This isn’t just a dramatic headline. We wish it was. No, in actual fact it is referring to penalties that citizens could be faced with for nonviolent actions of peaceful protest, under new proposed changes to the Espionage Act which would declare a wide range of peaceful activities as sabotage.
For those following this debate at a distance there was a suite of three bills introduced in recent months, ostensibly to limit foreign interference in our democratic system. They are:
Instead it has been a trojan horse of wildly over the top, and sloppy legislation that had civil society up in arms about the impacts.
Large non-government organisations have focused much of their energy on the Electoral Amendment Act and Foreign Interference Bill. The third bill, the Espionate and Foreign Influence legislation which had a report on it tabled last week, is the … Read More »
Eloise joined our team this year, and writes about her experience as an invited artist, to Tarkine in Motion
This year I attended Tarkine in Motion, ran by the Bob Brown Foundation, who are campaigning for 450 000 hectares of forest and coast to be declared a National Park and World Heritage Area. The event, now in it’s fourth year, sees artists venture into the north west corner of Tasmania, to document, experience, and be inspired by the beautiful wilderness that is the Takayna/Tarkine.
At the Arthur River camp the first thing I can hear is the distant roar of the ocean. It’s the end of the day and sunset isn’t far off, but I really want to go down to the waves. Slipping away before anyone can follow me, I crawl through the knotted scrub near the camp, climb over … Read More »
Building a bigger, better movement – Barriers to participation
The climate movement has a problem. If you were to put a stereotype on it, its white, middle class, university educated, and inner city. That was an easy fit a decade ago. Now, less so, but we still have a long way to go. The other issue is that it is hard to define what the climate movement is. If you included everyone who cared about the climate it would be much bigger, but the language used has often been exclusive also. Whilst there have been big leaps in recent years, and leadership shown by young aboriginal people, and pacific islanders, the collective “We” still needs to improve on both how we work, and how we communicate.
We ran a series of trainings for grassroots climate activists in the last six months, and … Read More »
The news from Cambridge Analytica has many people up in arms #DeleteFacebook has been a source of debate and discussion. But here is the thing – the horse has bolted. Although people impacted by Cambridge Analytica are slowly being informed (there are only 50 or so in Australia apparently, more info here and specifics about how to find out here), there is heaps of other information you have likely shared.
Your information is already out there, and pressure on facebook to change its practices is critical. So we don’t get another 14 years of Zuckerberg saying Sorry Not Sorry.
We believe, as many others do, that it is a vital organising and networking tool, and is particularly helpful for people in remote locations, those living with a disability or anxiety, chronic pain, or anything that keeps folks housebound… and for people to … Read More »
Exciting times! We have been doing this work informally for many years – providing activists with information and legal resources for being involved in safe, peaceful protest.
From brand new activists unsure of how to organise rallies and marches, to farmers who were considering peaceful resistance for the first time, we’ve tried to ensure that anyone participating in environmental and climate justice campaigns has the information for safe, and effective actions.
And there is a greater need than ever before with numerous state governments prioritising business instead of communities in laws that infringe on freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and other activities part of every day advocacy and change making.
SO – we decided it was well overdue to formalise this work – and open up a pathway for legal professionals to support campaigns for environmental and climate justice. Join us, to … Read More »
First off. Listen.
That is what we are doing. And we aren’t writing this to centre our own experiences – we are writing it because we take the time to try and follow and listen to a range of aboriginal voices, and we might have access to information that you haven’t come across. We want to take away from emotional labour of aboriginal people by supporting other allies with a collation of useful information.
So that is the first step. Its not about us, its not about you, it’s about mob. (Photos from Naarm – Melbourne rally here)
And guess what – they have got different views. Like white people, or people descended from Sudan, or Vietnam, or people all named Becky.
Please don’t be like Friendlyjordies and attribute all aboriginal voices to one or two people. (Or maybe don’t be like Friendly jordies … Read More »
It was great to see Students of Sustainability back in full force in July 2017. Held in the politically active community of Newcastle that hosts the worlds largest coal port – the commitment to climate justice was evident as one of the strong themes that were touched on – along with just transitions, an ongong commitment to sovereignty and treaty as well as strong social justice themes.
We ran workshops on legal education for activists, live tweeting for actions and events, creative activism and a discussion on the recent win to save the Beeliar wetlands in WA that we supported. We are excited that we might be seeing new activist legals collective forming in Queensland.
It was brilliant to see experienced Newcastle activists supporting a new wave of younger student activists in a powerful, nonviolent day of action that saw 11 bank … Read More »
Melbourne Activist Legal Support (MALS) launched our lawyers network with Amnesty International on the 30th May 2017. CounterAct supports and works with MALS and has found our work increasingly overlapping in recent years – as community legal centres get de-funded it is more often up to activists to self educate about the law.
We heard from several lawyers with combined decades of experience in supporting activists and progressive causes – Matt Wilson (MALS) Rob Stary, Meghan Fitzgerald and Danya Black.
Rob Stary is well known in Melbourne for providing pro bono representation for activists, but also for working with people who have little resource and need support – his work for the people who other lawyers won’t touch is written about more in this article.
He shared a strong perspective on the trends of policing that we have seen in the last decade – describing … Read More »
Beeliar Legal team launch damning report – call for investigation
A report is being launched today by the legal support team for the Beeliar protests that documents over twenty incidents of excessive use of force, unlawful use of pepper spray, injuries from horses, tasers threatening minors, unlawful arrests, innocent people being strip searched and a culture of aggression and violence towards community activists.
In addition a community survey with more than 200 respondents, revealed a devastating loss of trust in the community, including significant and disturbing findings relating to more than 100 children and how they viewed police as a result of the protests – in addition to numerous violent incidents witnessed and experienced and a notably different approach taken to Aboriginal activists.
Beeliar Legal Support member Christine Duckham said, “Our team called for people in the community to come forward with their … Read More »
It was just a short question on the Beeliar Community noticeboard … “how do you feel about police” … and it unravelled a huge discussion, and led us to prepare a survey that ended up being filled in by more than 200 people. It captured some of the community attitudes towards police that came out of the protests to stop clearing work in the lead up to the WA state election.
We have been working with the Beeliar Legal Support team and Wetland Defenders on a comprehensive report documenting more than twenty incidences of breaches of police protocol and arguably unlawful use of force, as well as patterns of human rights abuses and a culture of aggressive policing. The report will be launched shortly, however we want to share the survey results with the community first.
There are numerous interesting insights about the diversity … Read More »