June 22, 2016

Protest at Senator Zed Seselja’s office demanding climate change action

CANBERRA, Wednesday June 22:  Canberra voters have held a protest at Senator Zed Seselja’s office in Canberra today  to shine a spotlight on the devastating impacts of his and his Government’s inaction on climate change and their continued support of the fossil fuel industry.

Outside the office, dozens of Canberrans from all walks of life gathered for a rally and created a display of the climate change impacts that are affecting Australian communities during this election campaign and which have gone largely ignored by the Coalition.

People  dressed as fossil fuel executives entered the building  to demonstrate the cosy relationship the Liberal  party has with coal, oil and gas companies. A large banner was dropped from above the Senator’s office reading ‘Climate Action Blocker’.

“Senator Seselja has been a strong advocate for the fossil fuel industry, arguing that moving beyond coal will send us back to the caves. In Parliament, he has strongly opposed the carbon price, increasing renewable energy investment and the mining tax,”  Vanessa Farrelly,  ACT coordinator for SEED the Indigenous Youth Climate Network, said.

“He is one of the climate blockers. Political parties have received $3.7 million since the last election and in return fossil fuel companies receive $7.7 billion in subsidies. This exchange must stop to protect vulnerable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on the frontlines of climate change impacts. From rising sea levels in the Torres Strait, to severe droughts in remote communities, our people are being hit first and worst now. Justice for Indigenous peoples depends on strong climate policies.”

Graeme Kelleher, AO, former CEO of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, and currently an Ocean Elder addressed the protest.

“The greatest threat to humanity and the whole living world, including the Great Barrier Reef,  is climate change caused by burning fossil fuels. We must cooperate in replacing coal use with renewables, especially solar,” he said.

Dr Liz Hanna Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University, and President of the Climate And Health Alliance spoke on the health impacts of climate change.

“The human health toll from fossil fueled Climate change is sky-rocketing, with 8.2 million deaths every year from air pollution alone. Heat deaths are up 2300%, and the WHO calculate that unhealthy environments now cause a quarter of all deaths worldwide. We must stop Australian from killing people” said Dr  Hanna said.

Dr Nick Abel, former CSIRO scientist highlighted the disparity in the government’s spending on science and on subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.

“The estimated annual saving to CSIRO from the reduction in climate change research is around $12m in salaries, compared with an annual subsidy to the fossil fuel industry of around $7.7bn, ” Dr Abel said.

This is  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:

  • Lou Fraser 0438 993 068

Photo and Video:

  • Images and video from today’s action will be available as soon as possible here
  • Images from around the country available here
  • Video available here