Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Mad Dash: does the electorate deserve more than this?

I am fed up - as I believe millions of Australians are - with what is going on in the Federal Parliament.  Is that Christopher Pyne poking his tongue out at The Deputy Speaker, Anna Burke?  It seems women are fair game in The Opposition sights.  Anyway, as I said, I am fed up.  The electorate clearly feels powerless to do or stop anything until it gets a chance to vote.  However, I think we, the voters of Australia, who want a constructive Parliament need to make our voices heard.  I don't know how we do this - perhaps it takes just a concerted letter writing campaign.  Any suggestions you might have about further action, please comment below.  However, I have taken the first step by writing the letter below to everyone on my email list ... which, Networkers might imagine, is extensive.  I publish the letter below and you might like to copy it and send it to your mail list.  You might like to personalise the text with your own suggestions, views etc.  With a bit of good fortune, the email itself could go viral if everyone did this - like a chain letter only with a positive message - and, hopefully, a positive outcome.

Just sending you this link because I want everyone to read it.  Anna Burke
and Michelle Grattan have done well in calling our Federal Parliamentarians
to account.  If you are a member of a political party - I am not - I hope
the current debased level of political discourse is discussed within your
party ranks.  I would particularly like to see the women in Parliament and
in political parties speak out against the current debased and sexist,
misogynist treatment of our Prime Minister.  I certainly don't agree with
many policies of the current government , as many of you know.  But the
leader of the government of our nation needs to be treated respectfully.
 If people find the Prime Minister so distasteful that they cannot treat
her respectfully, there is one option that can always be exercised. Keep

There are some who call for an early election, who rail against a hung
Parliament.  All the voters of Australia made this Parliament.  The hung
Parliament is a result of our votes and, from what I can see and hear, I
think it truly reflects the political views of the nation - that we are not
keen on any one party in particular.  If we want things to be otherwise -
if we want politicians, parties, governments that we can respect, campaign
for, and see elected - then it is up to each one of to do something
positive about it - not stand on the sidelines catcalling.

Australia could be a great country.  At the moment we are filled by
squabbling, negativity, and meanness at a high and widespread level.  Is
this who we are?  Who we really are?

I hope this email is received in the spirit with which it is written.  I
hope you think enough of what I have written to pass it on to everyone you

Poor fellow my country!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Are we really sorry? And if we are sorry, how sorry are we. Not very, I suggest.

NAIDOC poster winner announced
A 25-year-old Aboriginal artist from Chinchilla in Queensland has won the prestigious 2012 National NAIDOC Poster Competition, snaring a $5000 prize. Amanda Joy Tronc's artwork will adorn posters that will be distributed across the country to promote NAIDOC Week, which runs from 1-8 July. Her work titled 'Look at us now' addressed this year's NAIDOC theme, 'Spirit of the Tent Embassy: 40 years on'. "I wanted my artwork to show that it is important to understand the history behind us and that our culture is a part of our people," said Ms Tronc (pictured).


To-morrow, 26 May, is Sorry Day or - as it is now called - The National Day of Healing. There has been an apology to the Stolen Generations. There are Reconcilation Committees in all or most Local Government areas in Australia.  However, I would ask how sorry are Australians and how reconciled.  And if we say we are sorry that we do wish for reconciliation, then how sorry are we and what are we prepared to do to be reconciled?

You see in remote Aboriginal communities of Australia they do not have the same facilities and services available to them as those in mainstream communities.  You may recall that one of the things The Intervention in the Northern Territory sought to do was to put reasonably manned police stations in communities. All governments know that Aboriginal communities can have law and order problems - as do mainstream communities - but law enforcement, in many case, was not available to Aboriginal people.

There is a lot of goodwill in Australia towards Aboriginal reconcilation and inclusion but I would put in this reminder that not everyone cares, not everyone is sorry, not everyone wants to be reconciled.   Even among those who express goodwill, I am yet to hear one Australian say that they are prepared to do without a tax cut if the equivalent dollars could be spent on raising up the status and condition of Aboriginal people who are not making it mainstream society.

In short:  Are we really sorry? And if we are sorry, how sorry are we. Not very, I suggest.

Further reading:

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Support a UN 5th World Conference on Women (in Australia, please) - Part 2

It is the evening of 1 January 1995.  The place is Tennant Creek, community hub for The Barkly Tableland in the middle of the Northern Territory.  My friend, Shazza, has come round for dinner.  Naturally, at the beginning of the year one's thoughts turn to the year ahead, what one might do, what plans one might make.  I said to Shazza I reckon I might go to this women's forum in Beijing.  Shazza quickly responded that if I was going she was coming too.

Sharon Kinraid - Beijing 1995

One thing led to another.  By the end of January, 
  • a meeting had been held in the electorate office of Maggie Hickey, Member for Barkly in the NT Legislative Assembly
  • an organisation had been established called The Women of the Barkly
  • a fundraising program had been initiated with the intent of subsidising members of The Women of the Barkly who attended the Women's Forum to be held later that year in Beijing.
Maggie Hickey MLA (in sunglasses) with Penny Curtis
at the pre-Beijing display at Julalikari, Tennant Creek

 Beginning in 1975, the first UN Women's Conference was held in Mexico City.  The UN Decade for Women went from 1976-1985. The Mid-Decade Conference was held in Copenhagen in 1980 and the End of the Decade Conference was held in Nairobi in 1985.  Governments nominate delegates to the official conference.  They need not be members of Parliament.  Australia's contingents have usually comprised a mix of female politicians and distinguished women supported by a number of bureaucrats.  Side by side with the official Conferences have been Women's Forums.  Anyone can go to these. 
Quentin Bryce, Governor-General of Australia
Quentin Bryce, Governor-General of Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1985, the Commonwealth of Australia made a decision to fund 20 women to attend the End of the Decade Women's Forum in Nairobi, Kenya.  I was at work - I managed the Mount Isa Public Library at that time - and received a phone call from Quentin Bryce - yes, the same Quentin Bryce who is now Governor-General of Australia.  I had established - with the help of some great friends - the Union for Western Women to work for and give a voice to women living in remote north-west Queensland.  When the Hawke Government came to power it had established outposts of the Office of Status of Women in Brisbane and Hobart.  This had been done because the ultra conservative state governments in Queensland and Tasmania had dug their heels in and refused to establish entities to serve the specific needs of women.  In fact, in Queensland where I lived under the Bjelke-Petersen police state, Joh Bjelke-Petersen use to claim that Women's Shelters were hives of Marxist activity!  Quentin headed up the Queensland outpost ably assisted by Beryl Holmes. Quentin was the fairy godmother of the Union for Western Women.  One of our great themes was that, because we were isolated, we needed to network with people to bring information in and we needed to network with people so that they could see how we lived and worked and take our information out.  Ordinarily, this would be the work of a politician but our State and Federal representatives were conservative and not very good at doing these simple tasks.  But Quentin came, Quentin saw, Quentin communicated as she still does to-day.

For the first time in my life, I was off overseas - to Nairobi.  What an experience! Africa - 12,000 women from everywhere - radical, conservative, ordinary women.  The clothes, the hair, the cultures, the discussions!  
Korean women - Beijing 1995

Because I lived in Mount Isa, I searched for workshops which would speak about the topic of remoteness and underdevelopment in a first world country.  There was nothing that quite hit the spot.  There and then I decided that if I came to a conference like this again, I would do a workshop myself.

My 1985 Nairobi decision to do a workshop resulted in the 1995 decision by The Women of the Barkly decision to do a workshop at the Women's Forum in Beijing.  Not only did we make a decision to do the workshop, we applied successfully to the Australia Council for funding to make a video and commission a photographic exhibition to depict the life and art of The Women of the Barkly. 
Pauline Buxton 

The photographic exhibition was not a difficulty because we had two talented female photographers in town who could work together on the project.  One was Pauline Buxton and I cannot recall the name of the other.  Perhaps someone else can help me out in this regard.  They depicted women in all sorts of occupations even that of a jockey!
Gerardine O'Sullivan

The video - professional, broadcast quality video - would have, ordinarily, been a bit more difficult.  But we had a good and talented Tennant Creek friend in Gerardine O'Sullivan who used to work with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).  She promised and delivered a wonderful video called Strong Women : Strong Land..   

When these two major commissions were fulfilled we had just enough money left to produce a brochure which explained everything.  We whizzed through Alice Springs to catch our flight to Sydney picking up the brochures en route.  On the flight from Sydney to Beijing we began our publicity blitz on the plane.  See brochure images and flyer below.

Click to enlarge in new tab

In Beijing, one of the most exciting things was that not only did we have so many women packed into our Workshop that we had to close the doors, Carmen Lawrence, who was then Minister assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women, had chosen Tuesday to be her day to visit the Forum - and she came to our workshop.  When one is away from home in a foreign land doing a workshop at a women's forum, it fills one with pride to be visited by your very own Minister.
Carmen Lawrence (in the red dress)
with women from The Barkly region of the Northern Territory
UN Women's Forum - Beijing - 1995

The enthusiasm of little tiny Tennant Creek for Beijing Women's Forum 1995 - and our menfolk were right behind us too and we would be pulled up in the supermarket to describe our adventures when we got home - was catching.  Local CWA and ATSIC women came too. Arguably, Tennant Creek and The Barkly sent more women (as a percentage of population) than Sydney did!

So please take this trip down Memory Lane seriously, and go back to the previous post and complete the petition for yet another Women's Conference and Forum.  The only continent which has not yet been represented as a host for these Conferences is Australia.  There is a section on the petition for making comment.  Could you please use this to put in a plug for the next UN Women's Conference and Forum to be held in Oceania, in particular Australia.  And then lobby relevant Minister's for Women's Affairs at Commonwealth, State and Territory level accordingly.  You might even like to send them a copy of this post.

Miss Eagle
Brigid O'Carroll Walsh
Beijing 1995 

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Support a UN 5th World Conference on Women (in Australia, please) - Part 1

Support a UN 5th World Conference on Women

Published by Jean Shinoda Bolen on Oct 12, 2009
14279 Signatures 

Target: United Nations General Assembly, Secretary-General and all relevant components & NGOs.
Region: GLOBAL
Background (Preamble):
A UN 5th World Conference on Women (5WCW), twenty years after Beijing, would be the most influential women’s conference ever held. Ideas and information would be shared via 21st century technology. It could be linked to simultaneously held conferences all over the world, as well as by attendees to their circles, through the internet, via youtube, social networking, smart phones, tablets, and other means.

It would bring together and inspire the next generation of women leaders. It would be a major step toward a critical mass learning about the need for the empowerment and equality for women. This petition is a grassroots effort to influence the United Nations and its member states to support a UN 5th World Conference on Women. If a resolution is passed by the 66th General Assembly (2011-2012) it could be held in 2015.

Information on website:
and in Urgent Message From Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World.

Signatories: (
Isabel Allende, author, activist
Ambassador Anwaul Chowdhury, former president of UN Security Council
Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, author Urgent Message From Mother, Jungian analyst,
Marilyn Fowler, founder US Women-Connect, Women’s Intercultural Network
Carol Hansen Grey, author, activist
Dr. Anele Heiges, President International Public Policy Institute
Dr. Patricia Licuanan, President Miriam College, Philippines, Chair of prepatory meetings for Beijing conference
Patricia Smith Melton, founder PeaceXPeace
Ambassador Gertrude I. Mongella, Secretary-General of 4th World Conference on Women (Beijing)
Joyce Oneko, founder Mama na Dada-Africa
Elly Pradervand, founder Women’s World Summit Foundation, Geneva
Zainab Salbi, president Women for Women International
Leticia Shahani, Secretary-General 3rd UN World Conference on Women (Nairobi)
Gloria Steinem, founder Ms. Magazine, author, activist
Alice Walker, author, activist
Rosemary Williams, founder Women’s Perspective
Lea Wyler, co-founder ROKPA International
We, the undersigned, call on the UN General Assembly, Secretary-General, 193 member-states & affiliated NGOs to support a 5th World Conference on Women.

