Sam's speech at rally for democracy in Egypt

Rally in support of the Egyptian revolution, outside Wesley Church, Perth, 5 February 2011. Organised by the Egyptian Community in Perth.

Stolen Wealth: How Africa feeds Australia

In early November I attended the Wesfarmers AGM at the Perth Convention Centre. Yes that Wesfarmers, the one that owns Coles, Bunnings, Officeworks, coal mines and plenty more. Not my usual sort of haunt, but I was there holding proxy votes for members of the Australia Western Sahara Association.

Western Sahara was a Spanish colony until 1975 when Morocco invaded the country before a vote of self-determination could be held. This occupation is not recognised by the UN or international law. Yet Morocco has been aided and abetted by Spain, the USA and particularly France ever since. It's much like the bi-partisan support for the Indonesian occupation of East Timor by our government for nearly twenty-five years.

We should value our local government workers

Fremantle Council is grappling with the rights and conditions of the workers who it expects to implement the city’s projects. I’ve proposed a policy called “Employment Values for the City of Fremantle”. For supporters of workers’ rights, the policy is straightforward and modest.

It seeks to entrench the following principles:

1. Respecting the right of workers to union organisation and representation.
2. Limiting the use of fixed-term contracts and creating a guaranteed path to permanency.
3. Remunerating employees on the basis of equal pay and conditions for work of equal value.
4. Being a leader in “family friendly” leave and other work arrangements.
5. Placing the city in the top third of WA local governments in pay and conditions.

Save the Indigo Journal

It’s not just community services and our public servants that are threatened by the Barnett government’s mad program of cut backs, so too are some really important cultural institutions. Hilton resident and writer Liana Christensen is asking for your help in the battle to keep the Indigo Journal afloat.

Indigo emerged from a group of writers around the Fremantle Arts Centre has given many young and previously unpublished writers a break. Great writers like Amanda Lohrey, Alex Miller and David Malouf have all come through it pages. But just like the organisations who work with people with disabilities or care for the mentally ill, Indigo has to go cap in hand to government for piecemeal funding every year; and this time the government has knocked them back.

Supporting the Socialist Alliance federal election campaign

Comment on GPS in the workplace

The proposal by Council management to extensively use GPS tracking devices not just on vehicles and other such assets; but on the person of individual employees has understandably aroused a lot of concern. Not only are many Council employees and their union opposed to the proposal, but so too is a broad cross section of community opinion.

It is fair to say that the use of GPS tracking devices in this manner is completely out of step with contemporary community values. Recently the Fremantle Port Authority proposed a similar GPS system but the workforce and the Maritime Union of Australia rejected it and the proposal was dropped.

Buswell-Carles affair shouldn't distract us from building opposition to Barnett

Truth is stranger than fiction! What else can describe the extraordinary revelation by Fremantle Greens MP Adele Carles on April 25 of her four-month affair with Liberal Party MP and now ex-treasurer Troy Buswell, and her subsequent resignation from the Greens on May 6?

For some commentators in the corporate media, the pity of the whole thing is that Buswell’s “considerable talents” will go to waste and his potential to succeed Colin Barnett as premier has been undone by his bad judgment.

Barnett's drive to out-source services: What's at stake?

In comments to the Herald on March 13 condemning the Barnett government’s push to outsource human services to charities and other non-government organisations; it was careless of me not to stress that there are people in these organisat

Home affordability and the neglect of public housing

In the March 27 edition of the Herald the Liberal Party candidate for Fremantle Matt Taylor attacked me for criticising the Barnett government's proposed stop-and-search powers and because I support public housing. This is my reply which was sent to the Herald but not published (you can also see Taylor's letter by clicking the link below):

Liberal candiate Matt Taylor tried to take me to task (Herald letters, March 27) on the issues of crime and housing, but in my opinion he completely missed the mark. Contrary to his denial, it has been suggested that we need to cut the Homeswest stock in order to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. Like it or not, this argument (even if you say it should be done gradually) unfairly casts a shadow over all Homeswest residents. Matt claims I should be "representing a community crying out for a reduction in Homeswest housing". That's wrong, I should be representing the rights of all residents, including Homeswest residents.

Hilton: real solutions to real problems

I want to comment on some of the debate about crime in Hilton and the place of Homeswest tenants in our suburb. Firstly let's acknowledge the good news that reported offences have fallen by 17% this year. Statistics are no comfort to people who have still been the victim of crime or who live next to extremely disruptive neighbours. But let's not push the myth that whole of the suburb is constantly awash with crime and violence, this just distracts us from dealing with the real problems in a constructive way.

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