No More Fukushimas! – Vigil 11 March 2014

To mark the third anniversary of the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Nuclear Free Australia called a protest vigil at the old GPO on Bourke Street, Melbourne:
Banner on steps - Fukushima is Aus Uranium ...

The callout can be found here

It was a low key event, just a few banners and activists handing out leaflets, some of the time in the rain:

Protesters under umbrellas

It appeared that rather few of the passers-by were inclined to take the offered flyer: even in one case two young women who stopped long enough to take photos nevertheless turned it down. Needless to say there was no mainstream media coverage…

A few closeups:

Placard linkg Fukushima and Australian uranium

Placard - map of dispersal on caesium -137

Back of jacket worn by one person attending the protest

A few links that may be of interest:

An event organised in Melbourne shortly after the disaster was reported on this site here.

Updates on Fukushima can be found here.

Greenpeace have published videos telling the stories of some victims of the disaster here.

A photo essay by Kristian Laemmle-Ruff, son of IPPNW co-president Tilman Ruff, can be found here.

There is some footage of a rally and march held in Melbourne on the first anniversary here.

Friends of the Earth Anti-Nuclear and Clean Energy Collective was represented at the vigil. The ACE Facebook and web pages contain a wide range of material relating to the nuclear industry.

Protest at BHP Billiton AGM, Melbourne Conventions Centre, 17 November 2011

Protesters line up with banners and placards at entrance

Traditional owners and environmentalists descended on the Melbourne Convention Centre for the BHP Billiton AGM. Using proxies, some twenty Aboriginal elders and supporters gained access to the meeting, while others held a protest outside. Friends of the Earth and a collective of environment groups had prepared an ‘alternative’ annual report for the world’s biggest mining company, and copies were handed to shareholders – see BHP Billiton Watch where the report is available for download. The protest, against a backdrop of a giant inflatable radioactive waste drum and Mr Death puppet, was joined by members of Japanese for Peace, and was enlivened by music from the Radical Choir, hip-hop activists MC Ollie and Izzy, plus a visit from No Nuke Calamity Jane (aka Madeline Hudson):

Inflatable radioactive waste barrel
Tomohiro Matsuoka and JFP placard
JFP poster
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Members of the Radical Choir
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Another shot of members of the choir
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The Radical Choir singing beside the barrel
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Izzy

MC Ollie
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Madeline Hudson as No Nukes Calamity Jane
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Occupy Melbourne banner in foreground, Ollie and Izzy plus Mr Death puppet
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Same as preceding
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Mr Death puppet lying on back
Mr Death puppet with JFP placard
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Members of Japanese for Peace next to barrel
Member of JFP with anti-BHP placard

Elders gathering before entering the Centre:
Some of the elders with Kimberley defender Rodney Augustine
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As previous
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Cat Beaton from the Environment Centre NT with elders
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Arabunna elder Peter Watts
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Lining up for the cameras before going in:
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Elders and protesters with placard - Greed unlimited
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Elders, placards read Human Rights are not for sale
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Heading in:
Group of elders and supporters heading for main entrance
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Security at the immediate entrances to the Convention Centre was strict, though the initial strong police presence soon dwindled, and papers were carefully checked before some people were allowed in; others were apparently exempt from this…
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Uncle Kevin’s credentials checked:
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Uncle Kevin shows his papers to police at door
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Same for Peter Watts:
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Peter Watts checked by police at entrance

By contrast:

Delegates in suits ushered in unchecked
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……

It was mid-afternoon before the elders and supporters re-emerged:
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Some of the elders returning to the protest

Though Uncle Kevin and a few others had left earlier:Tully McIntyre of FoE and Tomohiro Matsuoka of JFP gave reports on what had been happening, followed by Uncle Kevin Buzzacott:

