The Women's Peace Walk “Footprints for Peace” will begin their epic three month trek from Brisbane to Canberra to send a message of peace, sustainability and anti-nuclear proliferation to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
The Women-organised event is expected to take three months taking in many towns and cities before finishing in Canberra. They will meet with Prime Minister Rudd and deliver a message stick to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra.
Walk organiser and 66yo grandmother June Norman says, “With the announcement of Mucakaty Station in the Northern Territory as the preferred site for a high level nuclear waste dump in Central Australia, it is important that the Australian people make it known we don't want this dirty, dangerous and unwanted industry endangering our lives and the lives of future generations.”
“Most of the indigenous people of central Australia are opposed to a nuclear waste dump on their land and we need to stand by them. Opposing the nuclear industry is vital to supporting safe and peaceful future.”
Special guest at the Women's Peace Walk launch on Sunday, March 13 is indigenous health, political and social justice advocate and Birrigubba woman, Gracelyn Smallwood. Gracelyn was awarded Queensland Aboriginal of the Year in 1986, an Order of Australia medal in 1992 for service to public health, and in 1994 was the first woman, Indigenous person and non-paediatrician to receive the Henry Kemp Memorial Award at the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. She is an Associate Professor at James Cook University in Townsville.
Gracelyn is acutely aware of the dangers of uranium mining and use. As a nurse and health professional she experienced first hand the effects of uranium mining in Queensland, witnessing “an increase in sterility, cancers, miscarriages”. Her father died of cancer after working on the railways during the time that Queensland's Mary Kathleen uranium mine was transporting yellowcake to Townsville for export.
Other speakers include Labor Senator Claire Moore and long time peace and nuclear advocates Robin Taubenfeld and Joan Shears, the latter whom won an Order of Australia medal in 2009 for her peace work.
Women and men from around the nation are expected to join the walk. Supporters and well-wishers will be joining the walk along it's route.
The Women's Peace Walk is supported by Friends of the Earth Brisbane and the Jagera Arts Centre
June Norman – Peace and anti-nuclear spokesperson 0438 169 414
Cassie McMahon – Environment and sustainability spokesperson
7am - Walk starts
Friends of the Earth House
293 Montague Rd
West End, Brisbane
8-10am- Walk Launch Event
Jagera Arts Centre
Musgrave Park, South Brisbane
Speakers, entertainment, breakfast
10am - First leg of walk commences