Paul’s Canberra calendar, late August 2019

Comrades, here are political / activist events in or near Canberra (updated 19th August 2019).

#StopAdani Canberra:

Meetings, 5:45 pm every Monday. Organising to stop the proposed massive Adani coal mine in central Queensland. Conservation Council office, Ground Floor, Lena Karmel Lodge, 14/26 Barry Drive (opp. Watson St), Acton. Contact

Our politicians need to see, hear and feel community pressure everywhere they go. Join us to take action, in your community:
Join your local group:
▪Follow on Facebook:
▪Let your Federal MP know what you think.

GHD, don’t help Adani wreck our climate! 12:30 – 1:30 pm, Fri., 23rd August 2019, 16 Marcus Clarke St, Civic; and the following week, same time / place. Australian engineering company GHD is reported to be contracting to provide services to Adani. A strange choice for a company that prides itself on its environmental reputation. Please join our peaceful lunchtime gathering outside GHD’s Canberra office, asking the company for a public statement that it will not work on Adani’s “carbon bomb” coal mine. This will be our 5th week of peaceful events outside the office, part of the nationwide call to GHD to step away from Adani. Organised by #StopAdani Canberra and Canberra.

#BlockadeAdani Organising Space. Adani is on the move; we need to stop them! They are looking to build a train line to meet existing tracks which service their Abbot Point coal terminal. If this line gets built it will be very hard to stop this catastrophic project. We need you to join us up here on the blockade. Information on carpooling, convoying, and cheap tickets can be shared here. For updates, go to and take the pledge. ❤ Frontline Action on Coal (FLAC) Camp: (07) 47634032; Continue reading

School Strike 4 Climate on 20 September

Canberrans old and young are organising to support the School Strike 4 Climate, on
Friday, 20 September in Glebe Park, Canberra, 12 noon till 2 p.m.

Students will be leaving school to attend; working people plan to walk out of their offices and work-sites to join them, hoping by force of numbers to get the message through to this government that all is not well. We demand action on this climate emergency. We urgently need a speedy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Not in town that day? Don’t worry, people across the country will be doing the same thing that Friday at noon.  (You can find out where at

This past July has just been the hottest month in the world’s recorded history. The global climate strike draws attention to the United Nations climate summit, to be held in New York three days later on the 23rd.

Vintage Reds will be there in our VR T shirts at Glebe Park: please join us, and help the students get their voices heard.

We have always lived through hot summers. But this is not the summer of our youth. This is not your grandfather’s summer.”
UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Paul’s Canberra events calendar, August 2019

We recommend Paul Oboohov’s calendar, with forthcoming events for the remainder of August. Paul is a long-time activist in Canberra and a Vintage Reds member. (Updated 4 August)

Canberra: Uni Student Walkout for Climate Action!
Noon – 1pm, Friday, 9th August 2019. Kambri Precinct, 154 University Ave, ANU. On August 9 students across the country will be walking out in protest demanding real action on climate change. Our demands: – Stop Adani! – No new coal or gas – 100% renewables – Sustainable Jobs. Organised by Uni Students for Climate Justice, ANUSA – ANU Students’ Association, NUS National Union of Students, PARSA – ANU Postgraduate and Research Students’ Association, and StopAdani Canberra.

Continue reading

Women of Steel – the Jobs for Women campaign in Wollongong

At our July Vintage Reds meeting, Robynne Murphy spoke briefly about a new film in the making, WOMEN OF STEEL. A 10-minute excerpt of the film received a tremendous response at this year’s May Day toast in Wollongong. Now the filmmakers are seeking support for the completion of WOMEN OF STEEL, the inside story of the Jobs for Women Campaign (1980-94) which relentlessly took on BHP — from direct action at the Port Kembla steelworks to the High Court of Australia. Some may recall that the campaign resulted in a landmark victory for anti-discrimination. It drew together activist/working class/migrant women, supportive unions and their members, women’s organisations and other allies, and lawyers navigating NSW Labor’s new legal reforms. It took 14 years but the women refused to give up and the campaign remains an inspiring story today. The patrons of this documentary include former MP Jennie George, Ann Curthoys (Historian, Professor Emerita ANU) and the ACTU’s Sally McManus.

The director, Robynne Murphy returned to filmmaking after leading the campaign and 30 years as a steelworker. She has already raised over $100,000 from trade unions and individuals to get WOMEN OF STEEL to a “rough cut” stage. Recently she has been joined by Martha Ansara, veteran filmmaker (Life Member, Australian Directors Guild — Hall of Fame, Australia Cinematographers Society), to raise a final $60,000 for the finishing costs, including music and payment for the essential archival footage. The composer Jan Preston (for the ABC series, Bastard Boys – about the 1998 MUA waterfront dispute), has also come on board. Phil Crawford from Beyond Empathy is the editor.

The team is now reaching out to everyone who might be interested in helping: donations are coming in from “unemployed seafarer”— $20 — all the way to retired politician — $10,000. (From each according to their ability, as they say…)

Tax-deductible donations for the film’s completion are invited via the Documentary Australia Foundation: No amount is too small — or too big, of course!

The WOMEN OF STEEL promo can be viewed here:

For further information you can visit the website: or email: Or click on the flyer (then click again!)
Photo credit:

Support for whistle-blower David McBride

Canberrans were up early on a cold morning last week to support David McBride who had an appearance at the ACT Supreme Court.

McBride faced charges dating back to 2017 for providing classified documents to ABC journalists, who used them to run “The Afghan Files”, a series of stories alleging war crimes committed by Australian soldiers.

There has been alarm at raids by Australian Federal police on the ABC, along with reports that the AFP had requested a journalist’s travel records from Qantas, and an earlier AFP request for two journalists’ fingerprints. Concern about an erosion of Australian press freedom was expressed most recently at the Global Conference on Press Freedom in London.

