Brisbane: high school teachers plan stop-work over students’ rights

Mojgan Shamsalipoor

16 Nov – Brisbane teachers will take industrial action on a human rights issue for the first time, continuing their campaign in protest against the Government’s detention of an asylum-seeker high school student.

Mojgan Shamsalipoor, 21, was months away from graduating at Yeronga State High School when she was forcibly removed from the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation Centre in August and taken to a Darwin detention centre after a failed visa application.

Teachers at the school will hold a stop work meeting at 1:40pm on Tuesday as part of an ongoing campaign regarding the fight for the rights of Ms Shamsalipoor and other students on bridging visas, or no visas.

Students also will refuse to go to class, holding a sit-in to coincide with the industrial action, according to the school’s Queensland Teachers Union representative Jessica Walker.

Ms Walker said it would be the first time industrial action would be taken in relation to a human rights issue.

“We have grave concerns for Mojgan’s emotional wellbeing, and that of other students who are experiencing increased distress and a sense of hopelessness,” she said.

Ms Shamsalipoor fears returning to Iran, having arrived in Australia by boat in 2012 after fleeing sexual abuse and an arranged marriage to a man in his 60s.

Her asylum claim was rejected last year after she had lived in Australia for two years on a bridging visa.

Sydney: TWU activists arrested at sit-in

13 Nov – The Transport Workers’ Union has said it is planning further rallies and store sit-ins after 10 truck drivers and union activists were arrested yesterday during a peaceful demonstration at a Coles store in Parramatta.

The protest was one of several rallies held around Australia ahead of the annual general meeting of Coles’ parent company Wesfarmers. Protesters highlighted the 330 deaths in truck-related crashes each year because of the pressure by wealthy retailers.


Coles’ low cost contracts are forcing truck drivers to speed, drive long hours with over-loaded vehicles.

Relatives of people killed in truck-crashes and TWU activists confronted Coles’ bosses during the annual general meeting in Perth yesterday over the company’s stance on safety. When pressed on whether the company would sign up to a safety charter, Wesfarmers chairman Bob Every replied: “Short answer is no.”

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Sydney: Solidarity Actions Against the North Wales Mega Prison


10 Nov – In response to a call for a week of actions against the North Wales mega prison, some anarchists in Sydney made some small actions.

The primary contractor involved in the Wrexham Prison Project is Lendlease, an Australian based construction company. In Sydney Lendlease is currently involved in a huge casino project called Barangaroo. The project has major state government backing and is responsible for the social cleansing of Millers Point, the last working working class district in inner Sydney.

Over the past two years there has been consistent resistance to the project and to the eviction and sell-off of the remaining social housing in the area. Numerous buildings in the area have been squatted, and the struggle continues.

Over the first week of November dozens of slogans against Lendlease and its projects were painted on walls across Sydney. Lendlease banners were torn down from their construction sites, repainted and hung from highway bridges.

We wish solidarity to our comrades in Wales and all those fighting for a world without prison.

Neither prisons no casinos.
For revolution.


againdestroysolinorth wneitherno bordnowrex


Christmas Island riot: Dutton confirms $10m damage bill as more detainees moved from centre to Perth

An image from Christmas Island detention centre released by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton's office.

12 Nov – Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has confirmed the Federal Government is facing a $10 million damage bill in the wake of this week’s riot at the Christmas Island detention centre, with centre operator Serco suspending three staff.

Another 10 detainees were transferred from the island today, after seven detainees suspected of being involved in the riot were yesterday flown to a maximum security prison in Perth.

Just how many of the detainees were involved in the riots is not clear, as communication with people inside the compound has been limited since Tuesday.

An image from Christmas Island detention centre released by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton's office.

Mr Dutton said on Wednesday people “need to understand what we’re dealing with here” as he described the population at Christmas Island as “serious criminals” who had access to fuel and a chainsaw during the unrest.

But Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said the government was “overstating” its depiction of the centre as a place dominated by hardened criminals.

The department said on Wednesday afternoon: “Repairs are under way on accommodation compounds in the centre as a priority, with detainees accommodated overnight in temporary but secure parts of the centre. Reports of detainees sleeping in ‘cages’ are false.”

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has released footage and images showing extensive damage to the Christmas Island detention centre following rioting there.

An image from Christmas Island detention centre released by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton's office.    Christmas Island detainee in handcuffs after riot

The rioting began on Sunday evening following the death of Iranian Kurdish man Fazel Chegeni, whose body was found after he escaped the facility.


Christmas Island: Riot at Australian detention camp after refugee’s death

One detainee is receiving medical treatment following the riot

10 Nov – A riot has erupted at a controversial offshore refugee-detention facility in Australia following the death of an asylum seeker.

