Tag Archives: Democratic Rights

Gallery

Women’s Right to Choose

This gallery contains 8 photos.

On 17 October 2018 the Queensland parliament passed a law to decriminalise abortion – 48 years since women began the modern struggle for women’s right to choose. Continue reading

Gallery

Queensland Govt abets elder abuse

“Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.” ― Franz Kafka, The Trial They left only his hat On Thursday 16 October 2104 at 10 am I arrived at the … Continue reading

Gallery

Jewel Towers over Moving Sands

This gallery contains 8 photos.

‘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

Gallery

Historic films on Democratic & Land rights struggles in Queensland

This gallery contains 5 photos.

I have been asked to share historic films that may assist in coming struggles around g20. Here are my picks about land rights and democratic rights struggles for the right to march and right to assembly. Continue reading

Gallery

Boycott SodaStream and defend the right to organise

The left wing Socialist Alternative group is copping a lot of flak from right wing university administrators, Zionists, the Murdoch press and Abbott government ministers, especially Christopher Pyne.
I urge you to sign and to circulate it widely. I’m not a member of SA but the left as a whole should unite to defend them. The real villain of the piece is the ineffable Christopher Pyne.
Continue reading

Video

Swimming Free Palestine!

Swimming Free, Palestine

Emad, Gareth and I walked to the
starting line at Wategos beach, near the
Byron Bay lighthouse.

As we entered the water with the other
swimmers, the organisers called off
the race because of treacherous
conditions. Loud speakers announced
that we would be ‘swimming at our
own risk’.

We swam anyway.

Many other swimmers did the same.

As we rounded the point from Wategos beach,
Emad was dumped by a two metre
wave and had to be rescued.

We wish to thank the selfless swimmers
who kept Emad afloat until the Surf Life
savers arrived in their Zodiac.

Gareth and I continued swimming wide
of the big breaking waves. I came
across Gareth and could hear him distinctly
above the sound of the waves
and a nearby surf boat — as Gareth took
each breath in mid-stroke he yelled:
Free Palestine, Free, Free Palestine‘.

About one kilometer further on we
arrived near main beach at Byron Bay
where we were both hammered by big
breaking waves.

Gareth’s goggles were wiped off his
face and my swimming cap with the
Palestinian Flag emblem was lost in the
cauldron along with one of my flippers.

Gareth and I walked up the beach
alongside others swimmers saying how
their legs had cramped up as they came
into the beach.

We returned to the stall where Maxine
had spent the last hour engaging with
people asking questions about
Palestine and the campaign by MECA to
provide clean drinking water to children
in the West Bank.

We were happy to be re-united with
Emad who told the story of the bravery
of the swimmers who saved him in the
big swell. In his words he said ‘I
drowned’. But he was saved!

Some time later two young girls in
swimming costumes came up to the
stall holding my Palestinian flagged
swimming cap lost in the sea about 20
minutes earlier.

Maxine yelled out ‘Ian, these girls found
your cap!” I turned and asked how they
knew the cap was mine. The 11 year old
girl with braces on her teeth said she
and her friend saw the flag flying high
on the foreshore and looked at the flag
on the cap and put two-and-two
together.

Gareth said: ‘What are the chances of
that happening!” and Maxine rewarded
the girls with a sumptuous home made
cake. Thanks girls!

We are swimming to raise money for
the Middle East Childrens’ Alliance so
Palestinian kids can have clean drinking
water despite Israel’s best efforts to
desiccate them.

You can sponsor us by making
donations at MECA to help meet the
basic needs of Palestinian children and
give them opportunities to learn, play,
and envision a better future. Go to
https://www.mecaforpeace.org

A special thank you to Gareth and
Maxine for making this small
contribution to Palestinian kids lives
possible.

Free Palestine!

Music
‘The Other Side’ by Phil Monsour on ‘Ghosts of Deir Yassin’ see http://www.philmonsour.com/

A Report from the streets of Dublin Pre- QE2/U.S. Prez B.O Visits

*** by Ciaron O’Reilly

As the U.S. Grand Jury on WikiLeaks/ Julian Assange breaks cover and the Guardian newspaper settles into its dual role of the “Pravda of the Brit liberal left” and attack dog of the U.S. Feds….the Irish prepare for a change of shift of their imperial masters.

