Canberra was the focus of action today over climate change and the Government's proposed carbon tax, with an action for climate change petition presented, youth climate activists from AYCC in town to meet politicians, and the No Tax on Carbon rally attended by climate deniers and conservatives that had been actively promoted on shock-jock talk back radio as a "people's tax revolt".
People opposed to a carbon tax rallied at noon in Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane. The protest in Canberra was organised by the Consumers and Taxpayers Assoc Inc. and 2GB broadcaster Chris Smith.
Organisers of the rally in Canberra said 3000 attended although police estimated about 1500. In Melbourne 100 people gathered outside the state Parliament according to the ABC, while 50 people gathered in King George Terrace in Brisbane.
If you go to the Consumers and Taxpayers website CO2 the truth page, they are strongly in the climate denial camp dismissing the huge amount of scientific research on climate change and CO2 emissions in favour of the arguments by climate denial websites.
Many reports in the press and twitter remarked on the predominance of baby boomers and retirees in the crowd at these protests, and their conservative makeup. At the Canberra protest a report in the Age said the "Young Liberals, DLP, Climate Skeptics, the National Civic Council and the Conservative Action Network" were all represented. One Nation was also there as well as Pauline Hanson who wandered the crowd being warmly received. The rally heard from Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott, Nationals Senator Fiona Nash and Angry Anderson amoung others. The protest has also been compared to the Tea Party protests in the USA.
"@JamesScullin: A lot of racist placards unrelated to carbon tax at #noCTrally. Also Tea Party placards complete with American spelling!"
The Australian Youth Climate Coalition, representing 58,000 primarily young members, met with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and other politicians in Canberra. "Young people are the most important stakeholders when deciding climate change policy, as we will be the generation most affected by climate change," said Ellen Sandell, National Director of the AYCC.
Commenting on the No Carbon Tax rally Ellen Sandall said "We originally expected 5000 people to attend, bussed in from Sydney and Melbourne, but only 1000 have come out to Parliament House this afternoon" said Ms Sandell.
"After the rallies in Melbourne last weekend where over 8000 people joined together to call for a strong and immediate price on pollution, it is clear that the support within the community for action on climate change is broad and deep, particularly among young people" she said.
The ACTU and WWF upstaged the rally with delivery of a 12,500 name petition calling for action on climate change to Greg Combet, the Climate Change and Energy Minister at a breakfast-time press conference.
"The people who have signed this petition are the silent majority of Australians who care about the nation's future and are not fooled by Tony Abbott's scare campaign," said ACTU President Ged Kearney.
Greg Combet said "the government has made it very clear that the revenue collected from the payment of the price on pollution by the large polluters in the economy will be used to help people, help households, particularly low and middle income households meet any price impacts. It will be used to support jobs in the most effected industries and it will be used to support other climate change programs in particular with an emphasis on support for clean energy technology."
Yesterday new telephone polling done by Galaxy Research for the Greens found that the majority of Australians want to tax polluters: 58% of Australians support "taxing the big polluters" , with only 17% supporting the coalition policy of "pay money to polluters to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions."
- ACTU media release, March 23, 2011 - Australian workers say yes to action on climate change for our future
- Transcript of Doorstop interview
- AYCC media release, March 23, 2011 - Polluter rallies dwarfed by support
- Greens MPs media release March 22, 2011 - New poll shows overwhelming support for a polluters' tax - Brown
- Background articles from my Climate Citizen blog: