In our last edition, we brought you an interview with Aran Mylvaganam from the Tamil Refugee Council, about the Murugappan Tamil family’s plight to return to Biloela. In this edition, we report on how the police respond to peaceful pro-refugee protesters.
On Friday 25 June, Victoria Police and their Public Order Response Team (PORT) aggressively intimidated peaceful protesters who had been protesting the imprisonment of the asylum seeker men being held prisoner in the Park Hotel in central Melbourne. After rallying outside the Park Hotel on Swanston St, Parkville on Friday evening in a protest organised by the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism, the protesters marched down to Trades Hall on the corner of Victoria St & Lygon St. The police accompanied them on their way down to the Hall, blocking incoming traffic with their vehicles and then formed up to prevent them entering Victoria St when they reached Trades Hall.Read more
The Murugappan family is a Tamil family facing deportation under successive Liberal and Labor Governments’ cruel and racist immigration policies. The family was first taken into detention in March 2018, then moved to Christmas Island in August 2019, after a last-minute court injunction blocked their deportation to Sri Lanka. They lost their attempts to gain refugee status in Australia in May 2019 when the High Court refused to let them appeal against a deportation decision. The Federal Court later decided Tharnicaa, the younger daughter, had been denied procedural fairness, prolonging the family’s legal fight with the government. When Tharnicaa became ill with Sepsis, she was evacuated off Christmas Island and brought to Perth, where now she and the whole family have been united, but remain in community detention.
Workers’ Solidarity’s Jiselle Hanna and Pier Moro interviewed Aran Mylvaganam, from the Tamil Refugee Council.Read more
On 10 May Israel Defence Forces’ began mass bombardment of the Gaza Strip, in retaliation for Hamas and other groups’ rocket fire towards Israel.
This new chapter in the Palestinians’ struggle began on 6 May in Sheikh Jarrah, a Palestinian neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem. Six Palestinian families who have lived in Sheikh Jarrah for decades are under imminent threat of eviction from their homes which are to be annexed by Israeli-Jewish settlers, who routinely subject them to harassment and violence. Israel’s Supreme Court was to decide on confiscating the homes under Israeli occupation law in early May. On 6 May, hundreds of Palestinians filled the streets in Sheikh Jarrah to protest the evictions and were met with brutal violence from settlers and Israeli security forces who stormed the nearby al-Aqsa Mosque during prayers a day later. The Palestinians’ mass defiance forced Israel’s Attorney-General to intervene and delay the Supreme Court’s ruling.Read more
In early April, the Morrison government had been boasting that everyone in Australia would receive the first of the two vaccination doses, at least, by October of this year.
The staged vaccine rollout of the two vaccines that Australia currently has available, the AstraZeneca and the Pfizer, commenced on 22 February this year, organised through the Federal government. High risk, frontline workers and older or vulnerable Australians were to get immunized first. The rollout was supposedly proceeding well: those workers and members of the community in Phase 1a receiving the vaccines before anyone else.Read more
When Chris Breen posted a Facebook event for the Refugee Action Collective (RAC) in March last year he didn’t anticipate he would end up spending nine hours in the cells of Preston police station.
But on the morning of Good Friday, 10 April 2020, he was arrested at his home. Police seized not only his mobile phone and computers but his teenage son’s laptop. By the time he was released from custody that evening he was facing a charge of incitement.
Last month in London’s Old Bailey court, Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that Julian Assange would not be extradited to the USA to face 17 charges of espionage and 1 of computer hacking with sentences totalling 175 years imprisonment.
Nonetheless, Julian is being kept without charge in the notorious Belmarsh Prison, awaiting an appeal by the US Government to the ruling. The appeal has been lodged and will likely take place in May this year. Julian’s union, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) welcomed the decision but expressed concerns that the extradition was only granted on medical grounds and did nothing to question the perceived right of the USA to implement their laws against journalists anywhere in the world.Read more
The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) was initiated in 1987 ‘in response to a growing public concern that deaths of Aboriginal people in custody were too common and public explanations too evasive to discount the possibility that foul play was a factor’. Indigenous organisations including Aboriginal Legal Services and the Committee to Defend Black Rights, as well as the families of those who died in custody, agitated for the establishment of an investigation into these deaths through a public campaign and political lobbying. The Royal Commission finalised and released its findings by way of a report thirty years ago, in 1991. This report found that Indigenous people faced significant disadvantage resulting in increased contact with the criminal justice system, and that the deaths investigated by the RCIADIC were not found to be the result of deliberate violence or brutality, but were instead the result of systemic failings to uphold a duty of care to Indigenous people in custody.Read more
Earlier this month Attorney General Christian Porter introduced the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Economic Recovery) Bill 2020 to parliament. This comes as part of the Morrison government’s supposed attempts to help aid recovery from COVID-19, with the coalition arguing the amendments will provide an opportunity for businesses to recover from a pandemic-induced economic crisis and ensure the creation of new jobs. Unsurprisingly, these business-friendly measures pose a significant attack on workers rights and seek to overturn a number of the limited protections and rights currently provided by the Fair Work Act. The amendments included in this Omnibus Bill will make it easier for employers to use the current crisis to drive down conditions in order to boost profits.Read more
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and NSW Police raids on CFMMEU union official homes and offices can only be seen as part an on-going attack on unions by the Liberal government. On the 18th of November the CFMMEU Pyrmont headquarters was raided and the cops spent eleven hours gathering who-knows-what for sifting through at their leisure. Raids were also carried out at the homes of union officials.Read more
The Covid-19 pandemic is a stress test for societies at a global scale. The virus has been ruthless in exposing underlying fault lines and weaknesses in almost all countries, while also revealing strengths.Read more