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 »
We just did a workshop with our friends at Action skills, and gathered up some great case studies and examples for creative activism – from stunts, hoaxes, and political satire to graffiti, guerrilla projections and fooling Nazi’s – we are on a mission to get more grassroots activists thinking outside the box.
First off – follow us on facebook as we regularly post great examples, and also check out our youtube playlist – quite a great collection of our favourite videos are there.
This is one of our all time favourite stunts – a small town played a great trick on Nazi’s that come to town every year to preach hate.
Learn from the best… the Yes Men, and Reverend Billy
Know your history – with Buga Up
Did you know that civil disobedience has a patron saint/animal – it is Brenda the civil disobedience penguin… … 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 »
There are many conversations happening in the climate movement at the moment – with increasingly dire news – and likely breaching 2 degrees of warming or more by 2050, and the Paris agreement supposedly coming into effect – we are seeing no signals from government they are taking this seriously – instead we have the Labor Party in Queensland invoking special powers, and favours to hasten the Adani coal mega mines. Ongoing conversations have been given new momentum by the thinking outlined in “This is an Uprising“ which has generated lively debate and meetings around the country.
One of the challenges we have is a lack of imagination of what the future might look like. It is hard to think through what a healthy future and a powerful resistance movement might look like to get us there when we are constrained … 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 »
There is something rotten in the state of NSW. The strength and speed of the changes to basic civil liberties has picked up pace again with yet more changes afoot as Premier Mike Baird rides roughshod over long held legal principles and basic human rights.
Clearly NSW legislators have learned from the experiences of other states as community campaigns have galvanized opposition to draconian laws. Victoria pushed back effectively on the summary offences “move on laws”, with the Andrews government repealing these laws as their first act of government. In Tasmania they were amended after vocal opposition and are currently being challenged in the High Court, and in WA they are still languishing on the list of legislation yet to be brought forward for debate.
But in NSW the recent Inclosed Lands, Crimes and Law Enforcement Legislation Amendment (Interference) Bill 2016 was … Read More »
One of the things we all often try to do early in the year is get some better habits to de-clutter our minds and our workplaces, as well as our lives.
Something we often don’t give facebook credit for is the brilliant ability to informally crowd source information. Whilst Zuckerberg might be able to profit from the data harvesting he does on us all, he also gives us the ability to harvest our own friend’s brains… (that sounds creepier than intended), and when you have an activist friends network that spans continents, and are connected to some of the busiest and smartest progressive people in the country it becomes a remarkably useful tool.
So, after doing a call out for hot tips and reviewing my productivity and sanity levels going into 2016 this is the advice I got, which was so good, … Read More »
Our round up of resources, groups and training to get involved in, pathways to action and suggestions for affinity group organising to get in the way, to #LetThemStay
It is an incredible time right now with significant movement momentum gathering around the call to #LetThemStay in relation to the 267 refugees at risk of being deported to Nauru and Manus Island after a recent high court case was unsuccessful in challenging offshore detention.
The response across Australia has been phenomenal – from all sectors of civil society, calling on a need for a moral response, rather than a legal one. Civil disobedience and non-cooperation has hit the mainstream with churches offering sanctuary, and other institutions such as trade hall, and individuals joining that offer as well. Teachers and healthcare workers have been speaking out in recent months, refusing to discharge children who … Read More »
As Naomi Klein has brought up with her significant book – “This Changes Everything” we are in the midst of a climate crisis that is fueled by capitalism.
And so, with such urgent problems facing us, we need to work better than ever, across issues, in new coalitions.
She exhorts us – to change everything we need everyone.
So, at our Melbourne Campaigners Network meet at the end of June we decided to ask – Who is everyone?
We wanted to discuss who is currently close to us, in our networks, who have we got good relationships with, and who is missing… where do we need to build the bridges to the groups that we know of, doing good work, but we aren’t closely connected to.
So on a June afternoon in a chaotic session with a few small people running around, we started to … Read More »
It’s a challenging process to write a submission for a parliamentary inquiry that seems so likely have a forgone conclusion.
The committee that is examining the tax deductible status and regulations of environment groups telegraphed their desired outcomes long before receiving any evidence. Luckily for us, the mining companies were a bit slow on the uptake so they were allowed late submissions, and then we were – which is exciting – as we thought we’d missed the chance with a full plate, and only slightly less resources than the mining industry.
Over 99% of the more than 9000 submissions supported the environment movement, and the incredible history and gains that have been made for everyone in this country – through a range of protest, lobbying, advocacy, markets and divestment campaigning and yes, tree planting.
Apparently the last one is the only one that … Read More »