Walmadan Country is Calling – Community Awareness Gathering, Northcote, 27 August 2011

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Following on from the very successful ‘Keep the Kimberley’ rally on August 14th, campaigners in Melbourne organised on Saturday what is planned to be the first of a series of awareness raising gatherings. Not a protest in the strict sense, perhaps, but part of the campaign and so included here. See the Walmadan Country is Calling Facebook page for details and other reports, including photos.

Footnote: campaigners in Ireland opposing a Shell refinery at Bellinaboy blockaded a road on Friday 26 August and dedicated this action as an act of solidarity with the community of Broome. See http://www.indymedia.ie/article/100410.

Advertisements

“Keep the Kimberley” – rally at State Library, Melbourne, 14 August 2011

View over rally, stage to left, sacred fire right

There was a marked difference in mainstream media attention towards the two Melbourne rallies on Sunday reported here: a veritable scrum at the one, seemingly total absence at this. Fortunately, organisers had put together apparently put together a team to collect photos and video, and a preview has already been posted via the event’s Facebook page. So this report is really only a supplement.

Perhaps as many as a thousand people attended in all, many having answered the call to

*COME DRESSED IN RED TO REPRESENT THE PINDAN (RED DIRT) OF THE REGION’S REMARKABLE TERRAIN, THE BLOOD OF THIS COUNTRY*

(From the callout.)

The red Save the Kimberley t-shirts sold out.

What the mainstream missed was a succession of inspiring speakers, singers – including veteran Shane Howard – and a finale from Dan Sultan and his band that had young and old dancing. And what is shaping up to be ‘bigger than the Franklin’.

Follow ‘Keep the Kimberley’ on Facebook

The video – see below – hopefully will give an idea of what was said, sung and done.
………………

“Welcome to Country” came from Wurundjeri Elder Ringo Terrick:
.
Wurundjeri elder Ringo Terrick
.
Broome musician Tanya Ransom and Liz Stringer from Melbourne sang:
.
Tanya Ransom
Liz Stringer
.
Munya Andrews, an Aboriginal barrister from the Kimberley was one of the speakers:
.
Munya Andrews
.
Kimberley Traditional Owner Neil McKenzie:
.
Neil McKenzie

Shane Howard:
.
Shane Howard
Shane Howard silent
.
Two more speakers, Kevin Blatchford from Save The Kimberley and Felicity Wishart from the Wilderness Society:
.
Kevin Blatchford speaking
Felicity Wishart speaking

MC was Nikki Ashby:

Nikki Ashby at the microphone
………………….

Round and about:
.
Banners on back of information tents
.
Message to Martin Ferguson to leave the Kimberley alone

.
Sacred fire as centre of ring of people
.
Closer view of people gathered aroung fire
.
Closeup of fire
.

Neil McKenzie stooping over fire

Neil McKenzie bathes himself in smoke from the fire before speaking


.
Two young girls with Save the Kimberley placard
.
Some - slightly older - campaigner sitting on the steps with placards
.
Boy with skeleton design on jacket
.
Aboriginal flag knitted patch on back of jacket
.
Little girl dancing
.
Another shot of little girl dancing
.
Grown-ups dancing

………………….

Finally, photos of Dan Sultan and the band:
.
Dan Sultan and band on stage
.
Another shot of the band playing
.
Guitarist closeup
.
another of the same
.
Yet another
.
Drummer in foreground
.
Another band member, seems amused?
.
Dan Sultan introducing band members
.
The band in full swing
.
Closeup of Dan Sultan
.
Another closeup
.
Another
.
Another

.

Rally against Live Exports – Parliament House, Melbourne, 14 August 2011

Lyn White of Animals Australia speaking

Lyn White of Animals Australia was one of the speakers at the Melbourne contribution to nationwide rallies on Sunday calling on the Australian Government to permanently ban live animal exports. (According to an Animals Australia press release, at a total of over 20,000 “[this] was the biggest rally for animals in Australia’s history and certainly exceeded all expectations.” Certainly the steps of Parliament House were jam-packed, and because the rally was confined to the steps and footpaths it was impossible to see the full extent from ground level.
Other speakers were RSPCA Victoria’s Dr Hugh Wirth and Adam Bandt, Greens Federal Member for Melbourne. The media were out in force, making something of a contrast with another rally later in the day, where they were marked by their absence (see following post of Save the Kimberley rally at the State Library). There were also a lot of dogs, large and small, as well as AA’s ambassador sheep Timmy.
There are text reports of the rally both on the Animals Australia website – http://www.animalsaustralia.org/features/thousands-rally-against-live-export.php and in the mainstream media – for example the ABC and The Australian. See also the Animals Australia Facebook page.

Some photos from the rally:

Hugh Wirth speaking on steps of Parliament House

Dr Hugh Wirth and Timmy


.
Adam Bandt speaking - dog paying close attention

The dog at the right made a number of enthusiastic endorsements during the speeches. Timmy didn't seem to have much to say.


.
Timmy looking around at the crowd before the rally

Timmy checking out the crowd


.
Crowd on steps before start of the rally

Waiting for the rally to start


.
Some of the placards:

Closeup of placard in previous shot - Stop this Cruelty
.
Massive Livestock Abuse - MLA
.
Hand-drawn sketch of cow - Please don't; forget us
.
Placard with unflattering reference to Julia Gillard
.

Part of the media scrum at the front of the crowd

The media were competing for the best vantage point


.
Some views of the crowd:
.
Crowd on steps viewed from front left
.
Looking across crowd at top of steps
.
Looking down over crowd towards Windsor Hotel from top of steps
.
Little dog at start of rally, 'guarding' stack of placards

Little dog before the rally...


.
Golden retriever on steps after the rally

Big dog after the rally ...

Rally and March for Equal Marriage Rights – Melbourne, 13 August 2011

"Polly Filla", "Bumpa Love" drag acts with make dancer on stage

Drag queens provided a colourful finale to a rally that really shouldn’t have been necessary, a point made by more than one speaker – seven years since the re-writing on the Marriage Act to exclude same-sex couples, and seven years of rallying and campaigning for equality is seven years too long. Unlike the ‘dress rehearsal’ the previous Wednesday, when the attendance must have been a shade disappointing for the organisers, this time all available space at the State Library was filled, and the march and marriage celebration outside the Victorian Registry Office certainly no less impressive than the last – though there was no sign of the red-haired Julia Gillard puppet from last August, which was a shame….
The accompanying videos should speak for themselves as to what was said and done, with just a few photos here for good measure.

From the Facebook page for the event:

Rally for Equal Marriage rights! No to homophobia! No to Discrimination!

All LGBTI & Straight people who support marriage equality are invited to come to Australia’s largest illegal wedding ceremony and protest march.

On the seventh anniversary of the marriage act being re-written, we at Equal Love and the majority of Australians demand equal rights now!

7 years of marriage inequality is 7 years too long! Come and tell the ALP to change the marriage act now!

In the lead up to the ALP national conference later this year it’s vital that ALL LGBTI and supporters of this campaign come out in our thousands at this rally and illegal wedding!

Prizes on offer for best placard, so get your creative juices flowing and bring out the Texta. Certificates will be given to those couple wanting to take part in the ceremony to take place on the steps of the Marriage Registry. Get our those wedding garments and join us at the countries biggest rally for Marriage Equality hosted by Tracy Bartram in Melbourne on Sat 13 August.

Tracy Bartram at the microphone

Tracy Bartram was an 'outspoken' MC...

.
.

Annette Xiberras

Wurundjeri elder Annette Xiberras gave a "Welcome to Country"


.
.
Some placards in the crowd:
.
Placard - If Jesus had 2 dads, then why can't I?

Placard - Always the Best Man, never the f......g  bride
.

ASU Branch Secretary Ingrid Stitt

ASU Branch Secretary Ingrid Stitt

.
.

Nathan Valvo

Nathan Valvo


.
.
Placard - They can marry in New York (Bert and Ernie of Sesame Street)

Another placard in the crowd


.
.
Jade Eckhaus, NUS Queer Officer

Jade Eckhaus, NUS Queer Officer


.
.
Videos:
.
The rally –
.
The march –
.
The marriage –

See also Equal Love Victoria.

Equal Love ‘Wedding Rehearsal’ in Bourke Street Mall – Melbourne, 10 August 2011

Leading up to the rally planned for Saturday 13 August marking the 7th anniversary of the re-writing of the Marriage Act to exclude same-sex couples, Equal Love held a mid-week ‘Wedding Rehearsal’ in the Bourke Street Mall today, Wednesday:

'Bride' and 'groom' pose with 'clergyman' and page-boy and bridesmaid in Mall

It was a very small affair but attracted a lot of attention, no doubt helped by the presence of a suitably dressed ‘bride’ and very young attendants, who also took a turn with the leafletting:

Child offers leaflet to passer-by
.
.
Schoolgirls gather around the pageboy and bridesmaid

.
.

Man in military uniform ignores children with leaflets

No luck with this one ....

Whether rain kept possible participants away is hard to say, but preparations for the main rally are certainly not being helped by the unexplained disappearance of the Equal Love website – there remains, however, a Facebook event page.

Equal Love convenor Ali Hogg addressed passers-by:
.
Ali Hogg with megaphone
.
.

as did the representative of the clergy:
.
Man dressed as priest speaks from behind Equal Love banner
.
There was then a sort of wedding procession through the Mall, heading ultimately for Parliament House:

Moving with placards through the shoppers
.
.
Moving past David Jones store
.
.
Outside Sportsgirl store
.
.
The 'bride' poses outside jewellers store
.
.
Placard advertising the rally on the 13th of August at the State Library

Ali has given a recent interview to Melbourne Community Voice .

MC at the upcoming rally will be Tracy Bartram, and an interview with her can be read here.

The rally has been advertised on Melbourne Indymedia’s Event Calendar.

6 August 2011 at the GPO – Hiroshima Day vigil and more

Women in Black and Japanese for Peace banners on steps of GPO

Representatives of Japanese for Peace and ICAN held a low-key vigil on the steps of the old GPO in Bourke Street, displaying banners and handing out flyers for the afternoon’s Peace Concert at the State Library and postcards relating to the Future Fund’s investments in the nuclear weapons industry (see The Age 26 May 2011; there is an article on the same subject in the current issue of Friends of the Earth’s Chain Reaction). They shared the venue with members of Women in Black also holding a vigil calling for peace in Palestine:

Women in Black banner on steps of GPO

The main event of the day was of course the concert, and the vigil was a very small affair, but a good many passers-by took the offered leaflets or at least had their attention caught by the banners and the traditional Japanese cranes:

Japanese for Peace banner

.
.
Paper crane at foot of one of the pillars

One of the speakers listed for the Peace Concert was Felicity Hill of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom,and a WILPF banner can be seen attracting attention here:

WILPF banner on steps of GPO

And the message ‘No More Hiroshimas’ was displayed in more than one way:

Placard and t-shirt with 'No More Hiroshimas' message