Bust the Budget Rally and March – 6 July 2014

Child with homemade placard - Save Peppa Pig

An extraordinary diversity of protests and protesters marked this, the third Bust the Budget rally in Melbourne. Asylum Seekers, the ABC, Unions, Climate Change, Medicare, Education … the list goes on. Also pronounced was the anger against Tony Abbott and resentment at his departures from pre-election statements and promises, as the selection below may indicate.Total numbers were hard to gauge – as The Age reports, figures from twelve to twenty thousand were being quoted – but they were at least comparable to the earlier protests, and that in spite of the weather and the timing (in the middle of the school holidays). Some idea of the overall size can be got, however, from the fact that the march up St Kilda Road from the rally location opposite the Arts Centre took just over twenty minutes to pass a single point (continuous video of this stage of the march is in preparation and should be available in the next day or so, by way of confirmation).[Video added 7 July.] Apart from the new starting point, the event took the traditional form: rally with speeches followed by a march through the CBD, ending at Parliament House with more speeches. These divisions are loosely followed in the photos below, but first a few overviews:
At the start -

Also at the start

Part of the rally

Another view

On the March -

Head of march coming up Bourke Street

March arriving at Parliament House

Final rally at Parliament House (the rain that had held off until now prompted a quick unfurling of brollies) -

Looking over head and brollies towards Parliament House

From the rally at Queen Victoria Gardens -

A selection of placards targeting Tony Abbott (some captured during the march)-

The March sets off –

Peppa Pig leads march up St Kilda Road

From the March (rather few, but see forthcoming video for full coverage) -

A few more from the end -

Woman sitting on kerb with dog

Resting at the end

Baby Boomers for Climate Change Action - placard spotted at Parliament House

Spotted at the end

Woman cradling small dog

Another dog getting a deserved rest

‘March in March’ – the Melbourne Rally and March, 16 March 2014

Melbourne responded to the callout (see http://marchinmarchaustralia.org/ and the Melbourne march Facebook page) with one of the largest rallies since the 2003 protests against the war in Iraq. Figures varied widely, as usual, but we are rather inclined to the upper end of the claims, or towards 50,000. It was also one of the most varied, and in recognition of this we are posting the largest selection of images so far on this site for one event. There is also a choice of thumbnail/gallery or slideshow, the latter comprising lower resolution copies. It may be in order to post a few separately:

Part of crowd at start of rally

A very small part of the rally at the State Library

Black and red flag

The holder of this flag told us it was 45 years old – dating back to moratorium days

Placard in German - 'These crimes, your blame'

International contribution

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Farmers against Fracking – march and rally 18 August 2013

The country came to the city on Sunday 18 August as part of the campaign against plans to extract coal seam gas in Victoria, risking the destruction of prime agricultural land in the process.
Here is part of a report circulated by Quit Coal, which helped organise the event (see also the Facebook event page):

…here’s the low-down of what happened – hundreds of farmers and locals from Gippsland and rural Victoria descended on Melbourne, joining their city supporters to march the streets. Colour, costume, chanting and tunes were a-plenty as the protesters, led by the Riff Raff Radical marching band, passionately paraded, demanding a total ban on all new coal and unconventional gas projects in Victoria. MC Rod Quantock kicked things off at the State Library before speeches from Gippsland locals, including beef farmer Tanya Brown and Seaspray primary school teacher Kirra Boulton.

A 10,000 signature petition was then presented to Greg Barber MLC, who is tabling it in Parliament today. We got some great media coverage on ABC and Channel 7 news, multiple radio stations, ABC online and importantly in local Gippsland media!* In fact, our voices were even too loud for Energy and Resources Minister, Nick Kotsiras, to ignore. In response to the rally, he promised he would undertake extensive community consultations before making a decision on lifting the current moratorium on fracking in Victoria. This means that the moratorium may remain in place for months to come, giving us a crucial window to build mass awareness, momentum and pressure both in the city and in regional Victoria.

Sunday marked a massive step forward for the growing Australia-wide movement against the expansion of coal and gas mining. It brought the issue close to home for city dwellers, raising awareness that this is not just an issue affecting locals who live close to mine sites, but that techniques like fracking pose great risk of contaminating Melbourne’s water and food supply, not to mention the broader impacts that coal and gas mining have on climate change.