Within a few short days, the British monarch will visit followed by a U.S. President Barack “talks like Jesus, kills like Herod” Obama Love Fest on Dublin town. Continue reading

Gallery

More on Sand Theft from Straddie

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Police to probe sand ‘theft’ Police have been called in to investigate the alleged large-scale theft of sand from North Stradbroke Island Belgian-owned mining giant Sibelco has been accused of stealing as much as 8 million worth of sand from … Continue reading

Aside

The Quandamooka Combined Aboriginal Organisations Forum proudly presents QUANDAMOOKA DREAMING A documentary film series from the Traditional Owners of Quandamooka country (Moreton Bay region) Filmmaker, Marcia Machado created four films about local history and culture in collaboration with Elders, community … Continue reading

Gallery

The Left on Labour Day 2011

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Labour Day, Brisbane, 2011 Socialist groups missed an opportunity this Labour Day. There has been a shift inside the Labour movement and the Left has not recognised it fully nor have they responded to it. Observe the Labour Day march … Continue reading

Aside

Tony Mockeridge has asked that this song be dedicated to Lex Wotton. Accordingly this song goes out to Lex Wotton and his family for their courage in standing up for justice on Palms for the Bwgcolman people and for all … Continue reading

Aside

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

Pine Gap 4 have won their Appeal!

by Donna Mulhearn

Dear friends

Today [22 February 2008] Bryan, Jim, Adele and Donna were acquitted of tPhoto shows the four protesters outside court following their successful appeal. (Jack Kerr)heir convictions under the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952.

It was a unanimous decision by the full bench of the Northern Territory Court of Criminal Appeal.

The three judges agreed with our submission that there was a miscarriage of justice at last year’s trial because we were not able to bring evidence before the jury about the function of Pine Gap.

There were other grounds to the appeal, of a more technical nature. The judges will publish the detailed reasons for their decision in coming weeks.

The Prosecution quickly sought a re-trial, but was quickly rebutted.

“What would be achieved for these individuals or the community if there is a re-trial?” asked Justice Riley rather sternly.

The judges unanimously ruled there would be no re-trial.

The fact that we had already served prison time was a significant factor in their decision to refuse a re-trial. We are all very glad we did this as now our slate is clean regarding the other charge of ‘damage’, under the crimes act. So now it’s all over!

This ‘David vs Goliath’ outcome is a result of the excellent work of our legal team: Ron Merkel QC, Rowena Orr and Russell Goldflam. Their commitment, persistence and brilliance was amazing. They should be heartily congratulated. (I hope to have a way for you all to do that soon).

The result now raises significant questions for the Government about the use of the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952. It was the first, and mostly likely last time it will be used in this context.

It is a victory for fairness and common sense, and a slap in the face for Prosecutor’s who seek to use draconian legislation to respond to pacifists partaking in non-violent civil disobedience with an extreme witchunt.

Congratulations to our Pine Gap colleagues Jessica Morrison and Sean O’Reilly and thanks to everyone involved in our journey since December 2005.

It’s been an amazing experience for all of us!

Rise Up!

Put Pine Gap on trial!

cheers from

Donna, Jim. Adele, Bryan

PS: Within 10 minutes of the ruling there was national media coverage on most major newspaper websites as well as ABC Radio and TV.

PPS: Some pics to come, news reports below

http://news.smh.com.au/pine-gap-protesters-conviction-quashed/20080222-1txp.html

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23257820-5005961,00.html

See also the pamphlet published by the PG4:

“Liberating Pine Gap” by Jim Dowling (ed.)

Court finds in favour of Pine Gap protestors

ABC Online Posted February 22, 2008 14:15:00
Updated February 22, 2008 14:22:00

The Territory’s Court of Criminal Appeal has quashed the convictions of four protesters who broke into the Pine Gap defence facility three years ago.

Last year, Bryan Law, Adele Goldie, Jim Dowling and Donna Mulhearn were found guilty of breaking into the spy base using wire cutters in the Northern Territory Supreme Court in Alice Springs. They were the first people to be charged under the Defence Special Undertakings Act of 1952. The foursome were fined a total of $3,000.

They appealed against their convictions, and today the Territory’s full Court of Criminal Appeal found in their favour.

It’s now off to the Director of Public Prosecutions to decide whether to pursue a retrial or drop the matter.

Minor convictions for trespass and criminal damage will still stand.

Where now for Palestine?

