Where are Darren and Russell? Climate Protest

(image Tony Peck)

Yesterday climate action groups across Gippsland ran a “Where are Darren and Russell on Climate Change?” covid safe protest. The protesters wore masks and practiced social distancing, whilst displaying signs and placards on various aspects of the issue. They were highlighting the silence of local members of the House of Reps Darren Chester of Gippsland and Russell Broadbent of Monash on climate change.

In Bairnsdale, a small group of EGCAN (East Gippsland Climate Action Network) activists worked at the rotunda in Main Street, photographing numerous individuals and their placards with a large colourful banner “Future Superpower” as backdrop. EGCAN organiser Angela Crunden praised the event and noted that images were received from 40 locations across Gippsland, including Churchill, Clifton Creek, Wonthaggi and Inverloch. Many of these images with their messages to our local politicians have been posted on the social media.

Angela stated that “A lot of fun was had by enthusiastic activists who wanted to drive home the serious message to Federal MPs Darren Chester and Russell Broadbent that they can do a whole lot better on climate” and added “Darren and Russell have access to leading scientific research and predictions for our climate future. They must know that emergency action on climate change is the single most important problem for human survival… and yet they are all but silent on this issue.”

Coincidentally Darren Chester has just appeared on the ABC’s Q&A program defending the government’s policies on climate and energy. His performance was roundly criticised by NSW Independent MP Zali Steggall who tweeted “Darren Chester spinning the Govt talking points on emissions reduction and lack of energy policy. For someone with an electorate devastated by bushfires, it beggars belief.”

Promoting the protest on the Yes 2 Renewables facebook page Pat Simons noted, “It’s a good opportunity to pressure the federal government to stop blocking offshore wind, and highlight renewable energy solutions in the region. While Darren Chester is generally supportive of the Star of the South, he hasn’t said anything about bringing on offshore clean energy laws needed to pave the way for the project.”

It is ironic that both our MPs are more ‘liberal’ in the true sense of the word than other members of their respective parties and are thus more likely to respect science, yet they seem unable to speak out on climate. They remain loyal to the party line rather than acting on behalf of their constituents or on what science has been saying for many years. Like Malcom Turnbull, they remain hostage to the fossil fuel lobby.