Why I walked from Melbourne to Canberra for refugee rights
Why I walked from Melbourne to Canberra for refugee rights)

A group of 23 women have completed a challenging walk from Melbourne to Canberra to demand a permanent solution for refugees who are still in limbo under the federal Labor government. The diverse group included cleaners, recycling workers, childcare workers, aged and disability workers, stay-at-home mums, single mothers and students.

We started our journey on 22 September from Immigration Minister Andrew Giles’ office. We walked 20-40 kilometres a day, reaching Canberra on 18 October.

The women, along with their families, have been living in Australia on temporary visas for years—some more than a decade. They have been unfairly assessed by the Australian Fast Track system.

Most of us who participated in the walk come from a long line of refugees who fled war and sought asylum in India, only to be permanently denied basic rights. I myself have been granted citizenship here, breaking the long family cycle of displacement. But we are not going to rest until everyone has security.

We had placed our trust in the Labor Party. Some of us even volunteered our time during elections with the hope that a different government would do the right thing. However, the ALP’s announcement earlier this year—opening the possibility of permanent protection for 19,000 asylum seekers while neglecting another 12,000—perpetuated the state of uncertainty.

Frustrated by all our previous attempts to be heard, we participated in many protests and actions in Melbourne to demand an end to the perpetual suffering. At one point, we found the minister’s office closed and shuttered, increasing our anger.

So we decided that we would walk all the way to Canberra to make our voices heard and try to gain public support.

The journey itself was far from easy, especially as a group of women. We encountered snakes, vehicles passing too close, blisters, injuries and limited access to personal care facilities. Some days, we had to take cold outdoor showers and sleep on rough ground that was damp by morning.

But it was worth it.

The outpouring of support from the public has been astounding and unexpected. We stayed in Kilmore, Wallan, Seymour, Shepperton Seventh day Adventist church, Benalla, Wangaratta, Yackandandah, Albury, Wagga Wagga, Murrumbateman and Canberra. Many news outlets covered our journey: ABC, 7 News, the Seymour Telegraph, the Guardian, Red Flag and SBS, among others.

At Parliament House, we met and spoke with independent Senator David Pocock, Australian Council of Trade Unions Assistant Secretary Liam O’Brien, Greens MPs and more.

We have grown stronger through this experience and are determined to persist until the government listens to our voices.

Read more
Mass movement defeats mining giant
Johnny Gerdes

Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo has announced the closure of an environmentally destructive copper mine after the country’s Supreme Court ruled on 28 November that legislation granting the mine a 20-year concession was unconstitutional. The decision was greeted with jubilation by masses of protesters who had fought for weeks for this result.

The Greek Polytechnic, 50 years on
Dimitrios Tafidis

The decades after World War Two were marked by increasing politicisation around the world. Greece was no different. While the left was defeated in the Greek civil war, which ended in 1949, socialists, through the leadership of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), continued to organise. This led to arrests, repression and even executions of anyone associated with the KKE.

Activists in Perth strike a blow against Israeli shipping company ZIM
Activists strike a blow against ZIM
Max Vickery

In his 1896 pamphlet The Jewish State, the founder of modern political Zionism Theodor Herzl made the case for a flag. “We have no flag, and we need one”, he wrote. “I would suggest a white flag, with seven golden stars.”

Far-right victory in Argentina
Far-right victory in Argentina
Tom Sullivan

The turbulent political winds of Latin America blew to the far right in Argentina’s November presidential election. Javier Milei, a self-styled “anarcho-capitalist”, won 56 percent of the vote, while his opponent Sergio Massa, economy minister in the Peronist centre-left ruling coalition, secured only 44 percent. 

Local council fight over Palestine
Liz Walsh

Socialist representatives in local government have led a push for councils to take a stand against Israel’s war on Gaza. Opposing them have been Labor Party councillors.

US Jews standing up against Zionism
Daniel Taylor

“Never again for anyone” was the slogan on the banner, and “Not in our name” on the mass of black T-shirts, when hundreds of Jews took over the base of the Statue of Liberty to demand freedom for the Palestinians and an end to the bombardment of Gaza.