Monthly Archives: February 2015


Forum: Aboriginal women speak out for treaty

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find attached and below information on a most important forum from four strong aboriginal women (Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, Amy McQuire, Amala Groom & Natalie Cromb) speaking strongly not so much for a faux ‘recognition’ within the britished-based australian constitution (1901) but … Continue reading

Union official in ‘battle of wills’

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, 
and from man to pig,and from pig to man again; 
but already it was impossible to say which was which.
                     --   George Orwell  Animal Farm

Publisher’s Note: This article, which appeared in the WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN (28 Feb 2015), sheds some light on avarice and self interest by former Health Services Union official, Kathy Jackson and her partner, Lawler, who was an Abbott-appointee to the Fair Work Commission.

‘Battle of wills’ relates how Jackson latched onto a prominent gay QC in Sydney and proceeded to take him down for his fortune of $30M. It is interesting that, despite being under an order by the NSW guardianship tribunal, the Australian gave a related news article front-page billing and published this article in its Inquirer section.*   The quote from Animal Farm is my idea and not the author’s. Be mindful you can’t trust the Murdoch Press so the article should be read with a critical eye. WBT publishes this article not through interest in a rich QC but through concern about how people like Jackson and the ALP MP she brought down, Craig Johnson, ever become a union officials especially in a sector of lowly paid workers.  Ian Curr, Feb 2015.
*Please Note that there is usually a prohibition on the publication of an adult’s name when that person is under a legal disability.


KATHY Jackson likes to tell the story of how she met eminent Sydney barrister David Rofe QC for the first time in 2012.

Michael Lawler and Kathy Jackson arrive at royal commission hearings last year. Source: AAP

Michael Lawler and Kathy Jackson arrive at royal commission hearings last year. Source: AAP

He was listening to Alan Jones interview her on morning radio and heard her say that she had no legal representation for the courageous fight that shot her to prominence as a union corruption whistleblower.

Still practising at 80 despite having few clients, and perhaps yearning for the limelight once more after a high-profile career, Rofe called the Jones program and asked to be put in contact with Jackson. He wanted to offer his services pro bono.

Their meeting soon after was the beginning of an incredibly close relationship that would soon see Jackson and her fiance, Fair Work Commission vice-president Michael Lawler, assume a central role in the life of the elderly barrister and an ugly fight over his $30 million estate.

Jackson, personally, would become an executor of Rofe’s estate and significant beneficiary of his will within a short time of meeting him, not long after moving to Sydney and severing her connections in Melbourne, where she had lived all her life, possibly unaware of Rofe’s existence.

Lawler would soon become a pivotal controlling figure in Rofe’s life as well, with an enduring power of attorney and responsibility as manager of his finances.

Lawler accompanied Jackson to meet Rofe in early June 2012 at Wardell Chambers. This was Rofe’s new workspace on the 15th floor at 39 Martin Place, in the hub of Sydney’s legal world, that had been arranged for him by loyal friends and former proteges John Agius SC and Anthony Tudehope, after Rofe’s 40-year association with the nearby prestigious Wentworth Selborne Chambers had been terminated amid doubts about his capacity to continue.

Rofe briefly represented Jackson as legal counsel in the Federal Court that month. He also briefly represented Lawler in the same proceedings. Rofe described his treatment by Justice Geoffrey Flick in court as “outrageous” — but he abruptly withdrew nonetheless as Jackson’s barrister in response to the judge testily challenging his apparent confusion and zero knowledge of the case. It was a sorry postscript to Rofe’s glory days when he was renowned for his incisive mind and brilliance as a leading barrister in fabled court battles such as the Greek conspiracy case, Sankey v Whitlam and the Heiner affair.

Rofe had been diagnosed with dementia almost two years before meeting Jackson. A highly respected neurologist at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Clinic, Ian Sutton, wrote on October 12, 2010, that he considered it “imperative” that Rofe cease his legal practice because of worsening cognitive impairment that he said was “irreversible”. Rofe chose to press on, moving chambers instead of being pressured into retirement.

While Jackson was a stranger and newcomer in Rofe’s life, Law­ler was not. Lawler had known Rofe well — more than a decade earlier. Before the Howard government appointed him as vice-president of the nation’s dispute-settling tribunal with the quasi-status of a Federal Court judge in 2002, Lawler had been a neighbour of Rofe as a barrister on the 12th floor of Wentworth Selborne Chambers in Phillip Street.

Lawler, who hails from an influential family as the son of Peter Lawler, a former head of the prime minister’s department, and the brother of John Lawler, who recently retired as boss of the Australian Crime Commission, is understood to have had a rocky friendship with Rofe in those days.

It included a falling out shortly before Lawler’s 2002 commission appointment — which came with a glowing tribute from Tony Abbott, then John Howard’s workplace ­relations minister and crucial in recommending Lawler.

