UNSW Education Officer arrested after snap occupation of Commbank

Cherish Kuehlmann, the UNSW SRC Education Officer and prominent member of Socialist Alternatives, was arrested at midnight last night and charged with aggravated trespassing.  

On February 17th, the Socialist Alternative societies at UNSW, USYD, UTS and Macquarie descended onto the Commonwealth bank in Martin Place. 

Tharunka reached out to Cherish Keuhlmann, who explained that “the action is to draw attention to the fact that the banks and the RBA are making a killing in this cost-of-living crises, meanwhile low-income renters and students are feeling the brunt of it.”  

On the decision to protest against Commbank, she explained “It was just released in The Guardian that they posted a 6-month profit of $5.1 billion, and they said that this is directly the result of high interest rates”. 

Cherish will be going to court on the 8th of March to challenge the charges brought against her and will attempt to revoke the bail conditions currently in place.  

Cherish challenged her bail conditions at the time as they restricted her from entering the CBD. However, was then informed that it was unlikely she would be able to see a magistrate on a Saturday. She was informed that if she did not comply, she would’ve been taken to jail overnight. 

Although arrested at midnight, Cherish was held in custody for four hours. 

“It was after four hours that they read out my rights”, she said.  “It was 4 in the morning. I was tired and anxious and I wanted to get the fuck out of there so I signed the bail conditions. So, I am not to enter a 2km radius of Sydney CBD until March 8th”.  

A statement released by the Socialist Alternative Sydney states that “This is an extreme measure and another attempt by the police to impede on the right to protest in NSW”. 

“Housing should be a human right and not a commodity”, they said. 

The Socialist Alternative are joined by the NUS in demanding immediate measures to be taken by the major banks and the RBA to provide affordable housing and higher taxes on corporations.  

The next protest, organised by the NUS and ‘Get a room’, will be at Town Hall next Friday at 5:30pm. 

More to come. 

Editor: Anh Noel