Thousands rally to price carbon on World Environment Day

An estimated 10,000 people packed the lawns of the State Library on Swanston street Melbourne on World Environment Day to Say yes to a safe climate and support the introduction of a carbon price by the Gillard Federal Labor Government. About 8000 people also gathered in Sydney, 5000 people rallied in Adelaide's Victoria Square, 5000 in Brisbane, 3000 in Perth, 3000 in Hobart, and 2000 in Canberra. Organisors estimate up to 45000 may have attended rallies across Australia today to support climate action and pricing carbon.

Melbourne Protests photos and report |
Flickr photos: Melbourne | Adelaide | Canberra | Sydney

Former Liberal leader Dr John Hewson addressed the crowd in Canberra with some telling criticism of both the Government and opposition. Federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott was one of John Hewson's staffers. "We need leadership to challenge the scare campaign that's been led by one of my ex-staff members," he said.

"This issue is going to affect generations through this century so how dare they play games with the livelihoods of our grandchildren and their grandchildren. Undoubtedly the negative campaign is a lot easier to run than the positive campaign and we're not seeing much leadership on the part of the government," he said. He told the crowd that it wa likely the next election would probably be decided on climate change in this aap report on

The Melbourne rally was addressed by Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Don Henry who said "We've got to ramp up people power because in the next three months our parliament's going to decide whether we take action or not. We think momentum is building, people-power is building, because Australians want action on climate change," he told the crowd, "So it's the right time for all Australians, from all walks of life, to say, 'Hey, come on parliamentarians, no matter what your political colour, we pay your salary, we vote you in, we want action on climate change now and that means a price on pollution'."

Other speakers at the Melbourne rally included Peter Marshall of the United Firefighters’ Union, and climate activist Jenna Farrington, with music provided by Blue King Brown. See Melbourne Protests weblog - Say ‘Yes’ to Action on Climate Change – rally in Melbourne 5 June 2011 for a full report and photos.

Greens MP for Melbourne Adam Bandt commented on the rally to the ABC, "What this is is a genuine people-powered movement that is going to ride over the top of Tony Abbott's coal-fired fear campaign,"

In Adelaide Climate Institute CEO John Connor told the crowd "We are in a struggle with those who will make action on pollution and clean energy the scapegoat for electricity prices rises, those who ignore the fact that electricity price rises have been driven by fuel and network costs. We are in a struggle against those in politics, business and the media who persist in a fear campaign, intentionally frightening workers and low-income households with the worst possible scenarios about taking action. (We are in a struggle against) those who wilfully ignore the support packages that will be there for families and businesses as we switch to a cleaner economy."

"Citizens, we have to face up to the fact that Australia is a big polluter, and the longer we delay action the more it will cost. With your help we will win this struggle against fear, prejudice and short-sightedness." as reported by AAP on Adelaidenow.

Greenpeace CEO Lynda Selvey addressed the crowd in Brisbane saying "We’re up against big powerful multinational companies and they are fighting tooth and nail to protect their self interests," she said. "They’re running scare campaigns all around the country, just like they did with the mining tax. They’re going to workplaces in places like Gladstone and they are telling the workers that they are going to lose their jobs if we have a price on carbon pollution." reported the Sydney Morning Herald.

World Vision spokeperson, reverend Tim Costello said that "climate change represents the greatest potential violation of children’s rights in history" and was already costing lives and livelihoods globally. "The poorest, the most vulnerable are already being the most impacted," he told the rally in Brisbane's Botanic Gardens. "We are here to say to Australians this isn't us putting our neck on the chopping block, we're just asking please stop Australia's reputation being one of a freeloader, letting others do the heavy work." he was reported as saying in the Herald Sun.

The Say Yes Australia campaign and rallies have been organised by a broad coalition of groups in Australia in support of the Federal Government Interim carbon tax to tackle carbon pollution to start on July 1st 2012. The campaign brings together the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Australian Coservation Foundation, Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Climate Action Network Australia, The Climate Institute, Environment Victoria, GetUp!, World Wildlife Fund Australia and many more.



Range of photos and brief report of speakers on Melbourne Protests weblog -
Did Adam Bandt really speak in Melbourne? Perhaps he gave a media interview? Certainly didn't see or hear him; I was there from the start and only left after the rally had been declared over, although the band was still playing...

Hi Peter,
Yes, Adam Bandt made a comment after the rally to the ABC. I have corrected the context and added a link to the ABC report. I couldn't get near the stage because of the crush, until well after the speakers had finished, so thanks for your great report and photos on your weblog. For the most part on the edges of the crowd I couldn't even hear the speeches properly nor who spoke.

The street works on Swanston were really confining. Without those fences a crowd this size would normally have blocked Swanston Street.

Looks like Aussie rules and rugby was more important to Australians than your rally more people attended football games over the weekend I would call your rallies a fizzer.
Dr John Hewson Doctor of what? can any one tell me?Says Tony(The Bullshit artist)Abbott is leading a scare campaign look at your main picture with the young girl holding a sign that says "If my parents don't pay the price then my kids will" Looks like the carbon dioxide tax has scared the shit out of her it is you people that lead the scare campaign "the world will heat up places will flood and people will die" Who's scaring who here? It's not the budgie smuggler.Remember what the smart scientist were saying in the 70s let me refresh your memories they said the world was going to have a Ice age and every thing was going to freeze and people would die what a load of crap that was now you want me to believe the same pack of dick heads.Scientists have to come up with this crap to keep themselves in a job you have all been sucked in.

People who attended the Carbon tax rallies were obviously well intentioned and sincerely wish to see climate change tackled. However I found the rallies and campaign around them to be very depressing as I see them as a sad reflection of the co-option of the environment movement by the ALP.

How on earth do you explain the fact that 10,000 people campaigned for a tax that even IF it worked could only ever deliver %5 cuts of Australians emmissions by 2020 - which is the ALP's policies. Rather than than rally behind the ALP's pathetic climate policies the environment movement and its NGO's should be condemning the ALP like the Liberal Party for failing to endorse real targets for climate change. According to the IPCC - developed countries should be aiming to cut emmissions by 20% by 2020 - which is now only 9 years awat!

In addition the climate tax will clearly fail to make any difference at all except place more costs on ordinary Australians who are already suffering increased costs of living. The ALP has made it abundantly clear that like with the ETS, the real pollutters, ie large corporations like coal powered electricity generators, aluminium smelters, the concrete industry etc will all be compensated to the tune of billions. The fact the green movement has supported a "price on carbon" before even seeing what the package will entail is pathetic.

Lastly - the fact that the environment movement has so willingly fallen behind "market solutions" to climate change is hugley deluded. The coal powered electricity industry was not built by the market but by huge levels of public money. Just because these industries were later sold off to profiteering multi-nationals doesn't change this fact - these same multi-nationals who are now demanding compensation!

So rather than endorse a pathetic policy aimed at a pathetic target, why doesn't the Green movement demand massive public spending on renewable energy and the removal of all subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. Instead it is following the script of ALP = Good, Liberals and Tony Abbot = Bad. Even worse it is following the script that it is the selfish ordinary people who refuse to endorse this tax that are the problem rather than the scumbag corporations who are making billions out of digging up coal and making coal powered electricity. How have we come to the point where the Green Party and the leading Green NGO's have effectively become a faction of the ALP? Why are we not demanding REAL action on climate change.

We all changed to energy saving globes and electricity consumption must have dropped.So then the electricity companies put the price of power up because profits dropped so if the carbon dioxide tax does it's job and reduces consumption the price of electricity will go up more on top of the tax because big business will not let profits drop, just the same as what happened with water when we used less during the drought the price went up.
The price of petrol is at an all time high correct me if I am wrong there are more cars on the road this year than any other year.We need petrol I need petrol to put in my 4 cylinder ute for work to go to jobs and carry my tools if you put a tax on petrol I will still use the same amount each week because thats what I need to go to jobs how will this reduce my consumption on fuel it won't and it can't the only thing it will do is increase the bill I give to my customers YOU and put money in the governments pocket.
In the last two years my family and I have been possitive about reducing our carbon foot print and we have reduced it so much that the only way we can reduce it more is to sell the house and go live in a tent in the bush and hunt the land for food so how can a carbon tax reduce my families carbon foot print we have all ready cut back on every thing possible with in our means all a carbon tax will do to my family is make life harder.We have done the right thing for the environment.To move to the next step we need alternative Power source but it is not available My house is on solar power which costs me more but if it is good for the environment then I don't complain but big industry needs an alternative power source for this to work and we need something to replace fossel fuels until that happens your carbon tax will line the pockets of the government and the rich that sit in there big houses using as much power and fuel as they want

How can a Carbon tax work for me

A few links that you may enjoy - speaking to the co-optation of the green movement/inadequate plans of Garnaut et al

for an analysis of how the Adelaide rally could have been much better as an exercise in movement-building

and finally, an analysis of some of the Murdoch empire's tricks


I pay extra for green energy so I wont get a carbon tax on my electricity bill right or have I been conned ?????