#MarchinAugust for a fairer Australia and climate action
The March in August carries on from the independently organised march in March protests which saw tens of thousands of people protesting the Abbott Government on many social, welfare, and environmental issues. The protests bring together a wide range of campaigns and individuals under one protest umbrella to demand Accountability, Transparency, Decency from the Abbott Federal Government including on climate policy and action.
The protest in Melbourne was held on Sunday 31st August 31 at 1:00pm starting from the State Library of Victoria, Swanston St, Melbourne. (See event Facebook Page).
Guardian columnist VanBadham brought a lot of intense enthusiasm and passion to her role as MC for the protest. Speakers included:
*Ursula Alquier – Lock the Gate Victorian Coordinator
*Julian Burnside – Advocacy on behalf of refugees
*David Ritter- Greenpeace re: “Protest laws” and GBR
*Jennie Hill Dir. Destroy the Joint. Women & Welfare.
*Annette Xiberras – Wurundjeri Elder and a former cultural heritage staff member with Aboriginal Affairs Victoria – Welcome to country and cuts to funding for Aboriginal services.
Report from the march
Our Climate Action Moreland banner didn’t make it but many of us were there collecting signatures on the monster climate petition and marching with friends.
Several thousand people attended with a large crowd that marched from the State Library to the steps of State Parliament on Spring Street. It was not as large as the protest in March, but was still substantial with a vibrancy of anger and frustration at the Abbott Government.
David Ritter, CEO of Greenpeace Australia spoke at Parliament House saying:
“But as a matter of conscience we must challenge the agenda of this Government. This, my friends, is a government that would abandon the Great Barrier Reef for the coal industry. This my friends, is a government that wants to deny the benefits of solar power and all of the clean energy that beckons. This is a government that would open up new destruction to our forests and to our oceans. This is a government that is actively wrecking progress on climate change.”
Ritter invoked the campaigns to stop the damming of the Franklin River, and oil exploration and drilling on the Great Barrier Reef in the 1980s, and the power of communities to defend green spaces in our capital cities and the more recent campaign to stop the HRL power Station in Victoria.
He urged those at the rally to do grassroots community organisiing by getting involved in local groups: “Take the passion and enthusiasm that brought you here today and take it home with you. Join a local group, join a campaign, join a human rights organisation, join a social justice organisation, join an environmental organisation, join a neighbourhood organisation and reach out to families in your neighborhood, your workplaces, because, men and women of Melbourne, the power and determination of the Australian people will not be stopped. Together we are strong; together we shall prevail; together we shall secure a better, bighter and more prosperous future for our country.”
Jennie Hill from Destroy the Joint outlined a littany of inequalities which women still suffer in Australia, but also highlighted that women will suffer disproportionately more with climate change. “Lack of action on climate change also hits women hardest since the poor of the world will first bear the brunt of rising sea levels and temperatures.” she said.