Several hundred abortion rights protesters mobilised against far-right Victorian state MP Bernie Finn’s March for the Babies on 8 October in Melbourne’s CBD.
March for the Babies website describes their aim as “legal abortion overturned in our lifetime”. Finn has held the march annually since 2009. It’s a day for some of Victoria’s most rabid right-wing Christians to gather with pink and blue balloons to lament the separation of church and state.
Earlier this year, Finn was expelled from the Liberal Party after saying that abortions should be banned even in cases of rape. His rally this year was again joined by the fascist group Proud Boys.
Liz Walsh from the Victorian Socialists chaired the counter-demonstration, denouncing Finn’s calls to outlaw abortion. “Bernie Finn and his ilk represent a right-wing minority in our society. The overwhelming majority in Victoria are pro-choice. We will never let these people win. We will defend abortion rights tooth and nail”, she said.
“We may have won our legal right to abortion in Victoria, but the fight for full reproductive rights is far from finished. So many women and pregnant people living outside Melbourne are forced to depend on private clinics, and their access hinges on whether they can afford the fees. Access to abortion should not be based on whether you have the money. That’s why we’re demanding free abortion on demand.”
Walsh is fighting to replace Bernie Finn in parliament, standing against him in the Western Metro region in the Victorian state election. “It’s time to kick misogynists like Bernie Finn out of parliament”, she said.
Hundreds of Victorian Socialists volunteers have been staffing early voting polling booths since 14 November, building on the more than 150,000 doors knocked across the north and west of Melbourne during the state election campaign. They are bringing a new style of campaigning to the state election, and have found a constituency of voters fed up with the prevailing pro-corporate, mainstream politics.
The Australian Nursing Federation will proceed with a ballot of its West Australian members in defiance of an order by the Industrial Relations Commission. If nurses reject the McGowan state Labor government’s below inflation pay offer, they will resume a campaign of industrial action, which was suspended last week.
The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirm that real wages are falling at the fastest rate since the Great Depression, possibly even the 1890s, both period of massive unemployment.
“The question of what kind of city we want cannot be divorced from the question of what kind of people we want to be”, Marxist geographer David Harvey writes in his book Rebel Cities. “What kinds of social relations we seek, what relations to nature we cherish, what style of life we desire, what aesthetic values we hold”.
Victorian Socialists—recognised by Beat magazine as “the most left-wing option Victorians have this election”, and by PEDESTRIAN.TV as “Fierce door knockers and grassroots campaigners”—is making a mammoth effort to push against the grain of history in the state election. The party has a chance of getting Jerome Small elected to the upper house in Northern Metro and Liz Walsh in Western Metro. If successful, it will be only the third time a socialist independent of the ALP has been elected to any Australian parliament.
The UN COP27 climate conference is taking place in Egypt, which is an apt choice for a climate conference—a military dictatorship propped up by oil money from Saudi Arabia. And it’s reflected in the outcome.