Gimme Shelter homeless benefit - a great night!

All profits from this event are used to support the homeless. $45,000 was raised with almost 1800 people in attendance. Congratulations to all involved in organising it.

Click on the image for a better view of the flyer.

Sam

Seafarers on brink of historic victory

[I have submitted this article to Green Left Weekly about the current struggle by MUA members in the offshore oil and gas industry. It has been published here.]

Seafarers in the offshore oil and gas industry who are members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) are on the verge of winning historic improvements to their pay and working conditions. Among them are a 30% pay rise and construction allowances that would give them parity with other workers involved in the construction phase of oil and gas projects.

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Shop till we drop?

January 2009: Council was presented with a proposal to extend the boundaries of the “Fremantle Tourism Precinct” to cover the whole of the City of Fremantle. The gist of this is that it allows some of the big retailers who had been banned from trading late every night or on Sundays to now do so. The retailers concerned are Harvey Norman, The Good Guys and Retravision in O’Connor; as well as the South Fremantle Woolworths and Fremantle Officeworks.

Affordable community spaces in the CBD

December 2009: In my experience there is a real shortage of affordable spaces in central Fremantle available for hire by community groups who want to hold meetings, functions, workshops and other activities. When we think of the Fremantle Central Business District we should take this to include community business, not just commercial business.

Golf club should pay its way

December 2009: In preparing a new lease for the Royal Fremantle Golf Club the council had the site independently valued. Under the old lease the club had been paying $22,000 per year, but the valuer recommended that this be increased to $40,000 per year and be pegged to CPI. The land is classified by state legislation as an ‘A’ class reserve and can only be used for community recreation (like Kings Park).

Keep Hilton Police Station building for community use

December 2009: Despite strong community opposition, the WA Police Department has pushed ahead with its plan to close the Hilton Police Station and the Minister Robert Johnson has refused to intervene. Local residents will know what a circus this issue is. Both Labor and Liberal like to bang on about being "tough on crime" and "law and order". When in opposition both have said they would keep Hilton Police station open, but then changed their tune when in government.

Successful Walk Against Warming

I was pleased to be able to march on Saturday at the Walk Against Warming as part of the climate emergency contingent calling for 100% renewable energy by 2020, no emissions trading, climate justice for the third world and phase out coal. 90,000 people around Australia was a fantastic beginning to the global day of action.

Human Rights Day rally to welcome refugees

Here are some photos of the December 5 rally for refugees held in the lead up to Human Rights Day. I spoke at the rally on behalf of the Maritime Union of Australia, of which I am a proud member.

Against Zionism, against censorship, for refugee rights

[As reported in Green Left Weekly #819, a performance of the play Seven Jewish Children that was to be held at the venue Kulcha on November 21 in Fremantle was canceled. It was scrapped following the intervention of the Jewish Community Council (JCC). The comments below are based on the contribution to a November 25 Fremantle Council meeting by Hilton ward councillor and Socialist Alliance member Sam Wainwright.]

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The Stan Reilly site and facilities for seniors and the aged

November 2009: Even though the former Stan Reilly Lodge was run by the council, the land itself is owned by the state government and was vested to council on the condition that the site be used for accomodation and a social centre for the elderly.

The buildings have been mostly vacant since 2007, and council passed a resolution requesting the state government change the vesting to allow the buildings to be temporarily rented out (until December 2012), with the Fremantle Football Club and the hospital being the likely tenants. The idea is that this will then enable a general discussion and consultation over the future permanent use of the site.