By all accounts reception of the traditional owners’ concerns was rude and dismissive, and this applied also to a visitor from Chile, Cristian Milla Curiñanco, here at the invitation of LASNET, who attempted to raise the matter of BHP Billiton’s record in his country (see video at end of this report).
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More photos from the protest:
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bhp billions banner
Cristian, Peter Watts end others with LASNET banner
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Assembled protesters
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Protester in 'protective suit' with danger signs
Notice from police
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Chalked message on pavement - ends Listen to Uncle Kev
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More of Uncle Kevin:
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Uncle Kevin speaking
Same
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With LASNET banner
With Aborginal flag
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Protesters and elders line up at the end:
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Lineup in front of barrel
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Elders and international representatives with flags and banners before barrel
………………………………

The previous evening, Friends of the Earth’s ACE Collective organised a public forum at Trades Hall with traditional owners and campaigners including Dave Sweeney of ACF and Mia Pepper from CCWA - see details on Facebook for this event. The forum was recorded and extracts are in preparation. The following is an address by Chilean activist Cristian Milla Curiñanco, who spoke in Spanish, here interpreted by Lucho Riquelme of LASNET:

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Another speaker was Arrernte activist, artist and writer Mitch from Alice Springs:
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Darcy Harris from Western Australia:
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Mia Pepper from the Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA) spoke about what has been happening in Western Australia and introduced the new BHP Alternative Annual Report, which was due to be distributed to shareholders at the AGM next day:

Occupy Melbourne ctd – Day 6 and march on BHP Billiton – 20 October 2011

Protesters lined up with banners and placards in front of BHP head office
(It would be advisable to visit the Occupy Melbourne website and related media for the current situation, which is unclear at time of writing …)

Added 8.25am Friday 21 October: according to an Occupy Melbourne media release, notice to leave was served this morning at 6.58am with a deadline of 9am. Melbourne Protests will not be able to get there in time, but no doubt others will…

While preparations for the march were under way there was some police activity in evidence: uniformed and plain clothes officers and even two gentlemen in white shirts, but no indication of imminent action against the occupation, in spite of claims in the tabloid press (eg Lord Mayor gives notice to Occupy Melbourne protesters Herald Sun October 20, 2011 10:59AM) This evening has seen a media release from the occupation:

MEDIA RELEASE – 5:30pm THURSDAY OCTOBER 20th 2011
Victoria Police Speak to OM Protestors
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Inspector Bernie Jackson of the Melbourne East police station this afternoon met with Occupy Melbourne protestors today to discuss a potential eviction scenario.

Jackson stressed that Victoria Police does not have the authority on its own to prosecute the eviction, and instead will wait for Melbourne City Council’s instructions on how to proceed.

Inspector Jackson said that once an eviction notice had been served, a “reasonable time” would be given for protestors to voluntarily vacate City Square. “Reasonable time will be given in hours, as in a number of hours,” said Jackson. He qualified: “it’s not going to be in the middle of the night.”

Inspector Jackson further discussed Victoria Police’s likely course of action should an eviction order be issued. When the police arrive on site, protestors will be again asked to leave voluntarily. Anyone who refuses to leave will be forcibly removed from City Square by police officers.

Inspector Jackson told the crowd that he was satisfied with the current state of relations between police and the Occupy Melbourne protestors.

Inspector Jackson’s statement will be discussed at the nightly General Assembly, to be held at 6pm this evening on the north side of City Square.

Jackson was challenged by a number of vocal members of the crowd, including Indigenous activist Robbie Thorpe.

Mr Thorpe asked Jackson: “If the by-laws [relating to the Summary Offences Act’s powers for eviction] relate to the Aboriginal people and if so, how?”

Inspector Jackson responded that the police force was required to follow the directions of the Melbourne City Council with regard to the eviction of protestors.

Mr Thorpe later told Occupy Melbourne’s media liaison team that any eviction notice served on the protestors is likely to be immediately challenged in the courts.

http://occupymelbourne.org/media-releases/

Plain clothes and uniformed police at the occupationWhite-collar police
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One protester made a valiant attempt to engage some of the police in a hug, but with no takers:
Protester offering free hugs to police

Otherwise, life appeared to be carrying on normally, with some taking a rather late breakfast (or early lunch):
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Dog in tent eating from plate

The march to BHP set off at a quick march, escorted by about ten police, to chants of ‘BHP BP Shell/ You can all/Go to hell’ and ‘System Change not Climate Change’ amongst others:
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March setting off led by anti-BHP banners
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Head of march - banner 'BHP Billiton undermining your future'
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Banner - 'Bloody Huge Profits'
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There were even more police waiting at the BHP Billiton offices:

Police at BHP office entranceLong line of uniformed police across BHP office frontage
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The protest was organised by Friends of the Earth ACE collective, who had managed to prevail upon Dr Death to attend, standing in for BHP CEO Marius Kloppers:
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Puppet skeleton with gleaming white skullPuppet skeleton with FoE ACE members
Madeline Hudson of FoE ACE read a message sent by Arabunna elder Uncle Kevin Buzzacott to the BHP shareholders at the AGM in London, calling on them to reverse the decision to expand the Olympic Dam mine and instead spend their money on something better, and later wrapped up the protest with a rendering of ‘Eat the Rich’ in her character of No-Nukes Calamity Jane:
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Madeline Hudson speakingMadeline as No-Nukes Calamity Jane

Jim Green from Friends of the Earth and Dave Sweeney of the Australian Conservation Foundation also spoke, the latter quoting from a letter sent by Yvonne Margarula of the Mirrar people to UN secretary-general Ban ki-Moon after the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant – fuelled with uranium from Mirrar traditional lands (the text of this letter can be read here). There were also brief addresses from Ben Courtice, Friends of the Earth Renewable Energy Campaigner, Lucho from LASNET, regarding the activities of mining companies in Colombia and Chile, and Susannah, on the proposed gas hub in the Kimberley (see earlier posts on this site, eg here):
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Susannah addressing the protest
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Jim Green speakingDave Sweeney speaking
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Dave Sweeney and protester occupying road
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There was yellow-cake on offer, and leaflets for passers-by:
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Handing out pieces of 'yellow-cake'Handing a leaflet to a passer-by
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The remaining photos are probably self-explanatory. BHP Billiton will be holding its Australian AGM in Melbourne on 17 November, and it will be surprising if there are not protests in Melbourne to mark that occasion also…

See also BHP Billiton Watch.

A shortened version of this report which appears on Melbourne Indymedia, includes two brief media clips that could not be posted here.
…………..

Aboriginal flag in front of BHP office main entrance
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Banner - BHP out of Colombia, Chile
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Reflection of protest in glass ceiling of foyer
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Toxic Traders - banner
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Placard linking BHP and Fukushima
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Puppet of skeleton with skullPuppet of skeleton with skull
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Banners at end of protest
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Another view of banners at end of protest
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Another view of final lineup
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Added 22 October: YouTube video by Jessie Boylan -

Protest as Martin Ferguson arrives at Growth Conference in Melbourne, 30 June 2011

Poster advertising the conference


The speakers list at a conference entitled ‘Growth Challenge – Riding the Resources Boom to Lasting Prosperity’ had been described as “A Who’s who that’s Screwing You” (callout on Melbourne Indymedia), but in the event it was only Energy and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson who attracted a concerted protest, courtesy of Friends of the Earth ACE collective, who brought Mr Nuke Death with them…

Large skeleton puppet with briefcase of money etc

But even with his ‘Martin Ferguson’ name tag he was refused admission:
Police bar entrance

The turnout for the protest would have to be described as disappointing – for some time there were more police than protesters, although numbers evened up with time. The accompanying video clips show the arrival of Greens Senator Christine Milne, and the hostile reception given to the Minister, as well as part of an address by Dr Jim Green of FoE, and some other snippets …(Jim and friends providing some lively music …)

A face in the crowd:

Protester wearing pig mask

Another face in the crowd:

Face made up with nuclear hazard sign around one eye

And a dog in the crowd:

Dog reaching up to owner

The following media release was issued by Friends of the Earth:

‘Dump Ferguson, not nuclear waste’

Anti-nuclear

30 JUNE 2011

MEDIA RELEASE

‘Economic and Social Outlook Conference 2011′
DUMP FERGUSON NOT NUCLEAR WASTE

Anti-nuclear activists from Friends of the Earth will join this morning’s protest outside the ‘Economic and Social Outlook Conference 2011′ at Melbourne University to voice concern against resources minister Martin Ferguson’s radioactive agenda.

FoE’s national nuclear campaigner Dr Jim Green said: “We hoped that the unfolding crisis at Fukushima would lead resources minister Martin Ferguson to reconsider his ill-informed pro-nuclear ideologies and plans. However his National Radioactive Waste Management Bill is scheduled to be debated in the Senate next week.

“The draft legislation is draconian, overriding all state laws and key Commonwealth laws. It facilitates the imposition of a nuclear waste dump on the land of Muckaty Traditional Owners despite ongoing opposition by many Traditional Owners and the NT Government. It beggars belief that Ferguson considers it appropriate to push ahead with his legislation while a Federal Court challenge against the nomination of the site, initiated by Traditional Owners, remains unresolved.

“Ferguson has consistently refused to meet Traditional Owners opposed to the nuclear dump plan. His behaviour has been disgraceful and he should be sacked.

“Ferguson should also be held to account for continuing to promote Australia’s uranium industry despite its role in the Fukushima disaster. The government and the uranium companies turned a blind eye to TEPCO’s pattern of safety breaches and data falsification and to its failure to properly address seismic and tsunami risks.

“Despite the hype, uranium accounts for a lousy 0.3% of Australia’s export revenue and an even lousier 0.03% of Australian jobs. The economic outlook for the industry has taken a nose-dive since Fukushima with Germany, Italy and Switzerland abandoning nuclear power in favour of renewables and many other countries rethinking plans to introduce or expand nuclear power.”

Friends of the Earth ACE website

“Jobs with Justice, not Work for Rations” – Anti-Intervention rally 4 March 2011


Melbourne’s Anti-Intervention Collective organised a protest under the banner “Jobs with Justice, not Work for Rations”. After speeches at the State Library there was a march down Swanston Street to Federation Square, where the stage was occupied for more speakers and the formal handing over of a petition for delivery to the CFMEU in the NT…
From MAIC:

From MAIC:

The Melbourne anti-Intervention Collective (MAIC) and its supporters will rally Friday at 5pm at the State Library in opposition to the government’s racist intervention into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.

MAIC spokesperson Liam Byrne said, “We will march today to support Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory who have been calling for an end to the Northern Territory Intervention for more than three years now. The Northern Territory Intervention is a racist project that has resulted in an apartheid system of discrimination and disadvantage becoming entrenched in the heart of Australia. Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory have seen no genuine improvements in standards of health care, housing or education and have had their rights stripped away. In particular, under the Community Development Employment Project (CDEP) scheme, some Aboriginal people work for as little as $4 per hour, and quarantining of welfare payments has resulted in even greater levels of poverty and hardship for communities.

Liam Byrne continued, “Since the Northern Territory Intervention began, the gap between the rights and living standards of Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal Australians has widened. Julia Gillard’s recent attempt to blame Aboriginal people for this disparity is a disgrace and an example of just how low she is prepared to go to defend her government’s complicity in this racist attack on the rights of Aboriginal people. Gillards’s comments also opened the gates to the appalling racism of Mal Brough, who last week called for draconian detention camps to be built outside Alice Springs to incarcerate Aboriginal people.”

Friday’s rally will condemn Gillard’s racism and demand equal pay, jobs with justice and equal rights for Aboriginal people.

Signatures to a petition from the Construction Forestry and Mining Union, calling on the Labor government to pay Aboriginal workers award wages and back pay Aboriginal workers who have been exploited under the CDEP scheme, will be presented to union representatives.

Robbie Thorpe at the State Library

Robbie Thorpe at the State Library

Long-time Aboriginal activist Robbie Thorpe provided a ‘Welcome to Country’ on behalf of the Wurundjeri people, about whom he asked – Victoria was a heavily populated area, but where now are the Wurundjeri people? ‘As rare as hens’ teeth.’ He called on people to ‘grow up’. ‘Why don’t we the people write out own constitution … decide who governs us and how?’

MOJO representative speaking

MOJO speaker

An unscheduled speaker was a representative of MOJO, in Australia as a guest of the MUA ‘a union that believes in fighting for social justice and human rights’. He said amongst other things that Australia had once helped lead the way towards democracy – noting the Eureka stockade and votes for women -but cases like that of Mr Ward demonstrated that htis democracy was really only a sham. He was interrupted for a time by an angry heckler apparently objecting to his being allowed to speak, but was enthusiastically welcomed by the rest of the crowd. (Note – this speaker was originally incorrectly identified here as Gerry Conlon of the “Guildford Four”. Apologies for the misunderstanding.)

Tim Gooden at the State Library

Tim Gooden at the State Library

Tim Gooden from Geelong Trades Hall Council talked about the Basics Card. He had seen a sticker in the Safeways saying the card was accepted there, but doubted that anyone in Geelong would know what it was about. But he had been in the NT last year and could say that it only serves one purpose, that is, to control people. ‘It doesn’t help with health, it doesn’t help with wealth distribution … ‘ He cited the case of two young women down from the territory visiting in Geelong and finding that the Basics card wasn’t accepted anywhere, was useless. ‘This is in a country where most people think that we’re equal … that we have a safe and secure welfare system that looks after everyone’s basic rights … Aboriginal people in this country today, under Australian laws … are treated as second class citizens, and are treated like shit.’

Sue Pennicuik at the State Library

Sue Pennicuik at the State Library

Sue Pennicuik of the Greens – The greens have always opposed the Intervention and want to see the Racial Discrimination Act restored and an end to welfare quarantining. ‘These measures are unjust, they’re discriminatory, they’re offensive, and they don’t work.’

Liam Byrne at the State Library

Liam Byrne at the State Library

Liam Byrne of MAIC – amongst other things in a rousing speech before the march set off, highlighted the millions of dollars spent on housing in the territory without a single house being built, and the contrast between the huge amounts paid to bureaucrats and the $4 or so per day being paid to Indigenous workers….

Also at the rally:

CFMEU flag at the rally

CFMEU flag at the rally

The crowd listening to Gerry Conlon

The crowd listening to Gerry Conlon

… and on the march:

Musicians on the march

Musicians on the march

The march halted briefly at the intersection of Bourke and Swanston:

The march occupies the intersecttion for a sitdown

Sitdown at Bourke and Swanston

… where Jenna from the Tiwi Islands described her experiences with the Basics card in Melbourne – see also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alDnl_1I2OE

Jenna speaking at the sitdown

At Federation Square:

Crowd at Federation Square

Another view of crowd at Federation Square

Another view, from the stage

Madeline Hudson from Friends of the Earth talked about the planned imposition of a nuclear waste dump on the people of Muckaty, something she saw as paralleling the Intervention. ‘The National Radioactive Waste Management Bill overrides all fundamental tenets of our so-called democracy – the Aboriginal Heritage Act, the Environment Protection Biodiversity Act, and of course it overrides state and territory laws that oppose it … Like the Intervention it is blatantly racist.’ (Read more about the Muckaty waste dump on FoE’s ACE website

Madeline Hudson from FoE

Finally, Jasmine Ali from MAIC hands over to Jacob Grech a petition with thousands of signatures calling for justice for Aboriginal CDEP workers. He undertook to pass it on to the CFMEU Construction division in the NT for delivery to the Senate….

Handing over the petition

Delivering ‘No Dump’ petition to Martin Ferguson’s office – 18 November 2010

Dave Sweeney holds petition with other campaigners alongside trailer

Since the Australian Conservation Foundation launched its campaign against the proposed nuclear waste dump at Muckaty in the Northern Territory some 2700 signatures have been collected on the ‘Dump the Dump’ petition. (See also report on this site for 26 July 2010.) Today, Dave Sweeney, ACF nuclear free campaigner, went to Energy and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson’s office to deliver the petition, accompanied by anti-nuclear activists including members of Friends of the Earth ACE collective, who brought a trailer loaded with drums of ‘radioactive waste’ to highlight the message. (See also Nuclear Freeways.)

