Sometime ago the man who brought a lump of coal into parliament – varnished so he wouldn’t get his hands dirty – and now our prime minister, declared that Frances was his favourite climate change protester. Frances has been standing by the roadside to the entrance of parliament house in Canberra with her sign during sitting weeks – so she has had a relatively quiet year. This was in an article by Daniel Hurst in the Guardian that had the PM praising Frances the roadside protester in Canberra and condemning Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests that used graffiti at his residence and parliament house.
By comparison the dramatic XR protests Morrison objected to went ‘viral’ and got considerable media and international coverage whereas beyond those driving in to parliament house and Hurst’s article the protesting of Frances would have gone unnoticed. Frances’ sign urges that a strong ‘climate target’ will lead to a strong economy and it was noted that she was initially demonstrating with XR members. The words of Morrison compared to that of Frances are somewhat pathetic. She stated that we should end fossil fuels and take the science seriously, but as has been shown by our actions (or inaction) at COP 26 Morrison was not listening.
Similar demonstrations to that of Frances have been taking place in Bairnsdale for well over a year. Every Friday afternoon (with a few exceptions like covid lockdowns) Tony and Angela carry out their “Fridays For Future” demonstrations on the Princes Highway. They have been ably supported, on and off, by a dozen or so volunteers including yours truly, though in my case mostly off. Their signs ask drivers to “Toot for Real Climate Action”, call the “Climate Emergency”, and have aligned with the Fridays for Future movement instigated by Greta Thunberg.
And similar roadside protests over a long period have been taking place at Bega, Warrnambool and probably other places. All protesters want concerted climate action and to do this a small step forward will be the removal of the PM and his party from the halls of power. Perhaps then, Frances, Tony, Angela and others of their ilk will experience some reward for their efforts, and no longer be Morrison’s favourite demonstrators.