When I left the children’s hospital at the end of a shift I used to tell myself that none of the patients or their families existed outside of the building. It would be as though I’d walked out of a cinema, and I’d leave behind all their tragic stories; but there was one patient who refused to cooperate.
On Easter Monday night, Bryan Law, a tall, portly taxi driver from Cairns and committed peace activist, was found dead in his Rockhampton home. The 57-year-old had once again been preparing to defend himself in court after he attacked a military helicopter at the Rockhampton airport in July last year. I met Bryan in an Alice Springs court in 2007 where he and three other people were defending charges of trespass after arguably the most daring protest of his career: a break-in at Pine Gap.
It is the coming of irreversible change that is part of what Robbie James, guitarist with GANGgajang, seeks to evoke with his new composition Dreaming in the Sands, performed for the first time at the Metro Arts Centre, Restrung Festival on Friday night, by the Bentley String Quintet.
The Land Forces weapons expo held at the Brisbane Convention Centre from June 2-4 has packed up and rolled out. The weapons manufacturers will be going home to assess how many potential investors they’ve managed to attract to help develop more efficient ways to kill human beings, how many new customers they might have found to whom they can sell these new, improved weapons, and how many university students might be enticed to come and work for them.
And that’s why hundreds of women (and some men) came together on Monday, in Brisbane and around the country, to express how angry and tired we are of constantly having to assess our safety. Of being forced to take responsibility for being safe from violence perpetrated by men, as though they are primitive predators with no self-control and no expectations from the community to behave with respect towards women. Enough is enough.
As you might have gathered this week, the Australian Government will splash almost any amount of cash on almost anything remotely to do with killing people in other countries, including remotely killing people: $7 billion has been flagged for unmanned drones over the next decade. The 2021-22 Defence budget is a staggering $44.6 billion. Of course, that’s chump change compared to the “over $90 billion” that the nuclear submarines will cost, but it’s fair to say it’s boom time in Australia for anyone who’s in the business of making up high-tech ways to kill people.
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