VoteEnvironmentrally210424 Transcript of speakers at the Vote Environment rally organised by the Bob Brown Foundation, Parliament Lawns, Hobart, 24 April 2021. Jenny Weber Hello, I would just like to start by acknowledging that this was Aboriginal land, it was invaded and taken off the Aboriginal people, and it was never ceded. So until it’s returned […]
Transcript of speakers at the Vote Environment rally organised by the Bob Brown Foundation, Parliament Lawns, Hobart, 24 April 2021.
Hello, I would just like to start by acknowledging that this was Aboriginal land, it was invaded and taken off the Aboriginal people, and it was never ceded. So until it’s returned to the Tasmanian Aboriginal people, we cannot do an acknowledgement that this is Aboriginal land. And so I thank my friends, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre for teaching me that, and making me understand that it is still not Aboriginal land because it was invaded, it was taken from them, and their heritage is not protected, and this land must be returned to all Aboriginal people. I’m Jenny, I’m from the Bob Brown foundation. And I’d like to thank you all for coming today. We are one week out of a May Day election,
We face a great crisis: this climate emergency and extinction emergency and destruction of wild places. And we must all raise our voices. We need environmental protection and climate action on the top of the political agenda this election. For all the promises made in this election campaign from new roads to tourism and education or health, we the Bob Brown Foundation know that that is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic unless we secure our environment and climate. COVID – that great pandemic that we’re all still facing across the globe – is a result of habitat destruction, and the world is on notice. We need to restore the environment, protect habitats, or we will see more pandemics.
Global Leaders are calling for every community to build back better by investing in nature, protecting and restoring our Earth. That is exactly what the Bob Brown Foundation is doing. And we welcome you all. I’d like to start our event today with an environmentalist who will stand up with us consistently. And with true victories all the way along the way. And we’re so grateful to have Bob Brown speak to us this morning. Welcome Bob Brown.
Dr Bob Brown
Thanks, Jenny. Thanks, everybody. I do acknowledge the first people of lutruwita who are here with us today and to whom we owe everything. And we are continuing to fight for a little bit in preparation, not least in the return of takayna, the Tarkine, along with it’s protection. I want to acknowledge the Greens members, Cassy O’Connor and Woodruff, and if there are any other members of parliament, please put your hand up because I want to acknowledge you too. (audience laughter) Here we have a vote for the environment rally and I haven’t felt the years the strength of the environment as an issue in a state election that is happening in the run to May the first 2021. And so it should be because the environment is us. And we are the environment. And I acknowledge the other great issues of health, education, transport, democracy, the right to know what people in this building are doing behind closed doors against the interest of average Tasmanians. And I know some polls being announced today in The Mercury and elsewhere, which show that neither Mr. Gutwein nor Ms White will get a majority next Saturday. And that’s how it should be. And both of them have said they will resign if I don’t get that majority. This arrogance of telling Tasmanians, they won’t accept the vote. Well as we go through the next week, one thing that they don’t want on the agenda, that is on the agenda, is the environment. And when it comes to forests, everybody – and that extinction crisis that Jenny just spoke about – we know what Labor and Liberal stand for. That’s more bulldozers, more chainsaws and more wood chips in their new ship, biggest ever, called by them China Express, taking our beautiful forests to the northern hemisphere and with it the wildlife habitat of swift parrots, Tasmanian devils, eagles. We must vote against that happening.
We must vote for candidates who will stop that happening. And the climate emergency made worse by destroying these carbon banks. How dare they, these state representatives on federal parties, which want more coal mines, more gas extraction, and more destruction of forests in our time. How can they look the Tasmanian people in the eye after the bushfires and the drying forests and the rising sea levels we already see in this island, we’re going to accelerate that. Not turn it around in its tracks. Well, we’re going to vote for people who will turn it around in his tracks.
Ladies and gentlemen, if there’s one touch point, again, for those people doubtful about the environment, it must be our oceans and our rivers. And just two days ago, on schedule, nothing to do with this election because it was coming down the line before Peter Gutwein dumped this election on the Tasmanian people, is Richard Flanagan’s book Toxic sold out in book shops around Tasmania. It tells the truth of how these three big corporations with $50 million profit now aiming for 100 million, want to expand and turn towns beautiful towns like Bridport, like Stanley into industrial 24/7 more light, more noise, more pollution, trucks through them day in and day out, in the service of corporations largely owned outside this state. Come on Rebecca White, come on Peter Gutwein, we don’t want that we want to hear you get behind the Dennes Point Declaration. Look it up ladies and gentlemen, the D-E-N-N-E-S Point from Bruny island declaration, which says three things. Stop the expansion of industrial fish farms; bring them on shore, and make sure that the jobs of the future are safe in that industry as the rest of the world brings them on shore; and then have an independent, a truly independent regulator that regulates that industry. And for goodness sake, forestry and our wildlife, and our urban heritage, and Aboriginal people in the interests of the Tasmanian people. So ladies and gentlemen, this is the biggest crowd we’ll see in this election campaign. We have more than 500 strong because the environment matters. So many young faces, so many vote changers, so many people proud of this island, so many people wanting to put our lifestyle, our environment, our wildlife, our future wellbeing ahead of the corporate interests which so easily by off whoever is in government. I don’t know what next Saturday will bring. I don’t know that the leaders of the two big parties have said they’ll stand down if I don’t get their way, they don’t get a majority Well, I don’t know what the Greens of the independents position is. But I expect they will stand up and take on the Premiership job if these mob don’t want it. Ladies and gentlemen, here’s our opportunity. There’s buckets going around by the way. This event is a celebration of democracy and that always costs money so if you’ve got a few dollars late, put them in the bucket. But more importantly come next Saturday or if you’re voting early, whenever, green your vote for Tasmania’s future and go Tasmania’s environment. Thanks.
Thank you to Bob Brown our environmentalist, a true leader. We have a good lineup of people speaking today who are working to protect this wild island. We wanted to give a platform for everyone trying to stop the ruthless onslaught of destruction and who are up against it. I’m going to claim it that this government is the worst that we have ever seen for the environment, because they are in government while there’s a climate emergency and they are doing nothing. They have done nothing for the environment, they have done nothing for the climate. And they’re only going to get worse if they get a mandate to keep going. So we have gathered here today on a unity ticket that is to vote for the environment. We’re urging voters to vote for candidates that will take action in this Parliament for a safe environment and a safe climate. We want people in this house who will vote for clean water, clean air and intact native forests. We want people who will remember that just over the back here is intact wilderness like nothing else that we have in Australia or around the world. It’s unique and it needs protection. And we want people in there who will turn away from fossil fuels that continue to contribute to global warming. They’re the people that we want in this parliament. We believe it is our responsibility and your responsibility to elect people who are committed to solving environmental issues and facing the climate emergency that we are all facing down. Our next speaker is a young woman who has really been taking it to town with the government. And that is Sophie Underwood, the state coordinator of the Planning Matters Alliance of Tasmania, a growing alliance of almost seventy community groups across Tasmania. Please welcome Sophie.
Hello, everybody. I want to echoed the acknowledgement of Tasmania’s Aboriginal community, and the traditional owners of the land on which we’re meeting today. I pay my respects. The Tasmanian planning scheme, which PMAT is advocating to change dictates what can and can’t happen across every inch of our state. It creates our future, and how that Tasmania will look and feel. The planning scheme is a powerful document. It underpins the health of our economy, our brand, food security, mental and physical health, housing, our natural and built environment and cultural heritage. It underpins our democracy, how we have a say over our future and how we adapt to climate change. But unfortunately, successive governments are taking us backwards on planning, behind closed doors and in secrecy. They’re relying on the complexity of the planning system, so we don’t engage in it. But this is why we’re here today, we’re asking you to engage in this really important issue. Just a few examples. Residential standards, recent changes allows 100% cover of concrete and roofs across our inner and general residential zones across Tasmania. This is really concerning, obviously, with flood implications, heat islands and loss of biodiversity. These residential standards have been forced on councils and they have no right of refusal. Andy’s showing examples of what this looks like. Another really big issue is that commercial tourism developments have now been classed as permitted, a permitted use in all our national parks and reserves. So what that means (boos), yeah, shame. So what that means is that there’s no guarantee of public comment and no right of appeal for developments in our national parks and reserves. This is pretty much on 50% of the state. So in 50% of the state, the public is being not guaranteed a right of say on its own land. Another really big issue is the natural assets code. It doesn’t apply to agricultural land, the commercial zone or the residential zone, which means many areas of bush won’t get assessed properly during development applications. The other big issue is that fish farming and forestry also sit outside the normal planning system. We are losing our voice and our rights, and our environment is losing out. And this is all happening without us really knowing. We need your help. We need your help to raise planning as a key state election issue.
What do we want? We want a transparent planning system that serves the community and the environment and not just the property developers. We need to raise planning as a key state election election issue. And we’ve made this really easy for you to do. Can you please email every single candidate in the state and ask them their position on planning? If you can, pull out your phones right now and jump onto our website, onto our homepage. There’s a link there which will take you to a platform which allows you to email your candidates around the state in about one minute and that email asks three critical questions. And we’d love you the electors to ask your candidates these questions. These are live issues. What is your position on removing planning from local councils? We think this is an unstated intention of the state government, to remove planning from local government. So we want to keep planning local; local voices, local understanding. The second question is, ask your candidates’ position on fast tracking the last stage of the implementation of the Tasmanian Planning Scheme. This field is in Parliament now ready to go. And we think it will be debated, probably in the first, the first time when Parliament goes back. This is what would it would allow for. Imagine, for example, if Cambria Green on the east coast, if that rezoning could take effect without being advertised, that is what’s at stake. And then last of all, ask your candidates’ position on making planning appeals so expensive that the community can’t afford to run an appeal. And that’s what’s happening. This bill is ready to go. So big corporations won’t have a problem paying but the community will. Your right to appeal developments is under threat. So please, engage with your candidates on planning and help make planning a central part of this year’s state election. Thank you.
Thank you, Sophie. So the current government that we have has been ruling over Tasmania since 2014. I just wanted to remind you all that there were things that happened as early as 2014 that some may have forgotten. So here is a short list of the fate of the environment under this government. 356,000 hectares of high conservation value forests have been opened for logging. These were promised reserves. And I must say that it was the Labor Party before them that was too lame and too afraid to actually give those forests upfront protection. The money was given to the loggers to keep logging, the money was given to the loggers to get out of logging. But we did not get those reserves up front. We had a change of government and now we have 356,000 hectares including an enormous 100,000 hectares in the Tarkine that is available for logging. Worse still, more than 1 million hectares was opened for logging as regional reserves and conservation areas’ protection was weakened, that was done by this government. And I’m sure that there’s people who forget that a million hectares that was always protected by logging in the Tarkine and across Tasmania was protected until this government lifted that secure protection and allows for logging now. Swift parrots were listed as critically endangered under this government. They were advised by the IUCN that they needed all public land that they depend on to be securely protected in conservation reserves. That was in 2015. And still today, we are seeing the removal of swift parrot habitat across Tasmania. This is under this government. And for the first time ever, which is a great shame on our international stage it’s this government that is launching a new assault on the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. And our next speaker Tom Allen, the campaign manager for The Wilderness Society, will let you know more about that. Welcome Tom Allen.
Sophie Underwood for Premier I reckon. And Grace Tame for Governor. I’d like to acknowledge this island’s first peoples the palawa pakana and their elders past and present. Also I’d like to acknowledge and thank the Bob Brown Foundation. Respect. lutruwita / Tasmania’s wilderness World Heritage Area, the highest rated World Heritage wilderness anywhere on the planet. The reason we’re all here today isn’t just the election – it’s the hidden war on nature behind Brand Tasmania. s showing that if the Lake Malbena proposal goes ahead, nearly 5000 hectares of World Heritage wilderness land will be degraded: ignored. The World Heritage Committee, the Aboriginal heritage Council of Tasmania, the Australian Heritage Council, and the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council: all ignored Public submissions 98% of which oppose Malbena: 100% ignored. The public, the people: ignored. We refuse to be ignored. I didn’t even mention choppers and permanent luxury accommodation where none should be. Well, wilderness isn’t an absence. It’s a presence of the purest form of nature. Life.
