survive Australian detention?
30 March 2011

[Editor’s Note – there have been 269 black deaths in custody since the Report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was handed down 20 years ago (15 April 1991)]

Refugees in Detention

How has it come to this? Six detention deaths in seven months. Five of these are suicide.

If these were not asylum seekers, there would be an uproar. Will this latest death of a 19-year-old Hazara in Curtin be the catalyst for the judicial inquiry needed to investigate mandatory detention?

This boy’s friends tell of his distress when decisions were handed out to arrivals from boat number 225. This boy could not understand how he, who had arrived in boat number 170, was still waiting. … Read more at

US government jails 80 year old priest protesting against Trident nuclear missiles

Two grandmothers, two priests and a nun were sentenced in federal court in Tacoma, WA Monday March 28, 2011, for confronting hundreds of US nuclear weapons stockpiled for use by the deadly Trident submarines. Continue reading


Australian deaths in custody: one of the world’s worst records.

The Human Rights Alliance is calling for a Senate Inquiry into Australian Deaths in Custody. April 15 shall mark 20 years since the release of the Final Report and the 339 recommendations from the 1987-1991 Royal Commission into Australian Deaths … Continue reading


No more refugee deaths in custody!

Sad News from Curtin tonight A nineteen year old Hazara boy has killed himself today. His name is Mohammad Asif Atay- Boat number PRI 18. He is thought to have no family in Australia.


International community steps in to stop violence against the Rapa Nui Nation

[Aboriginal News] International community steps in to stop violence against the Rapa Nui Nation WASHINGTON, D.C.— Escalating violence between the Rapa Nui indigenous communities and the Chilean government on Rapa Nui Island, also known as “Easter Island,” has led to … Continue reading


Refugees Public Forum – Perth

The Human Rights Alliance facilitates the Asylum Seekers & Refugees Public Forum – East Perth The local newspaper, The PERTH VOICE, shall pose to the panel their readers’ 3 most popular questions The audience will have adequate opportunity to pose … Continue reading


Cry Freedom against Apartheid in Israel

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“We are the black people of the middle east” — Arab youth in film “Sling Shot Hip Hop” “if you don’t leash that mad dog, it will bite everyone” – Omar Baghouti, founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the … Continue reading


Chile Solidarity

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Recently a student leader (Christiano) from Chile toured Australia. Christiano attended and spoke at some functions in Brisbane including ‘Foco Nuevo’. Christian was interviewed at 4ZZZ  (yet to be broadcast). Interview of Chilean Student leader speaking about student revolt in … Continue reading


Foco Nuevo in April 2011

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After our third birthday celebrations Foco Nuevo continues with some special guests – we welcome for the first time the Meeanjin Choir, the Toni Pollard Band, and Maureen O’Brien. To add a twist Jumping Fences will perform in a cut-down … Continue reading

Child Labour

by Humphrey McQueen
(originally published in The Australian, 18-19 July 1992, p. 22.)

John Hewson’s* plan for a $3-an-hour minimum wage for teenagers is yet another of his betrayals of economic rationalism. Unless market forces are allowed to determined wage levels, unemployment will never again decline to its desired level of 5 percent.

Only a totally deregulated labour market will allow wages to find that natural level. Legal minimums, no matter how low, have no place in the program of a ‘free-market’ party. Continue reading


Rally for Justice – no more deaths in custody

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There was a call made at parliament house protest to organise a large rally at Queen’s Park on the 20th anniversary of the Royal Commission findings into black deaths in custody. Hardly any of these recommendations have been adopted and … Continue reading


Railways and Capitalism

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PREFACE This pamphlet appeared in 1973 in Victoria, under the guidance of E F Hill, Chairman of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist). Some of its authors are preparing a contemporary version. Their efforts should encourage activists in every sector … Continue reading


Anarchists Absent on Assange & Manning – Ciaron O’Reilly

A (n Irish Australian based in London) Catholic Worker Reflection on M20 for Bradley Manning ! by Ciaron O’Reilly, Giuseppe Conlon House, London The Catholic Worker (CW) in England primarily consists of three live in communities and extended communities around … Continue reading

Palm Island – short update analysis

By Ray Jackson

the cmc and qld. police actions have again brought about an unjust outcome for the doomadgee family, the palm island community and justice supporters around australia and the world. the outcome, i would argue, is without surprise as the state power brokers pulled every legal stunt possible to slow the cmc from its course, even to the point of the six officers involved in the study taking their own commissioner to court stating he could not discipline them as he was biased. more whizz and somersaults than ringling’s circus. Continue reading

Vigil to mourn for asylum seekers who have died in detention


Vigil to mourn for asylum seekers who have died in detention

Refugee advocacy Network members have organized an emergency vigil today to mourn the passing of a young Hazara man found dead at Scherger Detention Centre last week, and also to protest against the continuing practice of offshore detention, and the absurdity and secrecy surrounding security clearances.

“In the last seven months, 4 asylum seekers have committed suicide and another young Afghan man died after a heart attack while in Curtin Detention Centre. This is a crisis”, said Pamela Curr, spokesperson for the RAN Network.

Curr said that over the past week, we have witnessed escalating violence against asylum seekers in Immigration Detention. Some examples of this are:

  • police have used tear gas and  synthetic bullets  on protesting detainees at Christmas Island;
  • an Afghan refugee in Curtin  was beaten by six Serco guards as he tried to speak to his case manager;
  • a young Afghan man took his life  in Scherger on Thursday night.

Details of the Vigil are:

Monday 21st March

5:30pm, cnr Bourke and Swanson Sts

Melbourne CBD

For media comment: Pamela Curr  0417 517 075

Pamela Curr
Campaign Coordinator
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
12 Batman st West Melbourne 3003
ph 03 9326 6066 / 0417517075


“Going to see Laverty/Loach’s “Route Irish” with my mate Ben an SAS Iraq War combat veteran!”

by Ciaron O’Reilly

Last night I went to see Ken Loach/ Paul Lavety’s latest effort, the film “Route Irish”. I was invited along by a friend, Ben Griffin, who is an Iraq S.A.S. combat veteran.

For most of my anti- war activist life the word “veteran” would conjure images of older guys from my town who had fought in WW2 in New Guinea and also recently returned Vietnam Veterans. I grew up sharing a back fence with the second largest military base in Australia – “Gallipoli Barracks”/ Enoggera, Brisbane, Australia. Continue reading


UNION VOICES AGAINST THE N.T. INTERVENTION JOHN LEEMANS A spokesperson for the Gurindji people of Kalkaringi and Daguragu and member of Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union LARA WATSON Part of the ACTU’s Intervention fact finding tour of prescribed communities and … Continue reading


‘Qaddafi in Defeat’ — no protest, no challenge

There won’t be mass protests on the streets of Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne as there were in March 2003 prior to the Iraq war. Yet words reminiscent of the Iraq war came from the White House as the Tomahawk missiles … Continue reading

Good news story from Christmas Island.

It happened on Thursday night up at the Camp at NW POINT where all the tears gas and flash bangs were in operation.

SERCO officers were inside the compounds when AFP unleashed torrents of tear gas which they followed with the flash bangs.

This is a problem because tear gas lowers the ignition point of air and so the flash bangs ignite causing fires. Continue reading


‘Hannibal in Defeat’ – will UN end hopes of an Arab Awakening?

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“Will Libya become like Iraq — a land of broken wings?” I wish to make an important distinction about boat people described in the reports that have been circulated on refugee email lists. The full reports are Italy Blocks a … Continue reading

Refugee Action Collective: Afghan MOU – End Mandatory Detentions

Public Meeting
The Australian, Afghan Memorandum of Understanding
What will it mean for refugees?

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was recently signed between the Australian Government, the Government of Afghanistan and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, permitting forcible deportation of refugees from Australia back to Afghanistan. The agreement includes provision for sending back children; unaccompanied minors and other Afghan children who have become separated from their families.There is no way such and agreement can guarantee the safety of any asylum seekers returned to Kabul. It is an agreement with an illegitimate and corrupt government propped up by Australian and Nato forces.


Dr Sara Davies, Centre for Governance and Public Policy, Griffith University
Sonia Caton, Immigration Lawyer and Refugee Advocate
Hansan Ghulam, Afghan Community Worker, Romero Centre

Wednesday March 30th
Lvl 2, Trades and Labour Council Building
16 Peel St, South Brisbane

Organised by Refugee Action Collective


Oil and the double dip

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Reports on ‘Bakken Oil’ discovery in North Dakota, USA 151 million barrels — United States Geological Survey (USGS) assessment 1995 2 Trillion barrels — Stansberry Report Online – 4/20/2006 3.65 billion barrels — United States Geological Survey (USGS) April 10, … Continue reading


Prosperity without Growth

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Prof. Tim Jackson’s Report “Prosperity without Growth” – a review and critique By Trevor Berrill Sustainable Energy Systems Consultant and Environmental Educator Editor’s note: Just in case, this slide is a cartoon by Leunig,