The Support a UN 5th World Conference on Women petition to United Nations General Assembly, Secretary-General and all relevant components & NGOs. was written by Jean Shinoda Bolen and is in the category Women’s Rights & Empowerment at GoPetition. Contact author herePetition tags:


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Woolworths, Coles, the TV Corporates, and the banned ad

Have you seen our banned ad? 

It's all over the news: the TV ad GetUp members funded calling on Woolworths and Coles to make their poker machines safer, has been blocked by Channels Ten, Seven and Nine. 

Nine actually told a journalist straight: it would be "illogical to ruin relationships with valued, and longstanding,clients for the sake of GetUp's campaign."[1] We won't let that stop us. 

Already, a GetUp member with expertise in cinema advertising has volunteered to help, and we've booked cinema ads right across the country to get around the TV blackout. Thanks to a great discount rate, we can actually reach even more customers of Woolworths and Coles. 

Now is our chance to show the TV bosses that they can't stop our movement spreading the truth. We we won't let a network ban stop us from having our voices heard -- and by blocking us on TV, they've only given us more media attention for this important campaign. 

Check out the ad TV stations don't want you to see. A $57 donation will buy a full weekend of ads in one cinema, reaching hundreds of Coles and Woolies customers. 

Pokies Email Hero 

Thanks for fighting back, 
The GetUp Team. 

 'Networks refuse to air anti-pokie ads', Richard Willingham. The Age, May 16, 2012

Watershed Victoria - Winter Whale Watch 2012 Launch


You are cordially invited to the 2012 launch of Winter Whale Watch. 

WHERE: Kilcunda Hall 
WHEN: 2pm Saturday 26 May 

It’s whale watching time again and 

Watershed Victoria is launching our third Winter Whale Watch.
This year’s program will be launched by Greg Hunt MLA, 
Federal Opposition Environment Spokesman and Member for Flinders.

You will also hear from local experts about these fascinating giants 
for whom our coast is very important habitat. 
Find out how you can help us document the habits 
of these endangered visitors to our beautiful coast. 

We will review last year’s sightings, 
how to identify different whale species 
and where are the best whale viewing locations in South Gippsland.

You can phone/sms your sightings to the Whale Watch hotline: 0498 271 371

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Intervention rides and rides again - with disastrous outcomes for the human rights of Aboriginal people

Today, the Senate is due to debate - and possibly pass - legislation that will undermine the human rights of Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory until 2022.
Despite the failure of punitive policies to improve the wellbeing of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, the Government looks set to renew and even expand some of the harshest measures under the Howard Government's Northern Territory Emergency Response for ten more years.
If passed, the Stronger Futures legislation would:
  • Introduce the most severe social security penalty in living memory – a 13 week non-payment period – for parents and carers whose children are not attending school regularly.
  • Reinstate prison sentences for possession of alcohol on Aboriginal Land, including up to 6 months imprisonment for a single can of beer.
  • Extend bans on the judiciary considering Aboriginal customary law and cultural practice in bail and sentencing decisions.
The National Congress of Australia's First Peoples, the peak representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, has launched a petition calling on our politicians to reject these laws.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Dr. James Anaya, has condemned Australia for laws which: “overtly discriminate against aboriginal peoples, infringe their right of self-determination and stigmatize already stigmatized communities”.
Stand with Congress to stop these unfair laws and end the cycle of coercion, dispossession and entrenched disadvantage that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have faced formore than two centuries.
The Government held consultations with communities for just six weeks before declaring a mandate from the community to enact its policy agenda.
Aboriginal people attending public meetings were told they could not discuss two of the most controversial measures: income management and prohibitions on judges considering customary law in bail and sentencing.
In Senate Committee hearings, communities expressed their confusion and anxiety about the proposed laws. Many were not even aware of the Government's plans.
Without a groundswell of opposition, this legislation could be rubber stamped by politicians and implemented until at least 2022.
Its effects would be serious and long-term.

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Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Green Left Weekly Activist Calendar 9 May 2012

TAFE 4 all! Fight the cuts!
Thursday, May 10, 12:30pm. 1 Treasury Place, City. Baileau's $300 million cuts to TAFE threaten thousands of TAFE jobs, the life chances of thousands of Victorians & the viability of the public provision of TAFE in Victoria. We must send the message that the government has no mandate to dismantle TAFE. We need as many concerned Victorians as possible to attend this rally: students, colleagues, friends & community members.

Comedy Debate
Green Left Weekly Comedy Debate 2012
Australia needs an Abbott-proof fence
Friday, May 11, 7pm (for 8pm start). Coburg Town Hall, 90 Bell St, Coburg. A sparkling night of progressive comedy. Hosted by Andrew McClelland; (this award-winning comedian replaces Rod Quantock who has had to withdraw). With Matthew GranthamToby Halligan,Courteney HockingMinister for UnAustralian Affairs (aka Greg Fryer), Nelly Thomas & Xavier Toby.
Tickets: $40 solidarity, $25 regular, $12 concession. Bookings: visitGLW comedy or ph 9639 8622. Dinner & bar available. A fundraiser forGreen Left Weekly.

