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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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.

Stop Logging Victoria’s Native Forests – Bourke Street Mall 20 December 2013

Another chanced-upon protest, this time organised by The Wilderness Society Victoria and designed to catch the lunchtime bedlam outside the old GPO in the Bourke Street Mall:

Shoppers and others attracted by banner- Stop Logging etc

A leaflet handed to shoppers and other passers-by gave the background under the heading ” Logging Victoria’s Native Forests Doesn’t Make Cents”:

The leaflet
(Click on image to enlarge.)

Especially catching attention were representatives of two of the species most threatened by logging:

Protesters in owl and possum costume

Protesters in owl and possum costumes

The protest action had been advertised on the Wilderness Society Facebook page

No Coal Exports Rally – 10 December 2013

View of protest from top of Bourke Street

Environment Victoria called a rally to protest at plans to extend Victoria’s highly polluting brown coal industry:

WHAT: Rally to say no to a polluting new coal export industry for Victoria

WHEN: 1:00-1:45pm, Tuesday, 10 December

WHERE: Steps of Parliament House, cnr Bourke and Spring Sts

WHY: The Victorian government is on the verge of allocating billions of tonnes of brown coal to the coal industry to kick-start a polluting new coal export industry.

Instead of squeezing the last drops out of a polluting resource, we want clean, safe energy, for a clean, safe climate. So let’s tell the government we don’t want to be part of the problem.

Join us with Friends of the Earth Australia, Quit Coal, Australian Youth Climate Coalition, 350.org Australia on the steps of Parliament House, Tuesday 10 December to say no to brown coal allocations and brown coal exports.

Confusion surrounding train timetables meant we missed the first half hour of the forty-five minute rally, but we were able at least to catch the moment when the “no” slogan on the placards lining the steps of Parliament House was switched to the “yes” one for renewables:

Placards spelling "No Coal Allocation"

Became:

Placards spelling "Yes to Renewable"

There is more background to the issue on the Protect Victoria page of the Environment Victoria website:

[...]

The Victorian and Federal governments have each committed half of a $90 million pool of money to support new coal projects in Victoria. It’s called the Advanced Lignite Demonstration Program (ALDP), and already coal companies are lining up around the block to get their hands on it. From what has been reported in the media , it’s clear that the companies putting up their hand for taxpayer subsidies are all interested in coal exports.

At the same time, the Napthine Government is considering allocating another 13 billion tonnes of coal to prospective miners in the Latrobe Valley . This would be bad news for our environment, the community and the diversity of the Latrobe Valley economy. We’ve successfully delayed the allocation twice, but the government has announced that they will make a decision on whether to proceed or not by the end of the year.

Previous government allocations have promised the earth in jobs and investment but delivered nothing. And yet the Victorian Government now wants to do it all over again.

If it goes ahead, the impact on our state will be devastating.

Up to 33 billion tonnes of brown coal could be handed over to coal companies to be dug up, hauled by trucks and trains across the state, and shipped from new ports in protected marine zones to China and India where it would ultimately be burnt.

[...]

More photos from the rally:

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: