Picket at Office of Victorian Energy and Resources Minister Peter Batchelor – 29 March 2010

Anti-Coal banners outside the office

The day before Peter Batchelor was due to attend the Victorian Coal and Energy Conference (a three thousand dollar a head event), Melb Uni Climate Action Working Group (CAWG) called a picket of the minister’s office at 1 Spring Street. There is an extensive report by Takver on Melbourne Indymedia, including links to photos and videos on YouTube. Numbers were small, but drawn from a range of activist groups, reflected in the list of speakers: Brian Walters, The Greens; Jake (not Peter Marshal as advertised), United Firefighters Union; Dr. Jim Green and Madeline Hudson, Anti-nuclear and Clean Energy Campaign, Friends Of the Earth; Mark Ogge, Beyond Zero Emissions; Chris Breen, Solar Systems Campaign; and Damien Lawson, Victorian Climate Action Centre:

Damien Lawson making a point

The following day saw further action at the conference itself, with two protesters arrested and charged with trespass after managing to infiltrate the meeting and disrupt proceedings – see reports on Melbourne Indymedia here and here.

Links:

http://www.melbourne.foe.org.au/?q=an/home

http://beyondzeroemissions.org/

http://savesolarsystems.wordpress.com/

http://www.climateactioncentre.org/

To view roughly edited footage of the picket, click on the thumbnails below:

Click on image to view video - Part 1

Click on image to view video - Part 2

Earth Hour vigil at office of Energy Minister Martin Ferguson – 28 March

Outside Martin Ferguson's office

Darebin Climate Action Now (http://darebincan.wordpress.com/) with support from the Friends of the Earth ACE anti-nuclear and clean energy collective (http://www.melbourne.foe.org.au/?q=an/home) held a ‘candle-light’ vigil outside the office of Energy and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson to mark the nation- and world-wide Earth Hour (http://www.earthhour.org.au/). Among speakers were Jenny McCracken, making the case for a vegetarian/vegan diet to combat climate change, and Carol Ride, also from DCAN, calling for the replacement of the ‘Minister for Dirty Coal':

Carol with 'No Minister for Dirty Coal' stop sign

with a ‘Minister for 100% Renewables':

Anti-Ferguson placards and 'Minister for 100% Renewables' sign

The reverse of the sign in the previous image

For more on this event and the campaign generally, see the DCAN site – http://darebincan.wordpress.com/ – and the Fow ACE collective meets every Wednesday at 6.30pm at the Friends of the Earth office, 312 Smith St, Collingwood, for those who happen to be in Melbourne ….

Ban Duck Shooting! – the Duck Army mobilizes at Parliament House, Sunday 14 March

Ducks and protesters line steps of Parliament House

Ducks and protesters line steps of Parliament House

With the start of the new duck killing season only a week away, opponents of the slaughter of native birds in the name of sport lined the steps of Parliament House on Sunday to condemn the Brumby Government’s decision not only to allow the season to go ahead, but even to increase the allowed catch – this in spite of overwhelming opposition from within the community and the ALP itself, not to mention the near-catastophic drop in bird populations after years of drought.

The callout was issued by the newly-formed ‘Duck Army’, an initiative of teenagers Jack Styles and Clementine Round (who joined the duck rescue team in 2009 and saw first-hand what recreational shooting entails for the birds on the receiving end), but there was a wide range of ages in the 100 or so who held placards and shouted slogans along the lines of “What do we want? Native birds. When do we want them? Forever.” and, perhaps inevitably, “”All we are saying, Is give ducks a chance…”
(On the matter of numbers – it was announced at the start that quite a few who had RSVP’d that they would be attending were held up by public transport problems …)

Protester of various ages on steps, plus dog

And in spite of the evident hostility towards Premier John Brumby, it was by no means self-evident that this was a Liberal-dominated action, as some have apparently assumed, judging from comments on the Duck Army Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Melbourne-Australia/DUCK-ARM-Y/306316356363

Anti-Brumby placard

One of several variations on the theme

The callout appeared on various sites, including Animal Australia’s Unleashed site (http://www.unleashed.org.au/community/forum/topic.php?t=1415):

HI everyone
i will be running a protest in a few weeks against duck shooting

its is not with an organisation but we have support from many organisations around the state including WILDLIFE VICTORIA and ALV.

WE ARE AIMING TO HAVE 100 PEOPLE IN ATTENDANCE I KNOW HIGH BUT FINGERS CROSSED SO PLEASE COME WE NEED YOU AND BRING EVERYONE YOU KNOW

THE DUCK ARMY(my new group) IS A GROUP OF YOUNG PEOPLE WHO WANT TO STOP THE BRUTALITY AGAINST NATIVE WATERBIRDS.
WE COME IN PEACE BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP

JOIN THE PUBLIC PROTEST!!!
11AM -12PMSUNDAY 14 MARCH 2010
STEPS OF VICTORIAN PARLIAMENT SPRING STREET MELBOURNE

A MEDIA EVENT WITH A TWIST…..
EMAIL ME OR WRITE ON MY WALL

duck.army@hotmail.com
SEARCH FOR US ON FACEBOOK : DUCK ARM-Y

THE SHOOTERS RELY ON WEAPONS THE DUCK ARMY RELY ON THE FACTS

This was from Jack, who addressed the protest via megaphone:

Jack with megaphone

and the PA:

Jack addressing the protest from the steps

His colleague Clementine also spoke, making the case from the point of view of the birds, while Jack concentrated on the environmental and political aspects (texts of the speeches should appear soon on the Duck Army website, but the gist of the arguments is already there and also on the website of the Coalition Against Duck Shooting – http://www.duck.org.au):

Clementine at the microphone

Another speaker was Elizabeth Anile from Australian Teens against Animal Cruelty:

Elizabeth Anile at the microphone, Jack and Clementine behind her

The rally was very well prepared, with placards and posters, aids to contacting Premier Brumby, and of course, rows of rubber ducks ready to line the steps:

Jack and Clementine with some of the ducks

Tear-off strips with Premier's email address

Many wore Duck Army t-shirts:

Back of t-shirt - 'Don't turn your back on the slaughter'

More placards:

Placards on the steps

Young protester with placard - stop killing our future

The Coalition Against Duck Shooting is calling as usual for volunteers to help rescue injured birds and collect evidence of illegal killing of protected species etc – see http://www.duck.org.au

Open Air Film Night at Martin Ferguson’s electorate office – 11 March

Film projected on wall of Martin Ferguson's office

Ferguson Film Night

Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson’s announcement on 23 February of plans to dump nuclear waste at Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory in spite of opposition from a range of traditional owners triggered immediate protests, including one by FoE’s ACE collective on Friday 26th. A further action took the form of an open air film night outside his electorate office, with films projected on a makeshift screen on the side wall.

Close view of screen and placards

The ‘audience’, meanwhile, made themselves comfortable on the footpath opposite:

Watching the film from the footpath opposite

Another view of the 'cinema'

As well as the screen, the area around the office was dotted with banners and drums marked “Radioactive Waste”, and there was a huge banner on the wall:

Banner and placards surround the office

Not to mention a field kitchen ….

The following statement was issued by Friends of the Earth Australia:

FEBRUARY 23, 2010
FERGUSON DUMPING ELECTION PROMISES

Federal resources minister Martin Ferguson’s announcement that he will pursue plans for a national nuclear waste dump at the Muckaty site, north of Tennant Creek in the NT, continues the shabby and unfair process set in train by the Howard government.

Mr Ferguson’s media release falsely claims that the nomination of the Muckaty site has the support of the Ngapa Traditional Owners. He well knows that many Ngapa Traditional Owners oppose the dump; for example he was sent a letter opposing the dump in May 2009 signed by by 25 Ngapa Traditional Owners and 32 Traditional Owners from other Muckaty groups (the letter is posted at ).

Mr Ferguson is also well aware of the unanimous resolution passed by the NT Labor Conference in April 2008 which called on the federal government to exclude Muckaty on the grounds that the nomination “was not made with the full and informed consent of all Traditional Owners and affected people and as such does not comply with the Aboriginal Land Rights Act”.

Mr Ferguson should redress the glaring conflict of interest whereby Land Councils are meant to represent Traditional Owners yet stand to profit if they can persuade Traditional Owners to host a dump.

His comments linking the dump to nuclear medicine are disingeuous. The ongoing practice of nuclear medicine is in no way dependent on securing a dump site anywhere let alone pursuing the hotly-contested Muckaty nomination. Only 10-20% of the waste arises from nuclear medicine.

Mr Ferguson’s claims that it is low-level waste and that it will be safely buried are false. Measured by radioactivity, over 90% of the waste comes from the overseas reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from Lucas Heights nuclear research reactors. This long-lived intermediate-level nuclear waste (LLILW) will be stored above ground adjacent to the dump site. This ‘interim’ above-ground storage could last for decades or centuries since the government has made no progress establishing a deep underground repository for LLILW.

Mr Ferguson’s handling of the issue has been highly secretive – a clear breach of Labor’s 2007 election promise to handle the issue in a transparent and accountable manner. He says he intends to consult after announcing a dump site. But that is not consultation – it is an insult.

None of the sites under consideration in the NT was short-listed when scientific and environmental criteria were used by the federal government’s Bureau of Resource Sciences to assess alternative sites around in Australia for a radioactive waste repository in the 1990s. The NT was selected on purely political grounds, just as NSW was excluded on purely political grounds.

Mr Ferguson should repeal the nomination of the Muckaty site and start from scratch with an inquiry into all the options available for managing Australia’s radioactive waste, including the option of ongoing storage at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor site – the source of most of the waste and most of Australia’s radioactive waste management expertise. Mr Ferguson’s department, the Lucas Heights nuclear agency ANSTO, the regulator ARPANSA, and the Australian Nuclear Association have all said that waste can continue to be stored at Lucas Heights.

More information: http://www.foe.org.au/anti-nuclear/issues/oz/nontdump

See also Beyond Nuclear Initiative

Save Live Australian Music – SLAM – march and rally 23 February 2010

Banner at State Library - warning to Premier Brumby ...

John Brumby placed on notice

This massive protest against the effects on live music venues of the Victorian State Government’s hamfisted attempt to crack down on alcohol-related violence has been widely reported already both in the mainstream and independent media, and at this late date there seems no point in duplicating what has been posted elsewhere. (See for example, Melbourne Indymedia , The Vine, and the event website.)
For background, there is an interview with two of the organisers, Quincy McLean and Helen Marcou, on The Vine, and more background at Infinite Entertainment, as well as on the SLAM website.
An article in The Shout describes the Brumby government backdown immediately before the rally, and the proposed Live Music Accord can be downloaded here.
See also Music Doesn’t Make You Violent

Several videos have been posted on YouTube, including one by Paul Drane, who made the original AC/DC music clip 34 years ago which was ‘recreated’ as part of the event (http://www.youtube.com/v/kliM2RLz4UA); there are links to this and others on the SLAM site, as well as to photos on Flickr.

There is also a video of the event on EngageMedia.

MP3 files of the main speeches can be found on Melbourne Indymedia here and here.

Banner seen at end of rally - Repent your Dirty Deeds

Another warning?

Scenes from the march:

“It’s a long way to the top…” at Parliament House:

Speeches at Parliament House:

Speeches ctd: