Protest as Martin Ferguson arrives at Growth Conference in Melbourne, 30 June 2011

Poster advertising the conference

The speakers list at a conference entitled ‘Growth Challenge – Riding the Resources Boom to Lasting Prosperity’ had been described as “A Who’s who that’s Screwing You” (callout on Melbourne Indymedia), but in the event it was only Energy and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson who attracted a concerted protest, courtesy of Friends of the Earth ACE collective, who brought Mr Nuke Death with them…

Large skeleton puppet with briefcase of money etc

But even with his ‘Martin Ferguson’ name tag he was refused admission:
Police bar entrance

The turnout for the protest would have to be described as disappointing – for some time there were more police than protesters, although numbers evened up with time. The accompanying video clips show the arrival of Greens Senator Christine Milne, and the hostile reception given to the Minister, as well as part of an address by Dr Jim Green of FoE, and some other snippets …(Jim and friends providing some lively music …)

A face in the crowd:

Protester wearing pig mask

Another face in the crowd:

Face made up with nuclear hazard sign around one eye

And a dog in the crowd:

Dog reaching up to owner

The following media release was issued by Friends of the Earth:

‘Dump Ferguson, not nuclear waste’


30 JUNE 2011


‘Economic and Social Outlook Conference 2011’

Anti-nuclear activists from Friends of the Earth will join this morning’s protest outside the ‘Economic and Social Outlook Conference 2011’ at Melbourne University to voice concern against resources minister Martin Ferguson’s radioactive agenda.

FoE’s national nuclear campaigner Dr Jim Green said: “We hoped that the unfolding crisis at Fukushima would lead resources minister Martin Ferguson to reconsider his ill-informed pro-nuclear ideologies and plans. However his National Radioactive Waste Management Bill is scheduled to be debated in the Senate next week.

“The draft legislation is draconian, overriding all state laws and key Commonwealth laws. It facilitates the imposition of a nuclear waste dump on the land of Muckaty Traditional Owners despite ongoing opposition by many Traditional Owners and the NT Government. It beggars belief that Ferguson considers it appropriate to push ahead with his legislation while a Federal Court challenge against the nomination of the site, initiated by Traditional Owners, remains unresolved.

“Ferguson has consistently refused to meet Traditional Owners opposed to the nuclear dump plan. His behaviour has been disgraceful and he should be sacked.

“Ferguson should also be held to account for continuing to promote Australia’s uranium industry despite its role in the Fukushima disaster. The government and the uranium companies turned a blind eye to TEPCO’s pattern of safety breaches and data falsification and to its failure to properly address seismic and tsunami risks.

“Despite the hype, uranium accounts for a lousy 0.3% of Australia’s export revenue and an even lousier 0.03% of Australian jobs. The economic outlook for the industry has taken a nose-dive since Fukushima with Germany, Italy and Switzerland abandoning nuclear power in favour of renewables and many other countries rethinking plans to introduce or expand nuclear power.”

Friends of the Earth ACE website


F**kwalk Melbourne – Protest at Anti-Swearing Laws – 25 June 2011

Following on from the successful ‘Swear-in’ on June 3rd, opponents of the government’s proposed permanent legislation allowing for on-the-spot fines for indecent, offensive or disorderly language organised a ‘political fuckwalk’ from Flinders Street Station to the Bourke Street Mall on Saturday 25 June. The initial gathering at the station was rather chaotic, but once the walk got underway the message came over fairly loud and clear…

Once arrived at the mall the crowd was addressed by speakers from a convenient cherry-picker, while police and TV crews looked on…

The organisers’ media release:

WHAT: A political fuckwalk

WHEN: June 25th 2pm-3pm

WHERE: Flinders St steps to Bourke St Mall

WHY: In response to the governments proposal of permanent legislation for on-the-spot fines for indecent, offensive or disorderly language

In short;
We refuse to accept that swearing is indecent, offensive or disorderly language and can be punished with a $240 on-the-spot fine. We can not rely on police to hand out these fines fairly and feel their powers will be misused and hypocritical.
We aim to decriminalize swearing, as it does not represent the majority views of Australians. The proposal is undemocratic and will not stop violence or loutish behavior in the streets.

In long;

In 2008 the state government introduced a trial for police powers to issue on-the-spot fines of $238.90 to anyone deemed by an officer to have used indecent or offensive language in a public place. Since giving police these powers the number of offences related to public behavior shot up nearly 29 per cent between 2009/2010 and 2008/2009 year with most of the 8,266 offences committed on footpaths, streets and lanes. This proves that police are taking advantage of this law and issuing fines rather non-frugally and hypocritically.

