HUNDREDS of people are taking unprecedented action by peacefully occupying Parliament House, demanding the Turnbull Government take strong action on climate change and for all politicians to put people ahead of the big polluters.
“I’ve seen the devastation that fossil fuels caused in my home of Gladstone,” said Mabel YowYeh Quakawoot, a Bailai Elder from the Gladstone Region.
“We need to stand together to protect our country from dangerous climate change and make sure the same mistakes at Gladstone aren’t repeated in other communities. It’s time for the politicians to put us ahead of the big polluters.”
“The People’s Parliament was designed to put a spotlight on the gross influence fossil fuel backers have over elected officials,” a spokesperson for the protest said.
“Despite thousands of calls for Mr. Turnbull to offer up serious solutions to fighting the climate crisis at the COP21 talks, the Minerals Council of Australia has continued to demonstrate its undo influence over the Prime Minister and others in the conservative party this week.”
“Since when did politicians and corporations become so powerful that people and communities no longer matter?” said Julie Lyford, OAM recipient and Chair of Groundswell Gloucester.
“Our country is one of the most abundant in the world for solar and wind energy potential. To embrace it, we’ll be securing clean power and good, sustainable jobs for generations to come. It’s time for our leaders to create a lasting legacy. One that relegates polluting fossil fuel to the past where they belong and champions clean energy for the future.”
The People’s Parliament comprises dozens of Australians and Pacific Islanders facing the threats of climate change and fossil fuel expansion, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and farmers whose land is threatened by coal and gas expansion and Pacific Islanders whose homes are being inundated by sea level rise. The People’s Parliament participants have travelled from across Australia to make their voices heard.
“For many Pacific Islanders across the region, climate change is a lived reality. We are calling on PM Turnbull to show leadership on climate change and commit to moving away from the fossil fuel industry,” said Koreti Tiumalu, the Pacific Region Coordinator with 350.org.
“Australia can play a larger role in protecting the Pacific and we need them to listen to the plight of the Pacific right now.”
“With Latrobe Valley having some of the most polluting power stations in the world, our Government needs to get serious about moving towards a cleaner, safer future,” said Wendy Farmer from the Latrobe Valley.
“Many householders are installing rooftop solar panels. Now is the time for governments to expand these projects, support the development of clean and safe technology and phase out the highly polluting coal-fired power stations that have made the Latrobe Valley infamous.
“Our politicians could, and should, use the billions of dollars that they currently give to coal companies to clean up the mess it has created and support alternative, safe industries for all of us.”
[Photo supplied by protestors]
UPDATE: The protestors appear to have been removed from the building. Our word from the protestors:
it looks like there’s only 5 people left sitting, the rest have been escorted out.
Here are the tweets using the People’ Parliament hashtag today:
Here are the geocoded tweets from the Parliament House precinct today:
You can get more from the People’s Parliament website.