June 22, 2016

Mathias Cormann’s climate inaction highlighted as dozens queue-in at his office

PERTH Wednesday 22nd June — Fifty  people held a protest outside the offices of the Minister for Finance, Senator Mathias Cormann, in Perth this morning,  to shine a spotlight on the devastating impacts of his Government’s inaction on climate change.

Inside  the foyer, activists queued to be allowed up to the 39th floor, two at a time, to seek a meeting with the Senator, while outside more than 50  gathered to hear speakers highlight the financial links between the fossil fuel industry and politics.

The peaceful protest drew a strong police presence, including three vans, two police cars, 15 uniformed police, including three officers on horseback.

It is one in a series of protests around the country this week as part of the Pollution Free Politics Push.

“As the election nears, the impacts of climate change are staring us in the face like never before,” said Perth student Aleesha Hanczakowski at the event.

“From unprecedented coral reef bleaching to extreme storms and fearsome fires, these are the tragic consequences of politicians like Senator Cormann’s attachment to fossil fuels and the donations given to their campaigns.  Political parties have received $3.7 million since the last election and in return fossil fuel companies receive $7.7 billion in subsidies. That’s a $2000 return on every dollar donated.”

“We know that the only way to prevent catastrophic climate change is to ensure fossil fuels are kept in the ground. Yet industry and government are prioritising harmful extractivism for short term profit gains.  It’s time to shift  to clean energy so we can all have a safe and fair future.”

The health impacts of climate-fuelled extreme weather events  are well known, said Curtin University associate professor in public health, Linda Selvey, who spoke at the protest.

“The  destruction to communities from devastating fires is evident. This impacts upon the health of the people affected. Fires also generate lots of smoke, which has far-reaching health consequences, particularly for children and people with asthma or other underlying lung diseases, Associate Professor Linda Selvey said.

“Heatwaves also take their toll, and again, children, the elderly and those affected by heart disease and diabetes are most vulnerable. We’re already seeing longer and more frequent heatwaves, and expect to see more as global temperatures rise. Senator Cormann needs to acknowledge these impacts and stop putting big polluters ahead of the health and wellbeing of his people. “

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.

Media Enquiries:

  • Luke Skinner on  0422 738 541 (on site)
  • Louise Fraser on 0438 993 068  (off site)

Photos and Video

  • Images from the event will be available here as soon as possible
  • Images from  around the country available here
  • Video available here