*See also http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/article/2013/08/19/579926_politics-news.html

This YouTube features the march in the rain up Swanston Street from the old City Square to the State Library, and excerpts from the speeches delivered by representatives of the farming communities, Quit Coal, and Greens MLC Greg Barber:

Going Backwards under Baillieu – protest at Parliament House, Melbourne, 13 November 2011

Environmentalists gathered at Parliament House to protest at the Baillieu government’s retrogressive policies, symbolised by a backwards march down Spring Street to the Treasury Gardens, where they were welcomed by members of Occupy Melbourne. Before setting off, they heard speakers including Mark Wakeham of Environment Victoria, one of the groups organising the event, along with the Victorian National Parks Association, The Wilderness Society, and Friends of the Earth; Kate Tubbs, Bacchus Marsh teacher and farmer defending her farm from coal-mining;Luke Chamberlain, Victorian Forest Campaigner, The Wilderness Society; Cam Walker, Campaigns Coordinator, Friends of the Earth; and Matt Ruchel, Executive Director, Victorian National Parks Association. There is a report by Takver on Melbourne Indymedia and photos on the FoE Flickr Photostream. See also http://www.melbourne.foe.org.au/?q=node/1024 and http://www.environmentvictoria.org.au/media/backwards-march-urges-baillieu-government-change-direction-environment

Mark Wakeham began proceedings by listing the ‘shocking decisions’ the Baillieu government
had made, inviting the rally to ‘vote’ by boos to select the worst. The list ranged form the return of cows to the Alpine National Park, support and approval for the new HRL coal-fired power station, through extending the duck hunting season, logging the habitat of endangered species, imposing crippling restrictions on the building of wind farms, and so on and so on. See further http://www.environmentvictoria.org.au/blog/posts/baillieu-government

Kate Tubbs recounted how there had been no objections to the mining exploration at Bacchus Marsh, simply because no-one in the are had known anything about it: “There are 29000 people in the Moorabool shire, and not one person objected against this exploration licence, because we did not know it was happening… The stealth stunned us. I was the first one to find out because they actually needed to come on to our land and I had refused…” (See article in The Age and Moorabool environment group website)

Cam Walker discussed the government’s wrecking of the wind energy program in Victoria. Wind energy was one of ‘only two so-called environment policies which the Coalition had brought to the last election, and they had implemented it in its entirety, which was entirely bad news for Victoria. He saw it as clearly based on political deals and ideology and not on common sense, not on good science and certainly not on best practice management of anything. (There is a detailed analysis of the implications of the Baillieu government’s wind energy policies on the FoE website – What is the real cost of Ted Baillieu’s wind energy policy? ) He was loudly applauded when he said that under the Baillieu government’s policies we would have no more community wind farms, and for his own part, he would rather a community cooperative owned his energy and sold it to him rather than International Power down at Hazlewood…

Matt Ruchel stressed Victoria’s unique richness in terrestrial and marine species ‘but it’s also one of the most stressed places in Australia’. Many scientific reports over the last 20 years had shown that Victoria had a high number of threatened species, with very little native vegetation left compared with other places around the country. ‘But what we’ve seen in the last 12 months is a real concerning trend – the first act almost of the Baillieu government when they came to power was to essentially sneak cattle back into the Alpine National Park in January last year’ [subsequently blocked by the federal government]. He went on to list massive expansion into the green Wedges -‘the lungs of Melbourne, but also some of the last remaining areas of grassland, the most endangered ecosystem in the country’ with as little as 1% left; attacks on the national parks, emending red gum legislation and abolishing the ban on collecting firewood. See further http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-09-22/anger-over-firewood-collection-plan/2911004 and generally on the VPNA website.

Luke Chamberlain dealt with the government’s record in the forests: ‘About two months ago .. the Baillieu state government, through its logging apparatus VicForests, sent the bulldozers into Leadbeater’s [possum] habitat (http://leadbeaters.org.au/)and started trashing the forest at Sylvia Creek outside Toolangi (loud boos). (See eg report in Green Left Weekly). These forests, he said, were special, they were the last home for a myriad of endangered species, this particular area was one the small amount of forest that did not get burnt during the 2009 fires … See more on the website of the Wilderness society and here.

Excerpts from the speeches on YouTube:

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 -