Category: Media Releases

International union leader calls on G20 to improve lives of working families.


Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of International Trade Union Confederation, will speak at the G20 rally on November 15. The ITUC represents 125 million workers across 125 countries.

Sharan Burrow, who will also participate in Labour 20, has called for a focus on jobs and wages at this November’s G20 leader’s summit.

“G20 leaders must prioritise jobs, wages and social protection to kick start the global economy and afford justice to working families.”

“The Labour 20 represents working people and calls on governments to take a courageous stand against the increasing American corporate model that is destroying the social balance in the global economy” said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation.

The rally will assemble at 11am November 15 2014 at Emma Miller Place (Roma St) and subsequently march past the G20 summit to Musgrave Park.

For further comment contact media spokesperson Adrian Skerritt on 0400 307 892, or email

Media Release

“G20 is austerity summit” claims protest organiser


BrisCAN spokesperson, Adrian Skerritt said: “The G20 meeting will disrupt the lives of Brisbane residents from November 8 to November 16. But it won’t end there. G20 policies will continue to disrupt our lives long after the meeting is over.”

The G20 forum is committed to shifting wealth from the majority of citizens to the incredibly rich. They will do globally what Newman and Abbott are doing locally – sell public assets, outsource and cuts to social services.”

“The G20 is the Austerity Summit” claimed Mr Skerritt.

“What they can’t achieve through their budgets and trade deals they will attempt to resolve through war. Look at Obama and Abbott’s new war in Iraq and Putin’s use of military force in the Ukraine.”

The rally and march on November 15 will condemn G20 policies that create poverty and inequality. The march will also champion the values that should drive economic and political decisions – justice, sustainability, indigenous sovereignty and democracy.

“BrisCAN is demanding a world with an economy that works for people and the planet, a world safe from the ravages of climate change and war, a world with good jobs, clean air and water and healthy communities” said Mr Skerritt.

The rally will assemble at 11am November 15 2014 at Emma Miller Place (Roma St) and subsequently march past the G20 summit to Musgrave Park.

For detail about BrisCAN-G20 visit or
For further comment contact media spokesperson Adrian Skerritt on 0400 307 892.

Media Release from Mark Gillespie Refugee Action Collective



Scores of asylum seekers have been injured, some seriously as gangs of
armed PNG police and locals go from compound to compound attacking any
asylum seekers they can find.

Asylum seekers were left defenceless when all staff and G4S guards
were evacuated from the detention centre. Tension with groups of
locals had been building throughout the day. G4S had already withdrawn
from Mike compound late Monday afternoon.

The attacks started late Monday night after the power was cut to the
detention centre. PNG police and locals then had the run of the
detention centre.

Locals are armed with machetes, pipes, sticks and stones – have bashed
and cut asylum seekers. One asylum seeker has been thrown from the
second floor of a building; others have suffered machete cuts. There
is one report that a man has been left with his eye hanging from its
socket after a bashing.

Asylum seekers fled from their compounds into the dark in a desperate
attempt to flee from their attackers. A call from Mustafa in Mike
compound around 11pm said that there were only five or six people left
in his compound and they were now fleeing to try and find safety.
People had fled all the other compounds. Mustafa said that he was
covered in his own blood from cuts to the head, hand and arms. He
estimated at least 50 people in Mike compound alone had been injured.

One of the last of the staff to be taken out of the detention centre
around midnight Monday night said it will be a miracle if no-one is

Gunshots can be heard in the background of calls coming from the
detention centre.

“The blood spilled inside the Manus detention centre is on the
Immigration Minister’s hands. Manus Island has always been a disaster
waiting to happen,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee
Action Coalition.

“Scott Morrison deliberately played down the seriousness of the
situation and the danger that asylum seekers faced. It seems clear now
that the injured asylum seekers were deliberately treated inside the
detention centre to hide the scale and seriousness of the injuries
suffered on Sunday night.

“It must be clear now that asylum seekers cannot live safely on Manus
Island. They should never have been taken there. Asylum seekers must
be brought to Australia.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

December 1, 2013

Media Release

G20 Dissenters form Action Network

As Australia assumes the G20 presidency prior to the summit in November next year, concerned community members announce the formation of the Brisbane Community Action Network G20 (BrisCAN-G20).

