Palm Sunday Silent Vigil for Peace – 17 April 2011

Peace banners on lawns of State Library

Peace activists held a silent vigil on the lawns of the State Library in Melbourne on Palm Sunday before making their way to a Peace Forum at the Wesley Uniting Church in Lonsdale Street. While some held banners calling for an end to the war in Afghanistan and the abolition of nuclear weapons, others distributed leaflets listing upcoming events and ‘8 reasons to end the Afghanistan War’ (see report on a “Peak Hour vigil for Peace” on this site for 14 Sept 2010).

Among the banners was one from Japan, made in 2004 when a 9-month march from Roxby Downs in South Australia ended at Hiroshima – see this article.
Japanese peace banner

There will be another ‘Footprints for Peace’ walk later this year – see details here.

The recent nuclear catastrophe in Japan was also remembered:

No Nukes and anti-uranium placards

The vigil ended with a symbolic ‘die-in':
Activists lying on ground to simulate casualties

The outlines of the dead being marked in chalk:
Chalk outline of one of the 'dead' - 'Mum of 3'

Detail of dove on one of the banners

Vigil for Japan, 17 March 2011

ICAN (The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) along with Japanese for Peace and MAPW (Medical Association for Prevention of War) organised a candlelight vigil outside the old GPO in Melbourne ‘to honour the victims of this terrible tragedy, and to show our concern for the safety of those who have been exposed to radioactivity from the Fukushima nuclear power plant’.

It was not originally intended to have formal speakers, but in the event there were several addresses: a member of JFP read letter from another member resident in Kew, Melbourne, whose home town in Japan had been destroyed by the tsunami. She had been trying to get news of relatives there, and although eventually successful in determining that they were alright, was herself still too distressed to attend the vigil. Instead, she had sent the letter [text to follow when available]. Other speakers were representatives of MAPW – the Medical Association for the Prevention of War – the Railways Union, Friends of the Earth, and ICAN, whose Campaign Director Tim Wright was MC.

There is a report by Takver on Melbourne Indymedia, and more photos on Takver’s Flickr Photostream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/takver/sets/72157626160141551/)

JFP member reading letter

Reading the letter

Origami cranes and candles on steps leading from GPO

Origami cranes and candles

Speaker from MAPW

MAPW speaker: The bottom line is, the take-home message is, there is no safe level of radiation …
See also MAPW media release

Jim Green from Friends of the Earth speaking

Jim Green, FoE spokesperson on nuclear matters, summarised the situation as far as that was possible on the sometimes contradictory information being released. He mentioned various plausible scenarios, ranging from the best, that the situation could be brought under control, with minimum human exposure to radiation following the mass evacuations, all the way to the nightmare of self-sustaining chain reactions … “We don’t know how this is going to play out, but either way it’s a disaster…” He suggested however that it was not too early to start drawing lessons for the future: “TEPCO is a company with a track record of accidents, of falsifying safety data and of mishandling earthquake situations …” Amongst other things, in 1984 the company had had to implement an emergency shutdown at one of its reactors and had kept it secret for 25 years… Finally, he raised the matter of Australia’s culpability in this matter, it having been well aware of TEPCO’s record ‘and the unwillingness of the Japanese government to hold these utilities to account … but [having] been perfectly willing to allow uranium sales to proceed from Australia to Japan…’. He named BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto as also culpable, and ended by urging everyone to get involved in the quest to make the world free of nuclear weapons and nuclear power. See also FoE media release Spinning Fukushima.

Tomohiro Matsuoka, Japanese for Peace, speaking

The issue of Australia’s responsibility was echoed by another speaker from Japanese for Peace, Tomohiro Matsuoka: Australia was related to this disaster, because Australia and Canada were the two largest suppliers of uranium to the Tokyo Electric Power Company ‘so this radioactive material spreading from Fukushima actually originates from Australia. So we must stop this export of uranium to overseas … if you are serious about this disaster.’

Another speaker was Victor Moore of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, pledging solidarity with workers affected by the disasters: ‘this is a very sombre occasion, and ourhearts go out to [those] directly affected. This is going to be a very long, sustained campaign in terms of rebuilding Japan, in terms of ensuring that those who don’t have wealth in Japan are looked after, those that are homeless, those that are poor, those that aren’t part of the rich are looked after in Japan, and unfortunately at the moment those are the ones who are most greatly affected …’

Victor Moore of the Rail union

More images:

Banner of Japanese for Peace

On the steps of the GPO

Another view of same

Anti-nuclear campaigners with dog

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

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:

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

Muckaty Traditional Owners visit Martin Ferguson’s office – 26 July 2010

Traditional owners and supporters with placards outside Martin Ferguson's ofice

A group of Traditional Owners from Muckaty are currently in Melbourne in connection with a court challenge to Government plans to build a nuclear waste dump on their land. This morning they attended the launch of a billboard in Northcote funded by supporters of the Australian Conservation Foundation, and this afternoon they followed this up by joining members of Friends of the Earth ACE collective and others outside the office of Federal Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson. They wanted to deliver a letter for the Minister, but the office was locked…

Traditional Owners with letter outside the office

This weekend will see the start of the 2010 ‘Nuclear Freeways’ campaign, designed to highlight the implications of transporting radioactive waste from Sydney’s Lucas Heights reactor to the projected waste dump site in the Northern Territory – see http://www.nuclearfreeways.org.au/.

More banners at the protest

See also http://www.no-waste.org/

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