After US president Bush’s visit to Palestine in in January 2008 Israel cut power and fuel in its siege of the Gaza strip yet again .

See http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19128.htm http://www.petitiononline.com/SaveGaza/petition.html for details.

Given the points raised below in the email about Israel’s cutting power and fuel in its siege of the Gaza strip in Palestine, I think that the Stop the War Collective (STWC) in Brisbane should be asked to address what is happening in Palestine.

Nothing was said at pre-election rallies held in November 2007.

Where is the point of fighting electoral politics with petitions and appeals to the Labour Party? Nothing happens. The ALP government is both pro-US alliance and pro-Israel.

There will be no peace anywhere in the Middle East without the liberation of Palestine.

Added to the silence on Palestine, nothing has been said by Australian political parties to condemn recent Israeli bombing of Syria.

Neither did the Coalition nor Labor criticise the war against Lebanon in July 2006.

Foreign ministers support Israel’s lie that it is protecting its borders.

The book Where Now for Palestine? : The Demise of the Two-State Solution depicted here is available from Avid Reader bookshop in 193 Boundary Street, West End.

The ‘Electoralist’ Approach
Does the approach below work? Where is the evidence that it achieves anything?

Petition: Bring your concern about the Gaza siege to the candidates competing for your electorate

Dear [Candidate],

As a Queensland [ / Brisbane / Lilley/ Griffith/ Moreton/ whichever/ electorate] voter I am writing to you and all the other candidates competing for [this seat / Queensland / Brisbane seats] to let you know how upset I am that no Australian politician or political party has made clear protest to the Israeli embassy in Canberra concerning the cruel siege which the State of Israel has been imposing for many months on the entire population of the Gaza Strip.

The crisis has been alarmingly heightened by the decision taken by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on 25 October 2007 to cut off the supply of electricity and fuel to the Gaza Strip.

Ehud Barak’s inhuman decision follows a prolonged siege which has led to an almost complete paralysing of economic activity in the Gaza Strip, where some eighty percent of the population have fallen below the poverty line.

This shocking siege includes a prohibition on the entry of milk powder for babies and the denial of vital medical treatment to patients who cannot leave the Gaza Srip for treatment. The shooting of Qassam missiles by Islamic Jihad and by Fatah’s Al- Aqsa brigade (while Hamas has been observing a unilateral ceasefire) cannot be an excuse for such a severe collective punishment imposed on one and a half million inhabitants, constituting a severe violation of human rights and international law.

In its authoritative commentary on Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the International Committee of the Red Cross has clarified that the prohibition on collective punishment does not just refer to criminal penalties, “but penalties of any kind inflicted on persons or entire groups of persons, in defiance of the most elementary principles of humanity, for acts that these persons have not committed.”

The UN Agency for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has described the closures at these crossings, as “unprecedented.” (http:// www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/EVOD-77SHRQ?OpenDocument 6 Oct 2007) UNRWA Senior Liaison Officer Saahir Lone reported in June that the Agency had been forced to close nearly half of its food distribution centres.

Asked whether the Agency had an emergency food stockpile, Mr. Lone explained that a chronic lack of funding and restrictions on the movement of goods in and out of the Gaza Strip had made it difficult for the Agency to maintain a food reserve. (http://www.un.org/unrwa/ news/briefings/PressCon_15jun07.html)

I look forward to hearing from you an explanation of your party’s views and actions on this severe violation of human rights and international law. The European Parliament recently adopted a resolution calling on the Israeli government to end the siege. There should be urgent action to raise a bi-partisan resolution in the Australian parliament too, to pressure the Israeli government to lift the siege imposed on the population of Gaza.

With respectful regards,

*********************************************************************************************************************************************

The Gaza Bombshell

After failing to anticipate Hamas’s victory over Fatah in the 2006 Palestinian election, the White House cooked up yet another scandalously covert and self-defeating Middle East debacle: part Iran-contra, part Bay of Pigs. With confidential documents, corroborated by outraged former and current U.S. officials, David Rose reveals how President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and Deputy National-Security Adviser Elliott Abrams backed an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and leaving Hamas stronger than ever.

by David Rose April 2008

Condoleezza Rice and George W. Bush

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President George W. Bush, whose secret Palestinian intervention backfired in a big way.

“A Dirty War”

The Al Deira Hotel, in Gaza City, is a haven of calm in a land beset by poverty, fear, and violence. In the middle of December 2007, I sit in the hotel’s airy restaurant, its windows open to the Mediterranean, and listen to a slight, bearded man named Mazen Asad abu Dan describe the suffering he endured 11 months before at the hands of his fellow Palestinians. Abu Dan, 28, is a member of Hamas, the Iranian-backed Islamist organization that has been designated a terrorist group by the United States, but I have a good reason for taking him at his word: I’ve seen the video. more>> http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/04/gaza200804?printable=true&currentPage=all

‘A cage lined with silk is still a cage’ – detained Iranian refugee

Villawood Death in Custody Demands Ministerial Action

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission says the Villawood Dentention Centre should be demolished. (File photo) (AAP: Mick Tsikas)

The tragic death of a 62 year old Iranian immigration detainee is yet another disgraceful and entirely preventable cost of the ongoing mandatory detention policy” said Pamela Curr, of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC).

“Mr F was taken to St Georges Hospital on Friday for an appointment. There he suffered a heart attack and collapsed on the steps of the hospital as he struggled to walk-in. He died in Intensive Care today, Sunday.

Detainees in Villawood have been requesting care for this man who was held in Stage 3. Fellow detainees say that he had to walk 100 metres uphill to the dining room using an umbrella to assist him to walk. Often too exhausted to eat. Only last week fellow detainees sought improved medical care for sick detainees,” Ms Curr reported.

“Mr F. continued to be detained at the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) even after it was acknowledged that his condition was so serious that he could not fly making deportation impossible. How then could the Department of Immigration continue to detain such a frail and vulnerable individual in the Villawood Prison instead of releasing him to be cared for in the community?” asked Mr Singh.

“Mr F’s death in custody is yet more horrific evidence of the lethal human cost of mandatory detention. Since December 2000 there have been at least 18 deaths in all forms of immigration detention in Australia and Nauru. This represents a seventeen hundred percent increase in immigration detention deaths when compared to the period 1991-2000. Villawood IDC is ‘managed’ for profit by GSL Limited, a multinational prison and detention corporation with a long history of deaths in custody in their prisons.” said Charandev Singh, volunteer human rights advocate at the Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre.

It is critical that Immigration Minister Chris Evans accepts the first recommendation of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commissioner Graham Innes who said unequivocally that “Australia’s mandatory detention laws should be repealed”.

This is the chance for the Rudd Government to break with this history of death, abuse and scandal that is integral to the mandatory detention policy.” concluded Ms Curr.

PRESS RELEASE DATED 13 JANUARY 2008

The latest HREOC* report on detention was released in early January 2008. Commissioner Graham Innes has shown the sort of moral courage we have yearned for over the last decade and headed the list of recommendations with HREOC’s first recommendation “Australia’s mandatory detention laws should be repealed” says it all.

Remember when we all called for this and were regarded as looney lefties, latte sipping elites, bleeding hearts and generally Traitors to the nation- ah well !!! Thank you and bless you Grahame Innes. Government detention monitoring bodies have not been known for their adherence to a past Australian tradition of calling a spade -a bloody shovel!!

As an Iranian detainee said to us in 2004 “a cage lined with silk is still a cage”. Commissioner Innes is to be congratulated for his moral courage in standing by this first recommendation. For a country with claims to being a free democracy to arbitrarily imprison innocent people without charge for possibly their whole lives is an outrage which no political spin meister can gloss over.

Unfortunately HREOC did not have the latest information on Mental health in Detention which saw a suicidal man turfed out of hospital the week before Christmas, back to the detention which made him sick in the first place. Inexplicably DIAC** staff handed this man 6 days supply of drugs. During the lonely hours of darkness on the first night back, he took the lot. This is the absymal standard of care in detention.

Also DIAC and GSL*** forgot to draw attention to a stateless man who has been in Villawood detention for 3 years despite the fact that he is severely mentally ill- too ill in fact to even represent himself. He has a NSW guardianship officer overseeing his continued detention and lack of care.

The Summary of Observations following the Inspection of Mainland Immigration Detention Facilities in 2007 can be found online at www.humanrights.gov.au/human_rights/idc

It would be great if the papers were inundated with letters supporting the HREOC findings – they might then publish a few and ensure that this report gets due care and attention.

Pamela Curr
Campaign Coordinator
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre ASRC
12 Batman St West Melbourne 3003 ph 03 93266066 fax 03 93265199 www.asrc.org.au Pamela Curr
Legend as follows
*HREOC has only recommendatory powers – NO one can over-rule Immigration Dept decisions.

**DIAC is the latest acronym for the Immigration Department- it follows DIMA and then DIMIA. DIAC stands for Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Initially it was DIC which was unfortunate so they broke the convention and added an A.

***GSL is Global Solutions Limited which is a subsidiary of Group 4 Falck although they keep buying and selling each other on the New York Stock Exchange.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Pamela Curr Asylum Seekers Resource Centre: 0417 517 075

Charandev Singh Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre: 0403 659 431

2007 Federal Election: Bastards voted out

Little Joy for Workers

“In democracies, sometimes the rulers have to change in order to ensure that things remain the same”

— adapted from The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa

Unions were told by the Labor Party that they had to work on a marginal seats campaign to get the ALP in government and thereby change the workplace laws. Unions generally accepted this view.

The Senate

In the book After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet the leftpress collective argues that

this strategy (the electoral solution) demands that the ALP achieves the highly unlikely scenario of winning a majority in both houses, or, more likely, of winning a majority in the House of Representatives and getting compliance from smaller parties in the Senate. However, getting candidates elected is not guaranteed and even if a candidate gets into parliament there are many other issues in the parliamentary system competing for the attention of parliamentarians.

The provisional result in the senate is:

Coalition 37
ALP 32
Greens 5
Family First 1
Nick Xenophon 1

As predicted in After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet the ALP will not control the senate and on many anti-worker, anti-union issues like WorkChoices.
The senate will remain hostile to any legislative changes favourable to workers and their unions. [See Liberal senators in bid to block repeal of IR law]

The Greens

Some workers looked to the Greens as a possible means of easing the workplace laws because the Greens had better Industrial Relations policy than Labor.

However the Greens will not have the balance of power in the Senate. One scenario is that a vote to replace WorkChoices would leave Labor and Greens deadlocked with the coalition 37 votes to 36 votes with Family First and Nick Xenophon (no-poker machine lobby) with the casting votes.

The big gain for the Greens was in Tasmania (two seats in the senate) and South Australia (one senate seat) with some gains in Victoria (falling short winning a senate seat). See http://www.abc.net.au/elections/federal/2007/results/senate/vic.htm for the final tally after preferences.

In Queensland, the Greens, once again, did not do well in the Senate getting only half a quota (7%) before preferences.

However, in the house of Reps, the Greens did well in inner city Brisbane seats where there are now a lot of public servants and other white collar workers who vote Green.

The Greens seem unable to capture the blue collar working class vote, which in this election just went back to Labor.

The Socialist Alliance and the Socialist Equality Party did poorly again polling less than 2% of the vote in seats contested. Of the socialists contesting the senate, Sam Watson in Queensland got the best result for the Socialist Alliance in the senate (he got a meager 1,584 votes or 0.08% of the vote).

Analysis

At the national level, this means the ALP will face a hostile senate when it tries to get its minor reforms to WorkChoices through the parliament.

Yet people worldwide are starting to turn away from privatisation by governments. They wish to return services like health, education, transport and telecommunications to public ownership.

That is, people are moving away from the neo-conservative experiment of the past 20 years. This seems lost on ALP governments throughout Australia, governments that are privatising public resources like electricity industry in NSW. [See Electricity sell-off a surge to the bottom line]

The last major privatisation in Australia was the sale of Telstra, yet what did people get from the sale of Telstra?

A failed company with a hopeless mob running it and taking away $20 million each per annum in salaries.

At the same time, call centre workers at Telstra have been committing suicide because of the bad conditions. See the article in BushTelegraph: No Action on Worker Suicides at Telstra

This trend away from private ownership in the minds of workers (see strikes in opposition to power privatisation in NSW) is still minor but there is some chance it may spread.

Meanwhile rising Labor star, Kevin Rudd (PPP*) once said:

We (the Labor Party) are the genuine inheritors of the [Adam] Smithian tradition [of modern-day capitalism].

We accept price. We accept markets. We accept the legitimate pursuit of self-interest.”

From After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet. @ http://wpos.wordpress.com/

For more in depth discussion of the unions situation post election 07 see After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet.

* Coined termed by veteran SMH journo Alan Ramsey. PPP = ‘prissy, precious, prick’