Celebrating Equality

Around 10,000 people flooded Sydney's CBD to celebrate the success of the YES campaign for same sex marriage.

61.1% of respondents voted in favour of marriage equality in the government's postal survey.

Starting from Taylor square, crowds spilt onto Oxford Street, Sydney's famed LGBTQIA+ district and marched to Hyde Park, dancing to mobile sound systems and celebrating deep into the night.

But the battle is not quite won, with conservative politicians attempting to stymie legislation for marriage equality and roll back anti-discrimination laws. Meanwhile, other human rights issues in Australia still await redress: Aboriginal sovereignty, refugee protection, equal pay for women, labour rights and a slew of environmental issues.

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YES!

Today, the results of the Same-Sex Marriage postal survey were announced, with the 'Yes'  campaign winning a resounding victory. The politicians will be under intense scrutiny to see how fully and quickly they implement the result as legislation.

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Portraits on 35mm Black and White Film

It's been a long time, but revisiting 35mm black and white film is more challenging than I remember.

A variety of portraits over a few days.

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National Gathering, Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Day 2

Photographs from Day 2 of the historic National Gathering of First Nations at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on Ngunnawal Country.

Representatives from many different clan groups from a variety of First Nations across the continent descended on the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra to discuss formalising a process of recognition of  each other's sovereignty.

The two-day meeting concluded with a broad agreement to take a draft statement back to clan groups to mandate delegates for the next National Gathering early next year to work towards a series of First Nation to First Nation 'treaty'-like agreements.

In a parallel action, The Lobby restaurant next to the Embassy (the location where Julia Gillard lost her shoe in 2012) was occupied after an eviction notice was issued by Ngunnawal representatives. The occupiers met with police and government officers to demand the site - up until now, earmarked for demolition - be developed as a Ngunnawal cultural centre. The parties will meet again this Wednesday the 8th of November 2017 to discuss the next move and negotiate an outcome. In the meantime, the Ngunnawal will continue to occupy the site.

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National Gathering, Aboriginal Tent Embassy

Photographs from Day 1 of the historic National Gathering of First Nations at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on Ngunnawal Country.

Representatives from many different clan groups from a variety of First Nations across the continent descended on the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra to discuss formalising a process of recognition of  each other's sovereignty.

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Strike! University of Technology Sydney

Staff and students today took industrial action at UTS against the ongoing casualisation of the workforce and corporatisation of the university. Speakers spoke out against putting profits before staff, students and higher education.

Gadrian Hoosan and Nancy McDinny spoke on behalf of the Garrawa people from the Borroloola area and the First Nations Workers Alliance, drawing attention to the injustices of the Northern Territory 'intervention' and Basics Card.

Also represented were members from the NTEU, the MUA and the CMFEU.

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Shut Youth Prisons Rally - Justice for Tane

Photographs from a rally against ongoing Aboriginal Deaths In Custody - the latest of which was the death of 22-year old Tane Chatfield in Tamworth on the 20th of September, 2017. 

Around 150 people gathered yesterday outside the NSW Correctional Services centre in downtown Sydney to demand the closing of youth prisons as well as an investigation into and an immediate halt to all Aboriginal deaths in custody.

Tane's mother, Nioka Chatfield, his father Colin Chatfield and grandfather all spoke forcefully and emotionally.

The rally then marched to Surry Hills to the NSW Police headquarters where there were other speeches by Uncle Ken Canning, Doli Ufi, Elizabeth Jarrett, Kaleesha Morris, Padraic Gibson, Zachary Wone, and others.

The night's resounding chant: "They say accident, we say murder!"

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Some moving words spoken by Tane Chatfield's grandfather at the rally:

“It is very hard for a grandfather to see his grandson die before he does. It’s supposed to be the grandfather, then the mothers, then the sons and daughters, then the grandchildren. My heart cries out for justice; my heart cries out for compassion. For each and every parent, brother and sister, mother and father, for the ones that gone before.

People, please don’t let your loved ones go to jail. Because they are not loved in jail. Be strong and stand together. All my grandchildren here, I would give the world for them. I love them with all my heart, me and my wife. But I can’t take her anywhere now, until this is finished.

But to see my grandson on a piece of paper that comes from a place where they’re sposed to look after him… they’re supposed to look after him—where is the justice in that?

Please don’t let your loved ones go to jail. Keep them close wrapped up in your arms. Keep compassion for one another, and love your children to death. Grab them and hold them and never ever, ever, ever let them go. I’ll never ever let my children go.”

 

And from Nioka Chatfield, the mother of Tane, "I nominate myself. I want to be the last Aboriginal mother crying for my child."

Say YES - Marriage Equality Rally

In what was Sydney's largest rally in years, 30,000-50,000 people marched through the CBD to urge a YES vote in the upcoming postal survey for marriage equality.

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Love is Love

A photograph of equality campaigner, Sage.

In Sage's words:

"Fuck the system. I don't care about marriage, I just want equality. Love is love. Take care of each other. Stop homophobia."

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Clinton Pryor Arrives In Canberra

Clinton Pryor, who walked from Perth across Australia in a year-long journey of nearly 6,000kms, arrived on Sunday in Canberra at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy to an emotional welcome by a thronging crowd of thousands.

The historic walk highlighted the many injustices against Aboriginal peoples, including the forced closure of communities, the killing of Elijah Doughty in Kalgoorlie, the NT Intervention, land rights, treaty and self-determination.

He is due to meet the Prime Minister with a list of demands this week.

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The Spirit Walker

A portrait of Clinton Pryor - the Spirit Walker - who walked near 6,000 kms from Perth to Canberra to raise awareness of the many injustices against Aboriginal people in Australia.

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The Great Disappearing Act - Last Day at the Safe Space.

Images from the last day of the 24/7 Street Kitchen and Safe Space for the homeless in Martin Place.

Yesterday, residents peacefully withdrew from Martin Place after being threatened with new coercive legislation passed in Parliament the day before.

The Space was set up on Xmas eve 2016 and has been run by homeless people and rough sleepers ever since. Some residents were offered temporary accommodation (for 28 days) while others were dispersed back out on to the streets around the CBD.

All this happened during National Homelessness Week.

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Clinton Pryor, 'Spirit walker', Arrives in Redfern

Noongar man, Clinton Pryor is now on the final leg of his epic journey, after having arrived in Redfern to a tumultuous reception of around 300 people. Dylan Voller and Aunty Jenny Munro, amongst others were there to greet him.

Clinton has walked over 5,000 kms since he left Perth 8 months ago. His aim is to raise awareness of the many issues facing Aboriginal people in Australia. During his journey, he was given the mantle, 'Spirit Walker', having visited countless communities along his path.

Speaking to the thronging crowd at the Block in Redfern, he declared, "There is no justice in this country... The truth is, this country is living a lie."

Clinton Pryor next heads to Canberra, his final destination, to confront the Federal Government with his experiences of the many hardships faced by Aboriginal communities across the country. He arrives in Canberra on the 3rd of September.

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Clinton Pryor Arrives in Redfern

After walking around 5,000 kms from Perth, Noongar 'Spirit Walker', Clinton Pryor arrived in Redfern, Sydney, to a rapturous welcome from around 300 people.

More pics to come.

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