The network has formed to facilitate community responses and raise the profile of dissent to the G20 summit. BrisCAN-G20 will foster collaborations between community groups, support community action and provide commentary and critique of the G20 and Australia’s role in it.

The network has developed out of shared concerns about the G20’s perpetuation of an abusive economic system. The Group of 20 summit outcomes privilege the wealthy over the majority, have disregard for the environment and human rights, and lack transparency and public participation. Furthermore, The Group of 20 is involved in the erosion of civil liberties as a mechanism of control and fails to provide meaningful, sustainable and just community focused solutions to global crises and conflict.

Kim Stewart from Friends of the Earth Brisbane said “While the coming together of nations could be an opportunity to promote peace, social justice and ecological sustainability, the G20 is perpetuating financial and economic system that is failing the majority of the world and destroying the planet.”

Benjamin Pennings from Generation Alpha said “It is time for Australia and the G20 to re-think our economic system and make decisions that protect the earth – our shared habitat – and deliver a just and sustainable future for our children. The G20 do not act for global good. They should not be making decisions for us.”

For more information on BrisCAN-G20 or media comment please contact:

Kim Stewart, Friends of the Earth Brisbane – 0413 397 839
Benjamin Pennings, Generation Alpha – 0418 164 014.

For immediate release, 30 November 2013

Citizens network forms to fight civil liberties “crackdown”

A packed meeting of more than 70 concerned citizens and representatives from community organisations founded a new campaigning organisation at Brisbane’s Electrical Trades Union hall on Wednesday night, responding to what organisers called “an unprecedented crackdown on civil liberties in Queensland”.

The Queensland Civil Liberties Network was born amid cheers from meeting participants who set about planning a series of protest actions over coming months, including a rally and march to fall on Parliament’s first sitting day, February 11 2014.

Brisbane alternative media publisher Max Riethmuller said the Newman government had created a climate in which people now feared gathering in public.

“I have already seen people choose not to attend a protest out of fear of the VLAD act,” Mr Riethmuller said.

“The slow usurping of rights in this state has potential to strip us of very important basic rights,” he said.

Mr Riethmuller said that by positioning this legislation as being about ‘bikies’ or ‘parties’ the government was engaging in “subterfuge”.

The meeting also endorsed the actions of the Queensland Council of Unions, Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy and other organisations in relation to the UN Human Rights Day on 10th of December, and the upcoming Anti-VLAD Freedom Ride on December 1st.

“The Queensland government is contravening various articles of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, particularly in regard to the right to free speech and the right to freedom of association,” said Mr Riethmuller

Meeting organiser Ewan Saunders attacked the recent “Out-of-control Parties” legislation as “absurd”.

“Next will it be people only inviting 11 people to their backyard BBQ’s to avoid the chance of being thrown in jail for a year?” Mr Saunders asked.

“When ordinary law abiding people have to closely watch their movements to avoid getting in trouble with the law, we are basically living in a police state,” he said.

“My hope is that this network can help build effective and broad-based opposition to these laws.”

For media comment, contact:

Ewan Saunders: 0401 234 610
Max Riethmuller: 0415 200 577

Visit the campaign Facebook page at


EMBARGOED 6:00AM | Friday 22 November 2013

Malaysians to Occupy Lynas HQ in Sydney:
Protest shareholder meeting, divest from Lynas

SYDNEY | Eight representatives from Himpunan Hijau, one of the largest environmental movements in Malaysia, will be travelling to Australia to protest against Australian rare earth mining company, Lynas Corporation. Lynas has started exporting its toxic and radioactive rare-earth pollution to it’s controversial refinery, the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Kuantan, Malaysia.

Himpunan Hijau will be joined by Friends of the Earth Australia, Beyond Nuclear Initiative, AidWatch and The Greens.


