About Alex Bhathal

Social worker; refugee advocate; environmental activist; mum of two; five time Greens candidate for federal seat of Batman

Forum on Iraqi refugees


Tonight I’m speaking at this Refugee Action Collective forum on the plight of Iraqi refugees seeking asylum in Australia.

The government and coalition have passed motions calling for an end to the genocide of minorities in Iraq and yet they are refusing to back Greens’ attempts to introduce a moratorium on deportations of asylum seekers and to restore Australia’s humanitarian intake to 20,000.

Iraqi forum

NT elections could be the focus of the nation

The NT elections are coming up on August 25th.  The Age political editor Misha Schubert has identified the desert seat of Stuart as the potential site for a defacto poll on the NT Intervention in this insightful piece.Image  The field of likely candidates for Stuart, which covers many of the NT’s remote Aboriginal communities, includes the Greens’ Barb Shaw and the Country Liberal Party’s Bess Price, who are diametrically opposed on the NT intervention.  Will be a fascinating contest.

Great article on the new Nuclear Waste Management Act

Senator Scott Ludlam joins the action to stop the NT nuclear dump

Last Wednesday, Minister for Energy and Resources Martin Ferguson’s legislation to create a new nuclear waste facility, on Aboriginal lands in the NT, passed through the Senate and became law. (Ferguson’s chosen site, Muckaty Station, outside Tennant Creek, is in an earthquake zone and being in central Australia, lies on top of the artesian basin as well).

This New Matilda article by campaigner Natalie Wasley explains the legislation and what’s wrong with it. Definitely worth a read.

Anniversary of the Apology needs more than just lip service

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the Apology.

It comes as the Gillard government introduces its new Stronger Futures legislation, which would extend the NT intervention measures.

And it also comes alongside new evidence of a large increase in suicides amongst young Aboriginal girls in the Northern Territory after the implementation of the Intervention.

There’s other evidence as well, which shows that over years since the Apology, things have gotten appreciably worse for Aboriginal young people.  Last week, the Productivity Commission’s report on Government services released figures showing that juvenile detention rates for Indigenous people between 10 and 17 years jumped by more than 20 per cent in 2009-10 from the previous year.  Continue reading

Greens contingent at Sunday’s Pride March

My first Pride March for five years, and I’m glad to say it’s still going very strong, despite being comprehensively rained on.

Our Greens contingent, though not our largest I’ve seen, was still lively and we got heaps of cheers, walking under our All Love is Equal banner.  And we had the most parliamentarians – Adam Bandt, Sue Pennicuik and Greg Barber.

So glad we were all there – it’s a major event for the year for the Greens, the only parliamentary party really standing for human rights.

The Greens contingent at Pride 2012

Janet, Michelle and Adele, as we head off

Our All Love is Equal banner

Triangles with Greg in background

Darebin Greens - Michael Little and me

Post-rain, with Dinesh Mathew

What’s wrong with Ferguson’s National Nuclear Waste Management Bill – speech

Speech to ACE Collective Rally outside Ferguson’s office, 30 April 2010 By Alex Bhathal, Greens candidate for Batman

It’s been two months since we were last here outside our local member’s office, although there’s been a few other community groups here in between times, keeping our seats warm for us!

In these two months, there have been quite a few developments around Martin Ferguson’s National Radioactive Waste Management legislation:

  • The Senate Inquiry has held its two public hearings, and as we know, is due to hand down its report today.
  • The plight of the owners of Muckaty Station has attracted the interest of human rights lawyers who believe there’s a legal basis on which to challenge the site’s nomination process.
  • There’s growing awareness amongst the general public about Ferguson’s legislation and what it means.
  • And of course, elders from the Muckaty Station lands have travelled the length of the country in an attempt to get a fair hearing.

In the past two months, I’ve learnt quite a bit more about the Muckaty Station site and have followed the Senate hearings closely.  Some of what has transpired in this time really shocked me. Continue reading