Other coming events

Until Sunday, May 13
Theatre: Black Box 149. A Western commercial aircraft, passengers and crew are captured during Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. A nightmarish journey begins, an exploration of how terror impacts the lives of civilians when governments betray them for the purposes of war. Wed & Sun: 6:30pm; Thu, Fri, Sat: 7:30pm; Matinees: Wed 1pm (May 2 & 9) & Thu 11am (Apr 26, May 3 & 10). La Mama Courthouse, 349 Drummond Street, Carlton. $25/$15 For more info visit La Mama.
Until Saturday, May 19
Theatre: Teach Me to Cry. Inspired by the Arab Spring & the Egyptian Revolution. A drama written and directed by Mohammed Hashem who has spent over two years in Egypt working as a journalist on television and radio and has just returned with his show Teach me to Cry, an absurd play about insanity, loneliness, guilt and of course failure. 8:45pm. The Owl & the Pussycat, 34 Swan St, Richmond. $15. To book visit Owl and Cat.
Until Saturday, June 9
Exhibition: Unsafe Haven: Hazaras in Afghanistan. The photographs of artist and former Afghan refugee Abdul Karim Hekmat, make a powerful point about Australia's asylum seeker policy. RMIT Gallery, near cnr Swanston & La Trobe Sts, City. For more info visit RMIT Gallery.
Wednesday, May 9
Film screening: Gasland. US film-maker Josh Fox discovered that in the race for 'cleaner' energy sources, the largest natural gas drilling boom in history is sweeping the globe. As the citizens ofGasland testify, the multi-million dollar business of fracking has contaminated the water supply, the corporate giants are covering up and the government has turned a blind eye. The film is a desperate plea for scrutiny of a powerful industry that has turned its eyes on unexplored territory: Australia. 12:30pm. RUSU student meeting room, level 3, Building 8, RMIT (opposite gym). For more info ph 9639 8622 or 0431 311 520. Entry by donation. Film presented by RMIT Resistance Club.
Public meeting: Twenty years too long; End mandatory detention of refugees. Speaker: Alex Bhathal, a member of the Greens and refugee rights advocate. 3:30pm. RMIT University Function Room (next door to Kaleide Theatre). Organised by RMIT Refugee Action Collective.
Jean Taylor visits NIBS. Jean Taylor has been radical activist and writer since the 1970s, and active member of Victorian Women's Liberation and Lesbian Feminist Archives. Her latest book is Stroppy Dykes, Radical Lesbian Feminist Activism in Victoria During the 1980s (Dyke Books Inc, 2012). It explores the work of the radical lesbian feminists, socialist feminists and radical feminists who organised conferences, published magazines, wrote books, established activist collectives, went on marches, were in solidarity with Aborigines and Islanders, demonstrated, formed bands, and more, throughout the 1980s. 6:30pm. New Internationalk Bookshop, meeting room, Lower Ground Floor, Trades Hall, 54 Victoria St, Carlton South. $5/$2. Drinks and snacks available by donation.
Thursday, May 10
Rally: TAFE 4 all! Fight the cuts! Baileau's $300 million cuts to TAFE threaten thousands of TAFE jobs, the life chances of thousands of Victorians & the viability of the public provision of TAFE in Victoria. We must send the message that the government has no mandate to dismantle TAFE. We need as many concerned Victorians as possible to attend this rally: students, colleagues, friends & community members. 12:30pm. 1 Treasury Place, City.
Pub night: What's the state of the climate? Zero Carbon Moreland's May pub night will look at the key messages from the recent State of the Climate report produced by CSIRO and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Leading the discussion will be Shoni Maguire from the Centre for Australian Weather & Climate Research (a partnership between the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO). Come along to learn about observations of Australia's climate and analysis of the factors that influence it. Zero Carbon Moreland pub nights occur regularly on the second Thursday of each month. 6pm. Little dining room, Edinburgh Castle, cnr Sydney Rd & Albion St, Brunswick.
Public meeting: Melbourne campaigners' network: Theories of change. The Melbourne Campaigners' Network is a monthly gathering for campaigners, activists, and organisers to discuss ideas, exchange resources and discover new approaches to social change. The May MCN will explore how change comes about and the different theories of change which underpin our campaign choices. This participatory session will be facilitated by Naomi Blackburn. 6pm. The Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale St, City. RSVP and more info Holly.
Public meeting: 'Beware the long hairs': Anti-racist movements of the early 1960s. How does what activists do matter? How does actvism bring about social and political change? In this series a number of scholars bring their various perspectives to this very pressing issue. Speaker: Gwenda Tavan (La Trobe University|). 6:30pm. The Alderman (upstairs), 134 Lygon St, East Brunswick. For more info visitMelbourne Free University.
Concert: Psycho-punk/ska/anarcho-folk-billy conflagration. With Admiral Ackbar's Dishonourable Discharge bringing their punk/ska rhythms back to the Bendigo, supported by streetpunk old-schoolers Spew'n'Guts, revolutionary anarcho-folks A Commoner's Revolt and psycho-billy psycho-punks Where's Grover. $5 solidarity price, $5 for those that are unemployed, and $5 for all the rest. 8pm. Bendigo Hotel, Collingwood.
Friday, May 11
Green Left Weekly Comedy Debate 2012: Australia needs an Abbott-proof fence. A sparkling night of progressive comedy. Hosted by Andrew McClelland (this award-winning comedian replaces Rod Quantock who has had to withdraw). With Matthew Grantham, Courteney Hocking, Toby Halligan, Minister for UnAustralian Affairs (aka Greg Fryer), Xavier Toby & Nellie Thomas. 7pm (for 8pm start). Coburg Town Hall, 90 Bell St, Coburg. Dinner & bar available. Tickets: $40 solidarity, $25 regular, $12 concession. Bookings strongly recommended: visit GLW comedy or ph 9639 8622. A fundraiser forGreen Left Weekly.
Saturday, May 12
Rally: Protest NSW police shootings. Stop Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Third anniversary of the death of Aboriginal transgender woman, Veronica Baxter (March 16). 11am. Old GPO, cnr Bourke & Elizabeth Sts, City. Organised by Indigenous Social Justice Association.