Large, intact, functioning ecosystems. That’s wilderness.Wilderness is something else too – it’s palawa-pakana. About Pedder, the founding director of the Wilderness Society Kevin Kiernan said. “I saw my temple ransacked.” 50 years later, it’s still being ransacked. Here’s our response: WILDERNESS! NO – COMPROMISE! You don’t compromise when you’re under attack. And we are under attack. Forests. Waterways. National parks. Wilderness.They call us ideologues. Radicals. Vegans! But it’s the dudes in suits, quietly carving up the joint, who are the problem. Journalists ask: If you lose your court case, will you walk away? Did the Franklin Dam defenders walk away? Do the forest defenders walk away today? Will we walk away? No! Never! Nature is life’s luxury. It’s all we need. And it’s all we have. When you vote, think of nature, parks, biodiversity, wildlife and World Heritage wilderness. It belongs to us all. WILDERNESS! NO – COMPROMISE!
Thank you, Tom. Thanks two dogs for hitting up the Premier yesterday that was very well done. You could sew together many aspects of this Liberal government’s bad behaviour with the common thread of secrecy. Almost all of the election donations are secret. Much of their mining and forestry operations are conducted out of the public eye and in secret. The National Park exploitation list is secret. Much of the information to do with salmon farming, fish kills and consequent pollution is kept secret. Their record of secrecy in relation to Right to Information legislation is well known. For the environment to survive and prosper we need an open government, we need freedom of information and we need a removal of corruption out of this state. A woman who has fought for this place all her life and is so grateful to have on the team already, still fighting for this amazing island and standing up to that corruption, is Christine Milne, a local environmentalist, climate activist and former Greens leader, please welcome Christine.
Thanks very much everyone and terrific to see you all here. It’s just a shame, we’re still here 30 years on still fighting for the same things, when everybody can see that our island is so special because of its wilderness and our biodiversity. I want to just also acknowledge that we are meeting on Aboriginal land, the land of the palawa people ,and pay my respects to their elders past and present. But I have come here today especially to say that the Liberal government’s totally flawed energy extravaganza Project Marinus and Battery of the Nation is a dud, a great big dud. When I say that, I’ve been a climate activist for 30 years. And when I see this, I just think to myself, this is just another example of greenwash Because dud, let’s start with D for disaster in terms of biodiversity and environment. Biodiversity and climate are two sides of the same coin. You cannot destroy wetlands, you cannot destroy the migratory birds’ pathway. You cannot destroy ecosystems. You can’t industrialise the central plateau and say that it is green. It is greed. Corporate greed, there’s only one word for it. This is the decade, the United Nations decade of ecosystem restoration because every climate activist knows that if we are to build resilience against global warming, we have to restore forests, we have to restore ecosystems, not destroy them. It’s also dud, the U. Unnecessary, unnecessary to address the climate emergency and let me say I have studied this for years. The fact of the matter is, the mainland does not need Tasmania’s renewable energy for it to achieve 100% renewable energy. It does not. Secondly, the mainland does not need Tasmania’s storage to be able to balance the NEM. We have actually commissioned a report from the Victorian Energy Policy Centre by Bruce Mountain. And what it shows clearly, is that this government fails to understand the renewable energy revolution, the technological revolution. Battery storage has already leapfrogged Tasmania’s dams when it comes to balancing the NEM. Batteries are smaller, they’re more flexible, they’re part of distributed systems and they are cheaper. You can balance the NEM with batteries, you do not need Tasmania’s hydro system to do it.
