Looking through some old archives and found these, taken at East Swanson Dock, Melbourne, 1998.
I thought I would post these today, on the day that the NSW government passes new anti-protest laws, which have earned the ire of civil libertarians, environmentalists, Aboriginal rights activists and those concerned about the extension of police, government and corporate powers. These laws are ostensibly aimed at preventing protests against CSG and other mining but also target much broader civil, community and industrial activity. Aboriginal communities have stated that the laws will specifically prevent them from accessing their ancestral lands. The laws also coincide with controversial 457 visas recently being granted to foreign labour crewing coastal shipping routes, displacing local workers.
1998 represents the year of one of the most significant industrial disputes in Australia - perhaps the last major workforce dispute in this country - when during the Howard years, waterside workers went on strike around the country, the largest and most prolonged being the picket at the Patrick operated East Swanson Dock in Melbourne. Patrick stevedores had secretly trained then current and ex-military personnel in Dubai to break the strike. In April 1998, large contingents of police were sent to the dock. In response, thousands of unionists descended on the waterfront. The dispute and picket lasted months, eventually resulting in the maintenance of union presence on the docks, but also signaling a major decline of union power in Australia.
Here, some light-hearted moments in between the high tension as workers - young and old, men and women - practice their picketing technique in expectation of a police crackdown.
Scratchy black and white 35mm negs, shot on an Olympus OM-2n.
On the 8th anniversary of Kevin Rudd's apology for Australia's 'Stolen Generation' - the historical and systematic forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families - a group of Aboriginal grandmothers from all corners of Australia gathered at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra to protest against the continued removal of children from their families. Since Rudd's apology, forced removals of Aboriginal children have increased by 400% - what the grandmothers say is a new and devastating stolen generation, an ongoing tactic of genocide since 1788.
January 26th 2016 - 228 years since the arrival of the first fleet in Sydney Harbour and the beginning of generations of dispossession, colonization, genocide and survival. To commemorate the occasion, this year's annual march began at the Block in Redfern and wound its way through the city streets of Sydney to Town Hall for speeches and then to 'Australia Hall' on Elizabeth Street, following in the footsteps of the first Day of Mourning held by Aboriginal activists and supporters in 1938.
FLASHBACK: Shots from 20 years ago - Yuendumu and Nyirripi, 300 and 500 kms north west of Alice Springs respectively, in the Central Australian Tanamai desert region, where I lived for 2 years with the Warlpiri mob, and where I worked on community film projects, including 'Marluku Wirlinyi - The Kangaroo Hunters' (SBS) and 'Night Patrol' (ABC); as well as a host of other local television, radio and video projects. These photos, some of which were used as production stills, were shot with an Olympus OM 2n on 35mm colour reversal film and scanned (poorly). Time to get them re-scanned! Add that task to the list... Photos taken at Yuendumu, Nyirripi, Pmara Junta, Papunya and surrounding homelands.
WARNING to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: Some of the images here portray people who have passed away.
UK spoken word and hip hop artist, Akala, performed as a part of Critical Conversations, a forum about the power of spoken word performance as an agent for change. Also performing were local artists, Kaveh Arya, Lorna Munro, Fuck Rappers, Chris Sulfa, Ana Claudia Paz, DA Carter and Zushan Ahmad Hashmi.