Here’s the scene:
It is 7PM at night, and four Quit Coal protestors are being led through the corridors of the Premier’s office at 1 Treasury place. They have been locked together in the foyer of the building via their necks and thumbs since 11AM in the morning.
Outside the foyer, channel’s 9, 7 and Ten have recently completed live crosses within news bulletins. The ABC, triple J, 3AW and Nova100 have also carried stories throughout the day, of both the lock-on and the Quit Coal ‘die-in’ at midday.
(Channel 10’s coverage, see 9 and 7 on our Vimeo page here)
The police, who have repeatedly told the protestors throughout the day that no politician will see them, lead the group to a meeting with Ted Bailliue’s chief of staff Tony Nutt. After an 8-hour sit-in the protestors have been offered the meeting and immunity from criminal charges in return for them consenting to unlock.
For the protestors, who are sore, and had never expected to have been allowed to stay so long or to have gained such widespread attention, it is a happy compromise.
And here’s what we said:
“Our group is strong, and growing stronger. We have a large group of supporters we can mobilize at very short notice, a core team of experienced and committed activists, a growing pool of funders, and a huge capacity to reach out through the media to millions of people in their homes.
“You can try to ignore us, but we won’t go away, and we will cause you enormous problems if you continue to sacrifice our climate, farmlands and communities to the greed of the fossil fuel industry.
“So far, you have broken an election commitment to Victoria’s 20% emissions reduction target, have crippled the wind industry, have pushed for brown coal exports, have issued CSG exploration licenses across our state, and removed regulations limiting the emissions intensity of new fossil fuel infrastructure.
“It has to stop.
“Because this is not just about inner city “Greenies” anymore. We are increasingly growing and campaigning in regional areas – reaching out to the farmers determined to defend their land from being taken away or ruined by coal seam gas fracking, and to the communities who have heard the horror stories coming from the north and want to keep the mining companies away.
“They are the National party voters you rely on to stay in power, and your government is holding power in our state by one single seat. They are voters who will abandon you if you do not uphold their rights, protect their farms, and safeguard their way of life. And if you do not begin to act responsibly on climate change, Quit Coal will happily focus our organization into helping that happen.”
And that was that.
But now we need to make good on our promise.
We need to work together to cause the Baillieu government so much political pain that they are forced to change course from the fossil fuel orgy they have in their sights.
We’ve got a plan brewing to make this a reality, but it’s going to need your help.
Take the first step now – sign up here to support our call for a moratorium on coal and coal seam gas projects in our state (already supported by two regional councils and soon to be supported by many more) and we’ll be in touch soon with next steps in the game plan.
And finally, a huge thank you needs to go out to everyone who made today one of the most rewarding days of campaigning we have ever had.
Go Quit Coal!