The other day of dud is debt. It’s not just me saying it. It’s not just Bruce Mountain saying it. But the liberal God – the market – is saying it. Not one private sector developer is interested in putting a single dollar into Marinus. Not one. Because they know that it is not economically viable. Not $1. Zilch, nothing. These projects are going to cost $7.1 billion, 7.1 billion. And that means who is going to pay? Who’s gonna pay for that if the private sector is not going to pay for it, Victoria is not going to pay for it because they don’t want it. Who’s going to pay? Well, I’ll tell you, just as with Basslink, Tasmanians will pay through their energy bills. If there is one guarantee it is Project Marinus and Battery the Nation are going to drive up Tasmania’s energy bills. We are already…people in Tasmania probably not even aware the extent to which we’re already subsidising wind. Every new wind farm in Tasmania would not be built, is not economically viable, if the government had not directed Hydro, forced Hydro, to sign off take agreements, which make those projects viable, but which incur hundreds of millions of debt to the Hydro and to Aurora. Granville Harbour and Capitol Hill, hundreds of millions of debt to the Hydro and Aurora in order that the private sector can make a profit. If that is the mechanism, then we are in for a very rough time in Tasmania. It’s the same old development-at-any-cost, public subsidies given to the developers given to big business secrecy, secret deals in backrooms, environmental exemptions. It is privatising the profit and socialising the cost, which has always been what Liberal governments in Tasmania have done from Wesley Vale through to Gunns through the salmon farms, and now Marinus and Batter of the nation and it’s got to stop. We get told it’s jobs and growth, jobs and growth, don’t you just love it, except that Marinus’ advertising on the mainland says not much benefit to Tasmania, but jobs and growth for the mainland. And of course that is the absolute fact of it. There are no jobs here and the CPU at the meeting the other day in the town hall said that out of Capitol Hill wind farm one job. One job in Bothwell as a result and the construction force was fly-in fly-out. So FIFO workers for Granville Harbour, FIFO workers for Capitol Hill, no long term benefit for Tasmania and even the government admit that. So jobs and growth is a lie.
So what to do? What to do? We have got a fantastic Island, we’ve got a fantastic renewable energy resource, we could lead the world by being an example of what you can do. If you protect the environment. If you stop cutting down your forest and treat them as carbon stores and the richness of their biodiversity as part of the fight against global warming and all its consequent disasters.
We can restore Lake Pedder, we can restore degraded forests, we can electrify our transport system, we can electrify agriculture, we can be the pinup of regeneration, regenerative everything in Tasmania for agriculture, tourism, whatever. That is our future.
It is not going down a ship-it-away in exactly the same way as they’ve done from woodchips to now energy. So my message to Premier Gutwein is get serious about biodiversity. Get serious about the climate. He was one of the people who tore down the carbon price. Why would you believe someone who tore down the carbon price, who logs forests and sends millions of tons of carbon to atmosphere, when he tells us that we have to do this for the climate? It is a lie. So our message to them is get serious about the climate, get serious about biodiversity and stop this con job of Project Marinus and Battery of the Nation. Thank you.
Thank the planet for Christine Milne and Bob Brown. This is what we should be reminded of. So despite this government’s failures on the environment and climate, we have true environmental leaders here in Tasmania. There has been action for the environment and climate across Tasmania throughout decades, and especially since 2014. And we have people in Parliament House who are also holding the line on behalf of the native forests in the Greens. And we have to remember that, that we have voices in the parliament and we need more people in the parliament who are going to stand up for the environment and climate. Since the last state election, there’s been the biggest uprising of young people on climate in the history of the world. And here in Tasmania it’s been the same and I’m sure every single one of you have been so proud to see the huge numbers of people who have turned out for the climate strikes here in Tasmania, and one of those youth climate activists is Emily Hudspeth, please welcome Emily to the stage.
Morning everyone. Thank you for having me here. What a privilege to speak alongside some of the amazing people that have come before and after me. I’m here to talk on behalf of the young people of this island and the world. I too would like to acknowledge the muwinina people of this land and the palawa people’s ongoing connection to and fight for country. I acknowledge elders, past, present and emerging and all indigenous people here today. There are still so many voices to be heard. And it is vital that we understand that real climate justice and environmental justice does not come without first nations justice.
This election is only a week away. It gives us such a great chance to put environmental issues at the top of the list, in the forefront of our politicians’ minds for the next three years. Please take actions like those suggested today. It’s fast becoming way too late to reverse many of the impacts that we’re having on our island, and on the whole earth environment. But it is your vote that can help to change this. It’s so important because we cannot solve any of the problems that we’re facing today, without first solving the environmental and climate destruction that we’re experiencing.
