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.)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Labor buries dud E-W Link. Next: Hazelwood

Climate Guardians
Today's two related events on the Parliament steps were biggies. So much so that we were even joined by the heavenly host - the Climate Guardians - who flew in specially for the occasion.
First off, a grateful group of Anti-East-West Link protestors came armed with flowers and balloons to thank Daniel Andrews and his Labor government for cancelling the contracts and for the relief that ensued for all yesterday when the Premier finally settled the consortium's claim at a 'mere' $339m.
Sadly I missed the tram and missed seeing Richard Wynne and Jane Garrett accepting the offerings from the delegation. But apparently it was a most emotional experience all round - a proper acknowledgement of the integrity of the new government in following through on its pre-election pledge and a fitting end to this triumph for people power.

A very happy Keith and Petra, who didn't miss the tram 

The presentation to the Labor Party was followed immediately by another important occasion - a rally to hail the Greens' determination to apply pressure to Labor to honour their long-standing declaration of opposition to Hazelwood by closing down Australia's most polluting power station.
Ellen Sandell joined us on the steps. She had just spoken for the first time about Hazelwood in the Lower House. She said that the predictable heckling from the Opposition only energised her.

No hectoring, only support for Ellen, outside on the steps

Speakers at the rally included Ellen, Adam Bandt and Colin Long, the Victorian Trades Hall Council President. Tom Doig, author of 'The Coal Face', with its harrowing descriptions of the impact of the mine fire on the residents of Morwell, was also there. Together they made a unimpeachable case for closure. Clearly it is a matter of when, not if, the filthy power station needs to go.
The take home message for me was simple: the closing of the power station needs to be done on the basis of just decisions involving the La Trobe Valley communities, with development of alternative jobs a priority. With coal prices plummeting globally, the power station will inevitably founder, but it would be disastrous for local communities if the decision to close it down were left simply to market forces and corporations.
Both Ellen and Adam made a point of acknowledging the inspiration and hope engendered by the Anti-Tunnel protestors, many of whom were present:

Some familiar and dear faces

I felt very proud to be included in this group. It made all those 5am picket lines worthwhile. In the world of activism a little success can go a long way.
Finally we all joined in vigorously as the Greens' India Prior led us in the chant: 'Hazelwood. Replace it now. Let's keep coal in the ground'.


As with the East-West Link, the dud power station needs to go. But how can we possibly fail? After all, we're walking with the angels.


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