The office was locked down, as seems to be the way when concerned citizens want to make contact with their Member of Parliament, and it took the good offices of a police officer to get the door opened. Even then only two people were admitted, and the door hastily closed to prevent others from following. There was also an elderly gentleman who arrived on some business to find the door locked, but he was informed his was a matter for the State member and redirected accordingly. It was not clear what would have happened otherwise. After a short while the two re-emerged, along with the accompanying police office, in proud possession of a hand-written receipt for the petition ‘addressed to Martin Ferguson’. Various plain-clothes AFP and others arrived in the meantime, but this also seems to be the way where Minister Ferguson is concerned…

Dave Sweeney poses with petition

Dave Sweeney poses with petition

Elderly gentleman tries to get in

Elderly gentleman tries to get in

Policeman tries to get him allowed in

Police come to his aid

Elderly gentleman, Dave Sweeney and police officer waiting outside

Waiting

Going in, folowed by police officer

Two are allowed in...

Staffer blocks entry

But only two ...

Staffer reaches across to close door. Dave Sweeney holds up petition inside office.

And no more.

They re-emerge, Dave Sweeney holding receipt

Out again...

Closeup of receipt

The receipt

Dave Sweeney and children pose on trailor

Posing for a few closing pics...

Rally to Replace ALL of Hazelwood – 6 November 2010

Several thousand people rallied on Saturday to demand the total closure of Hazelwood and protest at the Brumby government’s continued weakness in the face of the coal lobby. There are reports on Melbourne Indymedia, including links to a transcript of the speech of David Karoly, one of the speakers; on the website of Environment Victoria, which organised the event (see also the Hazelwood campaign website); and on the website of the Socialist Alternative, who had a large presence.

Apart from Professor Karoly and MC Victoria McKenzie-McHarg of Environment Victoria, the rally was addressed by Dean Bridgfoot of MASG ( Mount Alexander Sustainability Group)(see http://www.castlemaineindependent.org/category/climate-change/), which was one of the climate action groups around the state invited to create the eight tall ‘smoke stacks’ which were carried through the streets and finally toppled outside Parliament House by very loud popular demand, following an upbeat address by Cam Walker of Friends of the Earth. (FoE’s ACE (Anti-Nuclear and Clean Energy) collective also arranged for Federal Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson to be represented, along with his baby bottle … see photos below.)

Photos from the rally and march:

David Karoly speaking - Replace Hazelwood placard behind

Professor David Karoly

Victoria McKenzie-McHarg

Victoria McKenzie-McHarg of Environment Victoria

Dean Bridgfoot speaking

Dean Bridgfoot

'Green Monster' costume

The 'Green Monster' threatening the major parties...

Two of the 'smoke stacks' close

Closeup of two of the 'smoke stacks'

Kids leading the march

These three had a good time posing for the camera ...

Closeup of same kids

'Families facing Climate Change'

Banner of Doctors for the Environment Australia

Doctors for the Environment Australia http://www.dea.org.au/

'Martin Ferguson' with radioactive baby bottle - placard reads 'time to grow up...'

Martin Ferguson with his bottle ...

Personifications of renewable energy sources play ball with the earth, watched by 'Martin Ferguson'

He stops to watch renewable energy sources playing ball

Same as above, joined by 'coal man' representing Hazelwood

... and perhaps undergoes a conversion?

Clown on stilts - 'Stop clowning with brown coal'

The crowd at Parliament House - the 'smoke stracks' on steps

The 'smoke stacks' lined up on the steps of Parliament House

The stacks collapse

The people gave the word, and the smoke stacks collapsed...

Cam Walker speaking at Parliament House

Cam Walker of Friends of the Earth

The above photos and others in a slideshow on YouTube: