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 »
Today the people in Western Australia will make a judgement whether they want Barnett and his Liberal government to continue. All signs point to no, but people are waiting hearts in mouths -will the result bring what country needs?
The last three months have seen a pitched battle at the Beeliar wetlands, in the south of Perth, near Fremantle… as the Liberal government have gone full force into bulldozing the urban bushland, and wetlands for a contentious road project that is expected to blow the states budget out more than $8 billion. As with the East West link before, and in tandem with the West Connex protests in Sydney, it is the community that has stepped up to say no to another unwanted road project. To delay work, to monitor the fauna management, to do everything in their power to stand … Read More »
“It is it worth it. we can not stop the struggle, we can not stop looking for a dignified life for all”
Gustav Castro Soto from Mexico spoke of watching his comrade Berta Caceres being gunned down and dying in his arms. She had a $50 000 price on her head.
120 environmentalists have been murdered since 2010, with a 95% impunity rate in Honduras. Across the globe 185 environmental activists were killed in 2015.
The room was in tears hearing of the loss of a beloved colleague. This was one of the stories of resilience we were privileged to hear as part of the Friends of the Earth International Bi-Annual General meeting in Bandar Lampung last week.
We got a phone call ten days ago whilst presenting at a conference interstate – Can we go to Sumatra, Indonesia to facilitate the school of … Read More »
Standing, not clicking with Standing Rock
At the high point yesterday facebook told us that ONE MILLION people were talking about Standing Rock and #NoDAPL … the campaign to stop a gas pipeline and destruction of indigenous homelands.
That is very exciting. Imagine if just 10% of those people took a second, small, but meaningful action? Can you help us support people in Australia to do this? Read on.
First off – there are mixed views on whether the “check in” process is doing much to fulfill its stated purpose – to confuse authorities… You would likely have seen a version of this message:
The Morton County Sherriff’s Department has been using Facebook check-ins to find out who is at Standing Rock in order to target them in attempts to disrupt the prayer camps. So Water Protecters are calling on EVERYONE to check-in at … Read More »
Today it was finally announced by the Andrews Labor government that a permanent ban on unconventional gas is to be legislated in Victoria.
It is a huge and significant announcement that will hopefully set an exciting precedent across the country. It was an amazing grassroots campaign that led to this victory. We were only involved in a small part of this campaign, and want to ensure that the big congratulations is sent to the Quit Coal collective and their Coal and Gasfield Free campaign with Friends of the Earth Australia, who worked collaboratively with Lock the Gate to pull off this extraordinary win, on the smell of an oily rag.
Our involvement was during the phase of the campaign when it seemed like drilling for gas by Lakes Oil was imminent. We had the pleasure of heading out to the regions for a series of workshops … Read More »
It’s a bit of a concern when one of the earliest vocal advocates for privacy around the Census is “Australia’s most beloved cartoonist” First Dog on the Moon.
Whilst we have a lot of love for Brenda the civil disobedience penguin, it has been eerily quiet over the last couple of months regarding the Census with just a few people raising concerns and describing it as “without doubt, the most significant invasion of privacy ever perpetrated on Australians by the ABS,” says ex ABS statistician Bill McLennan. EDIT 5/8: and another quality effort by First Dog about the “Census Cage fight” here.
Thankfully, in the last week or two there has been some belated activity online, with the #CensusFail hashtag generating a lot of discussion and debate, but still not much in the way of an organised campaign of resistance or high profile … Read More »
How do we unfuck the planet?
Well, it’s not entirely an easy question to answer but we went to Splendour in the Grass and tried to have a crack at it along with some of the best activist brains in the country.
Splendour in the Grass turns 16 this year, and the Splendour Forum has become a key part of it over the last seven years with the growing institution of the Splendour Q&A (which Barnaby Joyce woosed out of this year), lots of comedy and nerdy learning.
They have a great tradition of bringing progressive and contentious ideas, and injecting a bit of politics and activism into a festival scene otherwise filled with dancing, drinking and too much plastic.
Our unfucking conversation was wide ranging – hosted by Dr Lindsay McDougall – prolific tweeter, musician and all round champ.
We heard about the biggest … Read More »
We are out of time
A right wing government and unpredictable Senate with power held by racist and climate denying extremists has just been confirmed for Australia.
We are in the last few years of what was called the “critical decade” for our climate.
The minerals council has welcomed the “trifecta” of government cabinet appointments with open arms and have been positively giddy online, practically flirting with Senator Canavan, and falling over themselves to welcome the combined portfolio of energy and environment.
APPEA Chief Executive Dr Malcolm Roberts said: “The Holy Grail of policy is integrated environment and energy policies, which can deliver lower emissions and affordable energy security.
“Combining environment and energy into a single portfolio is a bold move that should be supported by everyone seeking sound long-term policy. Environmental policy is often energy policy and vice versa. (continued in media release)
My friends, … Read More »