The wrong side of the river

It is important to get both facts and analysis right. The author claims in The wrong side of the river”: Expo ’88 and the Right to the City that “the Bowen Hills freeway project was only really stalled by the global financial crisis of the 1970s.”

Film flyer for ‘The Battle for Bowen Hills’

The Battle for Bowen Hills and world finance

Firstly it is not clear what the author means by “global financial crisis of the 1970s”.

If he means the  1973 ‘Arab oil shock’ where the price of oil quadrupled overnight, then this may have been a factor. He should explain how. The Queensland Department of Main Roads built an extensive freeway system on the southside of the river in 1974. It was not until 1985 that the proposal for freeway construction through Bowen Hills was cancelled due to community opposition and funding issues.

It is true that protest alone does not change the world.

Look at the map of Bowen Hills today with its maze of fly-overs and by-passes to see how hard it is to halt capitalist development for the rich.

Bowen Hills

However, from memory, it was Tom Uren, the Minister for Urban and Regional Development in the Whitlam government (1972-75), who put an end to the freeway project through Bowen Hills. He did this after working class residents, migrants, old-age pensioners and students battled the police and the Queensland government to stop the freeway and save affordable housing owned by the Qld Main Roads Department.

Yes, Tom was a minister in a reformist Whitlam government that helped rehabilitate the urban public transport system particularly the electrification of the rail system and the upgrading of railway lines in various states. Tom would turn in his grave to hear that Labor governments along with the Tories have sold off public assets like the railway system.

I remember Tom Uren coming to the forum area at the University of Queensland Students Union in 1977 and being arrested on the street marches that followed. The author is saying we should not romanticize past struggles. The people who organised the street marches were not romantics, they were many things but not that. So who is he talking about? Current activists?

I don’t think the people who organised the refugee solidarity protest at KP Prison are romantics.

Struggle is too much of a hard slog for romantics, they may last a week but the street marches went on for two and half years. We had to deal with police, courts, media, government, apathy, racism, opportunists, student centrists, arm chair academics …..

For readers ‘The Battle for Bowen Hills’ is documented by Peter Gray on his website. Here is one of the leaflets put out by the Freeway Protest committee …


The Word From Struggle Street

Text of a talk I gave at the Right to the City/Brisbane Free Uni organised ‘More that Steel and Concrete’ event, held at the Bearded Lady on 31 May 2016

I was invited here tonight to give some thoughts on the history of struggles in West End and surrounds against over development. Just by way of introduction, I am a historian of social movements. I did a PhD a few years back at UQ, looking at Australian protest movements of the 1960s/70s and their global imagination and connections. Currently, I am writing a history of human rights discourse in Australia. What we call ‘Urban history’ figures large in my writing. I’m interested in how people imagine their city and construct meaning of it, particularly through what Henri Lefebvre, who coined the term ‘right to the city’, calls ‘producing spaces’ of opposition and contestation.

My comments will revolve around some documents…

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Brisbane screening of Gaza Fights for Freedom 

According to the film, Israeli snipers were authorised to shoot militants, and when that did not subdue the Friday protests, the soldiers targetted the Press, and then children, and finally, medics. All to no avail. The protests continued, their grievance: the violence of the occupation, remains. Continue reading


Past leaders of US allies urge states to join the nuclear weapon ban treaty

Why didn’t they sign up when they were in power? Fifty-six former presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers and defence ministers from 20 NATO member states, as well as Japan and South Korea, have issued an open letter calling on current … Continue reading


Quandamooka Response to Murdoch Press Accusations

The Courier Mails (owned by Rupert Murdoch) has alleged that QYAC (for the Quandmaooka People) is going to sell off land to developers. QYAC says it has applied to the State government for land on Minjerribah (Straddie) to be re-zoned … Continue reading


Assange and Jobs

Paradigm Shift 18 Sept 2020 Part – IAssange Extradition – Kristinn Hrafnsson Assange is a member of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) who spoke with Wikileakes editor, Kristinin H, about the new charges that the US has … Continue reading


