“Jobs with Justice” – Anti-Intervention Rally, 29 October 2010

Robbie Thorpe at the microphone

Robbie Thorpe

Rallies were held around Australia on Friday 29 October under the banner of ‘Jobs with Justice’ and an end to the Northern Territory Intervention (see http://jobswithjustice.wordpress.com/). The rally in Melbourne (see report on http://www.maicollective.blogspot.com/) ended with a sit-down at a major city intersection, bringing peak-hour traffic to a halt for over twenty minutes …

The rally began at the State Library, where Indigenous activist Sharon Firebrace introduced a series of speakers ranging from Gary Foley and Robbie Thorpe (pictured above) to Greens Federal MP Adam Bandt, Victorian Trades Hall President Kevin Bracken, Socialist Councillor Steve Jolly, David Glanz of the Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective, Colombian unionist Parmenio Poveda, , NTEU Indigenous Coordinator Adam Frogley, and Wurundjeri elder Ringo Terrick, who delivered a Welcome to Country.
Organisers, the Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective had good reason to be pleased with the turnout, estimated at around 500 at its peak, though as one speaker reminded the rally, there need to be vastly greater numbers on the streets if the aim of ending discrimination is to be achieved.

Links:

http://jobswithjustice.wordpress.com/

http://www.stoptheintervention.org/

http://www.maicollective.blogspot.com/

http://rollbacktheintervention.wordpress.com/

Photos from the rally and subsequent march and sit-down, mostly self-explanatory:

MAIC banner on statue at State Library

Socialist Party stall

Banner - If Sorry is what you mean, Dont' intervene

Part of the rally

Another view of rally

Ringo Terrick

Ringo

Adam Bandt speaking

Adam Bandt

Adam Bandt closeup

David Glanz speaking

David Glanz

Adam Frogley speaking

Adam Frogley

Adam Frogley close-up

Robbie Thorpe close-up

Robbie Thorpe

Parmenio Poveda of FENSUAGRO speaking

Parmenio Poveda

Steve Jolly speaking

Steve Jolly

Steve Jolly close-up

Kevin Bracken speaking

Kevin Bracken

Kevin Bracken close-up

Gary Foley speaking

Gary Foley

Gary Foley close-up

Banner and placards in the crowd

Banner leading the march - No Basics Card/Equal Rights/Workers Unite

The march down Swanston Street

Small dog on lead

Also on the march ...

Blocking the intersection

At Bourke and Swanston

The sit-down, another view

Another view

Another view of sit-down

As above

Push to Make Coal History – Northcote, 28 October 2010

Protesters with pushers outside Northcote Town Hall

To chants of “Coal, don’t dig it/ Leave it in the ground/ Time to get with it”, members and supporters of Darebin Climate Action Now marched from Northcote Town Hall to the office of local Labor MP Fiona Richardson to demand an end to the Brumby government’s pro-coal policies. They handed out leaflets calling on people to ‘Vote Climate’ in the upcoming election, and posing the question ‘Can we trust Labor on Climate?’, and also delivered a copy of Beyond Zero Emissions’ Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan to the office.

(The report of this action on Melbourne Indymedia includes a brief video – http://indymedia.org.au/2010/10/28/push-to-make-coal-history-northcote-28-october-2010)

Protesters on the march along High Street

Marching past shop front 'ImagineMe'

Just imagine...

Outside Fiona Richardson's office

After the protest there was a chance for some of youngest members to make friends:

Toddler patting small puppy

The leaflet:

Flier: Victoria has a dirty secret

DCAN plans a series of protests at Fiona Richardson’s office during November, in the lead up to the State Election:

PROTEST every WEDNESDAY morning in November up to election…..

DCAN are organising a series of protests outside Fiona Richardson’s office on Wednesday mornings to protest the double standards being pushed by the Brumby Government.

“Mr Brumby,

You want us to trust that you will take action on climate change this time. You hope we’ll be impressed by your offer to (maybe) close a quarter of Hazelwood power station, Australia’s dirtiest.

But you are offering $50 million of taxpayers money to open a new fossil fuel power station that would cancel out all the emissions saved.

If you were genuine, you would replace ALL of Hazelwood and not support the building of a new, dirty, coal power station.”

It’s clear that Brumby and hence Fiona Richardson are not serious about doing what needs to be done to deal with the threat of climate change. Their double standards and political weakness risk serious climate change impacts for us and especially our kids.

So, please join us in sending a message outside Fiona Richardson’s electoral office on every Wednesday morning in November leading up to the election from 8am to 9am. The first protest was great – with lots of support from people on their way to work! Come and give us hand on your way to work too…..

404 High St Northcote ( just north of Separation St)

* 3rd November
* 10th November
* 17th November
* 24th November

(From the DCAN website)

‘No New Coal, Fund renewable energy’ – protest at Premier’s office, Melbourne 18 October

Overview of rally

(A version of this report on Melbourne Indymedia includes mp3 audio files of the main speakers.)

Melbourne’s Cross Campus Environment Network (CCEN) organised a rally on Monday outside the office of Premier John Brumby in opposition to energy company HRL’s plans to build a new coal-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley. Apart from a range of speakers condemning the plan, in the interests of fair play they also invited a representative of the company to answer objections…

Dan Musil of CCEN, the Victorian branch of ASEN, the Australian Student Environment Network, was MC, and began proceedings by acknowledging Aboriginal sovereignty. He went on summarise the reasons for the protest, plans to build a new coal-fired power station at a time when much of the existing infrastructure was reaching then end of its life, and with both state and federal governments preparing to allocate large sums of taxpayers’ money towards the project. This would lock the country into dependency on coal for decades instead of investing in renewable energy sources.

First speaker was Victoria McKenzie-McHarg of Environment Victoria, who was both delighted to see so many people present, a sign of widespread community feeling against the project, but also disappointed that there should be a need to be there at all. Climate change was recognised around the world as one of the greatest challenges humanity had ever faced; we know what is happening, and that coal is the driving force. And yet we are facing the prospect of a new coal-fired power station in Victoria. She poured scorn on the idea that a power station pumping an additional 4.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year could be described as ‘clean’. The Environment Protection Agency had been overwhelmed by 4000 submissions from the public, the vast majority in opposition.
Victoria from Environment Victoria

After detailing the Brumby government’s involvement in the project, and the delays it had experienced, she went on to point out that ‘this power station, if it goes ahead, will wipe out any pollution cuts that we gain through Premier Brumby’s announcement to replace the equivalent of a quarter of Hazelwood Power Station, our dirtiest power station.’

Finally, with reference to the coming election, she suggested that not only could the people, the taxpayers, not afford this new power station, but neither could a government that was struggling to hold on the seats in inner-city Melbourne …

Next was Erland Howden of Greenpeace:

Erland from Greenpeace speaking

HRL and another 11 coal-fired power staions around the country were a threat to the clean, renewable-energy future that everyone present believed in. Taken together, these stations would be locking the country into 39 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions for the next 30 or more years, at the same time locking us out of a renewable-energy future. This was a failure of state and federal government. Another issue was the fact that the big 4 banks provided most of the finance for the existing coal-fired power stations, and are on the brink of providing the finance for these new ones – in fact using our money to finance this polluting form of power. Greenpeace had started a new campaign to stop these stations by cutting the finance – see http://www.greenpeace.org.au/climate/

Pablo Brait from Beyond Zero Emissions was the next speaker:

Pablo speaking

He echoed Victoria’s sentiments about the insanity of the station, seeing the project as a failure of leadership on the part of the state and federal governments alike, a failure of courage to stand up to the big polluters and to articulate the kind of future we need. He mentioned the proposal by the Bolivian government to set up a ‘climate crime tribunal’ similar to the International Criminal Court, to try business and government leaders ‘who either through action or inaction cause the climate crisis to worsen. Wouldn’t it be something if instead of us standing here protesting, with the police guarding us, we’d be standing here watching the police go into Brumby’s office and drag him away in handcuffs?’ [Loud applause] Preparing and funding of new coal-fired power stations would be pretty high up on a list of crimes that worsen the climate crisis. This decision was made all the worse because there are alternatives to coal – see http://beyondzeroemissions.org/zero-carbon-australia-2020 It was not only possible to supply all needs from renewable sources within 10 years, but doing so would also be good for jobs, would in fact double the number of people working in the energy sector – permanent jobs in addition to extra jobs in the construction stage – and still more in related manufacturing. Regarding the upcoming election, it was our task to ensure that the public are informed, and that no-one votes for a party or candidate who supports the HRL project.

“Carlo Collodi” from HRL introduced himself: ‘I’m here today to dispell the myth that you can’t polish a turd’ –

"Carlo' Collodi" with the 'clean-coal machine'

He expressed thanks to Premier Brumby for allowing him to demonstrate HRL’s coal cleaning machine in front of his office. ‘We at HRL are very good friends with Premier Brumby. In fact, so close we actually slept together last night. Now, some would call that legal prostitution [?]*; in the industry we call it lobbying.”

*[A reader of Melbourne Indymedia has suggested that what Carlo said was ‘political prostitution’, which certainly would make better sense.]

Here he demonstrated how ‘clean black coal’ comes out of the machine:

Removing 'clean black coal' from the machine

The coal-cleaning machine can be seen in action at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QK5O9O93-A

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Brian Walters speaking

Brian Walters of the Greens put the question, which are we going to choose, carrying on as we have done for the last fifty, sixty or a hundred years, an unsustainable future, or are we going to choose a sustainable, carbon-positive future which creates jobs and industry which could be the envy of the world? It was not leadership, to wait for the rest of the world to act and let our renewable jobs and industry go overseas. We need to retool our economy here in Victoria for the kind of future we want for our children and grandchildren.’Coal is perfectly clean … so long as it remains in the ground. There is no such thing as clean-coal power.’ This project was costing us not only a lot of money, it was costing us our future.

Last speaker was Jasmine Ali of the Melbourne University Climate Action Working Group:

Jasmine speaking

Climate change was not just an issue about future generations; the impact is wreaking havoc across the world – floods in Pakistan, fires in Russia were examples. The Australian government had done absolutely nothing, even expanding the very same technologies which had caused the problem. She raised the matter of the Solar Systems factory, the most advanced of its kind in Australia, which the Brumby government had been prepared to allow to go to waste for lack of investment capital rather than apply government funds to save it. At the federal level, since the election, all the measures that we know are needed had been quietly pushed into the background in favour of the one ‘solution’ of a carbon price, which was not going to stop the HRL plant going ahead. In this context it was encouraging that the ACTU had put a ban on the construction of a waste dump on Aboriginal land at Muckaty Station. This was an example of the way to go to stop construction of the project.

More photos:

Banners including 'Labor in the pocket of Big Coal'

Dan and Jasmine with banner 'Coal is a Dead End ...'

Members of Yarra Climate Action Now with placard

Greens placards

More placards, including No Desalination Plant!

Links:

CCEN – http://ccen.wordpress.com/
Environment Victoria – http://www.environmentvictoria.org.au/
Greenpeace Australia – http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/
Beyond Zero Emissions – http://beyondzeroemissions.org/
Greens Victoria – http://vic.greens.org.au/

Video from the action: