Volume 4, Issue 1, (Originally Published on Monday 29TH July 2013)
The sense of solidarity was strong among the thousands gathered in Melbourne’s CBD last Saturday, to express their dismay and outrage over Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s recent Papua New Guinea ‘Regional Resettlement Arrangement’.
In the crowd marching from the State Library were members of the Progressive Law Network (PLN), an independent network of students, professionals and community leaders who work together for positive social change.
The protest’s speakers and many signs held up by crowd members expressed great shame felt due to Rudd’s policy change. Many speakers claimed the federal government is manipulating the law for political gain, running counter to fundamental legal principles and Australia’s obligations under the international 1951 Refugee Convention.
The PLN took part in the protest because the group believes there is “a tremendous impetus for change and [that] proclaiming passionately held beliefs in the form of protest is an essential element of democracy”, McGushin told De Minimis.
McGushin added that “protests have educative value and reduce risk of overexposure to government- and media-filtered viewpoints”.
The PLN membership run public forums, develop policy submissions and hold an annual conference where speakers discuss topical issues in law reform and social justice.
Prospective members can get involved with the PLN by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next collective action on refugee and asylum seeker rights is at 5.30 pm this Friday, 2 August 2013, under the clocks at Flinders Street Station.
More locally, outside Baillieu Library on Melbourne University’s main campus, the Campus Refugee Rights Collective will be holding a snap action rally at 2 pm this Wednesday, 31 July. The rally includes a number of speakers, and is endorsed by the campus Amnesty International.