Under the definition of “public place” in the Act, swearing is illegal on any public highway, road, street or bridge.
It is also illegal in any “race-course, cricket ground, football ground or other such place”
Also out of bounds is any “wharf, pier or jetty”
Swearing is also prohibited in “any public hall, theatre or room while members of the public are in attendance”.
Swearing is not permitted at “any licensed premises”. Frankly, if you swear, you’re fucked.

We aim to prove the difference between swearing and anti-social, offensive or violent fuckheaded behavior. In our view, violence, loutishness and fucking around like a total asshole is completely unacceptable and welcome laws to combat this. However combating swearing itself is not the answer.

RULES!!!: Just because you can swear does not mean you have to. The aim of the fuckwalk is so we can swear casually to express ourselves without punishment – not so we can swear excessively.
In no way are we condoning anti-social, aggressive or fuckhead behavior. Abusing police is absolutely not on. They are simply doing their job – governed by rules from fuckwit politicians.

Enjoy the fuckwalk responsibly and in accordance with the law.

Fuckwalk or fuck off!

Some photos from the different stages of the event:

At the station –

Some of the crowd at Flinder Street Station

At the station - Jakob Grech speaking

At one of the stalls - f**k hat

Dog in crowd at station

On the march –

Setting off up Swanston Street

Turning into the mall

Further along the mall

Placard in the mall - 'DANG, There, I said it'

Speakers and audience in the mall –

Sue Bolton and others on cherry-picker

Another speaker

The same speaker, more passionate

The same, more passionate still

Another speaker

In the crowd  - bare back with 'FUCK SHIT' in texta

Part of the crowd in the mall at the end of the speeches

Nuclear Abolition Day – ‘Re-imagining the Bomb’ – ICAN action 25 June 2011

Peopl gathering around the easels

Melbourne’s contribution to ICAN-coordinated global actions for Nuclear Abolition Day took the form of a call to ‘Re-imagine the Bomb’ – people were invited to convert an image of a bomb into something else using pen, crayon or spray can …

Easel on Princes Bridge with poster explaining the invitation

Take-up was rather slow at first. Many of the passers-by in the first half-hour or so were on their way to the MCG and couldn’t afford to more than take a quick look, but by the end there was quite a collection, several contributed by young artists:

Young girl drawing
Same girl taking a break for thought

This sometimes involved a high degree of concentration:

Young boy drawing, tongue sticking out, watch by brother and mum ...

This also was done by a young lad:

Bomb converted into part of clock tower of church

This ‘nukulele’ was another contribution:

Bomb-shaped ukelele decorated with flowers

Campaign Director Tim Wright was there to set an example, as this sequence shows:

Beginning the transformation
Stage 2 - the bomb has become a car ...

Adding the driver ...

Finished work - two cars with house and trees, clouds ... and cat

More artists at work:

Two adults at the easels

And some more of the finished articles:

Bomb converted to cartoon figureBomb converted to mother holding hands with children on either side
Bomb becomes angelBomb as fish
Bomb as deep-sea diverBomb as end of tunnel


4 Years too Long – Stop the Intervention – Melbourne, 21 June 2011

The Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective (MAIC) organised a protest outside the office of FaHCSIA – the Department of Families, Health, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs to mark the fourth anniversary of the NT Intervention. The rally was one of a series being held across the country – see – and was addressed by a number of speakers from MAIC (including Jasmine Ali, who wound up proceedings but is unfortunately not captioned in the video) and others taking advantage of the open mic.

See also:

High End Fashion, Low End Ethics – Blossom Road Clothing Workers take action, 20 June 2011

Workers clutching sacks of 'money' outside Scanlan & Theodore shop

Former employees of Blossom Road knitwear factory assembled today outside Melbourne Town Hall before marching to the Scanlan & Theodore boutique in Little Collins Street in company with representatives of the Textile Clothing and Footware Union of Australia,including State Secretary Michele O’Neil. They were intent on shaming the company for its complicity in the actions of the director of Blossom Road Pty Ltd, which went into liquidation on May 19, with employees losing almost $520,000 in entitlements, including unpaid wages, annual and long service leave, notice and redundancy pay, and employer superannuation contributions. According to the TCFUA, some workers had also made voluntary superannuation payments of up to $50 per week, deducted from their pay, but this money had not been paid into their super fund. The company claimed to be unable to pay what it owed, but nevertheless reopened under another name at the same premises on May 20, with some of the terminated employees asked to resume work. Scanlan & Theodore, which had been the sole client of Blossom Road, was continuing to get their product made by the ‘new’ company.
“This new company looks like it’s being run by the sole director of Blossom Road and members of his family,” said Ms O’Neil. “This appears to be a case of ‘phoenix trading’ and that’s why we will be taking our concerns straight to the retail outlet Scanlan & Theodore” at lunchtime today.”
“The high end fashion brand Scanlan & Theodore must come forward and demonstrate they will not tolerate the low end ethics of their supplier.”

