“No Dinner for Big Brother!” – Ruddock blockade at Melbourne University – 27 September

[Note – regular posts to this blog began with the union rally of 26 September 2007, but a few events were reported only on the now-defunct Melbourne Protests website. That omission is made good here and in the pages following.]

Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock was due to speak at a dinner in University House, Melbourne University, on the eve of the 2007 “Safeguarding Australia Homeland Security Summit” (http://www.safeguardingaustraliasummit.org.au/2007/2007Program.html – [this link no linger responding]). Melbourne-based activist group AC/DC and the Socialist Party organised a blockade of the main entrance to the building, which unfortunately was hosting other events the same evening. This meant some inconvenience to others than the intended targets, though most were sympathetic when they understood the reason. Police were present in some numbers along with security guards. When the scheduled starting time for the dinner had passed the blockade was gradually lifted, and people made their way towards the street, in time to see the guests scuttling for the back entrance behind a cordon of police and vehicles – they had been kept out of sight in another building until the coast was considered safe. There was a token attempt to rush the line, and some jeering, but there was never any serious prospect of stopping the dinner. However, the point had been made that the dinner and its guests were not welcome as far as some parts of the community were concerned.

From the website of the Socialist Party of Australia:

On Thursday September 27 Melbourne University will host the first leg of the ‘Safeguarding Australia Homeland Security Summit’. This summit is organised by the Research Network for a Secure Australia (RNSA) which is a body funded by the federal government and supported by university research & private industry leaders.
The Safeguarding Australia summit has been established in a bid to develop and display new defence & surveillance technologies, alongside discussion on ‘Muslim population growth in Australia’ and ‘terrorism today’. In reality this conference is aimed at facilitating a climate of fear and the further scapegoating of the Muslim community. It is a conference that will discuss the further winding back of democratic rights and civil liberties…
The Socialist party along with other groups and individuals organised in the Alliance for Civil Disobedience Coordination (ACDC) is fighting back against these laws and the shift towards a police state. We will be attempting to shut down the opening night dinner for the Safeguarding Australia summit. We urge all other people concerned with the defence of civil liberties to join us!…
No dinner for big brother – Shut down the Safeguarding Australia Summit!
Through civil disobedience and solidarity, we can fight back against repressive laws & draconian legislation that further threaten to turn Australia into a police state.


Protesters link arms across entrance

Blockading the main entrance

Placards read Big Brother is Watching You

No Dinner for Big Brother

Protesters with placards heading towards main entrance

Heading towards the front of the building

Discussion with members of public

Some prospective guests at another function

Police block path of protesters

The police had set up their own blockade

Shot of function room windows from street

Dinner in progress