Saturday, August 27, 2016

Massive Demonstrations Support Refugees

Thousands of people have rallied around Australia, calling for the government to immediately close its offshore immigration centres following the publication of the Nauru files.

Protests were held in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Newcastle, Hobart, Brisbane, Adelaide, Ballina, and at the Australian embassies in London and Tokyo on Saturday. Another rally is planned for Darwin on Sunday, the day after the Northern Territory election.

Chris Breen, a spokesman for the Refugee Action Collective and organiser of the Melbourne rally said about 2,000 people attended.

“The point was to keep the pressure up on the Turnbull government after the election. We think refugee policy is coming apart at the seams,” Breen told Guardian Australia.

A former teacher from Nauru addressed the Melbourne crowd and shared her experiences in the centre, including an incident when guards ran a mock serious response scenario, including ambulances and fake blood, but didn’t warn detainees. The exercise was held in front of the school, she said.

The publication of the Nauru files, which included more than 2,000 incident reports documenting the everyday trauma and distress of detainees on the Pacific island as well as widespread mental illness and frequent acts of violence, showed the ongoing urgency to close the camps and bring the asylum seekers and refugees to Australia, Breen said.

“The abuse isn’t a product of lack of oversight, it’s built into the detention system.”

Sunday, August 14, 2016

ABC Radio Documentary – Shit Happens

Going to the toilet is an everyday event for most of us. But what happens to our bodily waste after we flush? Where does it go, and how does it get there? And why do we rarely discuss it?

After her family endures the unique horror of a broken loo at home, Cath Simpson decides to investigate.

This program takes us on a journey along Sydney sewerage pipes, from a broken toilet in Newtown into the bowels of the sandstone cliffs at the Bondi treatment plant.

Along the way we learn fascinating faecal facts about the formation of western cultural attitudes to human waste.

  • Researcher Dr Cath Simpson 
  • Writer Maree Delofski 
  • Producer Sharon Davis, Maree Delofski and Cath Simpson 
  • Sound Engineer Steven Tilley

Shit Happens

Part 1 Download (mp3)

Part 2 Download (mp3)

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Vale Jock Levy

Abraham Jerome (Jock) Levy OAM was a Sydney wharfie and communist who formed an integral part of the famous and ground breaking film unit in the WWF that was one of the first and most effective independent film making and documentary initiatives in Australia, which not only captured the great history and struggles of our unions political and industrial history but went on to inspire a new generation of independent film makers in Australia that remains a national focus today.

Former WWF film maker Norma Disher and current MUA film maker
Jamie McMechan with Jock at his 100th birthday celebration
Jock went on to make a life time of contributions to progressive artistic and campaign activity around many progressive community, industrial and political issues, remaining an important, much-loved and respected working class leader in his own right.

The union assisted in bringing the work of Jock back into focus in assisting Dr Lisa Milner bringing Jock's wonderful contributions together with Keith Gow and Norma Disher of the film unit in her book Fighting Films - the history of the Waterside Workers Federation Film Unit in 2003. Lisa herself has been a constancy in ensuring working class history is at the forefront in Australia in her own amazing body of work.

Zoe Reynolds the MUA's long term journalist was also critical in ensuring the important record of achievement of our film unit was secured.

The launch of Lisa's book at the Australian Maritime Museum, that has the famous WWF mural bequeathed by the Sydney Branch of the MUA, was in itself a great punctuation of the long progressive history embedded in our Australian values, achievements and current way of life.

The MUA digitised most of the Film Unit’s work and they remain a very sought after source of Australian working class history today and is often featured in mainstream reporting on everything from the gross exploitation of wharf labourers on the Hungry Mile, the emasculation of poverty and struggle during the depression, to the many great union campaigns for better working conditions for maritime workers, miners and many other Australian workers. That work remains an inspiration to the ongoing active recording of our union’s activities that remains central to our continuing policy to counter the ongoing lies, misinformation and constant abuse of our and other unions and members in mainstream media today. The recent Royal Commission was only the latest example of the distortions and selective facts that allow for the consistent attacks on our union movement - A political dynamic Jock and the many other contributors to the film unit set out to counter.

Digital copies of the Film Unit’s work is available to everyone, both through the archives and online.

Jock will be greatly missed and the union will extend our deepest sympathies to Jock's family and many friends and comrades.

In unity,


Funeral Details: Friday, August 5th 2016 at 10:00 am at the South Chapel, Eastern Suburbs Crematorium, 11 Military Road Matraville.

- See more at:

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Sydney: Hiroshima Day Saturday 6 August 2016

Hiroshima Day 
Saturday 6 August 2016

Hyde Park North 
near the Archibald Fountain

Ban Nuclear Weapons
No Nuclear Waste
Hiroshima never again
Contact us: 0418 290 663