(From TCFUA media release)

Michele O'Neil speaking in front of the protesters at the store

Workers assembled as planned outside the Town Hall, along with flag-bearing unionists and other supporters, before making their way down Little Collins Street to chants of “Scanlan and Theodore, Shame on you”. Also in the group was “Bill”, representing the owner, clutching a sack of money – later, outside the store, ‘he’ was to seize still more sacks from the workers. Michele O’Neil explained the background and reasons for the action for the benefit of the media and bystanders, noting also that the union had no quarrel with the shop workers inside, and one of the sacked workers also told her story.

Workers assemble at Town Hall -"'Bill" with sacks of money

One of the workers at the megaphone

'Bill' seizing money bags from the workers

Money grabbing

Rally and March for World Refugee Day – 19 June 2011

March setting off from Museum, led by Red Brigade marching band

Media reports of the numbers taking part in the Melbourne rally and march for World Refugee Day under the banner of ‘Unite to End Mandatory Detention’ (see for example Melbourne’s Herald Sun) seem rather niggardly: as the accompanying video shows, the march along Brunswick Street took about four and a half minutes to pass a vantage spot, granted at a leisurely pace. Following the custom of previous years, the event began with speakers outside the Melbourne Museum, followed by a gentle walk to join the Emerge festival at the old Fitzroy Town Hall. Kurdish musicians played while the crowd gathered, and Wurrundjeri elder Auntie Diane Kerr began proceedings with a welcome to country. This year speakers at the Museum included Amara Hamid, an Eritrean refugee and member of the Management Committee of the Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Coalition, Adam Bandt, Greens MHR for Melbourne, Julian Burnside, civil liberties lawyer and passionate refugee advocate, and Ramat Yousafi, an Afghan refugee who spent eight months in Curtin Detention Centre. After the march, which was led by the Red Brigade, there were two further speakers: Kumar Pathmanathan of the Tamil Refugee council, and Sister Brigid Arthur of the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project. MC was Pamela Curr of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.
For mainstream media reports on the day, see also ABC online.
The rally, which was endorsed by over 40 groups , was organised as last year by the Refugee Advocacy Network, ‘a broad coalition of organisations who have come together to advance a more just, humane approach to refugees and asylum seekers that respects their human rights’.

Refugee Advocacy Network Press Release

Mandatory detention is an inhumane policy that victimises vulnerable people who have committed no crime. It is time to end this unjust policy. In the name of protecting Australian borders, innocent individuals have been deprived of their right to freedom, separated from their families and endured severe mental distress.

The Refugee Advocacy Network is calling on all groups and individuals who support refugee rights to come together and send a clear message to the government: it’s time to end mandatory detention. Last year’s World Refugee Day march was supported by over 60 organisations. Over 4,000 people joined the march. We want our voice to be even louder this year as our appeals are continuing to fall on deaf ears.

The side effects of prolonged detention are blatantly obvious. Refugees are suffering from severe physical and psychological damage in appalling overcrowded conditions. They have no other choice but to live in these dehumanising conditions. Why else would a refugee take his own life rather than continue to stay in an Australian detention centre? At what cost are we willing to allow our Government to continue to indefinitely detain human beings?

Australia has the toughest mandatory detention regime in the Western developed world, yet people still continue to come to Australia. They continue to embark on this treacherous journey out of sheer desperation fleeing conflict, persecution and poverty in the hope of obtaining a better future for their family.

The Australian Government continues to deliberately ignore international criticism of mandatory detention of refugees. Our Government has an obligation to protect the human rights of all asylum seekers and refugees who arrive in Australia, regardless of how or where they arrived and whether they arrived with or without a visa, as per the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The imposition of an indefinite prison sentence has resulted in detainees inflicting serious bodily harm and going on hunger strike. They are tired of listening to broken promises and so are we. Please join us on World Refugee Day 19 June in our bid to ‘unite to end mandatory detention.

In solidarity with the 7000 refugees who are detained in detention centres all over Australia, the Refugee Advocacy Network is inviting people to take to the streets of Melbourne this Sunday June 19th to ‘Unite against Mandatory Detention’. Mandatory detention is an indefinite prison sentence imposed on those who have committed no crime. Julian Burnside QC a prominent Human Rights and Refugee advocate will speak on Sunday. Julian will address the failures of the Government’s current refugee policy. Burnside commented,

“All Australians, and especially our politicians, should answer this: If you had fled the Taliban, if you got to Indonesia and if you faced 10 years living in the shadows waiting for some country to resettle you, what would you do? Would you wait there, with no right to get a job or send your kids to school, or would you make a dangerous dash for safety in Australia? What would you do? Think about this next time you hear someone say how we need to be tough on boat people”

Ramat Yousafi will also speak on Sunday. He more than anyone is aware of the crippling effects that prolonged detention can have on a person.

