A number of us had made tentative plans to travel to Canberra to attend the climate emergency rally that coincides with the opening of parliament. We had to shelve those plans because some of us have been burnt out in the ﬁres, some of us have been ﬂat out helping friends and families and in many cases total strangers clean up after the ﬁres, some of us have been housing ﬁre evacuated people, feeding starving wildlife, the list goes on and on. And so with road closures and all these other things, travelling to support our fellow climate activists in Canberra was too much.
So here we are. We are here and we are angry, angry at our federal government that ignores scientiﬁc evidence that has been before their eyes for decades. Angry at our federal government that throws up distractions of fuel reduction burning when it should be talking about strategies to reduce our emissions. We are angry that the Morrison government is heaving with former minerals council executives and mining industry lobbyists. We are angry that those same people not only beneﬁt from industry donations, they work with the Murdoch media monopoly to foster distractions, misrepresent facts, demonise activists, and keep the community in the dark about how the future for our children and grandchildren will look.
We are here in Sale and we are angry. But we have decided to channel our anger not into aggression, not into violence or other destructive means of protest, we are joining together – East Gippsland Climate Action Network, Bairnsdale XR, Wellington Climate Action Network and Sale XR with support too from XR Gippsland. All these groups are represented here today. We are a group who have gone beyond politics, we have recognised that we are all going to have to face this impending disaster together so we are not here to pick any ﬁghts. We are organising, we are respectful to each other and to those with whom we disagree, we write letters, we protest peacefully, we present to local government and our local federal and state politicians and we will continue to do so. Some of us have added non-violent civil disobedience to our repertoire of activities. We do this not because we want to, but because of a need to amplify the urgency with which governments need to act.
So we are here in Sale, not in Canberra. But our best wishes go to Canberra; we are with you in spirit and we will continue to support you in putting upward pressure on our politicians.”
Rally publicity stated: “Our message is simple: we both want and deserve more from our leaders. We want our elected representative for Gippsland Mr Darren Chester to be speaking out loud and clear in support of the impending Climate Change (National Framework for Adaptation and Action) Bill 2020 to be introduced by Zali Steggall, Independent MP, in the near future.”