“Light the Dark Melbourne” – candlelit vigil for refugees, 7 September 2015

Part of the gathering during minute's silence

From the callout issued by GetUp Australia:

The image of a Syrian child’s lifeless body washed up on the shores of a Turkish beach this week brought the world to its knees. His name was Aylan Kurdi, and he was just three years old.

The sad reality is that Aylan was one among millions of desperate people forced to flee from war and persecution. The world is facing a global refugee crisis on a scale we’ve not seen since WWII, but Australia – our lucky country of a fair go for all – is not doing enough. We can do better to help these people.
We need to do better.

That’s why on Monday night, we will light a candle to remember Aylan Kurdi. We will stand together in solidarity with people across the world who are forced to ask for protection from countries like ours. We’ll shine a light in the darkness, in protest of our country’s abandonment of the world’s most desperate people, who seek only safety and protection.

We will send a message to the world that our government’s inaction does not represent us, and that Australia says welcome.

In spite of threatened rain – which did eventuate but was brushed off by participants – thousands gathered in response to the call, and there were similar though smaller rallies in other centres. Speakers in Melbourne were mostly familiar from past rallies. They included ex-detainee Mohammad Ali Baqiri, Pamela Curr of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), Father Bob Maguire, Zakia Baig of the Australian Hazara Women’s Friendship Network (AHWFN), and Sarah Ireland of Save the Children Australia. MC was comedian Anne Edmonds, assisted by two sign language interpreters.

Some links to media reports:

In addition many participants have uploaded photos to the event Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/events/1064515756893972/

Mohammad Ali Baqiri speaking

Mohammad Ali Baqiri

Sarah Ireland speaking

Sarah Ireland, Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Adviser at Save the Children Australia, based in Lebanon

Father Bob Maguire

Father Bob Maguire

Zakia Baig speaking

Zakia Baig from the Australian Hazara Women’s Friendship Network Inc.-AHWFN

Pamela Curr speaking

Pamela Curr from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

More photos, in no particular order, and self-explanatory:


People’s Climate March, Melbourne – 21 September 2014 – photos only.


Melbourne led the way on a grand scale with an estimated turnout of 30,000 marchers. The event began at the State Library with music, dancing and speakers, including a welcome to country. The march down Swanston Street to the Treasury Gardens via Bourke Street seemed to go on for ever… More speakers and music at the gardens, as well as stalls representing a range of organisations. Reports have appeared on SBS and The Age. We are not in a position to add to these so this post must be restricted to photos, grouped under the rally, the march, and the end (though speeches and other activities were still in full swing when we left, about 1pm).

At the State Library:

On the march:

At the end:

Put a Price on Pollution – rally 12 March 2011

With a crowd of up to eight thousand answering the call from GetUp for a counter-protest to match the ‘people’s revolt’ advocated by climate deniers led by Tony Abbott* and backed by assorted right-wing radio shock-jocks, there was no real contest: estimates of the turnout at Julia Gillard’s electorate office in Werribee ranged from two to four hundred …

The response in Melbourne apparently went beyond the organisers’ expectations, and the sound system hardly reached to the middle, let alone the back of the crowd.The speakers, for those who could hear them, were Dave Sweeney of the Australian Conservation Foundation, who was also MC, Ged Kearney, President of the ACTU, Lucy Manne of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, and Simon Sheikh, National Director of the GetUp team. Music was provided by Skylines.

The crowd ranged from almost newborn to elderly, drawn from a range of groups and organisations as well as concerned individuals, many of whom brought their own placards and props; there were also plenty to borrow for the occasion.

The photos mostly speak for themselves. There is a brief report on Melbourne Indymedia, even briefer ones on ACF online and the AYCC Facebook page, and the Sydney Morning Herald carried a report on the day. Worth a look also is the ACTU position on jobs and climate change – – which gives the gist of Ged Kearney’s speech at the rally.

Here is the callout from GetUp:

Right wing shock jock Chris Smith said last week on MTR radio: “I’ll do my best on a daily basis to spread the word”. We don’t have a radio network to promote our rally, but GetUp members have proved before that, when it counts, we’re willing to publicly show how much we care about clean energy & climate action.

Click here to RSVP

I was in Canberra last week and almost every politician and journalist I met with talked to me about the anti-climate action rallies. They’re spooked. I assured them that the campaign for climate action was just as strong — and now, we need to demonstrate this.

That’s why it’s so important we join together for a few hours this Saturday March 12 — not to have a louder, angrier rally, but to show the difference in both size and tone. While they’re shouting their angry slogans and misinformation, on the other side of Melbourne we’ll hold a positive, family-friendly gathering to stand up for our vision for clean energy and preserving a safe climate for our kids.

With your help, we’ll prove there are more of us than there are of them and in doing so we’ll make a powerful statement.

See you this Saturday.

Simon Sheikh
National Director
for the GetUp team

Simon Sheikh speaking

Simon Sheikh of GetUp

To which Environment Victoria added:

Right now, Australia’s climate deniers, right-wing shock jocks and big polluters are jumping on board the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s scare campaign against a price on carbon.
They’re trying to stop action on climate change by frightening people with misinformation and scaremongering. And they’re planning anti-carbon tax rallies across the country – starting this weekend – to frighten our politicians into further delay.
We can’t allow them to get away with this unchallenged. It’s time for us to draw a line in the sand, and show our politicians and the general public just how strong support really is for climate action, clean energy and a price on pollution.
If ever there was a time to take a stand, it’s now.
Join us this Saturday along with supporters including GetUp, the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition to send a message loud and clear that Australians want climate action and a strong price on pollution now.

*Several Tony Abbott clones in budgie smugglers invaded the rally at one point – see photos below

Dave Sweeney speaking

Dave Sweeney of the ACF

Ged Kearney speaking

Ged Kearney of the ACTU

Lucy Manne speaking

Lucy Manne of AYCC



Protestor with placards - 'Grow Up Mr Abbott'
'No More Mindless Opposition'
Placard - 'Denialist Shock Jocks Don't Speak for Me'
Anti-Hazelwood windmill

Code Red Climate Emergency banner

Modified 'Age of Stupid' poster with head of Tony AbbottVegan banners

Banner - 'We [heart] Climate Action'DogAnother dog

Woman with small children listening to speeches

Children with banner - 'Country kids want action!'

Photo of child - 'His Future - Climate Action'Greenpeace placard on pole beneath No standing sign - Ministerial Vehicles Excepted

Tony Abbott clones invade the rally

Tony Abbott clone with placard - 'Libs 4 Famine Fire + Flood'

Because of the location it was hard to capture an image of the whole rally at once, so here are several shots that taken together may give an idea:

Overview 1Overview 2

Overview 3

Overview 4

Overview 4
The rally spilled over on to the adjoining park:

Children in park with banner - 'Fossil Fuels are for Fossils'

Woman in crowd arriving - placard reads 'I'm supporting the carbon tax because I actually care about out planet and our kids' future'

People signing a petition at one of several stallsPlacards for renewables and against coal

'Ladies for Low Carbs' ...

Turtles against Climate Change ...