Rally: National rally for marriage equality. Demand that the Australian federal government amend the current disciminative law prohibiting marriage equality. Let's keep up the pressure! Please invite every supporter of equality that you know! Let's make it big and loud so we won't be ignored! 1pm. State Library of Victoria, Swanston St, City.
Rally: Axe Bailleau not buses. The purpose of this rally is to allow Whittlesea bus passengers, their family members and local service providers to air their frustrations and discuss future actions to restore our buses. The people were not consulted about the bus changes so at the rally parents and children, people with disabilities, older people and non-car owners will speak first. Tell everyone how the bus cuts affect you and what action our group can take to support more buses in your area. We will have signs supporting the restoration of ALL the buses we have lost. Meet in Mill Park Drive behind the primary school (opposite Manikato Court). In case of rain meet undercover outside Parkside Fish and Chips). For more info ph 0425 725 998.
Public meeting: Occupy & Beyond: Part 1. Share your thoughts on the strengths, weaknesses, successes and failures of the Occupy movement in Australia. Whether you were involved or not, everyone has a unique experience of Occupy and everyone has valuable insights to share. The forum will run in at least two parts. Part 1: Reflection and Evaluation. What was Occupy in Australia? Part 2: Future, Ideas, Solutions, Direction. Where might Occupy in Australia go to from here? (Date/ & venue TBA.) Part 1 at 12 noon-5pm. Melbourne University. This event is not endorsed by any Occupy movement, or any political organisation, but the idea has risen from people who have been contributing to or observing Occupy Melbourne. For more info visit Occupy Melbourne.
Tuesday, May 15
Rally: PILCH Walk. PILCH is a community legal centre which helps people who would otherwise fall through the cracks (e.g. can't afford their own lawyer and can't get legal aid for whatever reason). The Walk for Justice, now in its fifth year, celebrates National Pro Bono Day and raises much needed funds for the Public Interest Law Clearing House Vic (PILCH). From 7:30am, Parliament House, through the CBD via the Yarra River, finishing at the County Court on William Street. Cost: $20.00 for individual walkers, $10.00 for students, and $180.00 per team of 10 (includes a light breakfast). To register visitPILCH.
Book launch: The Road to Rainbow Liberation. Marriage, sex and gender rights today. Around the world, LGBTI people are under constant attack. The economic and social attacks are endless and conservative governments are constantly attempting to curb their rights. The radical queer movement has a long history dating back to the Stonewall Riots, a protest movement against brutal police and state repression. But the dream of queer and gender diverse liberation is an unfinished one, and requires mass action to rebuild it from the ground up. Join Socialist Alliance for the launch of the newly published pamphlet Road to Rainbow LiberationSpeakers Rachel Evans (co-author, Socialist Alliance member, queer rights activist & a founding member of Equal Love campaign); Graham Willet (queer historian, author & editor of Secret Histories of Queer Melbourne); Simba Kennedy (LGBTI activist). 6:30pm (meal from 6pm). Resistance Centre, Level 5, 407 Swanston St, City (opposite RMIT). Refreshments available. Organised by Socialist Alliance. For more info ph 9639 8622.
Public meeting: Victoria's flora & fauna: Where's the guarantee? For threatened species such as the Leadbeater's Possum, Victoria is a dangerous place to live. As developments like native forest logging and native vegetation clearance drive many species closer to extinction, Victoria's biodiversity laws do little to protect these species and guarantee their survival. The Environment Defenders Office (Victoria) has will release a report in late April on Victoria’s biodiversity laws in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to allow logging in Toolangi and the Victorian Government’s decision to wind back protection for threatened species under the Forestry Code. Speakers: Nicola Rivers (Law Reform Director, Environment Defenders Office); Luke Chamberlain (Campaigns Director, The Wilderness Society); Kylie White (Executive Director, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment). All welcome. No charge but registrations are essential. 5:45pm. 60L Green Building, 60 Leicester St, Carlton. Register at Forests.
Public forum & radio play allegory: Turning the Titanic. Concerned about complacency, denial, government inactivity and reversals on global warming issues? Make your presence felt by coming to this public forum and help 'turn the Titanic'. The newly updated radio play allegory Turning the Titanic will be performed. Presented by A Grand Stand for the Environment Inc. Guest facilitator: David Spratt (co-author of Climate Code Red). 7:30 pm. Civic Centre, 699 Doncaster Rd, Manningham. For more info ph Catherine Tinel 0412 746 022 or visit Turning the Titanic.
Tuesday, May 15-Sunday, May 27
Festival: Human rights arts & film festival. In its fifth year, HRAFF continues to provide a shared site whereby artists, human rights organisations and the Australian public are united in their desire to contribute to social change. For 11 days in Melbourne, and then three weeks across the country, HRAFF will exhibit a selection of contemporary cinema, fine art, discussion panels and music, seeking to engage, inspire and entertain. For more info visit HRFF.
Thursday, May 17
Public meeting: Altona loop: one year since timetables were changed. An opportunity for community conversation with leaders on the impacts of timetable change on train services one year on, solutions, and how long before we get real improvement? 6:30pm. Altona RSL, Sargood Street, Altona. Organised by Altona Loop Group.
Public meeting: The first and last global social movement: The international climate movement. How does what activists do matter? How does actvism bring about social and political change? In this series a number of scholars bring their various perspectives to this very pressing issue. Speaker: Verity Burgmann (Melbourne University). 6:30pm. The Alderman (upstairs), 134 Lygon St, East Brunswick. For more info visit Melbourne Free University.
