No Gatton Women’s Prison

There are only a few days left to sign the petition! Join us in calling on the Queensland Government to return Southern Queensland Correctional Centre to public operation and stop selling out vulnerable women to private companies like Serco. If … Continue reading


Money talks at West Village

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‘All that glitters is not gold‘  –  ‘Merchant of Venice’ by Shakespeare. Photo: Councillor for the Gabba, Jonathan Sri, looks at West Village site (Courier Mail). The hole in the ground is still there but there are now some extra … Continue reading


The US stalking of Venezuela

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Join us for a discussion on the baleful influence of the United States upon the economy and society of Venezuela. Our discussion leaders will be Karla Manoli Orellana (Australia Solidarity for Latin America) and Eulalia Reyes de Whitney (Australia Venezuela … Continue reading


Hurried Steps – end violence against women

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Jewel Towers over Moving Sands

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‘All that glitters is not gold‘ – ‘The Merchant of Venice’ by Shakespeare. On that stretch of beach known for decades as Surfers by the locals and badged as the Gold Coast for international consumption hump back and western wright … Continue reading

Fariborz: ‘why did he die, and who is guilty?’

“Hello my oppressors and heartless prison officers … Do you know me? I am the same suffering and miserable mother who repeatedly begged you to help … My 26-year-old son had his last breaths in your mouldy tents and closed his beautiful eyes to your abomination, injustice, and disgusting policies. You even hesitate to provide him a bottle of cold water.” –  Fazileh Mansour Beigi, mother of the deceased Fariborz, Nauru, 24/6/2018.

In June 2018 I received a press release from the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) in Sydney titled:


nauru death

Photos of police at RPC 1 gate on Nauru, this afternoon (15 June 2018)

It read in part: “RPC 3 is the detention centre (on Nauru) where around 250 people including children live in mouldy tents. Farhad’s (his real name is Fariborz) body was found in a tent in RPC 3.

The Nauru government has said that they are waiting for a doctor to come from Australia to perform an autopsy to confirm the cause of death.

“But we already know that Peter Dutton and offshore detention is responsible for Farhad’s (Fariborz) death,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson from the Refugee Action Coalition”.

The death toll in detention on Manus and Nauru was already high, I received these sad details from my sister who is a refugee activist in Melbourne.

On Manus
Reza Barati, 23-year-old Kurdish-Iranian asylum seeker, murdered, 17 February 2014
Hamid Kehazaei, 24-year-old Iranian asylum seeker, died after medical neglect,
5 September 2014
Kamil [Hussain], 34-year-old Pakistani, died at waterfall, 2 August 2016
Faysal Ishak Ahmed, 27-year-old Sudanese, died of seizure after medical neglect, 24 December 2016
Hamed Shamshiripour, 31-year-old Iranian, suicide, 7 August 2017
32-year-old, Sri Lankan Tamil, suicide, 2 October 2017
and today a 32 year old Rohingyan refugee, fell from bus, 22 May, 2018

On Nauru
Omid Masoumali, Iranian refugee, 29 April 2016 after setting himself on fire
Rakib, Bangladeshi refugee, suicide by pills, 11 May 2016
Bangladeshi refugee, killed on a motor bike 2 November 2017

Late last night I received this email from a teacher of English as a second language:

“On June 15 2018 Fariborz Karami suicided on Nauru after years in Australian created migration limbo.

For months his body was held in a makeshift morgue as his mother pleaded for his body to be moved and buried in Australia.

His body can now be buried in Australia, and the Refugee Action Coalition are collecting money to assist with the cost of burial.

Many (if not most) of the refugees held by the Australian government in detention are Muslim.”

Letter to Australian government guards from Fariborz’s mournful mother,
Fazileh Mansour Beigi in the
slaughterhouse and torture house of Nauru


‘You hate us that much?’  This what the mother of Fariborz asks in her letter to the authorities. I think it can be safely concluded that Muslims have replaced aboriginal people as the most scorned and reviled people by ‘mainstream’ Australians.

