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2 February 2021 – Climate Action Canberra presence at the ‘Welcome the Pollies – say no to gas led recovery and support the #GreenRecoveryNow petition & rally’

February 8, 2021

Climate Action Canberra attended the Peoples’ Climate Assembly organised ‘Welcome the Pollies – say no to gas led recovery and support the #GreenRecoveryNow petition & rally’ event on Tuesday, 2nd February 2021 at Parliament House. We had our banner from the earliest years of Climate Action Canberra, which states “Canberra says Yes to Real Action on Climate Change”, and hung it on the Melbourne Avenue approach to the rear of Parliament House, where Stop Adani Canberra had quite a few large banners relating to the Adani mine, and water issues regarding coal mines (see attached my photo of it). I witnessed the arrival of the Prime Minister in his government limousine, with quite an entourage of vehicles. Some other vehicles honked their approval of our messages. The ‘welcome to politicians’ part of the event occurred from 7am, through to 8:30am prior to the rally proper starting from 9am on the front lawns. Extinction Rebellion lined Kings Avenue with banners and placards with the messages of the rally for politicians coming to work on that road.

The rally, on the front lawns of Parliament, sported the banners from the earlier event on the flagpoles beside lawns, and we hung our banner on the flagpoles beside the front lawns, together with the many banners from other groups. A number of speakers addressed the rally, starting with a welcome to country by a representative of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. Zali Steggall, an independent MP, spoke to her bill for Australia to reach net zero emissions by 2050. In regard to her bill’s 2050 target date, she said that “we have to start from somewhere”. She said that her electorate of Warringah, on Sydney’s North Shore “… had come a long way” in regard to action on climate change.

Adam Bandt, the Australian Greens leader in Parliament told the crowd that “… it is absolutely your right to demand climate action!”, in the face of advancing climate change, increasingly severe droughts and massively unprecedented bushfires, the last one killing billions of native animals. Australian Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi also spoke about people making demands on their politicians, and organising to do so. Senator Janet Rice, Australian Greens’ Forests spokesperson, also spoke. Another speaker was Jo Clay, one of the four new ACT Greens MLA’s in the 24 seat ACT Assembly, part of the now six such MLA’s, a quarter of the Assembly. She spoke about organising in the community to build the demand for climate action, and build the movements and rallies to construct a better future.

No other political parties or politicians spoke at this rally, despite the previous year’s rally attracting many speakers from a variety of parties, including the ALP. The latter had just dumped its long term spokesperson on climate change, Mark Butler.

We spoke to Jo Clay, about Climate Action Canberra wanting to have a dialogue with the six ACT Greens MLA’s in the Assembly, and the ACT Greens party and membership, through the Conservation Council of the ACT Region, and directly, about how we can push the boundaries for initiatives the ACT Government can do in mitigating emissions in Canberra, through various policies, beyond what it has already done, and what the election of the six ACT Greens MLA’s, being a quarter of the 24 member ACT Assembly, now opens up new possibilities for. She said that she will get back to me, and gave me her card. We need to follow this contact up, and consider initiatives that we can propose.

The rally concluded with a ‘citizen’s walk’ around the forecourt of Parliament House, with an address near the front doors by the representative of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy challenging those present about their part in Australia’s history of capitalism and dispossession of Indigenous peoples, and invited people to the Tent Embassy where cultural ceremony would take place, and the “truth will be told”.

Paul Oboohov – Convenor, Climate Action Canberra

Ph 0417 048 217

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