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
`
Members of the Radical Choir
`
Another shot of members of the choir
`
The Radical Choir singing beside the barrel
`
Izzy

MC Ollie
`
Madeline Hudson as No Nukes Calamity Jane
`
Occupy Melbourne banner in foreground, Ollie and Izzy plus Mr Death puppet
`
Same as preceding
`
Mr Death puppet lying on back
Mr Death puppet with JFP placard
`
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
`
As previous
`
Cat Beaton from the Environment Centre NT with elders
`
Arabunna elder Peter Watts
`
Lining up for the cameras before going in:
`
Elders and protesters with placard - Greed unlimited
`
Elders, placards read Human Rights are not for sale
`
Heading in:
Group of elders and supporters heading for main entrance
`
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…
`
Uncle Kevin’s credentials checked:
`
Uncle Kevin shows his papers to police at door
`
Same for Peter Watts:
`
Peter Watts checked by police at entrance

By contrast:

Delegates in suits ushered in unchecked
`
……

It was mid-afternoon before the elders and supporters re-emerged:
`
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).
`
More photos from the protest:
`
bhp billions banner
Cristian, Peter Watts end others with LASNET banner
`
Assembled protesters
`
Protester in 'protective suit' with danger signs
Notice from police
`
Chalked message on pavement - ends Listen to Uncle Kev
`
More of Uncle Kevin:
`
Uncle Kevin speaking
Same
`
With LASNET banner
With Aborginal flag
`
Protesters and elders line up at the end:
`
Lineup in front of barrel
`
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:

`

`
Another speaker was Arrernte activist, artist and writer Mitch from Alice Springs:
`

`
Darcy Harris from Western Australia:
`

`
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:

Picket at BHP Billiton Melbourne office – 16 November

LASNET and other banners outside BHP Billiton office

Protests were held today in several centres across the country to mark BHP Billiton’s AGM in Perth. In Melbourne, members of Friends of the Earth ACE collective and activists representing the Indigenous peoples of Latin America held banners outside the company headquarters in Lonsdale Street and distributed pamphlets setting out the case against it. Probably not many of those who took the pamphlets in Melbourne would have been shareholders, but any that were were encouraged to contact BHP Shareholders for Social Responsibility to support a resolution calling for the company ‘to improve its environmental and social performance’ (email: bhpethical/at/green.net.au). Otherwise, the pamphlet contained information on issues relating to human rights abuses and labour rights, mistreatment of Indigenous Peoples, water, radioactive waste, nuclear weapons proliferation, racism and injustice regarding the company’s operations at Roxby Downs, and more, ending with an extract from a speech by Arabunna Elder Uncle Kevin Buzacott “Here you are, BHP, the biggest mining company in the world, and here we are, the oldest peoples in the world. You should be listening to us …”

A passer-by takes pamphlet

International Day Against Multinational Corporations – 22 July 2010

 Joanne Dateransi from Bougainville speaking at State Library

Joanne Dateransi from Bougainville was one of the speakers at a rally organised by LASNET at the State Library of Victoria as part of a worldwide day of protests against the ever-growing pernicious influence of multinational companies. She spoke chiefly about the history of mining giant Rio Tinto’s operations, and opposition to attempts by the company to resume mining. Other speakers included Jessica Harrison of GM Cropwatch, who focussed on Monsanto and especially the insidious spread of GM crops such as canola in Australia, Marisol Salinas of Friends of the Earth and LASNET, who presented anti-Coke campaigner Michael from Colombia, who as unable to attend in person, and Madeline Hudson from FoE’s Anti-Nuclear and Clean Energy (ACE) Campaign, who targetted the uranium mining programs of the world’s largest mining company, BHP Billiton. After the speeches at the State Library there was a move by some to the Melbourne headquarters of BHP Billiton, where passers-by were offered information leaflets from FoE, and some were able to watch attempts to clean up an accidental spill of lurid green ‘radioactive waste’.

Here is part of the callout from LASNET:

Rally: International Day Against Multinational Corporations

When: Thursday, 22nd July, 12midday – 1.30pm
Where: State Library, Melbourne

………………..

Corporations around the world act as a law unto their own. We see this
play out in our myriad struggles. Many people are continuing the fight
against the domination corporations exercise over peoples’ lives, and we
ask that you join us on this day to take a public stand against… the
devastation these amoral corporations are inflicting on us and other
oppressed peoples.

Multinational Corporations act only to benefit the privileged few at the
expense of the majority; to reinforce exploitation of poor people, smash
unionism and undermine workers rights, terrorism and murder union
activists, displace and assimilating Indigenous communities, and trash our
natural resources and environment.

The well-documented crimes of corporations such as BHP, Rio Tinto, Barrick
Gold, Coca-Cola, Fonterra, Chiquita Brand, Monsanto, Drummond, Nestle, and
BP is hardly complete; nevertheless, will be a focus of LASNET in
illustrating the multitude of corporate crimes occurring globally, as the
Solidarity delegation visiting Colombia at the moment will do next
Thursday 22 with Colombian workers in Colombia, check a video about them
in our web on http://www.latinlasnet.org/node/371.

We acknowledge, and support, the proliferation of local struggles for
workers rights/community power, autonomy and self-management, for freedom
from corporate domination and devastation. We see this event as one of
many actions we will be undertaking, and we are currently in the process
of organising a ‘Latin American, Australian & Asia Pacific Solidarity
Gathering’ to occur on October 15-17, 2010 in Melbourne. We invite you to
both attend this rally on July 22 and further to assist us in the
organising of our October Gathering.

Facebook event here

If you love life, don’t drink Coca-Cola products!

Other links:

http://www.geneethics.org/
http://www.madge.org.au/
http://www.non-gm-farmers.com/

http://www.acecollective.org/

More photos:

Jessica Harrison speaking

Jessica Harrison

Madeline Hudson speaking

Madeline Hudson

'Skeleton' with umbrella in conversation with police officer at State Library

Untitled

At BHP Billiton headquarters:

Anti-nuclear banner outside building

At BHP Billiton head office

'Skeleton' again, still with umbrella

Untitled 2

Protester dressed as drum of nuclear waste

Nuclear waste is an accident waiting to happen...

The scene after the 'spill'

The accident happened ...

Video in preparation.

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

23 July – video now available on EngageMedia:

Part 1

Part 2