Bust the Budget II – 12 June 2014.

Bust the Budget banner leads march

The surge of protest that followed the May budget is far from subsiding, and it seems our plan to retire may be on hold for a while longer – which would no doubt gladden Tony Abbott in the unlikely event of his ever getting to know of it. This time it was the unions that took to the streets in Melbourne – construction workers, teachers, nurses, plumbers, firefighters, ambos, postal workers, public servants, students and individuals – and in numbers hardly less than the general rally in May. (Various media reports – see links below – quote a figure from Trades Hall of twenty thousand.) At both the assembly point outside Trades Hall, and again at the end of the march, outside Parliament House, it was next to impossible to get close enough to hear the speakers, and there will be no attempt here to report what was said (again, see reports linked to below). The photos here should be pretty much self-explanatory and only a few are captioned. Some video is in preparation and will be posted shortly.*

Some media reports that have appeared so far:

The Age

The Herald Sun

Channel Seven news



No Dump at Muckaty! – Traditional Owners at Federal Court in Melbourne 2 June 2014

Kylie and Dianne

Traditional Owners Dianne Stokes and Kylie Sambo were in Melbourne today for the start of hearings of a challenge to the nomination of Muckaty Station as sit of a dump for nuclear waste. See Beyond Nuclear Initiative for background and continuing updates, including Kylie Sambo’s video blog from the court. A small number of supporters were on hand with a banner and placards:

Kylie Sambo with supporters

Supporters with banner - Don't Waste the Territory ...

Campainger with placard - Australia stands with Muckaty

Appropriately, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags were raised outside the Court while this was going on:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags at full mast

(although there was no breeze to display them better).

See also this Facebook page for a public meeting to be held on Thursday 5 June to discuss the case and future directions for the campaign against the waste dump.

March for Medicare – 30 May 2014

Something upwards of two thousand people of all ages assembled at the State Library to hear a succession of speakers condemn the Coalition Government’s attack on Medicare in its recent budget, before marching through the CBD to Federation Square. Jacob Grech, one of the organisers and a former member of Defend and Extend Medicare at the time of the Howard Government’s attempts to dismantle universal health care in Australia (see reports from the time here and here), recalled that the Federal Health Minister at that time was a certain Tony Abbott, and Catherine King, opposition spokesperson for health also commented that “[every] time the Liberals get into office, they try to destroy Medicare and this is the latest attack …”
The march down Swanston Street was timed for peak hour on a Friday, and the abnormally large police presence was possibly a reflection of safety concerns rather than an attempt to intimidate, although a post on the event Facebook page had reminded those planning to attend “that the Move on Laws (Summary Offences Amendments) were enacted several days ago”. Not that these amendments should impede lawful protest … Mainstream media covered the event, for example this report on the ABC – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-30/thousands-rally-against-medicare-co-payment-plan-in-melbourne/5490836, but the most detailed reports are on YouTube – see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvNbnVYcw5o, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyBbZ-VHpTE, and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eu0eallhyt8 – all by LeftAndCorrect. The two clips posted here are intended to fill a gap, in the case of the speech by Catherine King, and extend coverage of the march itself.

One detail may need amplification: at the rally there was mention of the announcement by the Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service that they would refuse to charge the new $7 co-payment. This met with huge applause. See also http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/health-service-facing-budget-blackhole-by-not-charging-copayment–20140527-zrpb7.html and http://indymedia.org.au/2014/05/22/wgar-news-this-budget-could-devastate-indigenous-australians-mick-gooda-abc-the-drum.

Catherine King’s speech:

From the rally and march:

Extradite Adriana Rivas – National Day of Action 24 May 2014

Mark Dreyfus addressing the rally

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus was among the speakers at a rally and speakout on the steps of the Victorian Parliament House on Saturday 24 May. The action was called to “[denounce] a Chilean criminal living in Australia” – Adriana Rivas [González], whose extradition is sought by the Chilean government to face ‘multiple charges of violent crime allegedly committed while she was serving under military dictator Augusto Pinochet’s brutal intelligence apparatus'(Foreign Correspondent, ABC TV March 25, 2014, see also SBS Radio – ‘The Other 9/11‘) Early next month he will present a petition to Federal Parliament calling on the government to ‘observe International protocols regarding people accused of committing Crimes against Humanity that are currently residing in Australia’- see http://chn.ge/P3NHkP .
As well as explaining the reasons for the action, speakers referred also to the matter of the appointment of James Sinclair as Chile’s new ambassador to Australia, something that will be the occasion of a protest at Parliament House on 4 June. Marisol Salinas, Friends of the Earth spokesperson Indigenous communities and Latin America, also addressed the repression of the Indigenous Mapuche people of Chile, something that has been the subject of posts on this site – see for example here, here, and here.

See also LASNET on Facebook, and website.

Marisol speaking

Marisol Salinas

Banners lined up on steps of Parliament House, Marisol speaking

Mark Dreyfus making a point

Another speaker

Banner - Australia Protects Human Rights Abusers but Rejects Asylum Seekers

Placard with photo of Adriana Rivas

Banner calling for release of political and Mapuche prisoners ...

The end of action was overtaken by a colourful and musical procession marking Vesak (the birth, passing and enlightenment of the Buddha) – http://www.unvesak.org/eventoverview.htm:

Buddhists passing in front of LASNET banner

Here are a few more photos from this procession:

Float with statues of Buddha

Another float

Line of Buddhist monks

Girl dancers

More dancers and musicians

Another part of the procession passes the rally

Bust the Budget – Rally and March in Melbourne, 18 May 2014

[Updated 21 May]
View over pat of crowd at State Library

Though called at only a few days’ notice, Melbourne’s rally and march in protest at the Coalition Government’s first budget attracted numbers rivalling the March in March: organisers claimed ten thousand during the initial rally rising to twenty-five thousand by the end at Federation Square. (Rallies in other cities were also large scale, for example ten thousand in Sydney and six thousand in Adelaide according to the ABC.) The format was traditional: speakers at the State Library, march down Swanston Street (though a departure from custom was the splitting up of the march at Bourke Street, with part continuing directly to Federation Square and part making a detour via the Mall and Elizabeth Street and back to Swanston via Collins Street) and final speakers at Federation Square. (For more information on the event, see the Facebook page).

At the State Library

Warm-up music was provided by Celine Yap. The list of speakers was a long one, here and again at Federation Square, and was increased by an unscheduled ‘intervention’ on the part of Indigenous activist and broadcaster Vivian Malo. Among those who spoke at the library were: Karen Pickering, feminist and organiser of Slutwalk Melbourne; Yorta Yorta man Jason Tamiru; ACTU President Ged Kearney (see also http://www.actu.org.au/Media/Mediareleases/AbbottGovernmenttearsapartAustralianwayoflife.aspx); Shaun Murray, Coal spokesperson with Friends of the Earth; Mohammad Ali Baqiri, a refugee who spent three years in detention (see http://umsu.unimelb.edu.au/a-second-chance-the-stories-of-fawad-ahmed-and-mohammad-ali-baqiri/); and Adam Bandt, Greens MHR for seat of Melbourne. MC was RRR presenter Richard Watts.

Others have posted video of some of these speeches on YouTube, for example:

Vivian Malo by Sean Bedlam – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB8gY7WiDJY

Adam Bandt – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WW4MsgdTp8&list=UUExNRjztVKtVu1CNzPpIFCQ

Celine Yap singing

Celine Yap with Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the wind”

Mohammad Ali Baqiri

Mohammad Ali Baqiri

 Karen Pickering

Karen Pickering

Adam Bandt speaking

Adam Bandt

Vivian Malo in front of Aboriginal flag

Vivian Malo

Jason Tamiru speaking

Jason Tamiru – “We’re at the bottom of the stack in this country”

Shaun Murray

Shaun Murray

Ged Kearney

Ged Kearney

On the march

Aboriginal flag leading march

Marching down Swanston Street

Senior citizen with placard demanding Abbott reurn his 'self-awarded bonus'

This marcher attracted much attention from photographers

Woman in shorts and placard with caption ' Abbott can kiss my perky lesbian ass'

As did this one

Musicians at the old City Centre

Busking against the Budget

(See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnZtyOLTSuk)

Woman in climate action t-shirt hold leads of two dogs

Plenty of dogs on the march

Woman cradling dog

Even if some had to be carried

woman holding baby with mini-placard reading "Wah!!!"

As did some of the younger protesters

Young woman with placard of variant of classic "First they came for ..."

Bringing up the rear

At Federation Square

By the time marchers had assembled at Federation Square organisers felt able to announce a revised attendance figure of twenty-five thousand. Here there were more speakers, with Father Bob Maguire his usual self prominent in a list that included disability activist Jax Jacki Brown and NUS Education Officer Sarah Garnham, Operations Coordinator at Friends of the Earth Samantha Castro, Danae Bosler of Public Transport Not Traffic, broadcaster, writer, media maker and festival director Marcus Westbury, and Tamika Hicks, ALP candidate for Rowville. Rounding everything off was activist singer/songwriter Les Thomas, with a song specially written for occasion – caught here on YouTube.
Danae Bosler’s speech has also been posted to YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pf-JCjlEGNo and Tamika Hicks’ can be found here.

Jax Jacki Brown speaking from wheelchair

Disability activist and spoken word performer Jax Jacki Brown

Sarah Garnham speaking

NUS Education Officer Sarah Garnham

Father Bob pointing with his walking stick

Father Bob Maguire

(Father Bob amongst other things used the view over the river to the Eureka building to make a point he has made before about the symbolism of the gold panels at the top of the tower and the blood-red ribbon flowing down from them. See for example at 7min 30 in this video from the eve of the 2007 Federal Election – http://www.engagemedia.org/Members/pc/videos/23nov-eureka-engagemedia.avi)

Rally and March for Marriage Equality – 17 May 2014

[Updated 19 May] For details of event see the Equal Love Facebook page and website. There are more photos (341!) by Michael Barnett at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152426635170149.1073741850.553710148&type=1

Naomi Farmer addressing the rally

NUS Queer Officer Naomi Farmer addressing the rally

Apart from the speakers – Adam Bandt of the Greens, Sally Goldner of Transgender Victoria, Adam Bottomley (Australian Services Union Delegate of the Year 2013), NUS Queer Officer Naomi Farmer and of course Ali Hogg, Equal Love convenor – the keynote of this rally was music. The Melbourne Gay & Lesbian Chorus, resplendent in formal (wedding?) wear, sang on the steps of the State Library during the warm up, and again with Rosco Elliott in a spectacular performance of ‘Equality’, his song written for the campaign. (See Karaoke version on YouTube here.) This performance was repeated at a halt on the march, at the intersection of Swanston and Bourke Streets, attracting attention from passers-by in away the rally itself may not have done.

As to the event as a whole, it would have to be admitted that numbers did not match those of some previous rallies – see for example reports on this site here and here, with accompanying links to YouTube videos – but at four to five hundred was still impressive. After ten years of campaigning a degree of fatigue would be understandable, but the timing may have contributed: the day was chosen to mark IDAHOBIT [International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Bi-phobia and Intersexism – formerly and elsewhere IDAHOT], whereas the rallies just referred to were linked to the anniversary of the amendment to the Marriage Act which banned same sex marriage. (There will be a rally to mark the tenth anniversary – Saturday 16 August, again at the State Library, see http://equallove.info/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=69:10-year-anniversary-year-of-action.) Some also may have had to choose also between this and the Beat the Budget rally hastily called for the following day (see next post).

Australians say NO to cruel cosmetics – lunchtime at Melbourne GPO 19 April

Protesters hold placards forming words 'End Cruel Cosmetics' on steps of old GPO

We chanced on this protest today:

15th April 2014, Melbourne
Of Beauty and Bunnies

On this Easter Saturday in Melbourne, a demonstration has been organised by the Animal Justice Party in collaboration with the Greens, and a number of Animal Advocacy Groups to end testing on live animals for the cosmetics industry.

In March, Senator Lee Rhiannon of the Greens presented the End Cruel Cosmetics Bill 2014 to the National Senate to ban the manufacture, sale and import of cosmetics that have been tested on animals into Australia.

Getting this Bill passed in Australia (following on from the example set by the European Union, Israel and India) will be a fantastic achievement and is supported by Animals Australia, Animal Effect, Animal Liberation NSW, Animal Rights La Trobe, Be Cruelty Free, Choose Cruelty Free, Humane Research Australia, PETA Australia and the RSPCA.

Many of the groups and individuals who want to see this legislation passed will be gathering in the Bourke Street Mall (outside the GPO) from 12:30 until 14:30 on Saturday 19th April.

Nyree Walshe, campaign manager for the AJP says “Ironically it is Easter time, when we all celebrate the Easter Bunny as a symbol of new life, forgetting that the beauty products we use everyday have been tested on bunnies, causing them pain, suffering and death. So we will be in bunny ears, bunny suits, and bunny masks, to let the Government know we are HOPPING MAD* about cruel cosmetics and we want this Bill passed.”

*Note the initials of the retail store that has now occupied the building [our comment].

Apart from the Animal Justice Party, who organised the event, there were representatives of Choose Cruelty Free, and no doubt also of the Greens. It was fairly busy at the time, and with the theme of Easter Bunnies much in evidence around the city, a good choice of time and place.

We were not able to stay, but according to an entry of the Facebook page of Magda V-Stopanimalcruelty Moo, co-host of the event, there was to be another animal-cruelty related protest immediately following this one:

As part of the World Week for Animals in Laboratories, Australian Antivivisection Activists will be holding an information session/demo about vivisection in Australia. We aim to educate the general public on the millions of animals who are killed each year in Australia in needless and cruel experiments. Vivisection is an archaic scientific fraud and there are many valid scientific methods which are not receiving the proper funding, due to the wastage of funds on vivisection. Tax payers should be reminded of the cruelty and the lack of scientific validation of animal testing.
We will also be highlighting the plight of animals who are transported by Air France-KLM, who are the number 1 transporter of laboratory animals in the world and are responsible for the transport of tens of thousands of animals to cruel experiments across the globe. Air France is now the only major passenger airliner still participating in this cruel trade.

See https://www.facebook.com/events/661217570593281/

Some more photos, self-explanatory:

Protester holds placard with rabbits and blotched human face

Closeup showing large red sore on rabbit's sideCloseup of placard with list of barnds implicated