6th General Assembly

Melbourne’s 6th General Assembly – Thursday 20 October 2011

Minutes taken by – Jeff Pyrotek and Sara Kerrison

Explanation of process

Consensus based decision making – what, why and how process.

When proposal is made, check for dissent

Three arguments against, two in support

Two minute speaking limit

Proposals, statement, general information

Process not set in stone

Nikki – no political affiliation – anarchist, eco feminist

Beth – no political affiliation – feminist collective

James – no political affiliation – philosophy student

Rob – socialist alternative

Rachael – socialist alliance

Phil – no political affiliation

Group reports

Logistics Working Group

Speaker – Jeff

Had a constructive discussion

Tomorrow morning 10am

Minutes been put to folder available to anyone at the information desk

  • Proposal 1

Logistics with consensus of the camp survey conducted on Thursday 20 October 2011 suggests the following space designations.

–        General assembly area (as per status quo)

–        Political space, from east border of kitchen to Baby’s entrance. This is a new area to provide a most equitable representation of political / issues groups is provided.

–        Public amenities area, in which media, first aid, library and kitchen already exist.

–        Camping area (as per status quo)

Indigenous tent and proposed GBLT tents to remain in situ

Dissent shown

Opposition 1 – Narelle (socialist alliance)

–        This is primarily a left-wing movement

Supporter 1 – Sue (socialist alliance)

I would like to see this movement have a range of groups that are campaigning for the oppressed and that this would entice groups like climate action groups and this diversity of campaigners would assist in opposing eviction.

Note – socialist alliance are one of the groups already in the space

Opposition 2 – Julian

Old ideals are no longer relevant and that we must only have campaigners against corporate greed and the current paradigm.

Checked for consensus – not shown

  • Proposal 2

Logistics with consensus of the camp survey conducted on Thursday 20 October 2011 proposes the creation of the following working group

This group will be tasked with working towards crating a space in which the most equitable representation of political / issues groups is achieved.

Operating under the assumption that all currently represented parties in the political space will have to sacrifice some of their current space allocation to serve the community. Membership will be open, and it will run with a consensus-based process

This group will meat at 10am Friday 21 October 2011 in front of the information desk

Education Working Group

Speaker – Baron (no political affiliation)

As approved by consensus at the Education workgroup, they will be running lunchtime and evening education sessions, the format of which is to be decided by each teacher. The lunchtime sessions will run for an estimated 45 minutes, and the evening sessions are currently undecided. They will be choosing speakers and looking for teachers with backgrounds in issues pertinent to Occupy Melbourne.

Arts and culture working group

Speaker – Daniel (did not announce any political affiliation)

Report on acts showing interest in Saturday music festival, including Blue King Brown

  • Proposal

That we use $280 of money donated to Occupy Melbourne be allocated to the Arts and Culture Working Group to hire a PA in case a free one cannot be found.

Vote taken – passed by consenus

Note – if anyone has access to a PA to please get in contact with Daniel, whose contact information can be found at the Information desk.

Community Liaison and Union Working Group

Speaker – Emma (USN)

  • Proposal 1

That a police liaison group is formed.

  • Proposal 2

That we defend the City Square peacefully and for as long as we can

  • Proposal 3

In the event of being evicted or moved on from City Square, we provide police liaison with a bargaining chip, in effect that we occupy flinders street in the event of an eviction, and afterwards re-occupy city square.

Consensus not shown

Opposition 1 – Simon

Reservations noted – In this location we would be less organised and more vulnerable. Expressed doubts as to our ability to effectively implement said plan.

Support 1 – Miguel (not politically affiliated)

The police aren’t just going to sit here and let Occupy Melbourne participant reinforcements arrive. Noted that on the marches on the weekend, the police stayed with the march and left City Square supposedly unmanned. Seemingly, the police do not have the facilities to cover two different groups.

Opposition 2 – Emma

Flinders street is too busy. Keeping together will be difficult. Treasury gardens would be a better choice.

Support 2 – Mel (socialist alliance)

The purpose of the bargaining chip is so we are not evicted. We need an immediate response. We need a bargaining chip to show to the police that there will be worse consequences from evicting us from the City Square

Opposition 3 – Lachlan

The police will not see the idea of a bargaining chip as an alternative. They will see it as confrontational. We need to think of finding an alternative location while defending the City Square,  where we are not perceived to be a threat.

Support 3 – Jerome

We need a threat to use.

No consensus gathered

Response from Eviction Working Group

Speaker – Jeromeo

We need a rapid response call tree including unions to back us up. If the police are going to do mass arrests, they will not release people in a large block, rather they will trickle them out individually over a period of time. People should be capturing police behaviour with their media devices, and we are considering installing webcams so that we have a live stream of the eviction. It was also suggested that we sit and link arms as a declaration of peaceful protest, bus also stressed that it is up to the individual how to respond to the situation.

Response from Indigenous working group

Proposal that we want to stay here in the City Square, and that we send an eviction notice to Melbourne City Council if they send one to us, but that we invite them to stay with us in peace

No consensus reached – action – IMMEDIATE meeting of an amalgamation of those aforementioned working groups

Police Liaison Working Group

Speaker: Jacob (renegade action reaction force)

In the meeting with police inspector Berney Jackson from afternoon on Thursday 20 October 2011.

We received assurances from police that we would have “some hours notice” both written and verbal before eviction, that council don’t work after hours, and that we will be evicted most likely during business hours. The inspector stressed that Police MUST have their identification badges on display, and if anyone witnesses an occurrence where this does not happen, to document it by photo and hand it in to the police liaison, and that he would personally ensure they got “in trouble.”

  • Proposal

That we as a collective at the meeting nominate police liaison personnel immediately

Clarification – request for process

Four volunteers would be nominated immediately in General Asembly

Dissent shown

Opposition 1 – Liam

These specifics should be discussed in working groups, and then proposed to the general assembly as discussing it in the GA is too time consuming. It should be only for yes / no answer questions.

Supporter 1 – Marcia

It needs to be done immediately, but with two female and two male representatives.

Opposition 2 – Brenton

This is called occupy MELBOURNE, not just the city square

Vote taken, dissent shown

Action – to a workshop held immediately after general assembly, otherwise staying with the current system, Nick and Jacob are police liaison

Jacob – we could be evicted in the morning so we need to vote on this immediately.

Announcement from Caleb

Working groups need more volunteers. We are building a community.



That we nominate and interim police liaison representative for tonight only until one can be appointed on Friday 21 October 2011

Explanation of police liaison officer’s role

Not a spokesperson for the police, rather an advocate for the group. Cannot give their own opinion. They are not there to please the police, they are to represent US.

Nominated cantidates – Jacob, Manu, Kate,

Jacob – passed by consensus

Kate (not politically affiliate) – passed by consensus

Nominated as interim police liaison officers for tonight only

Eviction working group

  • Proposal 1

To defend this space using all peaceful means possible.

Dissent shown

Caleb speaks against

We should de-camp and come back in two days

Speaks for

We have already passed a proposal to stay here and defend peacefully

Vote taken – passed by 90%

  • Proposal 2

That we say to the police that if you move us on from here then we will move to the corner of Flinders and Swanston streets and raise hell.

Speaks against

A move to flinders street will cause a significant disruption. If we move to the grassy area on church property then we cannot be evicted by Melbourne city council as we will not be on their land

Sarah speaks for

If removed, we go to Flinders Street to cause disruption, which is what we are here for. Albert speaks for

Moving to flinders street is an impractical threat – move that the question not be put

Speaks for

The point of going to flinders street is that we end up back here

Nick speaks against

There are many people who wanted to attend the working group and were unable to because of the general assembly – moves to discuss in a working group that will convene 30 minutes after the assembly.

Proposal to discuss after

Consensus not shown

First Aid Working Group


Make sure that everybody is drinking water. If you go home, bring a bottle back, and watch out for each other, and avoid dehydration

Berocca, hydrolites and sunscreen are in first aid tent

Stand in the shade.

Make sure breaks and sleep are allowed for.

The First Aid tent is in need of more certified volunteers

Direct Action Working Group

Speaker: Naomi (socialist alternative)

Report from today’s successful march on BHP.

Reminder that tomorrow will be “towers of power” march, 5pm Friday 21 October 2011

Note that because of tomorrow’s march  the general assembly will start at 7pm

Media Working Group

Speaker: Tal (No political affiliation announced)

Report that today was our most busy day media wise, we were visited by T

Bea – permaculture working group

Request for donated money to be used to buy gardening tools – not passed by consensus

Request for any other seeds to be added to garden

Heritage seeds have been donated today

Eviction working group

Report from meeting this afternoon

Proposal 1

Put posessions to IT tent and kitchen, if unable to defend IT, then we cit thru and defend JUST the kitchen

Dissent shown

Amendment that we re-arrange the structure so that the indigenous tent is included in defensive line

Amended proposal passed by consensus

Proposal 2

No statement is given to police by anyone

Clarification called

We have a police liaison to do that discussion for us. Anything said to police can be used against the individual AS WELL as other people

Passed by consensus

Proposal 3

That we construct a safe space offsite for people who are either arrested, split from the group, or otherwise for people to gather in the event of an eviction

Passed by consensus

Ricky – security

Report from last night – alcohol was involved in incidents that involved violence and happened between 12am and 2am on Thursday 20 october 2011

Proposal 1

We need everyone to understand that it is not the responsibility of security to deal with conflict. If there is anyone drinking or acting in an otherwise antisocial manner

Passed by consensus

Proposal 2

That we immediately form a conflict resolution team to work alongside security throughout the night

A meeting will happen at roughly 10pm tonight

Passed by consensus



Proposal to create a good neighbour working group


Meeting will happen at 3pm Friday 21 october, under the sign (general assembly are)

Passed by consensus

Jamie is looking for volunteers to form a rebel clown army

Marcia would like a tarp over general assembly at night

Request for everyone to add their phone numbers to a registry at information

Promotions team – has posters to hand out and put up throughout the city

A non-violent resistance workshop will happen at 2pm on Friday 21 october 2011

Kitchen would like everyone to take plates and cups back to kitchen


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