Lawler had virtually no contact with Rofe from then on until June 2012, when Jackson, by now Law­ler’s partner after her marriage to former union official Jeff Jackson broke up, accepted help from the elderly barrister in her Federal Court battle to stop the Health Services Union being put in the hands of an administrator.

The trigger for Jackson and Lawler’s sudden, much deeper involvement in Rofe’s life was an approach four months later from Nick Llewellyn, who claims to have been Rofe’s “close friend”, “dependant” and “virtual son” since 2000. Llewellyn told Lawler that Rofe was desperately ill in Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital and claimed that a group of the elderly barrister’s old family and friends, whom he branded the “nasties”, was seeking to have Rofe locked up in a nursing home, with Llewellyn locked out of his life.

One morning in late September 2012, Rofe had been found in a confused state, wearing only boxer shorts, at his Martin Place chambers by colleague Tudehope.


Rushed to emergency at St Vincent’s, Rofe then spent weeks in hospital, suffering delirium. He was diagnosed with pneumonia, which aggravated his dementia. His condition worsened with a life-threatening golden staphylococcus infection that he contracted while in the ward.

Llewellyn left Sydney for a pre-paid holiday in Thailand with his partner Curtis Hodges, and returned on October 16 to find Rofe little improved. To his dismay, Llewellyn found that Tudehope had arranged for two of the old Rofe group, lawyer Bob McLaughlin and Rofe’s nephew Philip Rofe, who had invested his uncle’s fin­ances for years, to take charge of the seriously ill barrister’s affairs.

Llewellyn had an added motivation to seek Lawler’s help: the old Rofe group was trying to switch off his regular monthly payments of $10,000 and other financial support that David Rofe provided, to which he had become accustomed. Llewellyn also wanted Rofe to follow through on a promise to buy a $1.7m apartment in Sydney for him and Curtis.

As Llewellyn had put it to Rofe at an early stage of their relationship, in a letter on April 14, 2002, following an introduction from Sydney barrister and former Liberal MP Ross Freeman: “I guess this relates to you because you seem to want to spend some time with me, but you don’t seem to realize (sic) some true facts in life.

“When a younger attractive man spends time with someone older, there has to be a trade-off. I’m a young man used to the finer things in life.”

By late October 2012, Lawler was fighting, boots and all, for Llew­ellyn as Rofe ailed in hospital. He brought in a commercial disputes lawyer, Rodney Kent from Kent Attorneys, to take on the old Rofe camp, which also included lawyer friends Agius, Tude­hope, Brendan Hull, Bob Cameron, Andrew Cameron and Tim Murphy.

When Rofe had sufficiently recovered, St Vincent’s suggested he be moved to a public nursing home in Sydney’s northwest. The old Rofe group proposed instead that he be shifted to Lulworth House, a private nursing home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs where famous residents have included Gough Whitlam and Neville Wran.

During a lot of wrangling, the power of attorney for Rofe briefly switched from McLaughlin and Philip Rofe to Law­ler-backed solicitor Kent, and then to barrister and David Rofe friend Hull.

In one letter to the old Rofe group, Lawler declared that the medical opinion of Rofe’s doctor, specialist geriatrician Sandy Beveridge, was “so obviously flawed” because in Lawler’s opinion Rofe was lucid and sharp, and had “vigorously” maintained his instructions to Kent as his new solicitor.

The old Rofe group and Beveridge were especially dismayed when Rofe was persuaded at one point in the melee to accept Kent as power of attorney, with $50,000 swiftly shifted to Kent’s trust ­account. Lawler eventually won a fight to have Rofe returned to the familiar surroundings of his Woollahra home before Christmas 2012 with 24-hour nursing care.

By June 2013, Lawler further succeeded in persuading the NSW Guardianship Tribunal that, given his judicial standing and experience, he was absolutely the right person to be financial manager of Rofe’s $30m fortune with an enduring power of attorney.

A power of attorney is described in official government information as “an important and powerful legal document” that gives the attorney the authority to buy and sell real estate, shares and other assets, to operate bank accounts and to spend money on behalf of the protected person. The attorney must always act in the best interests of the person. Unless expressly authorised, the attorney cannot gain a benefit from being an attorney.

The authority “cannot be used for health or lifestyle reasons”, and the attorney “must always act in the best interests of the principal”.

Lawler’s power of attorney, arranged by Susanna Ford, a Lawler friend with a weekender near his home at Wombarra, south of Sydney, and a solicitor at law firm Arn­old Bloch Leibler, carried special provisions for Llewellyn’s upkeep: Llewellyn was to receive a payment of $150,000 to clear credit card debts; regular payments of $10,000 a month; and $1.45m to ­assist in buying him an apartment.

The monthly payments were conditional on Llewellyn continuing to visit Rofe at least four times a week “for more than two hours on each occasion” and performing tasks “including providing companionship”. The payments were described as “loans” repayable on Rofe’s death or on request.