Public meeting: Human rights, protest and police surveillance: a forum on intelligence gathering and monitoring of public protest. Recent news reports have revealed the increasingly widespread and targeted involvement of state and federal police, ASIO and even private agencies in monitoring groups and individuals participating in public protest. Speakers: Michael Pearce (barrister and former president of Liberty Victoria); Anthony Kelly (executive officer, Flemington & Kensington Community Legal Centre, and trainer with Pt'chang Nonviolent Community Safety Group); Anna Brown (solicitor and director of Advocacy and Strategic Litigation, Human Rights Law Centre). Guests: Chris Heislers & Jan Beer will talk about their experiences of being monitored for opposing the desalination plant and North-South pipeline and their subsequent legal challenge. 6pm. Melbourne City Conference Centre Chapel, cnr Little Lonsdale & Swanston Sts, City (opposite the State Library). Organised by the Castan Centre for Human Rights. RSVP to Castan or ph 9905 3327. Endorsed by Liberty Victoria, Federation of Community Legal Centres, Flemington & Kensington Community Legal Centre.
Concert: Public Enemy 25th anniversary Australian tour. 'My place in hip-hop is not to be a tycoon, making trillions with a yacht . . . My place is maybe bringing people together and me being able to identify and illuminate a cause, and we'll make it comfortable for them to be themselves but say what they've really been wanting to say all along . . . with my protection.' (Chuck D) 7:30pm. The Palace, 20-30 Bourke Street, City. To book visit Public Enemy.
Friday, May 18
Rally: Protest Israeli apartheid: Boycott companies that profit from occupation. Demonstration targeting companies in Melbourne that profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. 6pm. Old GPO, cnr Bourke & Elizabeth Sts, City. Organised by Students for Palestine. After a march and speeches we will be returning to Trades Hall where we will have a forum on Al Nakba (the catastrophe).
Rally: Tamil genocide remembrance day. On May 18, 2009, the extent of the slaughter in our homeland crystallised and changed our lives forever. Soils of culture once irrigated by rivers of our nation are now swamplands of carnage; trees of life that flourished with the rise of our civilisation now lie mangled and charred amid a web of deceit and shattered dreams. Three years on, let us remember the thousands of Tamil civilians killed for simply voicing their desire to live freely, with respect and dignity. To a generation of Tamils eliminated under the gaze of the world, and to those left behind, trapped inside a prison of torment in this bloody aftermath, we give a day of remembrance. 5pm. State Library.
Public meeting: Al Nakba forum. Organised by Students for Palestine. 7pm. Trades Hall, cnr Lygon & Victoria Sts, Carlton South.
Saturday, May 19
One-day activist seminar: Get angry, get active, if not now, when? Resistance and Socialist Alliance present a day of radical ideas and discussion to give young people a political voice, and talk about how we can go about campaigning around different issues and get organised. This will be a day of radical ideas for radical youth who want to help make a change in the world around them. We will have 5 workshops for the day, discussing various issues which effect young people, and a range of campaigns we are involved in. Workshops include: 11:30am-12:45 Womens/queer/transgender rights & Refugee rights; 12:45-1:30pm Lunch break; 1:30-2:45pm Environmental campaigning & Arts, culture & activism; 3-4:30pm Youth exploitation & how we fight it. Radical musician and activist Mitch Cherry will also play us out with some songs of protest to finish the day. 11:30am-4:30pm. Resistance Centre, Level 5, 407 Swanston St, City (opposite RMIT).
The Long Walk 2012. Join Michael Long at the community celebration (2-6pm) before The Long Walk to Dreamtime at the 'G. The annual commemoration of his historic walk to Canberrra is now a popular celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander achievement featuring inspiring speeches, great bands, loads of kids activities, market stalls and much more. The community celebration precedes The Long Walk to Dreamtime at the 'G which sets off at approx. 6:30pm. The community celebration and The Long Walk are both free public events. The Onground walk is a ticketed event. For more info visit The long Walk.
Sunday, May 20
Festival: Perry Street Festival rocks again. Celebrating a vibrant 35-year history in Fitzroy and Collingwood, Friends of the Earth with the support of the City of Yarra, is throwing our excellent little street festival to embrace eclectic Collingwood. 10am–7pm. Cnr Perry Street & Smith Sts, Collingwood. For more info phone Beth 9417 4382 or email FOE.
Monday, May 21
Public meeting: Stop HRL Campaign information night. You've probably heard all about HRL, and their dastardly plans to build new brown coal fired power station in the Latrobe Valley. Well, the Quit Coal campaign to stop that from happening is about to kick it up a notch. For the next 6 weeks, we'll be calling (in a loud voice) on the federal government to withdraw a $100 million dollar grant that's been keeping HRL afloat. We want that money going to renewables and to see an end to dirty coal power in this state. We're holding this info night so that anyone who's been watching from afar, is new to this issue or just keen to know more, can get up to date on what's happening in the campaign and identify ways they can help out. 6pm. Friends of the Earth, 312 Smith St, Collingwood. Drinks and nibbles provided.
Tuesday, May 22
Film screening: Gasland. A brilliant expose of the incredibly destructive process of extraction of natural gas by 'fracking', coming soon to Victoria. Kindness House, 288 Brunswick St, Fitzroy. Presented by Beyond Zero Emissions & Friends of the Earth. Entry by donation. For more info ph Josh 0416 968 060.
Film screening: Gasland. A brilliant exposKindness House, 288 Brunswick St, Fitzroy. Presented by Beyond Zero Emissions & Friends of the Earth. Entry by donation. For more info ph Josh 0416 968 060.
Friday, May 25
Rally: Scrap Myki, make public transport free. So far, more than $1.35 billion has been spent on the development of Myki, paid to a consortium of private companies. Compare this to the $350 million per year (adjusted for inflation) spent on public transport before privatisation. Overall, privatisation has cost the public over $2 billion more than public ownership. While most people are concerned about the impact of car pollution on air quality and climate change, most Melburnians travel by car, in part because public services are inadequate and poorly integrated. If the public transport system was free, none of this would be necessary. A free, integrated and properly staffed public transport network, under public ownership and control, is worth fighting for. 4pm. Transport Minister's Office, 121 Exhibition St, City. Organised by Fightback.
Sunday, May 27
Concert: Reconciliation Week Koorie Night Market. Featuring: Coloured Stone. 10am-2pm. Melbourne Town Hall.
Concert: Anti-Flag / Strike Anywhere Australian tour. 'Get up! Your voices are needed!' Justin Sane shouts on Anti Flag's new studio album, The General Strike. Recorded and produced by Anti-Flag at their home studio The General Strike is poised to be the sound track for the masses of dissatisfied private citizens that are currently protesting corporate injustice and governmental power around the world. Doors 7:30pm. Hifi Bar, 125 Swanston St, City. To book visit Anti-Flag.
Thursday, May 31
Film screeening:The Last Survivor. A character-based documentary that presents the stories of genocide Survivors and their struggle to make sense of tragedy by working to educate, motivate and promulgate a civic response to mass atrocity crimes. Following the lives of survivors of four different genocides and mass atrocities (the Holocaust, Rwanda, Darfur, and Congo) The Last Survivor presents a unique opportunity to learn from the lessons and mistakes of our past in order to have lasting social impact on how we act collectively in the face of similar issues today. Doors 8pm, film starts 8:30pm. Bella Union, Trades Hall, cnr Lygon St & Victoria Parade, Carlton South (enter via Lygon St). Tickets presale: $12/$15; door: $17/$20; group discount (6 or more) $10. Tickets on sale at Bella Union. For more info visit Arts in Action.
Friday, June 1-Sunday, June 3
Exhibition: Memories. Contact with white people. Coinciding with National Reconciliation Week, Burrinja Cultural Centre is hosting a fascinating collection of art, films, speakers and workshops. Burrinja, cnr Glenfern Rd & Matson Drive, Upwey. For more info visit Whats On at Burrinja.
Saturday, June 2
Film screeening: A night with Violeta. Film by Andres Wood about the life of Violeta Parra, a Chilean folk singer best known for her song, 'Gracias a la Vida'. A night of music & discussion. $10. Food & drinks available. 6pm. MUA hall, 46-54 Ireland St, West Melbourne. Presented by Colectivo Memoria y Rebeldia. For more info ph 0431 600 215 or 0404 165 331.
Wednesday, June 6
Report from the Philippines. Report-back from solidarity delegation to the Philippines. 6pm. Evatt Room, Trades Hall, cnr Victoria & Lygon Sts, Carlton. Organised by Australia Asia Worker Links.
Thursday, June 7
Film screening: The Real Dirt on Farmer John. Epic tale of a maverick Midwestern farmer. Castigated as a pariah in his community, he bravely transforms his farm amidst a failing economy, vicious rumours and arson. He succeeds in creating a bastion of free expression and a revolutionary form of agriculture in rural America. 6pm. Ross House, 247 Flinders Lane, City. Entry by donation. All proceeds go towards environmental and social justice groups. Ross House presents The Big Picture, films for environmental and social justice on the first Thursday of the month. For more info ph Sarah 9650 1599.
Sunday, June 17
Rally: World Refugee Day rally & march. 20 years too long, end mandatory detention. Speakers, then march to the Emerge Festival in Fitzroy. Bring your banners, signs & messages. 12pm. State Parliament House, cnr Spring & Bourke Sts, City. Organised by Refugee Action Collective. For more info visitRefugee Advocacy Network or ph 0413 377 978.
Fundraiser: Australian Mental Health Human Rights Law Reform Coalition. Leading Australian Aboriginal mental health and human rights activists, people with the lived experience of emotional and spiritual distress, members of the Stolen Generation and Forgotten Australians, ex-wards of the state, gay, lesbian, transgender, transexual and intersex, refugee and prisoner advocates and human rights lawyers will be speaking. 2-6pm. $10. Evelyn Hotel, 351 Brunswick St, Fitzroy. Fore info ph Greg Oke 0431 704 975.
Tuesday, June 19
Public meeting: US forces in Australia: Security or threat? Speakers: Richard Tanter who is writing extensively on this topic; Nic Maclellan who will discuss the effect on our neighbours of this even closer relationship with the US military; Okinawan Australian Maki Yohana; and Boyett Jurcales Jr, co-ordinator of 'Ban the bases' global campaign network in the Philippines. MAPW has joined with several other organisations to inform and discuss a campaign around the expanding US military presence in Australia and implications for our region. 6:30pm. Trades Hall, cnr Lygon & Victoria Sts, Carlton South. For more info visit MAPW.
Friday, July 6
Rally: NAIDOC march 2012. The theme for NAIDOC Week 2012 is Spirit of the Tent Embassy: 40 years on. They dared to challenge: this year’s theme celebrates the champions who lived to renew the spirit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through the establishment of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in 1972. 10am. Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, 186 Nicholson St, Fitzroy.
Saturday, July 14
Roxby Downs, South Australia. Rally: The Lizards Revenge. Music & art festival. Response to the governments decision to expand Olympic Dam mine. Sleeping underneath the ground there is an old sleepy lizard, Kalta. The lizard ain't so sleepy anymore. BHP is mining right into that lizards body. The government has just approved an expansion of the Olympic Dam uranium mine, making it the biggest uranium mine in the world. Kalta is angry and wants revenge. Arabana elder Kevin Buzzacott is calling the people of the world to help the lizard shut down the mine. He is calling for people to come and heal the land in the name of peace and justice for the next 10,000 generations to come. For more info emailIzzy.
Friday, July 20-Sunday July 22
Adelaide Conference: Resistance National Conference 2012: Time for Revolution! University of Adelaide, Union House. For more info ph 0437 714 786 or visit Resistance.