Immigration officers and refugees confirmed on Monday a standoff between detainees and officers at the detention camp on Christmas Island, located more than 2,000km northwest of Perth in the Indian Ocean, after a Kurdish Iranian refugee died there.

Fazel Chegeni, in his 30s, was reportedly found at the bottom of a cliff.

“On Saturday morning [November 7] the department was advised of the escape of an illegal maritime arrival from Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre [CI IDC] by service provider staff.

“The matter was referred to the Australian Federal Police who commenced a search and discovered a deceased person today [November 8],” the Australian government said in a news release.

The Department of Immigration said staff and security have been withdrawn for security purposes and denied a large scale riot was taking place.

“The protest action began when a small group of Iranian detainees took part in a peaceful protest following the escape from, and death outside the centre, of a detainee on Sunday,” its news release said.

Currently, there are about 285 asylum-seekers at the Christmas Island camp. Section 501 of Australia’s Migration Act permits the deportation of a non-Australian citizen who fails the “character test”, the portal for which includes any prison sentence longer than 12 months.

A member of RISE, a rights group campaigning for refugee rights in Melbourne, said refugees heard the Iranian man screaming for help, then later saw him in a body bag.

“The detention centre detains asylum-seekers under administrative detention methods, just like Guantanamo and just like Palestinian prisoners in Israel,” she told Al Jazeera over the phone.

“These cases cannot be taken to court and the refugee him or herself sometimes does not know what they are doing there.

“They could claim they are investigating the asylum seeker, but in the end it is punishment.

“Those who arrive by boat are not allowed to have mobile phones with them, but those who arrive by plane are.

“And if they manage to sneak in mobile phones, security does random checks where they take them away.

“Between 2010 and 2011, there were five deaths in eight months in a detention centre in the suburbs of Sydney.

“Two detention centres were destroyed following that.

“The government does not learn from its past experiences.”

Twenty-five-year-old detainee Matej Cuperka told the ABC that ex-convicts who had their Australian visas cancelled after serving time in jail started the riot.

“The death [of the Iranian man] is very, very suspicious,” he said.

“They [the inmates who are rioting] believe Serco officers did something to him.

“I clearly heard him in the morning screaming for help, and the next thing I see they be bringing him in a body bag, and after that the whole place went into lockdown.

“About 30 people started a fight with the emergency response team in front of the medical [clinic] where officers left their stations and put the place in lockdown.”

“They are setting fires everywhere,” Mr Cuperka added.

“They started [on Sunday night]. They have broken into the canteen, into the property area, they started fires over there and now they starting in the compound.

“There are cars full of officers driving around the complex. They are just having a look through the window,

Another detainee, who stressed that he had not been involved in the riots, said “most of the compounds have actually been broken into, including the medical [compound]”.

“The canteen, I can see from where I’m standing now, has been completely ransacked and is burning as I speak to you,” he said.

“It’s a complete disaster zone.

“The compound that I’m in … there’s a lot of spot fires in there, all the cameras have been smashed up, all the kitchen has been smashed up, the offices have been breached and all the computers and everything has been broken up.”

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Yidindji: Murrumu Walubara Yidindji renounces citizenship to reclaim Australia

Murrumu Walubara Yidindji is the foreign minister of Yidindji sovereign nation, an Indigenous tribal group that has renounced ties with Australia.

Murrumu Walubara Yidindji is the foreign minister of Yidindji sovereign nation, an Indigenous tribal group that has renounced ties with Australia

2 Nov –

A small Aboriginal tribal group that has established its own government and renounced legal ties with Australia aims to make history by entering into the first Indigenous treaty with the Commonwealth.

The Sovereign Yidindji Government, whose lands stretch south of Port Douglas, through Cairns, inland across the Atherton Tablelands and 80km out to sea, says it wants to help Australia overcome the legal conundrum of operating on Yidindji territory without consent.

"The Commonwealth of Australia does not have consent or a treaty to enter Yidindji territory."“The Commonwealth of Australia does not have consent or a treaty to enter Yidindji territory.” Photo: Ben Rushton

Murrumu Walubara Yidindji, the foreign affairs minister, said his government was similar to the Vatican City State – with its own laws, language and institutions.

To the Yidindji people, Australia is a “foreign entity”.

“The Commonwealth of Australia does not have consent or a treaty to enter Yidindji territory, so we had to show the leadership to create our own institutions of government,” Murrumu told Fairfax Media on a visit to Sydney.

“It doesn’t have any validity in law.”

Formerly a journalist known as Jeremy Geia, Murrumu has renounced his Australian citizenship, relinquished his passport and bank accounts, and eschews Australian currency.

“Australia, we can see the injury you’ve got,” he said.

“We can cure it and we’re not going to send you a bill for it. It’s a hearts and minds game and all we’re saying is we have our own jurisdiction.”

On Sunday, he sent his condolences as Yidindji foreign affairs minister to the people of Russia after an horrific plane crash in which all 224 passengers on board perished.

“Today I conveyed our condolences to Russian Foreign Ministry agents & our thoughts and prayers to loved ones of the crash victims #7K9268“, Murrumu Walubara Yidindji tweeted on Sunday.

​Since early last year, around 40 people have taken the citizenship pledge to join the Yidindji tribal people, who also have their own driver licensing system.

Murrumu was pulled over by Queensland police on Sorry Day in May this year and charged over allegedly driving an unregistered vehicle without a licence, he said.

He did not show up to court to defend the charges and said he had no idea how the case against him had progressed through the state’s legal system.

“It’s got nothing to do with me,” he said.

He is unsure how he will achieve international travel on a Yidindji passport, but is reaching out to countries like Russia and Venezuela to establish diplomatic relations.

The Yidindji government has also sought meetings with the Australian government, but is yet to get a response.

“What we’re saying to the Commonwealth of Australia is: come and sit down with us, have a cup of tea and let’s talk about entering a memorandum of understanding to grant you consent to enter our territory,” Murrumu said.

“This could be a blueprint for true reconciliation.”

Professor Megan Davis, a constitutional law expert and chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples, said there was nothing stopping the Commonwealth from today entering into a treaty with the Yidindji government.

“People might think it seems a little bit out of the box, but it’s not. It’s quite a conventional way to do it,” she said.

“It’s a ‘Field of Dreams’ principle: build it and they will come.”

The impediments to treaties, like those in Canada and New Zealand, were political, not legal, the University of NSW academic said.

Malaysia: Meet the skinheads fighting racism

Borrowing from the skinhead subculture that emerged in Britain in the 1960s, Malaysian skins dissociate themselves from the neo-Nazi fringes and strive to promote progressive, Muslim, anti-racist ideals.

The group of skinheads surges forwards. On the stage in front of them the band is dressed in boots, collared shirts and red braces. As the opening chords of another street-punk anthem screech from the soundsystem, the Malay singer clasps the mike and offers a rugged preface to the song. “This one is against all racism and discrimination in our country… Do you have a problem with race? If you do, we’ll crush you to pieces.”

The crowd is a melee of young Malay men mostly clad in Lonsdale shirts and Doc Martens boots – the unofficial uniform of skinheads the world over. Deep cheers and pumped fists fill the air, then comes pogoing, sweat and sing-along hymns of grassroots revolution.

Skinhead culture emerged in the 1960s in Britain, largely arranged around fashion and music. The shaven heads and shirts were aggressive by design and also reflected the scene’s working class roots. Music was equally crucial, and the skinheads’ love of reggae meant that their identity was intrinsically linked to black immigrants and culture. The scene died out by the early 1970s, only to be reborn again later in the same decade. However, according to Timothy S. Brown, writing in the Journal of Social History, the second wave of skinheads was more susceptible to corruption by the right-wing rhetoric of the time.

“Economic decline, scarcity of jobs and increased immigration intensified latent racist and right-wing attitudes in British society during the 1970s and 1980s, and the skinheads reflected these prejudices in exaggerated form,” wrote Brown in his article titled “Subcultures, Pop Music and Politics: Skinheads and ‘Nazi Rock’ in England and Germany”. “With their reputation for violence and patriotic-nationalist views, skinheads were seen as a particularly attractive target for recruitment by the radical right.”

Even though right-wing skinheads probably never made up a majority, according to Brown, the links between skinheads and fascism had been established. They have been resolute ever since.

With names such as Street Rebel, Chaos Bomb and Oi! Koholik, the majority of Malaysia’s skinhead bands espouses the proletarian masculinity of the original skinheads while staunchly rejecting the racist overtones that emerged later. Such voices are becoming increasingly poignant in Malaysia, a pluralistic society operating under a government that has been criticised for its increasingly Islamist tendencies and that introduced its New Economic Policy in 1971 that has privileged ethnic Malays over Chinese and Indians ever since.

“Being a skinhead in Malaysia means embracing positive, anti-racist ideas of sociopolitical change to challenge our racist government,” says Rozaimin Elias, 34, one of Penang’s leading anti-fascist skinheads and bassist in Kuala Lumpur-based band Street Boundaries. Given his involvement with the opposition DAP party in Penang, Elias doesn’t limit his views to idle music-scene chatter either.

Skinhead boys in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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