After Rofe’s arrival home, Jackson became particularly close to him and part of his daily life. She spent considerable daytime hours sitting with him in his living room as a companion, and they lunched regularly at Rofe’s favourite nearby restaurant, Zigolini’s. Rofe also accompanied Jackson to court hearings, albeit as an ardent supporter, not a barrister.

He made semi-regular visits with his carer to Jackson’s Wombarra home, where she has lived with Lawler since buying the property in July 2012 for $1.3m. The property was found for Jackson by lawyer Ford’s partner, real estate buyer’s agent and Lawler friend Chris Curtis.

On June 28 last year, during Lawler’s period of authority to buy real estate for Rofe using Rofe’s money, a $1.35m property was purchased for Rofe next door to Jackson’s home at Wombarra.

With the ailing barrister’s dementia worsening, and the role in his life of Jackson and Lawler noticeably flourishing, Llewellyn became increasingly alarmed at the couple’s influence.

So alarmed, in fact, that he sent them an angry three-page letteron August 22, 2013 — only two months after Lawler took charge and well before the Wombarra property purchase.

Llewellyn started by calmly discussing a $10,000 birthday gift he had received from Rofe in addition to “my monthly payment of $10,000.00 for July” — but his letter quickly turned into a tirade. Addressing the couple mostly in the third person, Llewellyn accused Jackson of superseding his position in Rofe’s life.

“I am not playing games with the both of you. It is clear Kathy is working with Michael to eliminate and destroy my credibility with David,” he claimed.

Llewellyn lamented that his close friend, self-described “accountant, estate executor and end-of-life specialist” Nick Illek, had also been shut out of deliberations on Rofe’s will by Lawler. In 2010 Illek had a power of attorney for Rofe and was the executor of several of his many wills. Illek had penned an unsolicited eulogy for Rofe’s approval in 2011 that called him “the Quentin Crisp of law in this state”, and asked for Rofe’s “desires and preferences with regards to the disposal of your remains on your demise”.

Illek would later describe his friend Llewellyn in official documents as a “parasite” and as having a “parasitic relationship” with Rofe, while stressing that such a relationship “can be mutually beneficial” and in this case was particularly “very beneficial” to Rofe.

In his letter to Jackson and Lawler, Llewellyn accused the couple of re-doing Rofe’s will “behind my back”, and alleged that Lawler was to benefit from the latest of many wills. Under the sub-heading “Michael”, Llewellyn alleged: “David told me that Kathy deliberately put the new Will figure up for you from $40,000.00 $60,000.00. I wonder how money affects us all …”

Twelve months later, on Aug­ust 24 last year, Llewellyn vented his anger in a formal written submission about Jackson and Lawler to the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption in the hope that its counsel assisting, Jeremy Stoljar SC, might take into account the couple’s financial dealings with Rofe while he investigated Jackson’s separate alleged misuse of more than $1m of HSU funds.

The 40-year-old Llewellyn, who was born Nicholas Herceg and now calls himself “Lord Nicholas Alexander Llewellyn, Lord of Glencoe”, told Stoljar in his submission about his bitter falling out with Jackson and Lawler within months of Lawler gaining control of the Rofe estate in June 2013.

He detailed how the couple had allegedly tried to shut him out as Jackson sought to replace him as the closest person in Rofe’s life. Llewellyn, who has a law degree from Bond University and once worked for the openly gay Sydney lawyer John Marsden, with whom he had a brief and ultimately fractious relationship, claimed in his submission that between July 2013 and March last year, Lawler and “especially” Jackson exerted influence on Rofe to the point that Rofe agreed to finalise a will that made Jackson “co-executor” and bequeathed her “a sum between $2m and $2.5m” on Rofe’s death.

Rofe was referred to repeatedly in Llewellyn’s written complaint as “the protected person”, considering Lawler’s activated power-of-attorney role. Llewellyn claimed in the document, which has not been publicly released: “After that will was executed, Jackson was not to be seen as often.”

Llewellyn also referred in his written submission to the $1.3m purchase of the Wombarra house for Rofe in June last year, making the extraordinary allegation that Lawler “bought the protected person a house with the protected person’s money next door to Law­ler and Jackson in Wombarra with the obvious intention of moving that person there (I suspect to control and further extract more money out of his estate)”.

According to Llewellyn, Rofe reacted “very badly” when he learned about the Wombarra purchase and wanted Lawler’s power of attorney revoked.

The trigger for Rofe’s “expressed outrage”, according to Llew­ellyn friend Illek in other official documents, was Rofe allegedly discovering that Lawler had made a $160,000 withdrawal from his bank account that “appeared to be a deposit on some property”.

Llewellyn claimed in his submission to Stoljar that after the Wombarra purchase, Rofe exec­uted a codicil to his most recent will of March 2014 that significantly reduced Jackson’s inheritance to $50,000 and removed her as an executor.

Llewellyn claimed that Lawler and Jackson had then engaged in “a hate campaign” against him, accusing him of being “a despicable person, a liar and even a thief”.

A solicitor for Lawler said that Lawler had acted at all times honourably, generously and in good faith in relation to Rofe. He said Lawler had become power of attorney at Rofe’s request, and Rofe had agreed in advance when Law­ler wanted to buy the Wombarra property for him. Lawler had “repeatedly requested Mr Rofe not to make him a beneficiary under Mr Rofe’s will”.

Jackson did not respond to detailed questions about her role.

After it was briefly revoked, Lawler regained his power of attorney with Rofe’s signed blessing. He did, however, give it up altogether, including his role in managing Rofe’s financial affairs, after the matter was sent to the NSW Guardianship Tribunal for review on August 19 last year following further agitation from Llewellyn.

In Lawler’s place, to look after Rofe’s welfare, the tribunal revised the arrangements so that Ruth Coleman, the elderly barrister’s guardian since late 2012, would ­report monthly to the Public Trustee. Robert Horder, Rofe’s longtime accountant, was installed as administrator on $280 an hour to manage Rofe’s finances and pay his bills out of the estate.

During the conflict over who should handle his estate, numerous wills have been drawn up for, and signed by, Rofe over the past two years.

They have included varied proposed inheritances for Jackson, Llewellyn and others as the battle has raged about how the estate eventually should be split up.

According to one Rofe insider: “There have been hundreds of emails and tape recordings … wills have come out more often than the Telegraph.”

In one of the wills drawn up last year, Jackson was inserted as a co-executor and as the beneficiary of a one-tenth share — or close to $3m, based on current estimates of Rofe’s $30m wealth, which is invested in an extensive shares and property portfolio.

The other executors of this will are understood to be the accountant, Horder, and Jonathon Rofe, a nephew and one of few in the old Rofe group still on good terms with Jackson and Lawler.

Llewellyn is understood to remain a beneficiary in Rofe’s latest will, but much of his inheritance has allegedly been cancelled out: the will is understood to make clear that he will inherit one-tenth — the same as Jackson — but must repay about $2.4m, according to an accountant’s spreadsheet, that he has received from Rofe since 2002.

Considering the acceleration of Rofe’s dementia since his diagnosis in 2010, it is not clear what legal standing last year’s wills — or other wills from the past few years — would have in the event of his death. An epic battle is expected in the probate court.

Insiders claim that during the period Lawler held power of attorney, and on at least one occasion since then, Lawler has taped Rofe in conversations using a digital recorder and even filmed him talking.

Allegedly the reason for such recordings has been to verify whether Rofe could be considered capable of signing legal documents despite his obvious decline.

A range of medical specialists also has been brought in at times to examine Rofe and give expert advice on his state of mind — a practice attacked by some close to Rofe as “doctor shopping” to allegedly challenge the conclusions in the original “irreversible” cognitive impairment diagnosis made by Sutton in 2010.

One family member tells The Weekend Australian that Rofe’s sharp, incisive mind and brilliance as a barrister during his prime have been lost. He says: “These people talk about David’s money as if he’s dead — ‘Look we’ll put money here and money there’ — and he’s sitting next to them.”

Rofe continues to live at his Woollahra home. From time to time he is driven to see Jackson at Wombarra. He visits his Wombarra house next door, which is ill-equipped for a disabled person. He prefers to return to Woollahra in the evening.

Jackson faces a further Federal Court hearing in June when her next big legal battle starts: a fight to beat off allegations that she used $1.4m of union members’ dues to fund an expensive lifestyle over a decade that included international holidays and personal luxuries, as well as divorce payments for her former husband.

Lawler returned to work last month after “long leave” to look after Jackson. He continues to receive his salary package of $435,200 a year, although he has been largely frozen out of the leadership at the Fair Work Commission after a decision in the dying days of the Gillard government by then workplace relations minister Bill Shorten to install two new deputy presidents above Lawler in the tribunal’s pecking order.

Llewellyn continues to receive his $10,000 monthly payments but is on the periphery of Rofe’s life. He lives in a luxury apartment in the Q1 building on Queensland’s Gold Coast that was bought for him last year in Rofe’s name with $1.2m of Rofe’s money.

Brad Norington

Public Housing Evictions

Paradigm Shift

[Broadcast on Paradigm Shift (4ZZZ fm 102.1) at noon on 27 Feb 2015]

Sydney has a long history of evictions and resistance to them. During the Great Depression, tenants unions would blockade houses to prevent banks evicting families. In the 1970’s, as Barney Gardner briefly mentions in the interview below, the Builders Labourers Federation launched a series of “green bans”, refusing to work on jobsites that were evicting working class people and demolishing historic buildings. These bans, working alongside the communities affected, helped to preserve low income housing in Woolloomooloo and Glebe, and kept historic buildings in The Rocks and Kings Cross.

Millers Point is a tiny enclave of houses near Darling Harbour that has managed to survive through all this, though it has changed hands from Maritime housing to department of housing.

