Community action at parliament member’s Geelong office

On 21 November 2017, over 50 people gathered for a ‘Generations Against Adani Community Action’ at Labor’s member of federal parliament Richard Marles’ electoral office in Geelong’s CBD.

The politician’s office was presented with another letter and petition indicating strong sustained community opposition in Geelong to the proposed mine in Queensland.

Geelong locals and generation’s young and old gathered at MP Richard Marles’ electoral office to show ongoing community opposition to the proposed Adani coal mine in Queensland. As Adani pledges to start work this month on what would be one of the biggest coal mines in the world, and in the wake of an explosive ABC 4Corners program, the Geelong group presented a signed letter from locals and called for Labor MP Richard Marles to publicly withdraw support for the mine.

The community action included diverse contributions from all generations including sidewalk street art, play dough sculptures, songs, speeches and a mock funeral to bury ‘King Coal’.


“Why can’t Richard say: ‘I have an interest in the Pacific Islands. I know the dangers of climate change. I have grandchildren I care about. On this, my conscience is such that I am going to speak out against Adani.’ ”

“I am asking him, think twice before you take your stand here because a lot of people know you are a decent father and family man and I don’t think that supporting this Adani mine is more important than the future of our grandchildren, of your grandchildren, or anybody with grandchildren, or anybody who cares about this lovely country.”
~ Sue Higgs

Sue Higgs

Sue Higgs spoke with Tony Gleeson from The Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse

» Full transcript

» More podcast interviews below


Mr Stephen Higgs, spokesperson for #StopAdani Geelong said, “The Stop Adani Geelong group has been contributing to a widespread national campaign to raise awareness of Adani’s track-record of corruption, money laundering, environmental destruction and disregard for human rights. It is of great concern that our governments are considering loaning Adani $1 billion in public money, and have offered them free and unlimited access to water and a ‘royalties holiday’.”


Local survey
In Geelong there have been continuing efforts to organise community actions to show our local MP’s that there is strong local opposition to the Queensland mine. A recent survey of over 200 people in Geelong, found over 98 per cent wanted to see a transition to renewables and did not want to see any tax payer money go to Adani.

Mr Higgs confirms this, saying, “The effects of pollution and climate change caused by the mine and burning of the coal will affect us here in Geelong. We don’t want $1 billion of public money spent on supporting the Adani mine especially given the mine’s destructive effects on the Great Barrier Reef and as fellow beach lovers here in Geelong, the Surf Coast and Bellarine Peninsula we highly value our coastlines.”

‘Generations Against Adani’ follows a series of community actions by Stop Adani Geelong, having previously organised community actions at Westpac, conducted a public poll of Geelong locals, meet with MP Richard Marles and MP Sarah Hendersen, organised information evenings and recently a formed a giant Stop Adani human sign at Eastern Beach.

National ReachTEL polling shows:

  • A clear majority – 56 per cent – of Australians oppose Adani’s coal project.
  • In relation to the controversial prospect of a $1 billion loan of public money to Adani, two thirds of Australians believe the Queensland Government should keep its election promise to not spend public money on Adani’s private rail line. The poll shows 66 per cent of Australians want the Queensland government to use its power to veto the loan. (Poll here.)



The National Stop Adani Alliance has more than doubled its membership since it was launched in March 2017 and now has 31 member organisations. More than 160 local Stop Adani groups such as Stop Adani Geelong have also formed.

 


Podcast interviews




Andrew Netherway


Bill Hunter




Transcript of Sue Higg’s interview

This interview was broadcasted on 94.7 The Pulse on 22 November 2017.

“I think what really brought me here was turning 60 and becoming a grandparent. I looked around and I thought ‘why are people like me generally so quiet on issues as big as this’ and I think Adani is bringing out people who perhaps haven’t taken part in protests before. Because of the scale of carbon emissions and the likely contribution to climate change and because I think that Australia is so very vulnerable to climate change because of our riverine cities and what effect climate change will have on our temperatures.

Now that I have a small stake in the future I want to know that in a hundred years, however history sees this period, that I, who will be long gone, made a contribution and stood up and said ‘Enough!’.

I feel so strongly that what we have done to this marvellous country in the use of resources already, has left a poor legacy for our children.

When I hear that the Adani coal mine is going to have unlimited access to artesian water in Queensland I just feel sick at heart.

When I heard they were going to get $1 billion from the government, (I know that this is in doubt but that was the early stages), I thought ‘for what possible reason. To create 1,500 jobs? How will the Australian government justify giving that from taxpayers money?

When I heard what they were going to have to excavate in order to create a port over the Great Barrier Reef, I thought ‘why are they doing that to this precious resource?’ When I heard the argument from this pathetic government that they are doing it so that impoverished Indians don’t have to live in darkness I think ‘Where is your compassionate heart when it comes to Manus Island? You are using this opportunistically.’

It is just a feeling that people like me, who’ve been silent for so long, can speak up and be heard and individuals like us, if we speak to other individuals – if we speak to them on the bus, at the dining room table, walking down the street, sitting in the coffee shop – and say ‘Have your heard about the problems that Queensland is having with the Adani coal mine?’ that by word of mouth we can get a real feeling of rage.

I wasn’t here and missed the Franklin dam and the Vietnam War demonstrations, but I like to think that Adani will produce the same feeling in the ordinary Australian who cares what the future will look like for our grandchildren. It’s too important.”

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Message for Richard Marles
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“I understand the reality of politics that the individual politician must suppress his own feelings and own attitudes in order to tow the party line. I think that this is something that Richard Marles understands – the issues of Adani – but can’t speak freely. But I was interested to see that in the yes and no vote, politicians whose electorates knowingly voted ‘no’ (Western Sydney for example) are still going to vote ‘yes’.

Why can’t Richard say ‘I have an interest in the Pacific Islands. I know the dangers of climate change. I have grandchildren I care about. On this, my conscience is such that I am going to speak out against Adani’.

I am asking him, think twice before you take your stand here because a lot of people know you are a decent father and family man and I don’t think that supporting this Adani mine is more important than the future of our grandchildren, of your grandchildren, or anybody with grandchildren, or anybody who cares about this lovely country.”



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Meeting with Richard Marles

In beginning of August 2017, Stephen and Kathy joined Sara to meet Richard Marles MP and present the group’s survey to him and to ask him to take back to the party this clear expression of the people of Geelong in opposition to both the mine and the railway loan.

Richard Marles wrote back to the group a week later with a very disappointing reply which basically said that “if the mine stacks up environmentally, it will be all fine with us”.

The Sustainable Hour then produced this short summary and commentary about his statement:

Fluffy statement from Labor MP on Adani mine

While allegedly fully aware of the disruptive and dangerous implications of the climate emergency caused by fossil fuel emissions, Labor MP Richard Marles says he expects Adani’s Carmichael coal mine to “meet the highest environmental standards” and has no further objections to it.

On 1 August 2017, the Stop Adani Geelong group had a meeting with Federal Member of Parliament for Corio, Richard Marles. All looked smiling and happy on the photo from the meeting, posted on Facebook as seen above.

According to Stephen Higgs who participated in the meeting, Richard Marles showed a surprising depth of understanding of the global warming disaster we are facing. “But he could only come back to us with the party line which is to oppose the NAIF loan on the grounds that such a large loan should not go to one company,” said Higgs.

The group indicated that they were not satisfied with that, and asked him to take back to the party the clear expression of the people of Geelong in opposition to both the mine and the railway loan.

They asked for an official statement in writing from Marles about his views on the Adani mine, and the smiles disappeared when that statement from him arrived a week later.


“Sorry but that letter is ridiculous”
In the statement, Richard Miles writes that Labor has committed themselves to ensure that we have 50 per cent renewables by 2030, and that “conventional fuels will be a part of our energy mix in the future”. He writes about Labor’s “strong history of acting to protect the environment”, but nothing about opposing the Adani mine.

All he says is that the Adani project received approval by the government in 2015, and that “Labor will ensure that any proposed mining projects meet the highest environmental standards, so we will be closely monitoring if conditions are being met to those standards.”

His not opposing the mine is another way of indirectly supporting it – or being careful not to state anything that could compromise the Labor government of Queensland, which is helping the Indian mining company with getting the project started.

“Sorry but that letter is ridiculous and he actually comes across as supporting the mine,” commented one of the members of Stop Adani Geelong.




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Photos on this page courtesy of Renee Williams. Podcast interview portraits by Tony Gleeson. Media release text by Simon Reeves.

TIME: The action happened on Tuesday 21 November 2017 at 11am.

LOCATION: 17A Yarra Street, Geelong, Australia

WHAT HAPPENED: Over 50 Geelong locals of all ages gathered to show ongoing community opposition to the proposed Adani coal mine and call for Labor MPs to publicly withdraw support for the mine. A signed letter was presented to Richard Marles MP, along with drawings from children and sidewalk chalk art.

MORE IMAGES: High quality images available here courtesy of Matt Hrkac Photography

» General #StopAdani photos are available on www.flickr.com/photos/stopadani

 











 
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One comment

  1. Congratulations Sue and all supporters. This is an excellent representation of the sentiments felt by a large, and definitely growing, potion of our community. Thank you for these efforts. They inspire us to increase our own efforts towards a healthier future.

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