Aboriginal people were scorned by the mere fact that they were already here when Australia was colonized by the British.

Settlers would use any excuse to absolve their crimes of dispossession. And they still are making the same absurd claims such as Aboriginal people don’t look after their children.

However if you watched the AFL Grand Final last week you could see how Aboriginal people have won some approval from mainstream Australians, mainly through their prowess at sport and through the arts (Music, Dance, Film).

The most recent arrivals, Muslims, are not so lucky, they are most scorned and reviled. Why? Because they fled war and famine? Religion? Race? Culture?
We are not a multicultural society while we scorn people fleeing from developing countries.

The RAC June press release went on:

“Mental illness and medical neglect is deliberate government policy. Peter Dutton is quite willing to let people die and pretend that the Nauru government is responsible, ” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

This must change. Those who claim stopping the boats is saving lives are wrong.

Ian Curr
3 October 2018



When Joh went to Uni

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In 1980 or 1981, Bjelke-Petersen went to University of Queensland guarded by Qld Special Branch. Joh’s visit was controversial as the questions from the news media suggest. We have secured historic footage of the event. Standing behind Joh during the … Continue reading


‘Women are a colonised sex’

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This article situates Australian Elizabeth Reid’s contribution to International Women’s Year (IWY) (1975) within ongoing historiographical discussions on development and human rights. The world’s first advisor on women’s affairs to a head of government, Reid used the burgeoning Women’s Liberation Movement’s critique of ‘sexism’ to challenge IWY’s goals of formal equality, limited and undesirable outcomes that prevented women and men from instead becoming ‘more human’. These ideas were then used to challenge the dominance of economic development over individual and collective rights at the 1975 Mexico City conference, placing Reid as a participant in the 1970s human rights ‘breakthrough’. Continue reading

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No Gatton Womens Prison

Pardigm Shift 4zzz fm 102.1 Fridays at Noon …

Paradigm Shift

This week we talk about prisons – especially women and children in prison. Interviews with Meg Rodahan about the campaign against the new women’s prison at Gatton, and Belinda Lowe from Amnesty International about their campaign to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14. Listen at 

Meg Rodahan (No Gatton Prison): Oppose the Gatton facility. Women are being taken from Wacol to to a new prison at Gatton to be run by SERCO which run prisons in Western Australian and detention centres for refugees.

Gatton will be a privately owned prison.

Gatton is a long way away from the city and there is no public transport so it is difficult for families to visit the women. 40% of the women imprisoned are on remand. That in for non-violent offences, like drugs and DVO orders taken out by police. No Gatton Prison is calling for a…

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Endgame for Schonell Theatre?

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‘I hear what you say’ – Sir Zelman Cowen. ‘All we leave are the memories‘ – slogan of Deen brothers demolitions Brisbane now has a long history of closing down old cinemas and throwing up cineplexes showing Hollywood crap at … Continue reading


Peaceful Assembly Act – Organising protests without getting fined

Here’s some basic advice on navigating the rules for holding public rallies and marches in Brisbane, which are governed by the Peaceful Assembly Act 1992. This is not a detailed guide on how to organise a protest, but simply a … Continue reading

Hamill gets the nod from Palusczszuk

Power flows to the most boring man in the room” – Bob Ellis

The Palusczszuk Labor government is no stranger to making political appointments. It put the president of the Queensland Council of Unions and Labor Party official, John Battams, on the board of Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC). Previous Labor governments have made similar political appointments; for example former Labor Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Jim Soorley, was appointed to Unity Water, CS Energy – a state-owned electricity generator and Local Govt Association of QLD and AEGIS enterprise, Propel. Former Deputy Premier, Paul Lucas has become the Chair of Cross River Rail Delivery Authority and Former Labor Senator John Hogg has been appointed Director of Far North Queensland Ports Corporation by current Ministers Jackie Trad, Mark Bailey and Anthony Lynham.

Jim Soorley’s has been re-appointed as Chair of Unity Water which is a retail company supplying water and sewerage to residents of Moreton Bay Regional Council, Noosa, and Sunshine Coast Councils.

Unitywater has delivered savage increases in the price of water since its formation in 2010. In its 2010-11 report, Unitywater defensively stated its public complaints were running at fewer than 10 in a thousand. Suffice to say, in Moreton Bay Region, Unitywater is about as popular as Lady Macbeth on Mother’s Day.” – ‘MAAATE! Bribe-proofing the public purse against good blokes’ by Bernie Dowling.

Unity Water receives $$millions in cash contributions from developers.

On 27 September 2018 the Qld labor government appointed former ALP Member for Ipswich, David Hamill, as SEQ Water chairman. SEQ Water manages S-E Qld dams and other infrastructure that supplies water to 3 million people. Hamill is a director of infrastructure transnational, Brookfield Business Partners, that owns shares in Nuclear Energy companies in Canada. Hamill was chairman of the Board of Directors of Prime Infrastructure, whose parent company Babcock & Brown Infrastructure Limited was declared insolvent in 2009. Prime was bought by Brookfield after Babcock went under. Babcock was a dodgy, high-risk infrastructure company that specialised in tax avoidance.

Joining forces with established partners at Brookfield Infrastructure enables us to continue to participate in the returns from our current investments, within a larger, more diversified portfolio of high quality infrastructure assets,” said Hon. Dr. David Hamill – News Release on merger of Prime with Brookfield.

David Hamill as Treasurer in the Beattie and Bligh Labor governments sold the Suncorp/Metway bank and corporatised Queensland Rail in preparation for its later sell-off by the Bligh Labor government. Anna Bligh is now CEO of Australian Bankers’ Association. The Labor government sold off Queensland Rail at a time when its revenue could have helped the state’s finances. And Hamill was supposed to be in the Left faction!?

Electrical Trades Union (ETU) billboard in Highgate Hill after Labor Premier Anna Bligh announced sale of Queensland Rail

“In 2007 Queensland Investment Corporation had invested $27 billion in financial markets to fund ‘future employee and other obligations’. The government expected a return of the 7% but due to the financial crisis instead received 2% – this produced a deficit of $995 million.”- Workers Audit.

Hamill was the Queensland Treasurer during the introduction of the New Tax System in 2000. The GST is a regressive tax that takes $30 billion from consumers nationally and is distributed to the States by the Commonwealth. Interestingly, after he retired from the parliament, Hamill wrote a PhD thesis critical of the New Tax system saying it represented a move towards centralism. Since the 1980s Qld Treasury had introduced risk management in decision-making (Harvard Business School). The government re-structured the Health Department leading to a crisis lasting a decade under successive governments (the payroll scandal, doctors dispute, loss of elective surgery).

Wivenhoe Dam above Brisbane built in the 1980s for flood mitigation as a response to the 1974 floods that killed 13 people and destroyed homes, schools and buildings. Photo: The Australian

As Transport Minister Hamill oversaw the closure of railway lines and cut half of Qld Rail’s jobs down from 26,000 workers and introduced contract labour in Government Owned Corporations (GOCs). After the sale of Queensland Rail by the Bligh Labor government, the sale of the Ports, Suncorp, and the motorways, there are few public assets for government to sell. An economic malaise has hit the State, jobs lost and wages stagnated. Is Labor in the process of selling our water and associated assets valued at approx $11 billion. It is unclear to me how such a value can be arrived at because it is very difficult to estimate the depreciation on such assets.

Since 2017 former Labor Mayor of Ipswich, Paul Pisasale (pictured), has become a household word for dodgy electioneering and nepotism.

How Labor Governs
Each of the three board chairmen, Jim Soorley (Unity Water), John Battams (QIC) and David Hamill (SEQ Water) are architects of a failed paradigm embraced by Labor. Dayboro solicitor Robert Garvey said in 2014 that “Unitywater was best understood by the legislation which established it.”