Yousafi, who is from the Hazara community, came to Australia from Afghanistan in the hope of finding protection and an opportunity to rebuild his life, but spent eight months locked up in Curtin detention centre in WA .

Yousafi argues that the Australian Government’s current policy is inhumane. “It’s my right to seek asylum and protect my life. Putting people behind barbed wire creates many problems – mental health issues, isolation from families. Afghanistan is still not safe. Just last week a prominent Hazara was killed. Last year, 50 Hazara were massacred”.

Also speaking will be Adam Bandt, Green Party MP who was recently heavily involved in persuading the Australian parliament to approve an inquiry into Australia’s mandatory detention network.

Other noted speakers are Amara Hamid of the Victorian Immigrant & Refugee Women’s Coalition, Kumar Pathmanathan of the Tamil Refugee Council who arrived in Australia as a refugee before the mandatory detention policy was introduced and finally Sister Brigid Arthur of the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project.

Photos from the rally:

Kurdish musicians played before the speeches –

Musicians - guitar, violin and singer
Kurdish musicians playing before the speakers
Closeup of singer with Kurdish musicians

Auntie Diane Kerr

Wurrundjeri Elder Auntie Diane Kerr - Welcome to Country

View from across the road

From across the road - the rain held off ...

Faces and placards in the crowd –

Children and grown-ups listening to speakers

Worried faces of child and adults

Child with balloon - 'Welcome Refugees'

Children with placards calling for visas for their family

Placard reads - PM Gillard & Tony Abbott You make me ashamed to be Australian

Recycling ...

Placard with definitions etc regarding human rights

One of the stalls at the rally - the Socialist Party of Australia

The speakers –
Amara Hamid:
Amara Hamid speaking

Adam Bandt:
Adam Bandt speaking

Julian Burnside:
Julian Burnside speaking

Ramat Yousafi:
Ramat Yousafi speaking

Mark Riley and the Red Brigade rehearse some chants with the crowd before setting off, Pamela Curr looks on:
Mark Riley and the band on stage

In Gertrude Street:

Red Brigade leading the march down Gertrude Street

The march stretches out of sight down Brunswick Street:

Looking over heads of marchers down Brunswick Street

At the Town Hall:

Listening to speakers at Fitzroy Town Hall

Kumar Pathmanathan:
Kumar Pathmanathan speaking

Sister Brigid:

Sister Brigid speaking

Sister Brigid closeup

Child recording speaker on phone

Boy with placard - My sister need visa

Ban Live Exports – rally at Parliament House, Melbourne, 18 June 2011

Following the showing on ABC 4 Corners of footage taken in Indonesian abattoirs, protest rallies were held around Australia to reinforce popular demand for a permanent ban on live export of cattle to that country (the Government did in fact impose a temporary ban almost immediately, in response to universal outrage at what was revealed). Speakers at the rally on the steps of Parliament in Melbourne ranged from politicians Sue Pennicuik of the Greens and Kelvin Thompson of the ALP, to Lefki Pavlidis of the World Preservation Foundation, Shatha Hamade of the Barristers Animal Welfare Panel, Pam Ahern, founder of Egdar’s Mission animal sanctuary, and Patty Mark, founder of Animal Liberation Victoria. MC was Ron Prasad, supported by Felicity Andersen to lead the chanting, with cellist Jonathan Tosio and singer Ruby Page. Timmy the ‘ambassador sheep’ from Edgar’s Mission was also present…


Accounts in mainstream media gave attendance figures from 500 (The Age and Sydney Morning Herald – both from AAP) to 1500 (Herald Sun), the latter being probably rather low …
As can be seen in the accompanying video extracts, some speakers went much further than the nominal demand of the rally in calling for not just a ban on live exports, but an end to the meat industry itself, on both humane and environmental grounds, and there was obvious and loud vocal support from at least part of the crowd, evidenced also in the number of vegan banners and placards.
Also just visible at the start of the first video are representatives of a different viewpoint, in the person of two dairy farmers in South Gippsland holding placards reading “Ban animal cruelty not live exports’ – see report in Weekly Times Now.


The two video extracts given here complement coverage on the websites of Animal Liberation Victoria, where founder Patty Mark’s address can be viewed, and Edgar’s Mission, with video of Pam Ahern:

Patty Mark –

Pam Ahern –

More links: