‘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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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:

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:

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:

LIVE Deckchair Democracy on steps of Parliament – 12 July 2011

Adam Bandt and members of LIVE on steps of Parliament House

During May 2011, LIVE (Locals Into Victoria’s Environment) held a daily vigil on the steps of the Victorian Parliament in Melbourne, with guest speakers at 1pm each day, under the banner of ‘Deckchair Democracy’. (See, for example, a presentation by Ben Courtice on Friends of the Earth’s Wind Energy Campaign: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jTK5yYalvA) The group also collected signatures on a petition “Our children and grandchildren deserve a safe climate” and presented the results to the Federal Member for Melbourne and Multi-Party Climate Change Committee (MPCCC) member, Adam Bandt MP, on the steps of Parliament House on Tuesday 12 July.

LIVE also issued a statement in response to the Clean Energy Future plan announced by the Prime Minister on Sunday 10 July, see below for full text.

The actual handover of the petition was appropriately enough done by a group of children:
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Adam Bandt receives copies of petition from school children

Some of the children had also prepared individual messages for the Prime Minister, including this one:
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Message from 12-year-old Hugh to Julia Gillard

Accepting the petition Adam Bandt congratulated the group for their work in countering misinformation, observing amongst other things that recognition of the need for action on climate change was practically taken for granted amongst younger people:it was their elders who needed the education campaign.
Adam Bandt and children give 'thumbs up'

Statement issued by LIVE:

12 July 2011
Clean Energy Future Plan: the historic first of many steps towards a safe climate for our children and grandchildren
Port Phillip climate action group, Locals Into Victoria’s Environment (LIVE) welcomes the Clean Energy Future plan announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Sunday 10 July 2011. LIVE congratulates the members of the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee for negotiating an agreement that takes a step in the right direction for Australians, particularly young Australians. LIVE acknowledges the enormous pressure that the MPCCC has been placed under by self-serving fossil fuel interests and thanks the members for their courage.
The Clean Energy Future plan is just a beginning but it is a plan that lays the foundations to enable Australians to play their role, alongside the citizens of other countries, in leading the way to tackling dangerous global warming. As the largest per capita emitters in the developed world, Australians must take responsibility for reducing our carbon footprint and this plan offers us the opportunity to get started.
Unlike the CPRS, which was riddled with loopholes for polluters, this new plan is more flexible and allows for quicker responses to new climate science information. It opens the door to innovation, voluntary pollution reduction actions and a nation building renewable energy industry with great opportunities for investment and jobs in local communities. We acknowledge the MPCCC for recognising the many opportunities that avoiding dangerous global warming presents.
This is only the first of many steps needed for a safe climate future for our children and grandchildren so LIVE will still be working hard, along with other climate action groups, to continue the push for the closure of Hazelwood and to stop HRL’s proposed new coal fired electricity generator, with a fair transition for coal industry workers. As we face the enormous challenges of climate change, we cannot afford to waste time, money and energy propping up dirty energy systems which would be at the expense of the real solutions: renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
LIVE will also work to highlight the real cost to ordinary Australian’s of the Coalition’s so-called ‘direct-action plan’, and the fact that not a single legitimate economist has come forward to support it.
LIVE thanks all those people who have supported our community actions including the more than 4000 people who formed the human sign on St Kilda Beach in 2009, and the month long Deckchair Democracy vigil in May 2011 on the steps of Victoria’s Parliament House. People power is an important and vibrant part of a healthy democracy and has contributed to the first positive news for some time. We will continue our role in working closely with other community groups and community members to tackle dangerous global warming for the sake of our children and grandchildren.
Deborah Hart LIVE Board member
On behalf of LIVE