Magazine of the Socialist Party, Australian section of the CWI

Thousands protest community closures

March 19 saw protests in dozens of cities and towns across Australia. People came out to oppose the Western Australian Liberal Government’s plans to close 150 remote Aboriginal communities.

By Socialist Party reporters

Around 2000 people demonstrated in Perth, more than 1500 rallied in Melbourne, while around 500 turned out in Brisbane and Adelaide. A number of other impressive protests were held in a range of regional towns.

The Western Australian government has used the withdrawal of federal funds as an excuse to close the Aboriginal communities. The issue was inflamed when Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that taxpayers should not have to fund the ‘lifestyle choices’ of indigenous people.

While the government happily uses taxpayer dollars to fund corporate welfare and big business subsides, they want to move ordinary people out of their communities in order to save just a few billion dollars. Tens of billions of dollars could be raised if the big mining companies, who exploit Aboriginal land for profit, were taxed at a higher rate.

The fight against the closure of these communities is not only a fight for indigenous people’s rights, it is also a fight against the major parties ruling in the interests of big business.