Switch off the CPRS – nationwide protests 27 March

Placard at office of Martin Ferguson, Federal MP for Batman

Placard at office of Martin Ferguson, Federal MP for Batman


Media release (http://stepitupaustralia.wordpress.com/ ):
Community Climate Action Groups across Australia are today holding protests at the offices of over 30 Federal MPs to protest the failure of the Federal Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).

The protestors are calling on the Government not to pursue a scheme that rewards big polluters, fails to commit to adequate emission reduction targets, and locks us into catastrophic climate change.

“We are deeply concerned that the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme takes a ‘business as usual’ approach to the urgent threat of climate change, and does not commit to the emissions reduction targets that the science tells us are necessary to avoid dangerous climate change,” said Moira Williams from Climate Action Newtown.

“Big polluting industries like coal and aluminum must be made to cut emissions rapidly and immediately. The CPRS will give away billions in concessions without even achieving the necessary pollution cuts. In fact, emissions are likely to continue rising under this scheme,” continued Ms. Williams.

The protests are twice the size of similar actions that took place last year following the announcement of the 5-15% emissions reduction target and the release of the White Paper for the CPRS. Protest organisers attribute the increase to the continued failure of the Government to meet the clear need for more decisive action.

“It is an absolute disgrace that when faced with the threat of catastrophic climate change, our leaders are pandering to the powerful fossil fuel and mining lobbies, and continuing to ignore urgent scientific advice and widespread community alarm about the most important issue of our time,” said Pablo Brait from Yarra Climate Action Now.

“We are calling for a moratorium on coal mining and coal-fired power stations, and an end to perverse subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. We want just sector-by-sector transition plans for affected workers and communities. The Government can stimulate the economy and create quality green jobs, by making direct investment in renewable energy to move towards 100% renewables by 2020.”

The electoral office of Martin Ferguson, Federal Minister for Resources and Energy and for Tourism, was among the first to be visited, with protesters arriving at 8am equipped with banners, placards, and letters variously spelling out the messages “Switch on renewables”, “Switch off the carbon scam”, and “Switch off Martin Ferguson”.

Protesters hold letters to form message

Protesters hold letters to form message


In spite of the early our, the protest numbered just short of thirty, including two representatives of the generation set to inherit whatever is left:
Placards and child at office of Martin Ferguson

Placards and child at office of Martin Ferguson

There were two main speakers: Jenny McCracken of Darebin Climate Action Now, who put the case for, amongst other things, vegetarianism as a way for individuals to reduce their carbon footprint, and Chris Breen, of Solidarity and Darebin CAN, who focused more on the role of government and alternatives to the present government’s policies:

Chris Breen addressing the protest

Chris Breen addressing the protest

There is footage from this action, including part of the speeches, on EngageMedia.

The protests ended just before 9am, with some intending to carry on the the next in the schedule, at the office of Kelvin Thompson, Member for Wills. Police required the removal of the message left on the office windows, but no doubt the letters can be used again:

Message left - briefly - at office

Message left - briefly - at office

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At the office of Lindsay Tanner

At the office of Lindsay Tanner


At 12 noon there was a further protest, this time at the office of Lindsay Tanner, Member for Melbourne and Minister for Finance and Deregulation in the Rudd Government:

Damien Lawson of FoE addressing the protest

Damien Lawson of FoE addressing the protest

In addition to Damien Lawson of Friends of the Earth, who spoke briefly towards the end, speakers included David Spratt of Climate Code Red:

David Spratt addessing the crowd

David Spratt addessing the crowd

and Chris Breen of Solidarity and Darebin Climate Action Now (see above):

Chris Breen speaking

Chris Breen speaking

There was also live music at the end:

The band

The band

and dancing:

Dancing at the end

Dancing at the end

In fact there was a prize offered for the best dancer – a Climate Emergency Service shirt like these:

Climate Emergency Service

Climate Emergency Service

This action was organised by Yarra Climate Action Now, but several other groups attemded, some with their banners:

Australian Youth Climate Coalition

Australian Youth Climate Coalition

Another banner

Another banner

There were also placards:

Placard at office of Lindsay Tanner

Placard at office of Lindsay Tanner

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As a footnote to Friday’s actions, on Saturday 28 March, Earth Hour , activists occupied and temporarily shut down Victoria’s spectacularly polluting Hazelwood coal-fired power station:
Three arrested over power plant protest. There is a video from this action on EngageMedia.

CPRS protest – 11 March

A copy of the carbon trading bill goes up in smoke

A copy of the carbon trading bill goes up in smoke


Protesters demanding the rejection of the Rudd Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme burned a copy of the bill outside Government offices in Melbourne this morning. The protest was called by Friends of the Earth, with Damien Lawson applying the torch:

FoE's Damien Lawson fronting the protest

FoE's Damien Lawson fronting the protest

A media release from FoE outlined the arguments against the bill:

The Government will release its exposure draft CPRS carbon trading bill on Tuesday, March 10, with Climate Change Minister Penny Wong seeking its immediate referral to the Labor-dominated Senate standing committee on economics.

The CPRS will mean big polluters will cash in while the climate problem will remain unsolved.

Come along to the federal government offices in Melbourne to show the government we want real action on climate change; for this to happen, the CPRS must not be allowed to pass.

If the CPRS passes we will be locked into a pathetic 5% emissions reduction target in the lead up to UNFCC negotiations in Copenhagen later this year. Effectively ruling us out of any global action on climate-change, and undermining effective global action.

This must not be allowed to happen!

More background can be found on the FoE website:

http://www.foe.org.au/climate-justice

Damien Lawson urging the Parliament to reject the bill

Damien Lawson urging the Parliament to reject the bill

Some placards at the protest

Some placards at the protest

The main banner

The main banner

More protests are planned, including actions on 27 March targeting Federal MPs:

http://stepitupaustralia.wordpress.com

International Women’s Day in Melbourne – 6 March

One of the banners on the platform

One of the banners on the platform

The Victorian Trades Hall Council organised a rally on Friday 6 March to mark the 98th International Women’s Day. The rally came a day after unionists and sacked Pacific Brands workers held a protest in Melbourne organised by the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union, and a TCFUA banner was prominent on the steps of the State Library.

On the steps of the State Library

On the steps of the State Library

One of the speakers was TCFUA Assistant Secretary Jenny Kruschel:

TCFUA Assistant Secretary Jenny Kruschel

TCFUA Assistant Secretary Jenny Kruschel

Other speakers were Ann Taylor, Deputy Branch President of AEU and President of VTHC:

Ann Taylor, alongside the other main banner on the platform

Ann Taylor, alongside the other main banner on the platform

and Angelina Ladera, from the National Executive of Kilusang Mayo Uno [KMU] Labour Centre in the Philippines:

Angelina Ladera

Angelina Ladera

MC was Josie Parrelli:

Josie Parrelli

Josie Parrelli

and the rally was organised by VTHC Women’s Officer Jennifer O’Donnell-Pirisi, seen here leading the cheering at the end, along with Josie Parrelli:

Jennifer and Josie lead the cheering

Jennifer and Josie lead the cheering

The Young Unionists’ Network was represented, along with several other unions – the ASU, and the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance can be seen here:

Young Unionists' Network, ASU, MEAA

Young Unionists' Network, ASU, MEAA

Some placards in the crowd:

Placards in the crowd

Placards in the crowd

There is a report of the rally, with photos, on the
VTHC website:

Protest at Pacific Brands sackings – 5 March

Firefighters strip in protest

Firefighters strip in protest

Firefighters stripped to their Bonds underwear outside the Myer store in the Bourke Street Mall on Thursday as part of a protest rally against the decision of Pacific Brands to sack 1850 workers while moving production overseas. This was the first of a series of rallies organised by the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union to demand a reversal of the company’s decision. In spite of repeated heavy showers some hundreds of workers from Pacific Brands factories along with members of other unions and supporters from the public heard a succession of speakers, including two of the sacked workers as well as Michele O’Neil, National Secretary of the TCFUA and Jeff Lawrence, Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. Michele O’Neil read out letters from the union to notable Australians Pat Rafter, Sarah Murdoch and Michael Clarke, all three ‘Bonds ambassadors’, calling on them to dissociate themselves from the company which they have helped to promote, and also a letter to the company from a shareholder outraged at what she saw as a betrayal.
There is video footage of the rally on YouTube:

and

For more on the campaign and issues, see:
http://www.MakeitHere.com.au

and:

http://www.tcfua.org.au/

Other reports:

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0903/S00066.htm

http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/actu-launches-action-to-save-jobs-20090303-8n69.html

http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,25141687-5006301,00.html

http://www.theage.com.au/national/hundreds-rally-over-pacific-brands-job-cuts-20090305-8p05.html?page=-1

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25141687-661,00.html

Some of the sacked workers

Some of the sacked workers

Michele O'Neil addressing the rally

Michele O'Neil addressing the rally

ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence

ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence

Bill Noonan, VIC/TAS Branch Secretary of Transport Workers Union

Bill Noonan, VIC/TAS Branch Secretary of Transport Workers Union

ETU members were among a range of unions represented

ETU members were among a range of unions represented