Switch off the CPRS – nationwide protests 27 March

Placard at office of Martin Ferguson, Federal MP for Batman

Placard at office of Martin Ferguson, Federal MP for Batman


Media release (http://stepitupaustralia.wordpress.com/ ):
Community Climate Action Groups across Australia are today holding protests at the offices of over 30 Federal MPs to protest the failure of the Federal Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).

The protestors are calling on the Government not to pursue a scheme that rewards big polluters, fails to commit to adequate emission reduction targets, and locks us into catastrophic climate change.

“We are deeply concerned that the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme takes a ‘business as usual’ approach to the urgent threat of climate change, and does not commit to the emissions reduction targets that the science tells us are necessary to avoid dangerous climate change,” said Moira Williams from Climate Action Newtown.

“Big polluting industries like coal and aluminum must be made to cut emissions rapidly and immediately. The CPRS will give away billions in concessions without even achieving the necessary pollution cuts. In fact, emissions are likely to continue rising under this scheme,” continued Ms. Williams.

The protests are twice the size of similar actions that took place last year following the announcement of the 5-15% emissions reduction target and the release of the White Paper for the CPRS. Protest organisers attribute the increase to the continued failure of the Government to meet the clear need for more decisive action.

“It is an absolute disgrace that when faced with the threat of catastrophic climate change, our leaders are pandering to the powerful fossil fuel and mining lobbies, and continuing to ignore urgent scientific advice and widespread community alarm about the most important issue of our time,” said Pablo Brait from Yarra Climate Action Now.

“We are calling for a moratorium on coal mining and coal-fired power stations, and an end to perverse subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. We want just sector-by-sector transition plans for affected workers and communities. The Government can stimulate the economy and create quality green jobs, by making direct investment in renewable energy to move towards 100% renewables by 2020.”

The electoral office of Martin Ferguson, Federal Minister for Resources and Energy and for Tourism, was among the first to be visited, with protesters arriving at 8am equipped with banners, placards, and letters variously spelling out the messages “Switch on renewables”, “Switch off the carbon scam”, and “Switch off Martin Ferguson”.

Protesters hold letters to form message

Protesters hold letters to form message


In spite of the early our, the protest numbered just short of thirty, including two representatives of the generation set to inherit whatever is left:
Placards and child at office of Martin Ferguson

Placards and child at office of Martin Ferguson

There were two main speakers: Jenny McCracken of Darebin Climate Action Now, who put the case for, amongst other things, vegetarianism as a way for individuals to reduce their carbon footprint, and Chris Breen, of Solidarity and Darebin CAN, who focused more on the role of government and alternatives to the present government’s policies:

Chris Breen addressing the protest

Chris Breen addressing the protest

There is footage from this action, including part of the speeches, on EngageMedia.

The protests ended just before 9am, with some intending to carry on the the next in the schedule, at the office of Kelvin Thompson, Member for Wills. Police required the removal of the message left on the office windows, but no doubt the letters can be used again:

Message left - briefly - at office

Message left - briefly - at office

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At the office of Lindsay Tanner

At the office of Lindsay Tanner


At 12 noon there was a further protest, this time at the office of Lindsay Tanner, Member for Melbourne and Minister for Finance and Deregulation in the Rudd Government:

Damien Lawson of FoE addressing the protest

Damien Lawson of FoE addressing the protest

In addition to Damien Lawson of Friends of the Earth, who spoke briefly towards the end, speakers included David Spratt of Climate Code Red:

David Spratt addessing the crowd

David Spratt addessing the crowd

and Chris Breen of Solidarity and Darebin Climate Action Now (see above):

Chris Breen speaking

Chris Breen speaking

There was also live music at the end:

The band

The band

and dancing:

Dancing at the end

Dancing at the end

In fact there was a prize offered for the best dancer – a Climate Emergency Service shirt like these:

Climate Emergency Service

Climate Emergency Service

This action was organised by Yarra Climate Action Now, but several other groups attemded, some with their banners:

Australian Youth Climate Coalition

Australian Youth Climate Coalition

Another banner

Another banner

There were also placards:

Placard at office of Lindsay Tanner

Placard at office of Lindsay Tanner

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As a footnote to Friday’s actions, on Saturday 28 March, Earth Hour , activists occupied and temporarily shut down Victoria’s spectacularly polluting Hazelwood coal-fired power station:
Three arrested over power plant protest. There is a video from this action on EngageMedia.

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