Geelong & regional Victoria

Saturday, May 12
Concert: Apart From This, Oh Pacific, Divisions, Free World & Outlines @ The Salon. Through our music and artistic expression we are able to reach out to people and connect with them on a level which has been switched off by the mainstream. One which exists beyond the bounds of profits, beyond the realms of language. We create societies the likes of which we wish to see. All Ages. 7pm Start. The Salon, 229 Malop, Geelong. Entry by donation.
Tuesday, May 15
Geelong One Fire reconcillation film screening: Mad Bastards. 'A beautifully measured take on violence and redemption . . . irresistible . . . a sublime soundtrack . . . a triumph in every sense.' (94 mins) Screening followed by discussion. 7:30pm. Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-op, Lot 62 Morgan Street, North Geelong (please park outside the entrance and follow the signs). Donations appreciated. Please let us know if you need help to get there: Geelong One Fire. For more info visit Geelong One Fire.
Friday, May 18
Red Cinema presents: Made in Dagenham. Made in Dagenham (released as We Want Sex in Germany and Italy and We Want Sex Equality in France) is a 2010 British film directed by Nigel Cole. Starring Sally Hawkins, Miranda Richardson, Rosamund Pike and Jaime Winstone. It dramatises the Ford sewing machinists strike of 1968 that aimed for equal pay for women. The film's theme song, with lyrics by Billy Bragg, is performed by Sandie Shaw, herself a former Dagenham Ford clerk. 7pm (meal available from 6:30pm). $15/$10. Downstairs, Trades Hall, 127 Myers St, Geelong. Organised by Socialist Alliance in support of Green Left Weekly. For more info or bookings ph 5222 6900 or 0458 747 726.
Wednesday, May 23
Wonthaggi Public meeting: Climate change: the solutions. Can we solve the problem and do it responsibly? Matthew Wright, award-winning energy expert, working with Melbourne Universities Energy Research Institute, will show how an Australian transition to 100% renewable energy is possible within 10 years. 7:30pm. Town Hall, McBride Ave, Wonthaggi. For more info ph Aileen Vening 5672 2677 or Chris Heislers 0419 556 381.
Friday, June 15
Rally: Walk for Australian Liberation Day. The community law reform group is coming to Geelong. 1pm. Johnstone Park, Geelong. Organised by Occupy Geelong.
Thursday, June 21
Shepparton Theatre: Ilbijerri Theatre Company performance of 'Body Armour'. Body Armour has been specifically designed to raise awareness of Hepatitis C in the Indigenous community and beyond. The story follows the journey of three teenagers as they experiment with at-risk activities such as piercing, tattooing and blood sharing. Timely comparisons to ancient body modification rituals gently remind us of the importance of history and culture in the search for identity and the need to belong. 4pm. Wesley Hall, UnitingCare Cutting Edge, 136 Maude St, Shepparton. Entry free. RSVP is a must for seating/catering purposes: please contact Dom on 03 5831 6157 or email Dom to confirm your attendance.
Wednesday, July 4-Sunday July 8
Bendigo Conference: Students of Sustainability 2012. Students of Sustainability (SoS) is a five-day camping conference full of inspiring workshops, forums, tours, discussions with students, activists, Indigenous groups, academics, environmentalists, and communities from around Australia. It's an awesome opportunity to meet like-minded people, to share knowledge and skills related to current environmental and social justice issues and have lots of fun. Bendigo Campus, La Trobe Uni, Bendigo. Subsidised tickets are available for those who need them. For more info visit SOS.

Campaign committees

Quit Coal: No New Coal Power for Victoria. A Melbourne-based collective which campaigns against expansion of the coal industry in Victoria. We believe this is important because building new coal infrastructure locks in decades of dirty, old technology, when we should be moving towards clean, renewable energy. Quit Coal meets each Wednesday at 6pm, at FOE, 312 Smith St, Collingwood. For more info visit Quit Coal or call Shaun 0402 337 077.
Refugee Action Collective (RAC). For more info ph 0413 377 978 or visit RAC.
Venezuela presidential elections solidarity brigade, September 27-October 8, 2012. Bookings close May 31, 2012. The October 2012 presidential elections will be an historic moment in the Venezuelan revolution. The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s solidarity brigades to Venezuela are an opportunity to see first-hand an unfolding revolution that is radically transforming the lives of Venezuelans and challenging the greed, exploitation and destructiveness of global capitalism by showing that a better world is possible. For more info visit AVSN or ph Jim 0423 741 734.
Victorian Climate Action Calendar for a comprehensive list of climate action events in our state. The VCAC covers events in Victoria and major events elsewhere and is intended to inform, educate and inspire. To subscribe to the calendar email Monique Decortis. Weekly updates are e-mailed out and online updates are available at VCAC. To add an event to the calendar, please download the Event Template from the website. Feel free to forward the VCAC to other interested people.


Recent articles from Green Left Weekly
To subscribe to Green Left Weekly visit our secure online website for rates and payment at Green Left Weekly or call our national hotline on 1800 634 206. Join us on Facebook. You can also contact us at the Resistance Centre, 5th floor, 407 Swanston St, City; ph 9639 8622. In Geelong: Activist Centre, Trades Hall, 127 Myers St (opening hours: Mon 2-4.30pm, Fri 10am-4.30pm); ph 5222 6900.

Broad, non-sectarian, activist
Socialist Alliance
Socialist Alliance is a proud supporter of the Green Left Weekly project and contributes a regular column. Socialist Alliance is a broad, non-sectarian socialist coalition, dedicated to bringing together all those who want to resist the capitalist assault on our planet and its people and fight for a socialist society that puts people's needs before business profits. Anyone who agrees with the general approach of our policies is welcome to join and organisations are invited to affiliate. For more information visit Socialist Alliance Victoria. Join us on Facebook. See our recent statements:
Contact Socialist Alliance. Join with other socialists in the struggle. Melbourne: Visit us at the Resistance Centre, 5th floor, 407 Swanston St, City; ph 9639 8622. In Melbourne, Socialist Alliance meets on the first Tuesday of each month, 6.30pm, at the Resistance Centre. Geelong: Activist Centre, Trades Hall, 127 Myers St (opening hours: Mon 2-4.30pm, Fri 10am-4.30pm); ph 5222 6900.

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