“I agree Unitywater is not owned by the councils. It is designed to be ‘independent’,” Mr Garvey said. “Councillors can appoint themselves to the board.’’ However, the solicitor had a cynical view of how the “unowned” Unitywater came into being.  “Not I” says Moreton Bay Regional Council and State Government – but local expert may have the answer. Labor’s appointment of Soorley as chair of CS Energy makes the former Lord Mayor a coal baron of sorts as CS owns three coal fired power stations – Kogan, Callide, and Gladstone [See ‘Who owns Unitywater?’ by Bernie Dowling].

“To show he cannot get enough of being on the wrong side of energy history, Mr Soorley in 2017 joined the board of TerraCom, which bought the Blair Athol coal mine in Central Queensland.”  [See ‘Maaate! Bribe Proofing the Public Purse’ by Bernie Dowling].

Equal opportunity?
Privatisation, risky finance and climate change denial are the hallmarks of Labor in power in Queensland. After making decisions to expand the coal economy in Queensland [eg Adani] and flying in the face of climate change warnings by scientists, are these the kinds of appointments required by government?

Perhaps, when his 3-year term as chairman of SEQ Water is up, David Hamill can retire to write a major doctoral thesis to revisit the words ALP founding father W.G.Spence in 1916: “Parliament may be a cumbersome machine, but it moves just as fast as the people make it, sometimes faster … syndicalists are the tools of the capitalists.”  I do not think this AWU boss pointing the finger at the Wobblies can hide how Labor governs.

By making their own appointments to boards like Unitywater and SEQwater the Labor government is denying local people a say in the boards that supply essential services to their community. Under the guise of equal opportunity for women, the ALP government has denied people in regional Queensland their right to determine who runs this important resource at the local water board level. It is interesting that the Ministers did not appoint a woman to chair SEQ Water. They did appoint Penny Tovey as a director who was heavily involved in the ETU’s No Asset Sales campaign, handing out How-to-Vote cards for the ALP at Gold Coast elections.

2017 Hunter Valley Flood Mitigation – Photo: Chris Drummond

Ian Curr
29 Sept 2018

There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil” – Walter Lippmann

Featured Image: New chaiman of SEQ Water, David Hamill. Photo: QT


Former MP handed new gig managing ‘critical resource’ – Qld. Times Former Member for Ipswich David Hamill will today be named as the chairman of a southeast entity.

How Labour Governs – A Study of Workers’ Representation in Australia – Vere Gordon Childe.

Moreton Bay Regional Council and State Government – but local expert may have the answer by Bernie Dowling.

News Release on merger of Prime with Brookfield Maaate! Bribe Proofing the Public Purse by Bernie Dowling. To purchase copy contact Bernie Dowling at or phone 61 7 38892118.

Queensland Government board appointments




The Schonell Theatre

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‘It ain’t over till the fat lady sings’ – Anon. The Schonell Theatre arose out of the ambition of some students at the university’s residential colleges in the 1960s to have their end-of-year Gilbert and Sullivan and other productions performed … Continue reading


Vale Jim Sharp

Here are three excellent tributes to Jim Sharp, working-class poet and activist, by Ross Gywther, Jen Kwok and Humphrey McQueen. WBT has a special section devoted to Jim Sharp’s poems. See .


1968 – whatever happened to the revolution?

Andy speaks with Associated Professor Andrew Bonnell from UQ about 1968. Four factors led to revolt – generational conflict and high growth rate, expansion in higher education, old structures not working well, movements for de-colonisation from the East and South … Continue reading

Living The Dream at Labour Day 2018

Soe thoughts on May Day … this time from the Left

The Word From Struggle Street

labour day Image by Collective Action ‘a revolutionary anarchist group based in so-called Melbourne, Australia.’

In this episode Dave (@withsobersenses) grabs a recorder and heads to the Labour Day rally. He interviews friends and comrades about the rally, what they think the impact of #ChangeTheRules has been, and if there is any opportunity to broaden and open up struggle? Due to a moments hestitation he didn’t try to interview Sally McManus as she walked past.

Music by Alistair Hulet

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Long march to Jerusalem

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From the King David Hotel to US embassy in Jerusalem One hundred years after the Balfour declaration giving Zionism a home in Palestine, and 70 years after recognition of Israel, the United Nations has voted against US recognition of Jerusalem … Continue reading

The spirit of Mambesak – West Papuan freedom music


It always takes an element of courage to sing protest songs, but few musicians have ever faced the same consequences as Arnold Ap. The West Papuan folk singer and anthropologist was killed in 1983 by the Indonesian army. His crime was preserving a culture and language the Suharto Indonesian government did not want preserved. The music Arnold collected, and the songs he wrote with his band Mambesak, was seen as a direct threat to those in power.

Arnold Ap is not alone as a martyr to the cause of West Papuan freedom – in the half century since Indonesia invaded and took control of the former Dutch colony, hundreds of thousands of Papuans have been killed by the army police or armed militia. Even today, every few months there are new reports of Papuans killed at protests or by vigilantes. But neither is he alone in using music as a…

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Australian Democracy Dying

A few days ago, I emailed an open letter to every candidate in Queensland seeking their comments on a number of issues relevant to one of the advocacy groups I represent. I’ll attempt to post the content below although the … Continue reading


Vanguard Updates November 2017

Below are links to articles posted recently on the website: New Booklet – Australia and Imperialism 21st Century New Booklet – Humphrey McQueen on 150 years Marx’s Capital US imperialism encourages closer ties between Australia and Israel … Continue reading


Pine Gap Trial

Putting Pine Gap on Trial Again – November 2017 An appeal for financial support In Early November six of us go to trial in Alice Springs charged under the notorious “Defence Special Undertaking Act” which carries a maximum sentence of … Continue reading


Vanguard Updates

Dear Comrade(s) Below are links to articles posted recently on the website: Broad United Front is developing against US imperialism in Australia Fascism: Resist the beginnings! The victory of the October Revolution was a victory over revisionism … Continue reading


Vale Hughie Williams

A friend told me earlier today that Hughie Williams has passed away. Hughie (born 3 September 1933) was a former state secretary of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and grew up on the Hunter Valley coalfields where the Chifley labor … Continue reading


The house that was murdered

What is Brisbane’s Town plan? A concrete jungle? The original Brisbane transport plan was authored by Wilbur Smith* and implemented by Lord Mayor Clem Jones. Their idea was to build freeways in Brisbane as the Americans had done in Los … Continue reading


Pauline Hanson

Ian interviews Pauline Hanson on Aborigines, Islam & Climate Change Pauline Hanson: My name is Pauline Hanson and I will be representing Queenslanders in the next parliament. PShift: One Nation polled 150,000 out of 1.7 million votes cast in the … Continue reading


Better call Paul

IN 2017 Paul Pisasale faces criminal charges including extortion, assault, and attempting to pervert justice. In 2016, Mr Pisasale was re-elected Mayor of Ipswich with 83.45 per cent of the vote. Something is broken at councils in south-east Queensland. On … Continue reading


Kurdish Separatism

In order to make a judgement on whether Kurdish independence is a good or bad idea (as opposed to ideas of autonomy), one must gain some knowledge of the history of the region and the grievances of many who bear … Continue reading


Silent protest in Mexico ’68

One sporting event that had a big impact on me and people of my generation was the Black Power salute by Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Mexico Olympics. They were supported by Australian sprinter, Peter Norman. It … Continue reading


The Committee to Expose the Public Trustee

The Committee to Expose the Public Trustee is a group of family, carers and friends of people who are clients (some prefer the word victims) of the Public Trustee. We were all struggling in our personal circumstances against the Public … Continue reading


Insomniac’s Balm

It is 3.17am. Sleep doesn’t come. I can hear the sound of trauma. It is distant yet right here It is a nightmare yet I’m awake It is silence yet that silence is deafening It is subversion played out by … Continue reading