Rally against Live Exports – Parliament House, Melbourne, 14 August 2011

Lyn White of Animals Australia speaking

Lyn White of Animals Australia was one of the speakers at the Melbourne contribution to nationwide rallies on Sunday calling on the Australian Government to permanently ban live animal exports. (According to an Animals Australia press release, at a total of over 20,000 “[this] was the biggest rally for animals in Australia’s history and certainly exceeded all expectations.” Certainly the steps of Parliament House were jam-packed, and because the rally was confined to the steps and footpaths it was impossible to see the full extent from ground level.
Other speakers were RSPCA Victoria’s Dr Hugh Wirth and Adam Bandt, Greens Federal Member for Melbourne. The media were out in force, making something of a contrast with another rally later in the day, where they were marked by their absence (see following post of Save the Kimberley rally at the State Library). There were also a lot of dogs, large and small, as well as AA’s ambassador sheep Timmy.
There are text reports of the rally both on the Animals Australia website – http://www.animalsaustralia.org/features/thousands-rally-against-live-export.php and in the mainstream media – for example the ABC and The Australian. See also the Animals Australia Facebook page.

Some photos from the rally:

Hugh Wirth speaking on steps of Parliament House

Dr Hugh Wirth and Timmy

Adam Bandt speaking - dog paying close attention

The dog at the right made a number of enthusiastic endorsements during the speeches. Timmy didn't seem to have much to say.

Timmy looking around at the crowd before the rally

Timmy checking out the crowd

Crowd on steps before start of the rally

Waiting for the rally to start

Some of the placards:

Closeup of placard in previous shot - Stop this Cruelty
Massive Livestock Abuse - MLA
Hand-drawn sketch of cow - Please don't; forget us
Placard with unflattering reference to Julia Gillard

Part of the media scrum at the front of the crowd

The media were competing for the best vantage point

Some views of the crowd:
Crowd on steps viewed from front left
Looking across crowd at top of steps
Looking down over crowd towards Windsor Hotel from top of steps
Little dog at start of rally, 'guarding' stack of placards

Little dog before the rally...

Golden retriever on steps after the rally

Big dog after the rally ...


Stand up for Refugees – rally 13 August 2010

Corey Oakley of RAC-Vic at Town Hall

Corey Oakley of the Refugee Action Collective speaking outside Melbourne Town Hall

Corey Oakley of the Refugee Action Collective was one of those who addressed a 500-600 strong gathering outside the Melbourne Town Hall last night at the end of a rally called by the Collective under the banner “Stand Up For Refugees”.

The rally began at the State Library with speeches from Adam Bandt,Greens candidate for the federal seat of Melbourne, followed by a representative of the Tamil refugee community who described some of his experiences of arrest and imprisonment at the hands of the Sri Lankan government, after which he sought asylum in Australia. He spent two and a half months in Maribyrnong IDC before being granted a visa. Like the next speaker, Socialist Alliance and Indigenous activist Sharon Firebrace, he drew parallels between Australia’s treatment of refugees and the long-standing racism towards the Indigenous peoples; he referred to early ‘scientific’ speculation as to whether the Aboriginal people of Australia were really human, and saw evidence of the same mindset now towards foreigners. Sharon Firebrace saw a move away from democracy in the growing inequality of treatment of Indigenous versus non-Indigenous, demonstrated most recently in the NT Intervention. Sue Bolton, who was MC for the rally, read a long catalogue of instances where Australia had ‘blood on its hands’ in its treatment of asylum seekers, including of course the SIEVX.

After the speeches at the State Library the rally took the message to the streets with a very loud march to the Town Hall, where Corey Oakley of the Refugee Action Collective echoed the earlier remark of Adam Bandt that it was, in his words, ‘scary that we should be here again’ considering that the last election had seen the Howard government thrown out amidst hopes of a better deal for refugees; Adam Bandt began his speech by saying that he wished he hadn’t had to be there, for much the same reason. The final speaker was NZ Green Party MP Keith Locke, and indeed, there was a notable Greens presence throughout, even though the banners of various socialist organisations and the Refugee Action Collective probably outnumbered the green triangles. There were also quite a few ‘non-aligned’, though not on the scale of some past rallies over the issue…

Adam Bandt speaking at State Library

Adam Bandt speaking

Sue Bolton was MC

Sue Bolton speaking at the State Library

Tamil refugee speaking at State Library

A Tamil refugee described some of his personal history

Sharon Firebrace speaking

Sharon Firebrace of Socialist Alliance

Socialist Party stall before the rally

Making a point at the Socialist Party stall

Socialist Alternative banner - No borders, no nations

Banners at the head of the march

The head of the march

Part of the contingent of Greens

Banner - close all detention centres

Banner on march- seeking asylum not illegal

Banner on march - No one is illegal

Keith Locke speaking outside Town Hall

NZ MP Keith Locke speaking outside Melbourne Town Hall