December 13 – Ferguson the “Fossil Fool” and other matters

So the break didn’t really happen. Last Friday, December 9th, there was the Occupy Melbourne Kids and Carers “Dare to Share” Teddy Bear Protest (http://indymedia.org.au/2011/12/10/occupy-melbournes-dare-to-share-teddy-bears-protest – video at end of this post); then on Saturday 10th there was the Tent Monsters’ (Re-)Occupation of Melbourne (http://indymedia.org.au/2011/12/11/tentmonster-parade-and-march-in-melbourne – see also at end of this post); on Monday Santa and his reindeer borrowed the 7-seater “Bikezilla” to bring the Quit Coal message to Christmas crowds in the Bourke Street Mall (http://quitcoal.org.au/blog/); and this morning Federal Energy Minister Martin Ferguson would have faced a picket at the Hilton Hotel on Wellington Parade if he had used the front entrance:

Protesters line up with 'no coal' and 'clean solar' placards outside hotel

The occasion was a meeting of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia which Minister Ferguson was to address. Failing contact with him, protesters handed leaflets to delegates arriving, where necessary blocking the path of vehicles to ensure their occupants got the message directly:

Delegates being handed leaflets after leaving their taxisCars stopped at the picket line

The protest was organised jointly by members of Climate Action Now groups from Darebin and Yarra living within the minister’s electorate of Batman.

Protesters with placards - 'Fossil Fool Martin' and 'All I want for Xmas is Big Solar'

Clean Solar placards on display

 'HRL' model emitting 'smoke'





Walmadan Country is Calling – Community Awareness Gathering, Northcote, 27 August 2011

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Following on from the very successful ‘Keep the Kimberley’ rally on August 14th, campaigners in Melbourne organised on Saturday what is planned to be the first of a series of awareness raising gatherings. Not a protest in the strict sense, perhaps, but part of the campaign and so included here. See the Walmadan Country is Calling Facebook page for details and other reports, including photos.

Footnote: campaigners in Ireland opposing a Shell refinery at Bellinaboy blockaded a road on Friday 26 August and dedicated this action as an act of solidarity with the community of Broome. See http://www.indymedia.ie/article/100410.

“Keep the Kimberley” – rally at State Library, Melbourne, 14 August 2011

View over rally, stage to left, sacred fire right

There was a marked difference in mainstream media attention towards the two Melbourne rallies on Sunday reported here: a veritable scrum at the one, seemingly total absence at this. Fortunately, organisers had put together apparently put together a team to collect photos and video, and a preview has already been posted via the event’s Facebook page. So this report is really only a supplement.

Perhaps as many as a thousand people attended in all, many having answered the call to

*COME DRESSED IN RED TO REPRESENT THE PINDAN (RED DIRT) OF THE REGION’S REMARKABLE TERRAIN, THE BLOOD OF THIS COUNTRY*

(From the callout.)

The red Save the Kimberley t-shirts sold out.

What the mainstream missed was a succession of inspiring speakers, singers – including veteran Shane Howard – and a finale from Dan Sultan and his band that had young and old dancing. And what is shaping up to be ‘bigger than the Franklin’.

Follow ‘Keep the Kimberley’ on Facebook

The video – see below – hopefully will give an idea of what was said, sung and done.
………………

“Welcome to Country” came from Wurundjeri Elder Ringo Terrick:
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Wurundjeri elder Ringo Terrick
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Broome musician Tanya Ransom and Liz Stringer from Melbourne sang:
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Tanya Ransom
Liz Stringer
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Munya Andrews, an Aboriginal barrister from the Kimberley was one of the speakers:
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Munya Andrews
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Kimberley Traditional Owner Neil McKenzie:
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Neil McKenzie

Shane Howard:
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Shane Howard
Shane Howard silent
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Two more speakers, Kevin Blatchford from Save The Kimberley and Felicity Wishart from the Wilderness Society:
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Kevin Blatchford speaking
Felicity Wishart speaking

MC was Nikki Ashby:

Nikki Ashby at the microphone
………………….

Round and about:
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Banners on back of information tents
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Message to Martin Ferguson to leave the Kimberley alone

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Sacred fire as centre of ring of people
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Closer view of people gathered aroung fire
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Closeup of fire
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Neil McKenzie stooping over fire

Neil McKenzie bathes himself in smoke from the fire before speaking


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Two young girls with Save the Kimberley placard
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Some - slightly older - campaigner sitting on the steps with placards
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Boy with skeleton design on jacket
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Aboriginal flag knitted patch on back of jacket
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Little girl dancing
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Another shot of little girl dancing
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Grown-ups dancing

………………….

Finally, photos of Dan Sultan and the band:
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Dan Sultan and band on stage
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Another shot of the band playing
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Guitarist closeup
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another of the same
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Yet another
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Drummer in foreground
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Another band member, seems amused?
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Dan Sultan introducing band members
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The band in full swing
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Closeup of Dan Sultan
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Another closeup
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Another
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Another

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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

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:

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)

Launch of Nuclear Freeways 2010 – 30 July, 2010

Dave Sweeney addressing the launch

Dave Sweeney, Nuclear Free campaigner with the Australian Conservation Foundation, was one of the speakers at the launch of Friends of the Earth Nuclear Freeways 2010. The site chosen was the Preston office of Energy and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson, currently driving plans for a nuclear waste dump at Muckaty in the Northern Territory against the wishes of Traditional Owners (see post for 26 July). Other speakers included Greens candidate for the seat of Batman Alex Bhathal, Sharon Firebrace, Socialist Alliance candidate for the Senate, and Dimity Hawkins, long term anti-nuclear campaigner and presently Campaign Director with ICANW. MC was Cat Beaton of Friends of the Earth ACE collective and ICANW. There was theatre involving the Uranium Busters and music including Kaso’s “Don’t waste our country” courtesy of a solar powered sound system housed in a 44-gallon drum – alongside a trailer loaded with similar drums marked with radiation warnings. And last but of course not least, Ziggy the nuclear white elephant and a small police presence, including a representative of the AFP…
The tour sets off tomorrow, Saturday, to trace one of the proposed routes that would be followed by trucks carrying waste from Lucas Heights in Sydney to the projected dump at Muckaty, on the way meeting councils, indigenous nations, community groups, and emergency services organisations with a view to raising awareness of the risks and dangers inseparable from transport of this kind.

The Nuclear Freeways campaign has a new website:

http://www.nuclearfreeways.org.au/

More photos from the launch:

Alex Bhathal speaking

Alex Bhathal

Sharon Firebrace speaking

Sharon Firebrace

Dimity Hawkins speaking

Dimity Hawkins

The campaign's main banner

Information board to be taken on the trip

Information board to be taken on the trip

"Uranium Busters"

'Uranium Busters'

Group photo at end of launch

At the end of the launch

Video is in preparation.

Video added 31 July:

Also now available on EngageMedia