With Sydney inner city housing prices through the roof, the department of housing is now trying to…

View original post 84 more words


Latest from Redfern aboriginal tent embassy

having just returned from the embassy i can inform that the meeting that was to take place today between aunt jenny, the grandmothers and their legal team and the ceo and board of the ahc has been cancelled and the … Continue reading


Foco Nuevo turns 7!

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FOCO NUEVO IN MARCH Our 7th Birthday!! Come and celebrate our anniversary; after more than 70 concerts we are still going strong! We hope you can make it!! THE TONI POLLARD BAND JUMPING FENCES Friday March 6 8.00 p.m. Kurilpa … Continue reading


Aboriginal voices under fire – NITV News and NIT newspaper

by Gerry Georgatos For weeks now the rumours have swirled that National Indigenous Television would come under the crossfire of reduced funding by Government to SBS. Weeks ago, insiders at NITV told me that their signature piece, the daily NEWS … Continue reading

Bat attack blockade at Whitehaven mine

But to live outside the law, you must be honest
             Absolutely Sweet Marie  by Bob Dylan


Australia’s first ever blockade camp on coal, Front Line Action on Coal has been defending the Leard State Forest from open cut coal for over 2 years.

Whitehaven Coal have permits to clear early February 2015 and they have their bulldozers in the ready to smash large areas of the precious Leard State Forest.

So we have organised a party and together, we are going to stop them.Including all of the best music, skillshares, workshops, arts, and action. Come learn, listen, dance, and take action to save the Leard State Forest, and our climate.

There will be tours of farms, non-violent direct action skillshares, forest tours, ecology workshops, as well as some outstanding performance, including poets, circus, bands and Djs.


Building a creative resistance to defend habitat, climate and communities from coal expansion.

Join thousands of people who have made history by visiting the #LeardBlockade and participated in a variety of activities to show opposition to this destructive project. We invite you to do the same!

Front Line Action on Coal and Bat Attack are volunteer run, with a focus on skillsharing.


Police are laying a bizaare charge against protestors at the Bat Attack blockade at Maules Creek. In place of trespass which is hard to prove on public land, police have resorted to a charges of ‘hiding tools, clothing, or property to unlawfully influence a person‘.

Protestors response is “No people without land, it’s time we start respecting the earth that we depend on” – Melissa Freer 27, Childcare worker.

'"No people without land, it's time we start respecting the earth that we depend on" - Melissa Freer 27, Childcare worker Today Melissa locked on the the root system of a tree - and stopped Whitehaven coal from clearing for the whole day. This heinous mine should have never been approved. We need to respect the land, and the government needs to respect people's ongoing relationships with land - such as farmers and traditional custodians.  We must to continue to build a powerful and united force to challenge the coal industry who seeks to trample communities in favour of quick profits. Read Melissa's Full Story here Like and share to thank Melissa Whitehaven have 9 weeks more of clearing - but they are moving fast. Come help out by visiting the Leard Blockade'

Today Melissa locked on the the root system of a tree – and stopped Whitehaven coal from clearing for the whole day.

This heinous mine should have never been approved. We need to respect the land, and the government needs to respect people’s ongoing relationships with land – such as farmers and traditional custodians.

We must to continue to build a powerful and united force to challenge the coal industry who seeks to trample communities in favour of quick profits.

Whitehaven have 9 weeks more of clearing – but they are moving fast. Come help out by visiting the Leard Blockade

You’ll be pleased to hear Kelly, Melissa and Andy are all back with us safe and sound after yesterdays inspiring efforts.

'Good Morning FLACsters! You'll be pleased to hear Kelly, Melissa and Andy are all back with us safe and sound after yesterdays inspiring efforts. Tomorrow is a very special day...the "21st" Birthday of the one and only Cliff Wallace, farmer and owner at the Wando property. In light of this, today we have a special request for you all. We want to collect birthday messages for him to put together on one giant card. Don't forget that Cliff has been around since before the beginning of FLAC, and without him we would never have made it this far. Post through your Cliffy love and appreciation here!'

Tomorrow is a very special day…the “21st” Birthday of the one and only Cliff Wallace, farmer and owner at the Wando property. In light of this, today we have a special request for you all. We want to collect birthday messages for him to put together on one giant card. Don’t forget that Cliff has been around since before the beginning of FLAC, and without him we would never have made it this far.

Compiled by Ian Curr from sources below, Feb 2015

Front Line Action on Coal
Read Melissa’s Full Story here

No penalty for Pocock’s Maules Creek protest


Australia’s champagne Cambodia deal to dump refugees is turning sour As public focus on asylum seeker rights remains fixed on the horrifying findings in the children in detention report, and anger grows at the lack of justice for the murder of asylum seeker Reza Barati one year after his … Continue reading


Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy and Aboriginal Housing Company dispute

> to my understanding the article below has some errors of fact concerning the pemulwuy project history at the block at redfern and i shall endeavour to correct those errors. this post is relative to the redfern aboriginal tent embassy … Continue reading


First Nations Homelessness Project

Jennifer Kaeshagen sets up The First Nations Homelessness Project The Stringer is not just your average news site. Founded by Jennifer Kaeshagen, The Stringer coordinates advocacy in addition to its news reporting, features and opining. Ms Kaeshagen late last year … Continue reading


4ZZZ: on this day in March

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[Publishers Note: Posted below is a brief chronology of events that have occurred at Community Radio 4zzz in the month of March from its eviction from the University of Qld till today. Thanks to Heather Anderson from Zed who is … Continue reading


Guardian Report – “good law breaking can lead to good law making!”

Ciaron O’Reilly G20 sentencing & a thought for the day Anti-war activist only person convicted under short-lived Brisane G20 laws Anti-war activist only person convicted under short-live…Queensland protester Ciaron O’Reilly tells court ‘good law breaking has led to good law … Continue reading


Innocent: the rendition of David Hicks

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MANY letter writers have said David Hicks got off on a technicality. His appeal was allowed because what he did was not a crime when he did it. I have one question for those who attack Opposition Leader Bill Shorten … Continue reading


Will you join us on #March4 ?

The victory over the Newman LNP Government last month showed the power of a community working together. It’s time to celebrate and consolidate on March 4 with gatherings across the state (and the nation). Tony Abbott and his mates in … Continue reading


Exposing the solar subsidies ‘scandal’ – the REVENGE of THE LNP

If you hear media reports about how solar systems are failing left right and centre and that billions of tax payers money has been wasted on subsidizing solar, please read the reality below. Both the government’s own reports from the … Continue reading


G17: from ‘a Bolshevik Corner’ to ‘the Deep North’ — understanding Queensland in the 20th Century

The next meeting of the 17 Group will be held on Wednesday the 4th of March at 7 pm in unit 6 at 20 Drury St, West End. Tom Cochrane will speak on the topic: “ From ‘a Bolshevik Corner’ … Continue reading


Tent embassy, the block – the struggle continues

the struggle for the block continues as a meeting between both parties was aborted because of media being present at the supposedly secret venue. mick mundine of the aboriginal housing company and others had wanted a private meeting with aunt … Continue reading


ABC of Democracy – reminder

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Funding cuts, corruption and accountability… The ABC of DEMOCRACY A Cloudland Collective Public Meeting with QUENTIN DEMPSTER, former ABC Stateline Host Special Guest Speakers: Ross McDowell, Qld President of Friends of the ABC Jonathan Sri, poet. 7pm Tues 24 Feb … Continue reading


Baseload Report from Beyond Zero Emissions

The advances in renewable energy just keep on coming. The latest we’ve seen is a ‘portable energy mill‘ – a trailer that can provide wind and solar energy to disaster- affected areas. Innovations such as these show how useful renewable … Continue reading


Another version of Faust and a short

Its on this Wednesday evening and costs $9 Faust (Jan Svankmajer’s Faust) 1994 PG Wed 25 Feb 6.00pm (with Indigo) / Cinema A 35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY, 97 MINUTES, CZECH REPUBLIC/FRANCE/UNITED KINGDOM, CZECH/LATIN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR: JAN SVANKMAJER / PRODUCER: … Continue reading


Community forum in Manly – Warringah on AHRC Children in Detention Report

ManlyRefugeeforumMarch1st .pdf

G20 arrest: does Ciaron O’Reilly exist?

ciaron web

Ciaron O’Reily

“…it seems most folk rolled over or simply stayed away from the G20 this time and the Brisbane Times reported that Ciaron was the only person who got to use the court holding facilities that had been specially adapted in anticipation of sizeable protests. “ — WISE Up Action blog in support of Assange and Manning.

Oscar winning hollywood film Birdman questioned if we exist if we’re not on facebook or twitter.

In Birdman a washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero is confronted by his daughter who challenges her Dad’s existence:

” I mean, who the fuck are you? You hate bloggers. You mock Twitter. You don’t even have a Facebook page. You’re the one who doesn’t exist.

It seems that Ciaron O’Reilly does truly exist, at least on the WISE Up Action blog and in the Brisbane Times which had this quote from Ciaron outside court today (24 Feb 2015):

“It [my protest] was an opportunity to express solidarity with Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden … and I think I achieved that,” he said.

O’Reilly’s lawyer, Terry Fisher, said in court that O’Reilly had wanted to speak to US President Barack Obama about the ongoing persecution of Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.

Ciaron O’Reilly is a product of the 1977-79 street march movement in Queensland. This democratic rights movement fought against the Bjelke-Petersen government’s repressive policies against workers, women, and blacks and its support for uranium mining and export.

At one point, Ciaron ran for Brisbane City Council on a Nuclear Free platform, won enough votes (10%) to scare the Labor Party into making Brisbane nuclear free (except for visiting warships, medical waste etc). During a struggle lasting two and a half years, with over 2,000 people arrested, the Qld democratic rights movement tried to minimise arrest and repression.

Concerning the People’s Summit and the De-colonisation before profit campaign organised by Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy, I do not agree with this quote from the article in WISE Up. Especially given five well attended protest marches about de-colonisation, sovereignty, stolen children, democratic rights, government cut backs and austerity. And the many who camped out in Musgrave Park for a week in support of Aboriginal Sovereignty and the People’s Summit which covered many topics.

Gone are the days, if they ever existed, when the number of arrests equates with organisation or with the strength of a political movement.

No Wikileaks today about Sapper Jamie Larcombe
No mention of his Afghan mate
They lost their lives at Mirabad last night
Jamie died, despite first aid, unable to be saved
Gunshot wounds killed Sapper Larcombe
Air Vice Marshall Houston sighed
Only 21 years old and his interpreter
Buried according to local custom
         Last Train to Mirabad
          Ian Curr

Free Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange!
Drop the G20 charges against Ciaron O’Reilly!

Ian Curr
Feb 2015

WISE Up Action - A Solidarity Network for Manning and Assange

Update: 21 January

This was just a mention hearing. No plea entered yet and case adjourned again.

Update: 4 December

Along with a handful of others arrested during the G20 protests, Ciaron O’Reilly appeared at Brisbane Magistrates court today. The case was adjourned to 21 January.

Reports: 9News | Brisbane Times | The Courier-Mail | The Australian

Report: 17 November

Irish Australian anti-war activist and long time supporter of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning Ciaron O’Reilly was arrested on Saturday 15 November and held in custody for two nights over the G20 summit weekend in Brisbane. Ciaron was speaking out against war and in support of Assange, Manning and Snowden. Brought before Brisbane Magistrates Monday morning 17 November, Ciaron has now been bailed until the next court hearing on 4 December.

After being served with a Prohibited Person Notice under the G20 (Safety and Security) Act 2013 by the police…

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Understanding Australia’s suicide crises

Each day, a suicide is brought to my attention. I have written widely on the suicide crises. I have written about the disproportionate rate of death by suicide for the descendants of the First Peoples and for first and second … Continue reading


Power Corrupts: electricity prices, poles and wires

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Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should rage burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. – Dylan Thomas [Publisher’s Note: This is Trevor Berrill’s reponse to recently The … Continue reading


Let’s vote for independence, not assimilation!

February 23, 2015 – The Aboriginal Provisional Government (APG) deems the multimillion dollar campaign for Constitutional recognition to be nothing more than a flashy distraction and yet another attempt to politically assimilate Aboriginal people. Reconciliation was used by the Australian … Continue reading


BrisCAN Peoples Summit Statement in response to the G20

Attached is a slightly expanded version of the Brisbane G20 Peoples Summit Statement that was read out at the final session of the Peoples Summit on Friday 14th November 2014. The preamble/ background section gives some explanation of how this … Continue reading


Inconvenient truths on children in detention

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The Forgotten Children – National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention. The occupational therapists at Brisbane Detention Centre reported that children are not meeting the same developmental milestones as children in the Australian community: [There are] notable delays in almost … Continue reading


Of cops & banners other things

before i get into this post it is most important that you know that mick mundine has had papers served on aunt jenny at the redfern aboriginal tent embassy at the block and that she and those others in attendance … Continue reading

1965 Freedom Ride

“You lose the love of your family and home which some people think are important. I do … You develop a set of values that you are not entirely happy with when you finally achieve some sort of success. And is it suc­cess in consideration of what you would have done in another world? I would hate anybody to have to live the life I have had to live” – Charlie Perkins

As a boy in the early 1960s my parents sent me on a bus out to a farm (“Moonbong”) near Moree over the school holidays. The people I stayed with were friendly but quite conservative. Their daughter, Julia, and I had been playmates. Her father, Jack Makim, taught me how to chop wood for the fire. I remember Moree as a cold flat place with big concrete wheat silos next to a railway siding. Makim taught me how to split logs with an axe, how it was all about timing, balance and hitting with the grain of the wood. After ten days I had developed a skill that would stay with me forever. Little did the Makims or I know then that I would use that skill 50 fifty years later to chop wood for the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy in Musgrave Park, Brisbane.

1965 Freedom Ride
Later in 1965, an aboriginal student, Charlie Perkins, helped organise a freedom ride through Moree because the town had segregated its public swimming pool – blackfellas and whitefellas were not allowed to swim together.

Last night the BBC world service played this interview with Ann Curthoys who was one of the young students who accompanied Charlie Perkins and about 30 others on that Freedom Ride. Ann was a member of the Student Action for Aborigines which was the group that Charlie and others set up. It was this group, along with the local mayor, that ensured that the Moree Pool was de-segregated after the freedom ride came to town.

I like to think that, although I did not know about it when I visited Moree back in 1965, that the actions of Charlie Perkins and the Freedom Riders helped reduce the racism against aboriginal people that existed when I was growing up.

The original Freedom Riders were: Charles Perkins, Gary Williams, Aidan Foy, Alan Outhred, Alex Mills, Ann Curthoys, Barry Corr, Beth Hansen, Bob Gallagher, Brian Aarons, Chris Page, Colin Bradford, Darce Cassidy, David Pepper, Derek Molloy, Hall Greenland, Helen Gray, Jim Spigelman, John Butterworth, John Gowdie, John Powles, Judith Rich, Louise Higham, Machteld Hali, Norm Mackay, Paddy Dawson, Pat Healy, Ray Leppik, Rick Collins, Robyn Iredale, Sue Johnston, Sue Reeves, Warwick Richards and Wendy Golding.

Radical Times have a 6-minute excerpt of Darce Cassidy’s ‘on-the-spot’ radio documentary of the 1965 Freedom Ride that he made for the ABC. The doco is streaming on Radical Times (Aboriginal Australia 1A).

In the late 1970s the civil liberties coordinating committee invited Charlie Perkins to come marching with us against that ‘bible bashing bastard’ Bjelke-Peterson. Charlie obliged, turned up on the day and gave a very militant speech. Only thing was he left before the march. Plenty of us got arrested that day and his absence left a sour note.
Years later that I found out that Charlie Perkins had a kidney transplant and at the time of his death in the year 2000 was the longest post-transplant survivor in Australia.

Ian Curr

Charles Perkins, A Bastard Like Me, Sydney, 1975
Ann Curthoys, Freedom Ride – A freedom rider remembers by

Land Rights: Labor’s lost letter, lost promise

Lost Promise - Land Rights letter[Publisher’s Note: Thirty three years ago, in September 1982, Senator George Georges sent a letter to the Secretaries of all ALP branches in the metropolitan area and surrounds.

The letter asked that people attend a march and rally timed just before the commencement of the 1982 Commonwealth Games here in Brisbane.

The letter promised Land Rights to aboriginal people.

The rally took place and the shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Federal Parliament, Susan Ryan, repeated the promise from the platform in Roma Street Forum with the words:

“…parliamentary Labor party and a very large group of people standing shoulder to shoulder with you here today and the federal leader of the labor opposition, Bill Hayden. We are here to say one thing, we (will use) the constitutional power of the commonwealth when we are in goverment to secure  land rights for Queensland aboriginal and Islander people in Queensland “

In 1983 the ALP won power and Susan Ryan duly became the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.

The Hawke government never kept her promise or that of George Georges so many years ago.

Nowadays the Labor Party don’t even make such promises. Curtis Pitt, the new minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, back in 2011, issued  ‘Just Futures’ – a strategy to reduce the over-representation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system. Good, if Labor can deliver. I suggest start by increasing home ownership, fund traineeships so that aboriginal people can build their own homes, grow their own food. Introduce aboriginal languages in schools, aboriginal culture, song and dance.
But you would still be a long way from the ALP Land Rights promise of 1982.

– Ian Curr, Feb 2015.]

Sent to the Secretaries of all ALP Branches in the metropolitan and near-metropolitan area.


15 September 1982

Dear Branch Secretary,


You will by now have received advice from the Party Office of the Land Rights Rally which has been organised by the Black Protest Committee for Sunday 26 September in Brisbane.

The Rally has the full endorsement of the Party both State and Federally and I believe it is essential that ALP members, their families and friends, give the Rally and March their maximum support.

A police permit has been obtained for the march, and it is therefore a lawful activity in support of Aboriginal land rights, which is a cornerstone of ALP policy [publisher’s emphasis]. There will accordingly be no confrontation on the day, but instead an excellent opportunity will be provided for us all to voice our support for land rights.

The day will commence at 11 am with a rally in Roma Street Forum followed at 1 pm by a march through city streets to Musgrave park at South Brisbane. Activities are being organised in the Park at the conclusion of the march.

Food and drink stalls will be set up in Musgrave Park , and I strongly suggest that you bring your own lunch and make a picnic day of it.

A number of Federal Labor politicians will be in Brisbane for the R ally and March, including the Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Senator Susan Ryan, and Tom Uren, Peter Milton, Brian Howe, Clyde Holding, and Senator-Arthur Gietzelt. The former Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in the Whitlam Government, Gordon Bryant, and Senator Neville Bonner, will also be taking part.

I know there are numerous calls on Branch Secretaries to contact members, but I sincerely hope you will see this occasion as a extremely high priority, and make the necessary arrangements to contact each and every member of your Branch to invite them to the Rally and they should be encouraged to contact their friends over the next week.

The ALP has long championed Aboriginal land rights – we have a first class opportunity on the 26th September to make sure that the merits of this just cause are brought home to every Australian [publisher’s emphasis]. I look forward to seeing you on that day, and thank you for your help.

Yours in solidarity,
George Georges
Senator for Queensland