The Guardian 30 November, 2005

WA Defend Civil Rights Campaign

Vivienne Dayman

The first actions taken by the recently formed Defend Civil Rights campaign in Perth (coordinated by WA Social Justice Network) against the Federal Terror Legislation and complementary State Legislation were held on Saturday November 26. The first action of the day was to lobby the state ALP Annual Conference at the Perth Convention Centre, and then later in the morning, to hold a public rally at Wesley Church Corner in the city centre.

Twenty people handed out a leaflet, addressing the deep concerns held about this legislation by a wide range of civic organisations, political parties, and universities, and asked that the ALP Conference refuse to progress the legislation.

The consensus of the lobbyists was that around 90 percent of delegates to the Conference were against all or part of the legislation, but it was unlikely this would be translated into action. Such opposition does provide something to work on in the future.

The rally at 11am attracted 80-100 people. Speakers were: Rachel Siewert, WA Greens Senator; Mark Cox, Lawyer, (a legal perspective]; Phil Chilton, Refugee Rights Action Group; a representative from the Islamic community; and Richard Titelius, Communist Party of Australia.

Participants then marched to the Perth Convention Centre with a signed petition, which was presented to the ALP Conference. A motion, asking that both the state and federal "terror" legislation not be progressed at the conference, was read out at the handing over of the petition.

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