SUE JACKSON Therapist/Writer/Photographer/Activist

Last year, as the unofficial blogger/photographer to the anti-East-West Link campaign, our battles were my blog's entire focus. But by Christmas, with the electoral win for people power and the dumping of the dud Tunnel, I was suddenly at a loss. What to write about now? Not sure yet. But there will be ongoing musings and images from this Australian life. So please leave a message. (No need to sign into an account. Simply comment as ‘anonymous’; then leave your name within the comment itself.)

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Shocks, lies and videotape

Glorious Fitzoy pool

As I packed my watermelon slices yesterday afternoon and headed off to the Fitzroy Pool precinct, I reflected on just how appropriate it was that our Tunnel Picket workshop should be held there. After all, but for a sustained community protest two decades ago, the historic pool, constructed for the workers of inner-city Melbourne in 1908, would have been demolished.

Pool mural

Approaching the pool, I stopped as usual to admire the new pro-public transport mural, which was commissioned by Yarra council, and adorns the pool complex.
The meeting itself was held in the room where I attend yoga, with our wonderful teacher Andrew, every Saturday morning. On entering, it was all I could do not to drop into a dog pose.
The meeting itself was terrific. The 3 hours flew by as we discussed how the campaign was going, shared our experiences, overted differences, brainstormed directions for the future and applauded our victories. I came away buoyed by the whole event and proud to be part of such a diverse, creative and thoroughly committed group.
So I was utterly shocked to receive an email from Jill this morning. Attached was an article, written by the Herald Sun reporter Alex White, about our meeting.
Normally I never read the Herald Sun because I find its scurrilous reporting of our campaign brings me down. The headline: EW Link protestors admit they are losing the PR war and plan to bring children to future demonstrations was so inaccurate that it took my breath away.
In fact, over the course of the meeting, we had delighted in sharing evidence of how we are winning the hearts and minds of the public. As to the other claim - that we plan to bring children to future pickets - this was simply a suggestion made by a newish member about her intention to bring her own children - a suggestion that nobody else took up.
The other shock for me is that, at what I took to be exclusively a meeting of friends, there was obviously a reporter there in disguise, bent on distorting what she heard to villainise us. Shame Alex White! But it makes sense of what I heard happened a couple of days ago - that the police pushed all the citizen photographers back, allowing only the Herald Sun photographer to keep filming.
I shouldn't be surprised, but it is hard to live with the knowledge of the lengths officialdom and some representatives of the media will go to to destroy opposition and undermine peoples' rights to peaceful protest.
Accompanying the article was a video of a recent picket at the corner of Alexandra and Queens Parades. It was entitled: E W Link Protest Boils Over. Watching it, I found my eyes filling with tears at the injustice of this depiction of us and because I was so moved by the grace, stalwartness and peacefulness of the protestors withstanding the police onslaught. I will finish with two pictures from my record of that day:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

White NIMBY Millionaire property owners upset that road is being built for Suburban types.

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Emma said...

Hi Sue,

Wow what an unfortunate and narrow-minded depiction of the protestors, both in the Herald Sun, and in the comments section of this blog, Common understanding of a NIMBY is somebody who opposes a proposed development simply because it is too close to them. It is often implied that if it weren't for its location, they would support the development. Given that EW protestors explicitly do not support the development of this road but instead push for public transport to service those in the suburbs as well as those in the city, I fail to see how that term applies here. Hopefully the protestors are undeterred by narrow minds and can continue to focus on the real issue at hand.

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Union Man said...

I have spent quite a bit of time today watching Youtube videos of protesters interfering with workers going about their jobs.

In several videos I have seen the co-ordinater and self described Union Organiser calling them 'scabs'.

Why is this man attempting to deny thousands of workers jobs?

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Put even a fraction of the tunnel money into public transport infrastructure and road projects such as fixing level crossings and you will have guaranteed far more jobs for many more workers for a much longer period.

The tunnel project is short-term and short-sighted, because commuting by car will become prohibitively expensive for everyone (including workers) within a few decades as oil reserves dry up and petrol prices soar. Peter M

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the job question is a very valid point. I guess the reality is, a road will crete short term employment. A rail sytem will ggrant long term, ongoing employment for 1000's + workers too. I would prefer the rail also, as it will open up opportunities to may people under the age of 18 (driving age) to study, travel, and be a part of inner Melbourne, without being stuck in the outer suburbs, due to poor infrastructure.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Brian Noble said...

I am surprised with the hatred expressed for the journalist. Is it a surprise she didn't reveal her identity at the meeting, given the personal danger she must know be facing from the protesters?

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah Brian 'cause those old folks look like they could crack some skulls. Get a grip mate :)

8:42 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Hi Union Man,

I'm one of the picketers. Like you I don't like the use of the word scab here: it doesn't really fit the situation. The drill rig operators have just been hired to do a job and probably most of them know very little about the project and all of its shortcomings. Though maybe if they notice that people have been coming out against the project every day from before dawn for the last five months they might just think of trying to learn something about it that goes a little deeper than Herald Sun pap — e.g. every Victorian should find out how its finances are going to work because all of us are going to be living under them for the next 30 years.

On the other hand just because someone is carrying out a work doesn't mean the work is good or should be allowed to continue. If your local council passed a No Trees by the Roadside ordinance and you go out one morning to find a contractor chainsawing down all the trees in your street, your first thought might not be Work is important, these guys are working, so let them chop down every tree.

As for the 1000's of jobs, yes apparently there are 3-4k projected for the EWL. But the same thing applies as above: you build something because it is needed and good, not just so someone can have the work of building it. (I did suggest to the Premier that instead of the EWL he commission a series of giant pyramids to his immortal glory, but no reply.) The jobs for this project would be almost all construction jobs and they would last for a relatively short time. We want serious investment in public transport: that would produce many more thousands of jobs, many of them ongoing: people would be needed to run it as well as build it. TA talks about 21st century roads, by which he really means 1950's roads: it's in PT where serious high tech development is taking place.

Once the PT is actually working (there are also some cheap obvious quicks things that can make a big difference here) then enough people who now have no choice but to drive will be siphoned off — and that will relieve congestion. There really is no other way to fix the system.

The video footage can give a misleading impression of how things are on the picket: mostly it is fairly quiet. There has been virtually no confrontation between picketers and people from the drill companies, though occasionally LMA workers (who also wear fluoro vests etc) have gone onto cowboy mode.


9:10 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Brian Noble, I don't think anyone hates this journalist and the idea anyone would have been in danger from us — in the yoga room next the Fitzroy toddlers' pool on a summer saturday afternoon — well that has no connection with reality — which, actually, is the main problem with the Herald Sun.

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taking your children to a picket? Bad parenting but then I am of the opinion that if you raise your children in Fitzroy / Collingwood and have the means to move to another more family friendly community you are bad parent who puts your own needs above that of your kids.

Fitzroy is a ces pit of drunks, vomit and graffiti.

Small houses with no backyards and hardly any parkland.

Why would you want to raise kids in that enviroment?

12:26 AM  
Blogger Sue Jackson said...

All of us are entitled to express our opinion. And that is exactly what we are fighting for.

3:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The stooge who provided the Herald Sun with the phoney report re kiddies at risk on the picket line was - in my view - put up to it by the State Government about to put the Summary Offences Bill through Parliament. This fascist piece of legislation will clamp down on and persecute objectors, protestors, picketers and unionists. Hence Denis Napthine needs to whip up hysteria against protestors so people will be clamoring for his Bill. Maintain Your Rage as Gough once said! Signed "Protestors R Us".

4:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is most unfortunate that the Herald Sun is lowering the tone of the paper by publishing what in my opinion is complete drivel by reporter Alex White. I can recall in the days of the Vietnam moratorium the then Herald used to trumpet abroad its moto "Better Dead Than Red" (ie Communist in case anyone is too young to get it) The anti protestors campaign by the Coalition Government signifies a return to these good old days of extreme predjudice. Today the HUN fails to examine just why the picketers are taking to the streets - could it be that they are objecting to $8 billion being thrown away by Premier Napthine on the largest white elephant in Victorian history namely the EWLink when we need increased spending on schools, hospitals, ambulance services and public transport plus level crossings? Could it be they are opposing the demolition of whole neighbourhoods and the fact that Royal Park is to be razed to the ground with 5,200 trees to be axed. This is a call to oppose not only the EW Link but to oppose the Summary Offences Act or we will end up as living in a permanent Police State. Signed by Lewis from Laverton.

5:20 AM  
Blogger Jill Koppel said...

Some useful tips at this stage of the campaign:!Dealing-with-Trolls/cxpt/4BAC3EF9-4A64-479E-A6E4-D0B10C4ABA52

1:38 PM  

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