Vintage Reds were among supporters who taped over their mouths to protest against the government’s heavy-handed attacks on press freedom. UnionsACT’s Alex White spoke at another gathering for David McBride at a court appearance earlier in the month.


UnionsACT move on wage-theft crisis

UnionsACT are trialling a Young Workers Centre to help fight rampant wage-theft by dodgy employers. Young workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation in this area. Broken workplace laws and under-funded regulators provide little protection.

The Young Workers Centre is a free service to support any young worker who has questions or concerns about their rights and safety at work.

Employers are required to abide by labour laws which include:

  • Payment of minimum wage and/or penalty rates;
  • Payment of superannuation;
  • Work health and safety standards;
  • Payment for all hours worked, including overtime;
  • Providing proper records including payslips.

For information, and for support if someone you know is being ripped off, go to:

The Centre is calling for donations to help in its establishment.

Averting Climate Catastrophe

Vintage Reds who are gnashing their teeth over the government’s inaction on the global climate emergency will be interested in the views from an evening’s event at the ANU on 9 July 2019, “Averting Climate Catastrophe: Extinction Rebellion, Business and People Power”.

The event was run by the ANU Climate Change Institute. See their Twitter account for posts from the evening.

Extinction Rebellion is a global non-violent civil disobedience movement which came to rapid prominence late last year when its supporters shut down central London, blockading 5 bridges over the river Thames. Media attention to climate change soared. After ten days of civil disobedience in London in April this year, a climate emergency motion was passed by the UK Parliament.

In 2018 the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that we have only 12 years, at current global greenhouse gas emissions rates, before our chances of limiting global warming to 1.5C are seriously at risk. Beyond 1.5C the consequences for us all are extremely disturbing. We have a very brief window to achieve a rapid decarbonisation of the global economy.

We need to move fast. But how might such a fundamental shift – from business as usual to transformative change – be achieved?

Neil Gunningham, from ANU’s School of Regulation & Global Governance (REGNET), examined Extinction Rebellion’s strategy, its emphasis on non-violent civil disobedience and its impact, before asking: what, beyond grassroots politics, would a transformational movement built around climate change involve? Pressure must be brought to bear on recalcitrant governments from many quarters: not just from grassroots activist groups but from business, financial markets, scientists, unions, school children, and faith groups.

As groups like Extinction Rebellion gain momentum, and join with others, a tipping point may be reached, generating rapid changes across the economic and social system. If so, then bottom up action driven by civil society, in a coalition with its allies, may yet be the catalyst for rapid, radical and constructive action by nation states.

Carolyn Hendriks, from the Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU, discussed other forms of community engagement, especially those comprising people who are frustrated and distrustful of democratic government. She mentioned Lock the Gates, Knitting Nannas, and some very successful renewable energy cooperatives, all local groups which draw on ordinary people’s practical wisdom and show what’s possible at the small end of community resistance to business as usual. Whatever groups such as Extinction Rebellion can achieve, there will then be a need for decision making groups and citizens’ assemblies in the transition to a sustainable world.

Lachlan James, a a “venture capitalist” and visiting fellow at REGNET, provided perspectives from the business sector. His most cheering quote came from the Harvard Business Review, “Firms have become too big to let the planet fail”. Sustainable investment is going mainstream; there are huge amounts of capital chasing a shortage of sustainable investment opportunities.

It is clear that the union movement’s Just Transition plan, to secure workers’ jobs and livelihoods, must be part of the coalition of activist groups which will take us all through to a zero carbon future.

In an almost full house at the Coombs Theatre, ANU, it was noticeable how many grey heads there were, even though it is not us but our children and our friends’ children who will be paying the price for our inaction. It is a critical time for retired activists to add our support and be involved.

Photos: Knitting Nannas,; @ANU_Climate on Twitter.

Canberra Rally for refugees on 20 July

July 20 – Save The Date,
6 Years on Manus & Nauru, 6 Years too Long!

“July 19, 2019 will mark 6 years since Kevin Rudd took Australia’s refugee policy to a sickening low by announcing that no person arriving by boat to Australia to seek protection would ever be allowed to settle in Australia.” [Refugee Action Committee]

Join thousands around Australia to rally against this continuing horrific injustice.

Saturday, July 20, 1 pm, corner of Northbourne Avenue & London Circuit, Civic.

Refugee rights are Union business.

Union Aid Abroad Apheda Trivia Night

Two teams of Vintage Reds took part in the Union Aid Abroad Apheda Trivia Night at the Belconnen Labour Club on 12 June.

The event was fiercely competitive (but you can make financial donations to improve your score… ) and unfortunately our brainy table was easily trounced by other brainier tables.

The event raised money for the Karen community. (These are members of a minority group from Myanmar.) We heard from two very good Karen speakers, including one from Harmony Cleaners, a community cooperative business set up as a pilot program with help from United Voice. Many cleaners have experienced exploitation by employers, but Harmony cleaners are paid at the proper rate, work under proper conditions, and set a fine model for any enterprise. An additional bonus is that the company is not-for-profit so invests any extra funds into the Karen community.

Valiant election volunteers

Vintage Reds worked tirelessly in the electorate of Gilmore, beating the pavements in Tuross, Moruya and Bateman’s Bay to bring the union movement’s concerns to voters in the federal election.

We campaigned on themes of fairness and equality, and opposing casualisation, penalty rate cuts, wage-theft and stagnant wage growth.

“Honk for penalty rates” was a particular favourite with motorists, one of whom (not personally known to us) drove on to a local coffee shop and brought back two coffees for our volunteers!

The election results were a shock; but congratulations to Fiona Phillips, the new ALP member for Gilmore.