Free speech victory

[Green Left Weekly, #651, November 30, 2005]

Green Left Weekly has won the right to resume its Saturday morning stalls at the big Barkly Square shopping centre in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Brunswick.

After years of responsible and trouble-free operation, Green Left Weekly stalls were shut down by the centre management in late July. Socialist Worker was also stopped from selling at the centre. A campaign to assert our rights was finally begun in late October.

On several Saturday mornings, Green Left Weekly supporters set up stalls, handed out leaflets and collected signatures on a petition until forced to move. The campaign received an extremely positive and heartening response from shoppers. The general mood was one of outrage: what on earth is the problem, and what about all the intrusive and often irritating temporary commercial stalls inside the complex?

Many people saw a connection between this local restriction on free speech and PM John Howard’s anti-democratic terrorism laws. Some 300 people signed the petition and irate locals contacted the centre office to protest the ban on GLW.

On the basis of this obvious and strong support, negotiations with management have led to an acceptable solution and our card table stalls at the front and back of the complex will again be a regular feature of the Saturday morning shopping scene (between 10.30am and 1pm).

Green Left Weekly thanks everyone for their support, especially our friends in the CFMEU whose intervention was greatly appreciated. We urge readers in the Brunswick area to drop by one of our stalls, have a chat, get a copy of the latest GLW, get leaflets for forthcoming movement events or check out our large range of badges.