Labor buries dud E-W Link. Next: Hazelwood
|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|
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.