The Christian fundamentalist “World Congress of Families” will meet at a secret location on Saturday 30 August. Registrants have reportedly been told to they will be advised of the venue by phone on Friday night. It is likely they will be bussed from a city location to the undisclosed site.
An alliance of feminists, LGBTQI activists, unionists, refugee and anti-racist activists, and atheist and religious people against bigotry is causing chaos for conference organiser Babette Francis of the Endeavour Foundation (formerly Women who Want to be Women) by infiltrating the Congress and organising a disruptive “Unwelcome Ceremony” at 8am Equal Love Demonstrationat 11am and family-friendly “Block Party against Hate” at 1.30pm wherever the Congress attempts to meet.
Protest representatives will speak to the media on 28 August to explain why they oppose the WCF and their plans for a disruptive Day of Action on August 30.
Kerrie Davies (Council of Single Mothers and their Children)
Mohammad Ali Baqiri (Former child refugee from Afghanistan detained on Nauru, Refugee Rights Activist)
Marisa Sposaro (Disability rights and prison activist)
Naomi Farmer (National Union of Students)
Anonymous (Public sector worker and unionist)
Several state and federal politicians are scheduled to speak at the congress. The Federal Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews will try to give the opening address. Victorian Attorney General Robert Clark will try to welcome delegates to Victoria. Victorian MLC Bernie Finn, South Australian Federal Senator Cory Bernardi and others will attempt to attend in support.
“Unwelcome” organiser Debbie Brennan said the multitude of actions against the World Congress of Families shows the depth and strength of community opposition to the rise of extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalism in Australian politics.
“This Congress is not just a harmless talkshop about ‘ideas’,” Brennan said. “With Andrews and Clark and all the other politicians who want to attend it is clearly about shaping government policy and law including laws against equal marriage and reproductive choice; a budget that hits the poor – and especially women and First Nations people; “work for the dole” and “income management”; the racist NT Intervention, closure of women’s refuges and legal services, and the racist, inhumane treatment of refugees.
“The purpose of the Congress is clear: to strengthen the influence of the far right in Australian government. This means a world of hurt for ordinary people and our families and we will not just stand by and let it happen.”
In Passing is a participatory community art project that will bring diverse groups of women together in the suburbs of Coburg and Coburg North to highlight and unpack concerns and experiences around gender, power and public space. In Passing will involve over 100 women participating across the twenty ‘salon’ events to examine their day-to-day experience of public space using the familiar and non-threatening form of a pass-the-parcel game.
To kick off the project, we're looking for 20 Coburg or Coburg North women to host an In Passing salon in their home sometime in the month of October.
Further details about the project and what's involved in being a salonniére can be found on the In Passing website - www.inpassing.com.au (particularly the 'about', 'salon', and 'get involved' pages) . I f you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to contact me on
Day of Action against World Congress of Families 30th August in Melbourne
Activists are pleased to announce an entire day of subversive activity against the upcoming gathering of rightwingers and bigots, the World Congress of Families, to be held in Melbourne on August 30th. Beginning at 8am with a “welcome they deserve,” the day will feature a protest hosted by Equal Love at 11am and a Block Party against Hate in the afternoon.
Police are hurriedly vetting registrants and scouting venues in an attempt to provide security for the besieged congress. The final venue remains unclear as they try to avoid clashes with widespread community opposition.
The World Congress of Families event is a gathering of anti-abortion campaigners, homophobes, misogynists and racists. It will be attended by high profile Liberal Party politicians including Senator Eric Abetz the Federal Minister for Employment, Kevin Andrews the Federal Minister for Social Services and Senator Cory Bernardi.
The Coalition to Beat Back the Far-Right is organising the 8am “welcome.” Its theme is “Unite to Beat Back the Far-Right: Our bodies, our lives, our right to organise.” The campaign’s spokesperson, Debbie Brennan, explains the Day of Action: “The congress is a coming together of far-right bigotry, which aims to legitimise and enforce its ideas. The broad community is exercising our free speech rights in a variety of ways to counter this anti-woman, homophobic, transphobic, racist, anti-union hate.” Naomi Farmer, National Queer Officer for the National Union of Students says, “The far-right wants lesbian, gay, bi and trans people back inside the family closet, but we will not go back! Neither will students stand by while education is turned into a profit-making industry that leaves most of us in lifelong debt.” A public sector worker, who cannot give her name because of the risk of dismissal, says why unionists will protest: “Eric Abetz is threatening our pay, conditions, access to personal leave and retirement. Many more will lose their jobs through cuts to departments, outsourcing and privatisation. It is outrageous that Abetz is attending this conference, pretending to care about families. What about the families of public sector workers? Or families that rely on our essential services? It seems that he doesn't care about them at all.”
Brennan, a member of Radical Women, adds: “This event is the convening of an extreme-right movement, which brought us the May Budget and is behind the cruel assaults on the whole community — from refusing women’s reproductive rights and defunding of women’s refuges to the Northern Territory Intervention, Operation Sovereign Borders and destruction of the environment.”