Occupation outside Lynas Headquarters
ALL DAY Tuesday 26 – Thursday 28 November 2013
56 Pitt Street, Sydney

Press conference hosted by The Greens
Thursday 28 November 2013
10AM behind NSW parliament

Protest outside Lynas Corporation Annual General Meeting
Friday 29 November
Opposite Establishment Hotel,
252 George Street Sydney

On August 4th 2011 Australian company Lynas Corporation officially opened its Mt Weldrare earth mine in Western Australia. Lynas has started exporting rare earth concentrates, through the port of Fremantle in Western Australia to the port of Kuantan in Malaysia, to their polluting, energy intensive and highly controversial rare earths processing plant, the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP).

The LAMP is vehemently opposed by at least a million Malaysians. It was constructed without any public consultation and near fishing communities. Its pollution and waste management are seriously deficient according to a scientific report[1] by Germany’s Oeko Institute.

More info and for interviews with Himpunan Hijau representatives contact:
Tully Mcintyre,
An affiliate campaign of Friends of the Earth Australia
0410 388 187

[1] “Description and Critical environmental Evaluation of the Rare Earth Refinery Plant LAMP near Kuantan/Malaysia”

*Note: Press Releases are authored by contributing organisation.

Peacebus Media Release 3 September 2013

Ploughshare activist faces court and says farewell

Graeme Dunstan will face further charges associated with his role in Bryan Law’s mattock attack on a Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter during Talisman Sabre 2011.

9 am Thursday 5 september
in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court

Mr Dunstan is charged with wilful damage (cutting of a chain), possession of tainted property (his camera) and unauthorised entry onto airport land (his feet).

Found guilty on a charge of wilful damage to the helicopter in the District Court on 22 August, Mr Dunstan was sentenced by Judge Nicolas Samios to a 2 year suspended prison sentence and a three year good behaviour bond with a self recognisance of $2000.

He was also required to make reparation for the $162,831.63 worth of damage done to the $45 m chopper.

Tomorrow he will be represented pro bono by solicitor David Mills and will be pleading guilty to all charges.

Mr Dunstan, a 71 year old age pensioner, expects more fines and that these will be deducted at $20 a fortnight from his pension.

“The government giveth and the government taketh away,” he commented.

Nomad Dunstan expects this court appearance ought wrap up the Tiger Ploughshare matters and his activist season in Rockhampton.

He intends to take his Peacebus south to support a blockade of the Swan Island SAS base at Queenscliff Victoria 22- 26 September.

“We peace activists are determined to bring ALL the troops home from Afghanistan,” he said. “No more US wars.”

Further information
Graeme Dunstan 0407 951 688

Peace Convergence Media Release 21 August 2013
Jury unable to reach verdict after six hours in Rockhampton Tiger Ploughshares Trial 
After six hours on day three of the Rockhampton Tiger Ploughshares Trial the jury was unable to deliver a unanimous verdict. The jury was sent out twice and returned both times without a decision reached – ten voting guilty and two not guilty. The judge sent the jury home and will seek further clarification from the defence and prosecution on how to proceed in the morning. 
Evidence in the landmark trial has included the now infamous WikiLeaks “Collateral Murder” footage leaked by Bradley Manning (to be sentenced tonight). The footage shows Iraqi civilians being gunned down by US military in an Apache helicopter. Baptist Minister Reverend Simon Moyle (Voices for Creative Non-violence delegate in Afghanistan) and journalist Donna Mulhearn (former human shield and human rights observer in Iraq) also gave evidence of their experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq. 
Mr Dunstan (71) of the Tiger Ploughshares Action was charged with damage to Commonwealth property during the Talisman Saber exercise in 2011. Mr Dunstan assisted the now deceased Bryan Law who rode a large red tricycle across the Rockhampton airport tarmac and disabled an Australian Army Tiger Attack Reconnaissance Helicopter in a creative act of disarmament. Mr Law used a garden mattock to deliver a blow to the military helicopter. The action was inspired by the biblical prophecy of ‘Beating Swords into Ploughshares’ meaning taking action to convert killing machines such as the Tiger helicopter into ploughshares or agricultural tools that promote life.
Mr Dunstan of is representing himself with the help of a legal support friend Sean O’Reilly of Brisbane. 
Supporters of Mr Dunstan will gather on 
Thursday 22 August
9am Procession from ‘Havachat’ 20 East St to Rockhampton District Court
9.30am Peace Vigil outside Rockhampton District Court 
Photos available on request and on:

Further information 

Simon Moyle 0407 951 688 or Treena Lenthall 0447 851 858
Downloadable flyer:

Peace Convergence: Media Release 10 August 2013

Melbourne Baptist Pastor to defend Ploughshare accused

The Reverend Simon Moyle of the GraceTree Community in Melbourne will be coming to Rockhampton to support and defend Graeme Dunstan in the Tiger Ploughshare trial which will begin the Rockhampton District Court on Monday 19 August

Mr Dunstan is charged with a wilful damage of an Australian Army Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter on the tarmac of Rockhampton airport during Talisman Sabre 2011. His co accused, Bryan Law, who actually struck the blow with the garden mattock, died last Easter.

The Reverend Moyle describes Mr Dunstan as “a spiritual companion” and says Dunstan’s willingness to risk jail and suffering in order to arouse the conscience of the Australian community on war demonstrates integrity of the highest order, not to mention exemplary citizenship.

“Civil disobedience is generally not well understood in this country,” observes the Rev Moyle. “But it is one of the highest duties of any person when their government is acting immorally or unjustly.”

Ploughshares actions take their inspiration from the Biblical books of Micah and Isaiah, which speak of a day when “swords will be beaten into ploughshares, and spears into pruning hooks”.

There have been more than 80 such actions since 1980, with three common elements:
1. being absolutely nonviolent towards people;
2. to remain and take responsibility for the action; and
3. to make some attempt to disarm a weapon and begin its transformation into something useful.

Disarmament is often seen as an impossible dream; desirable, certainly, but utterly unrealistic. It is precisely this societal torpor that Ploughshares actions seek to address.

Ploughshares actions are an indictment on the imagination and moral commitment of contemporary society just to the extent that they are seen as outrageous, destructive, or utopian.

While most of us ask, “Why would we reduce or even give up our ability to kill?”

People like Graeme Dunstan and Bryan Law gift us with a confluence of flesh, steel and carbon fibre, and ask, “Why not?”

“In a time of perpetual war, it is high time we took that question seriously,” said the Rev. Moyle.

See full statement here.


Further information

FaceBook event

Simon Moyle 0402 857 915

Graeme Dunstan 0407 951 688

Media Release from Department of Immigration and Citizenship:

Sri Lankans face return to Colombo or transfer to PNG

A group of 68 Sri Lankans who recently arrived at Cocos (Keeling) Islands is now on Christmas Island about to begin enhanced screening processes.

They face the same assessment process that unauthorised maritime arrivals (UMAs) of Sri Lankan background have since last year when the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) took steps to stem a significant upsurge in boat arrivals from Sri Lanka.

“Those who are screened out will be returned to Colombo as soon as possible, often within days,” a DIAC spokesman said today. “If any of the group is screened in, they will not come to Australia for assessment; they will be among the first Sri Lankan boat arrivals sent to Papua New Guinea for processing.

“If they are entitled to asylum, they will not be able to settle in Australia; they will be settled in PNG.”

The Sri Lankans began their enhanced screening as arrangements were finalised for the first transfer of people affected by the post-July 19 regional settlement arrangement to Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

Under new rules announced on July 19, anyone – including a person from Sri Lanka – who arrives in Australia by boat without a visa no longer has the chance to settle in Australia.

“If they are not quickly returned to Colombo, they will be taken to Papua New Guinea where their claims will be assessed,” the spokesman said.

The prime ministers of Australia and Papua New Guinea signed the new agreement, meaning all people arriving by boat without a visa from July 19 will be sent to Papua New Guinea, where their claims will be assessed.

If people are found to be refugees, they will be permanently settled in Papua New Guinea – not Australia.

“The message this agreement sends is clear: the dangerous boat journey is not worth it and you will never settle in Australia,” the spokesman said. “Accommodation is being expanded on Manus Island and there is no cap on the number of people who can be transferred there.”

Almost 1300 Sri Lankans have been sent home since August 2012 – nearly 1100 of them involuntarily.

“These arrangements will continue and if they do not have proper asylum claims, people will be quickly returned to Sri Lanka,” the spokesman said. “This is making it clear that those who pay smugglers are throwing their money away and risking their lives in the process.”

Media Enquiries: National Communications 02 6264 2244