New extradition proceedings against Assange

Like several members of the newsroom, Julian Assange is a member of the MEAA, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance. The MEAA supports Julian Assange, not only because he is a card-carrying member, but because of the important issues for … Continue reading


UQU Forum

This is a photograph of former UQ politics lecturer Phil Richardson speaking at the Forum. Phil was a regular at the Forum in the late 60s and early 70s. Greg Mallory recalls that Phil was very active in the radical … Continue reading


Mt Glorious climb for Palestine

Rode up Mt Nebo & Mt Glorious. 50 kms and 1,400 metres of climbing!I remember in the early 1960s our family car breaking down on the Mt Nebo Climb. There was no breaking today with my friends Lachlan and Graeme … Continue reading


Watch “Drone Lament (Demons of Hell) // The Peace Pilgrims — Lyric Video” on YouTube


The Big Ride Challenge

I set myself my biggest Big Ride challenge yet, cycling from home in Yeronga out to Wellington Point to the home of our friends Sue Phillips and Trevor Berrill. There I joined friends in the El Quds team (Ian, Graeme) … Continue reading

We will go home

Paradigm Shift

TheBig Ride for Palestinehas grown into an Australia-wide event to raise funds for thePalestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organisation (PWHO).

The Big Ride for Palestine (Australia) commenced on Saturday 5thSeptember 2020. After a week there are 75 riders or teams participating and over $16,000 raised. Please encourage people to register or to sponsor the ride because the money will go to help Palestinian refugees in camps in Beirut hit by the blast a couple of weeks ago.

Register for The Big Ride for Palestine @

“The Big Ride participants feel a sense of unity, they bond through the ride, and they know that they are supporting the people of Palestine.”– Lachlan Hurse TBR 2020 organiser.

“It’s easy to participate. It’s very rewarding, especially if you can do it as part of a team.You know that you’re giving real solidarity to Palestinian people, and it’s a very…

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Fidel Castro’s ‘Ten days in Harlem’

In today’s piece, blogger Say Burgin interviews historian Simon Hall, a former Fox International Fellow at Yale, is currently Professor of Modern History at the University of Leeds. His research interests focus on the civil rights and Black Power movements, the social movements … Continue reading


Montague Road unsafe

Councillor calls out unsafe roads in West End Developments along Montague Road have led to unsafe intersections near the new Woolworths at Montague Gardens development. Councillor Sri has criticised lack of an holistic approach to council’s traffic planning. Big Propoerty … Continue reading


The Big Ride for Palestine – launch at Trades & Labour Council (TLC) Brisbane

Today I joined Barb Williams, Sue Monk, Ian Curr and Khalil Hamdan in the Brisbane launch of the Big Ride, walking through Southbank Parklands, sporting our Big Ride logos, and talking about the Palestinian community in Brisbane. We spoke to … Continue reading

Wangan and Jagalingou standing their ground against Adani

Very good report on opposition to Adani by Wangan and Jagalingou people …


Last Monday was a morning like most others on the plains of central Queensland; out west of Clermont between the Carmichael and Belyando rivers. Dry and dusty, a cold night thawing into a day of hot and glaring sunlight.

There was something slightly different in the air though. Some Wangan and Jagalingou people, descendants of those who have inhabited this harsh landscape for tens of thousands of years, were preparing for ceremony. White ochre smeared across their bodies, the ritual they were about to undertake was a reclaiming of their traditional country.

After 15 years attempting to get native title over this land, three years in the courts disputing the right of Adani to build their massive proposed Carmichael coal mine nearby, after years of rallies and meetings with corporate and government figures, this is what it has come down to: “standing our ground” as they have said, putting their…

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Dinmore workers stood down by largest meat producer

We post this recent report from the ABC about the closure of Australia’s largest abattoir just west of Brisbane. __oOo__ Ipswich meatworkers stood down by company not eligible for JobKeeper payments Workers from Australia’s largest abattoir have been stood down … Continue reading


The Big Ride for Palestine (Australia) commences

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The Big Ride for Palestine has grown into an Australia-wide event to raise funds for the Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organisation (PWHO). The Big Ride for Palestine (Australia) commences tomorrow Saturday 5th September 2020. So far there are 64 riders or teams participating. Please encourage … Continue reading


Lachlan Hurse on Solidarity with Palestine – APHEDA People

In the mid-1980s, Lachlan Hurse travelled across Latin America, where he saw first-hand both “the consequences of military dictatorships” in places like Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay, and “a very different sort of world” in countries like Nicaragua and Cuba. “That experience … Continue reading


Palestinian memorial at Byron Bay

Dear Activists for Palestine, The attached photo shows the breakwater armour rocks which could be transformed into memorials to Palestinians killed by the Israeli Occupation. The names of the deceased could be painted onto these man-made rocks and the breakwater … Continue reading


War on Journalism – Assange Extradition

Wikileakes and Manning revealed atrocities and murder by US governments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq is in a terrible situation as a result. Recently a Khmer Rouge leader from Cambodia has been indicted for similar atrocities in that country. Pol … Continue reading


Peace Crimes – Pine Gap, National Security and Dissent

This book opens with a possible link between signals from Pine Gap and targetting people in Afghanistan for assassination by drones. I say ‘possible’ because the court case that followed the peace crimes suppressed testimony by experts who could have … Continue reading


Facsimile Whale on Minjerribah

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It is to be displayed in an 11 million dollar timber and glass cabinet on top of a grassy lightly timbered headland overlooking the coral sea forever tormented by humans who ogle, point and stare while his kin are free … Continue reading


Idiot Wind – the West End Racketeer

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“The students believe that our society develops continually an ethos of war, where values of love, sincerity, honesty and respect are sacrificed to a rule of thumb called expedience …” – Brian Laver The ‘West End Racketeer’ is a play … Continue reading


Wangan and Jagalingou blockade Adani mine

We have made it abundantly clear to the world — as we have been doing for some time — that when we say no, we mean no. We put our culture before coal. – Adrian Burragubba Last Thursday, senior cultural … Continue reading


Register now for the Big Ride for Palestine!

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The Big Ride for Palestine is an initiative by supporters of the Palestinian people that combines a love of cycling (walking or running) with practical solidarity and awareness raising. While I appreciate difficulties currently faced in certain parts of Australia, The … Continue reading


Refugee #HomeSafelyWithUS Campaign

Ever since the Kangaroo Point Prison blockade started up in response to refugee demands mainstream media have been drawn back to the issue of refugee detention in Australia. The blockade has continued unabated since 22 June 2020 despite repression from … Continue reading


Tel al-Zaatar: the siege of the Hill of Thyme

I remember Vanessa Redgrave coming to Brisbane in 1977 to launch a film about the siege of Tel al-Zaatar (Arabic: حصار تل الزعتر‎) in northeastern Beirut. The siege occurred in August 1976, 44 years ago. Remembering Tel al-ZaatarThe stories of … Continue reading


Olfat Mahmoud … stateless

“She’s smart … for a woman. I wonder how she got that way” – Peggy Seeger. On 4th August 2020, there was a huge explosion in Beirut killing over 200 people and injuring thousands. This has been in the news, … Continue reading


Peace activists disrupt Boeing in Brisbane

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Peace activists have disrupted work at the Brisbane office of Boeing Defence this morning, saying the company’s construction of weaponised drones and other autonomous weapons is part of a militarism that is out of control. A group of 20 people … Continue reading


Foco Nuevo – ‘The Quiet of the Winter Moon’

The monthly concert hosted by Jumping Fences, streaming during the Covid-19 pandemic. Guests this month are Duo Jade (Cuba) Toache (Mexico) and Silvio Alejandro (Cuba). Jumping Fences (Sue Monk and Lachlan Hurse) are joined by Robin Etter Cleave, Ovidio Orellana … Continue reading