Coal exports rally speech 22 Oct 09

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  • Date: Thurs 22 Oct 09
  • Location: Parliament House, Melbourne, Australia
  • Speaker: Taegen Edwards, from Yarra Climate Action Now

My name is Taegen Edwards and I am from a local climate action group based here in inner Melbourne called Yarra Climate Action Now.

Together with Environment Victoria, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the ACF, Darebin Climate Action Now, Locals into Victoria’s Environment and Climate Action Moreland, YCAN is proud to have helped organise this rally today to give all of us a public outlet to express our absolute shock and disgust at the Victorian Government’s plans to export brown coal in the middle of a climate emergency.

Until last week I didn’t know it was possible that I could become even more angry or feel even more let down by the way our political leaders are responding to the biggest challenge we face as people and communities – climate change.

But there it was, splashed all over the front page of The Age – Brown Coal Exports. This Brumby Government wants to sell off Victoria’s brown coal to developing nations.

At a time when climate scientists, world leaders and communities across the globe are pleading with governments to stop pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, this Govt has chosen to respond with what can only be described as an idea that shows – hypocrisy, negligence and contempt for the Victorian people.

Rather than putting the steps in place to wean Victoria off the dirtiest electricity source we could have… Rather than accepting that Hazelwood Power Station must be decommissioned…Rather than lifting a finger to save renewable energy companies like Solar Systems from collapse… Premier John Brumby, on the advice of Minister for Energy and Resources, Peter Batchelor, wants to maximise the contribution our state can make to causing catastrophic climate change.

Peter Batchelor, ironically, is also the Minister for Community Development. As a member of the Victorian community I wonder how stupid he thinks we are? Instead of focussing on how he can make a quick buck doing deals with polluters, I suggest he have some respect for the communities he is supposed to work for – they are the same communities that will continue to suffer from drought and continue to live in fear of bushfires. They are the same communities who understand the hypocrisy of the Brumby Government’s climate change policies.

Now, I could rant about this all day – but we actually have some much more experienced, qualified and articulate ranters to hear from… We have 3 excellent speakers:

  • Mark Wakeham, Campaigns Director at Environment Victoria.
  • Dr Barrie Pittock, contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and author of the book ‘Climate Change: Science, Impacts and Solutions.
  • Louise Morris, coal and climate campaigner from Friends of the Earth and organiser of the Switch off Hazelwood campaign

Thanks to all of our speakers and again I want to thank all of you for coming. We represent a gathering of people who are angry and motivated to call on our leaders to take real action on climate change, but we are also just the ones who have been able to make it here on our lunchbreaks.

There are so many more Victorians who are just as outraged and flabbergasted at the decisions coming out of this place. The Government is pushing people too far and every time they make a ridiculous decision like this – they make it easier for us to mobilise all those people in our communities who are fearful of climate change and know full well that politicians are letting them down.

So they’ll be hearing more from us!!

If you haven’t already dropped Brumby or your local State MP a line – do so! Calling them can be quite therapeutic!!

If you’re not already in one - Get involved in one of the many groups who’ve organised today – EV, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth or your local community climate action group – they’re lots of us and we’re getting stronger and more networked and organised everyday!!

Make sure you’re at one or more of the many actions for 350 global day of action this Saturday. I don’t want to pick favourites so go to 350.org to check out the bike rides, photo-shoots and concerts etc here in Melbourne

And finally start recruiting big time for the Walk Against Warming which will be smack bang in the middle of the Copenhagen summit on Sat Dec 12.

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