June 25, 2016

Kayaking climate protest in solidarity with Pacific Islanders targets Turnbull at home

Sydney: Saturday June 25: Members of Sydney’s Pacific Islander community and supporters are kayaking down Sydney Harbour to  Malcolm Turnbull’s harbourside residence today to protest against the Government’s support for fossil fuels and inaction on climate change.

Many Pacific Islands are facing the loss of their homes as climate change drives rising sea levels ever higher. Despite Australia signing the Paris Agreement to limit dangerous global warming, the Turnbull Government has made no steps to combat the causes of climate change.

“Rising sea levels caused by the mining and burning of fossil fuels are threatening the very existence of many Pacific Islands,” Joseph Sikulu said. “By refusing to take serious action, Australia is abdicating its responsibility as good neighbours to stop the Pacific Islands from facing more severe impacts of climate change.”

50 kayakers will set off from Blues Beach Reserve, North Sydney, past Kirribilli House, and across the harbour to Lady Martin Beach Point Piper, where they will deliver their protest message to Mr Turnbull’s house.

“By traveling down Sydney Harbour  to Lady Martin Beach outside Malcolm Turnbull’s house, we wanted to show the Pacific that we are standing in this fight alongside them, and we wanted to show Turnbull that that as a community we are fighting for this issue to stay at the top of his agenda. Climate change poses a serious threat to the Island homes of many Pacific communities. If we want to protect these islands into the future, the Australian Government must act now to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

“This election is the perfect time for Prime Minister Turnbull to show he understands the dangers posed by climate change and take real action to protect our Island homes.”

Despite climate action continuingly receiving high levels of support from voters, the Coalition has consistently refused to act. There was no mention of climate change in the Federal Budget, they lobbied the UN to censor the damage caused by climate change to the Great Barrier Reef, they have approved coal mines even after signing the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to under 2 degrees and slashed funding for renewable energy.

350.org campaigner Isaac Astill said the cosy relationship between Australia’s biggest polluters and our major parties is blocking action on climate.

“Our major parties are captured by a fossil fuel industry that handover millions in political donations in return for preferential treatment and huge subsidies,” Astill said. “In order to keep fossil fuels in the ground and protect our Pacific Island neighbours from the severe impacts of climate change, we need to end this cosy relationship between fossil fuel companies and our elected leaders

“It is reprehensible that the Government currently spends more money on fossil fuel subsidies than foreign aid. Polls have consistently shown that Australians don’t support subsidies for big miners, and it is time for our elected leaders to catch up.

“If the key climate blockers won’t end this dirty relationship and create a plan to keep fossil fuels in the ground, then we will do everything we can to end their time in our parliament.”

This is the one of a series of protests taking  place this week around Australia, to highlight the links between politics and fossil fuels, including subsidies to companies from the government and  donations to political parties from the fossil fuel industry.  #pollutionfreepolitics

Media Contact:

Contact: Media officer  Louise Fraser 0438 993 068  or Charlie Wood on 0427 485 233

For interview: Joseph Sikulu  0406 272 945 or Jacynta Fuamatu on 0405 939 290