A month ago, I had the opportunity to run in the Bob Brown Foundation’s takayna Trail event in the northwest. My eyes were opened again to the value and beauty of the natural wilderness that we have on our back doorstep. And when I visited the Pieman blockade forest defenders camp, my eyes were opened even wider to the destruction of old growth logging, decimating habitats of precious endangered species, and ruining hopes of saving our environment. We’re all seeing and feeling the effects of deforestation, fossil fuel extraction, salmon farming, and so much more, poor policies which continue to fail us. We watched as those who represent our country and our future, not do enough to keep us from climate and environmental collapse. We are not on track to meet our Paris climate targets from 2015. And just this week, as countries like America stepped up with the commitment to halve their emissions by 2030, Australia failed to up our game. While we emit only 3% of global emissions, 170 countries around the world emit less than us. Together, these countries account for 40% of global emissions; it is not good enough that we are not stepping up. This election we can change it, it’s a chance to stand up and vote for the future. And for the people of the future like me and those who were younger than me, who are missing out on voting in this early election by days, weeks, months, friends of mine were so disappointed because they’ve been campaigning, they’ve been rallying they’ve been attending school strikes. They’ve been waiting to vote in the next election. But now it is up to you to do that for us. Both for those who can’t yet. Vote for those who are relying on us to determine their future, vote for our island and vote for our environment. Thank you.
Talk about leaders. Let’s remember that we have some of the most amazing environmental leaders in our elders, excuse me, Christine, elders, Christine and Bob, but we also have incredible leaders in our up and coming young people like Emily, those people who are taking to the streets and fighting for climate. What we’ve also seen, been privy to here in Tasmania since 2014, is this government’s draconian anti protest laws. Imagine that. What has been most draconian in the government’s attempts to intimidate and silence protests is their anti-protest law that was introduced, that thankfully, Jessica Hoyt and Bob Brown took it to the High Court and won. That did happen in the first term of government. So they tried again, the Liberals tried again to introduce another draconian anti protest law and thankfully they lost. But let’s just remember, one of the first policies announced by the ALP by Rebecca White was one of true shame that is more draconian anti protest laws. For Labor to stand up and not vote in the anti protest laws, yes, thank you. However, to come out just days later and have as one of your most important priorities to target the protesters who were standing up for the environment and climate in Tasmania is an absolute shame. Now, I’ve been watching the election and waiting for the Liberal and Labor Party to release their environmental and climate policies. And I’m still waiting. And I’m hoping that it’s going to be one of their biggest announcements of the next week. But it’s the wrong thing to live in hope, isn’t it? Because the only ones with the environmental policy are the Greens and we must remember that it is their chance. The Labor and Liberal Party can step up. This is a state election, and they can announce policies that will protect the environment, protect the protesters and back off these anti protest draconian laws. The only proposition out of them is destruction of the environment. Among a team of defiant Tasmanians is Lisa Searle, someone who this government and the Labor Party are out to get because she, among others, in an incredible team of forest defenders, part of the Bob Brown Foundation, are putting a spotlight on the government’s climate, environmental destruction. Lisa will keep fighting for the environment and climate no matter what they do in this parliament to introduce draconian protest laws, and she has an amazing community around her. And I’m so proud to introduce Lisa Searle, straight out of the forest, straight out of protest, to this stage today.
Dr Lisa Searle
Thank you so much, Jenny. And it is such a privilege to stand here in front of all you today. It brings tears to my eyes to see how many people are here today to speak out and to stand up for our environment and for the things that really matter. I would like to also acknowledge the fact that we are here today standing on land that was never ceded, lands that belong to the palawa people. And I’d like to acknowledge the elders past, present and emerging.
I spent the night just a few days ago in an active logging coupe in the Wentworth Hills area in the central highlands of Tasmania. And it was minus three degrees that night. We managed to stop the logging for a day. All around us on the grounds were the trunks of what used to be ancient trees. In huge piles. These trees were enormous. These trees were hundreds of years old, and these trees provided habitat for a huge range of creatures including a number of threatened and endangered species. I stood there and watched as a friend of mine, an incredibly brave and staunch forest defender, who had attached himself to one of these forest-destroying machines in sub zero conditions. I watched him being arrested by police and loaded into the paddy wagon for standing up for the forests. And as I watched, a lone wedge-tailed eagle flew directly overhead. In that logging coupe there are three known wedge-tailed eagle nests, and yet they are allowed to continue logging. Sustainable Timber Tasmania knows that these forests are home to threatened and endangered species, and yet they continue logging. Both Liberal and Labor parties have made their stance on native forests abundantly clear. They not only allow this practice to continue, they’re actively encouraging it. The Liberal and Labor parties are encouraging the ongoing decimation of our wild places. And this can’t be allowed to continue. How can we support these governments that refuse to protect these places. We need these forests, we need them for their biodiversity, for the threatened and endangered species that call them home, and for the climate.
Those in power want to silence us. Jenny’s touched on the anti protest bills that have been brought before Parliament a number of times now, they’re not going to stop. They want to silence us. They want to do what they can to make to take away our power and to make us go away. That in itself gives us a really strong message that they fear us. They see how powerful we can be when we stand together. In addition to the anti protest bill, they’re starting to introduce harsher penalties for environmental protesters. I was arrested recently in the Tarkine, on Venture Minerals Riley Creek mine site. This is a new mine is currently under construction in the Tarkine wilderness. The magistrate decided that a fine and a conviction was not enough to deter me. And she’s given me an 18 month Community Corrections order to try to deter myself and others from standing up and taking action. We need the people in power to know these strategies will not work. It doesn’t matter what they do, we’re not going to give up. As long as our forests are still falling, as long as our governments refuse to take any kind of climate action, and as long as the Tarkine remains on protected, we will continue to stand up. We will continue to stand up, we will stand together. And we will keep fighting for what we know is right.
Thank you, though for campaigning for the protection of Tasmania’s wild places for the last 14 years. And thank you for consistently heading out into those wild places with so many others who are here today, who go out onto the front line and defend those places in all conditions. Lisa I heard the other day it was minus seven when we were out there not minus three, it was pretty cold. I just wanted to remind you about the action that Sophie Underwood told you about. This is the only campaign running statewide that gives you the opportunity to contact all candidates about the environment. And just over here is the address, the web address, and you’ll see it around the crowd as well. Please do take that action. It’s a really easy pathway to get in touch with candidates about important matters. So while this government has been overseeing the logging of native forests, loss of wildlife habitat, rampant fish farm expansion and weakening the protections of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, they have been responsible for what is the most globally embarrassing act, ignoring the Tasmanian Aboriginal community, destroying their heritage and continuing to just not get with the program and work with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre. They’re ignoring the community in a worse way that they are committed to allowing off road vehicle tracks to bomb down takayna coast across the western Tasmanian Aboriginal landscape. It is a true shame for me to imagine that you have someone like Adam Brooks, getting into government on the commitment to open tracks on that takayna coast and then for the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre to have the courage to fight them, fight this government in the courts and they won. Of course they won, absolutely. But then we have the state government that would have the gall to appeal the first nations people, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and say ‘no, the Federal Court was wrong. We still want to bomb down there and trash this landscape which is Aboriginal land’. But it needs to be given back to the Aboriginal people and the Bob Brown Foundation we’re calling for takayna to be returned to the Tasmanian Aboriginal community. We are being ignored and I cannot imagine how hard it is for the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre for the way that they are treated by this government. And it is a true pleasure to have Nala Mansell from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre here with us today, and I look forward to working with you in the future Nala to fight this government and the future governments that continue to ignore you guys. Please welcome Nala Mansell.
[palawa kani text awaiting correction] Ya pulingina. Mina Nala Mansell. Mina palawa luna. Mina tuna prinika milatina palawa milatina manta manta. Ratingini milatina mana, waranta kani, ningina mina, milatina tu palawa. Hi, I’m Nala Mansell from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre. I’m a proud palawa woman. And I’d like to acknowledge that the land that we meet on here today is not in fact Aboriginal land. It was, for at least 60,000 years. But as a result of invasion, murder, rape and theft committed against my people, it is now owned by the crown. And our elected leaders in this building behind me still refuse to give it back. So I invite you all to join in our 220-year-long campaign for its return to the original owners, the palawa people of lutruwita. Ever since the beginning of time, my people have owned, managed, cared for, and lived in harmony with this island, its lands and its waterways. Nations existed in this place well before the white ones were introduced. We had our own laws, our own political and education systems. We had no poverty and no pollution. We were a happy and healthy and sovereign people. We nourished and protected our land and culture for future generations.
In less than two generations after the arrival of the rait ti, the extinction of entire species was well underway: seals, whales, small mammals, birds, and of course, trees, plants, moss, and insects. The list goes on. My people were amongst that long list, were nearly amongst that long list of extinctions. But our endurance, adaptability and fighting spirit ensured our survival in the face of overwhelming threats. It is the same fighting spirit that this whole state, the whole of this country, and indeed the world needs right now, if we are to leave a healthy planet for future generations.
Short term jobs is an easy catch cry for short election cycles. But it’s the long term vision that had seen the palawa thrive. And it’s the only chance for the environment that sustains our soul.
This land, and everything in it, is the legacy given to me and other palawa by our old people. And with that legacy comes a great responsibility.
But this responsibility is not just for Aboriginal people. It’s for everyone who now calls lutruwita their home. A responsibility to commit to land return by electing leaders who have the guts to acknowledge the wrongs of the past and return just some of our stolen lands. Responsibility to ensure the protection of ancient irreplaceable Aboriginal heritage, such as the world-renowned Aboriginal heritage sites along the west coast of Tasmania in takayna, by voting for politicians who will rule out opening any further tracks in the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area. A responsibility to ensure kunanyi is not desecrated by the construction of a cable power, that Tasmanians will ended paying for when the high winds and freezing temperatures discourage tourists so it’s so it’s an economic failure, just like most of the mines that are left as eyesores around our lands when the entrepreneurs go bust. The responsibility to ensure that ancient Aboriginal midden sites, the hut depressions, the seal hides, the stone tools, and the stories of the lives of my old people are not destroyed.
I have a duty to my ancestors, and you all have a duty to my ancestors who took care of this land for such a long time. The return of our land to Aboriginal community ownership has stalled for far too long. We know Aboriginal community ownership is the best way to ensure the healthy survival of our land and the protection of this small part of the planet. We also know that we have a continuing major fight to keep the off road vehicles out of our ancient heritage in takayna, away from our sacred sites in the highlands, on the south coast in the southwest, and indeed all over me milatina mana. Rait ti must come to value milatina, our land, to love our land that have sustained us through the millennia. This is the only way there will be a future for our planet. Vote environment. Thank you.
Thank you to the true Aboriginal people and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, who continue to fight for your country. We are so proud to stand by you. And thank you to now a true Aboriginal leader, with Sara there too, who have fought this incredible government, which is so arrogant and so shameful on the international stage. So we thank you for turning out today. Now it’s up to you to spend the next week to get the word out that the environment and climate needs to be put number one at the ballot box. Without the environment and without a safe planet, and in this climate emergency, there is not going to be room for greed and corporations and health and education. And I know that that’s a harsh thing for people to understand and realise, but we are facing down in what is a crisis about to loom on all of us. And we need to put the environment and climate number one at the state election. You live in a democracy. You live in a place like many people across the world don’t. And everyone around Tasmania needs to understand that it’s not good enough to be apathetic and stay home on voting day. You need to vote, you have the right, you have the freedom, and there’s people across the world who don’t have those freedoms. So don’t be lazy, get out there and vote. And thank you, Emily for reminding us that there are people who didn’t make it in time because this government in their true secrecy wanted to rush it out to call this election. And so there were young people that were not able to get the time or people who had moved here from elsewhere who loved Tasmania just as much as you do, who cannot vote next Saturday. So please do, I know you guys are the active members of our community, so please share with the rest of your community to vote for the environment, to vote for the climate and just plain vote. Thank you all for coming.
Source: Tasmanian Times https://www.tasmaniantimes.com/2021/04/vote-environment-rally-speeches/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=vote-environment-rally-speeches