The blog’s been a bit quiet lately, so it’s high time I gave you an update on happenings in Spring St:
WE ADDED ANOTHER 25% TO THE GREENS PARTY ROOM
Last week we welcomed Ellen Sandell, MP for Melbourne, back from maternity leave, and baby Gabriel had his first outing in the chamber. I sat down with Ellen, Samantha Ratnam MP and Sam Hibbins MP to wrap up the week.
WE STOOD BY THE DJAB WURRUNG PEOPLE (AGAIN)
On Tuesday morning hundreds converged on the steps of parliament to protest the government’s plans to destroy sacred trees as part of the Western Highway duplication. Video of the protest is here. We brought the issue into the chamber, again, asking the government if it will meet directly with Djab Wurrung women and elders and starting the debate on our motion to stop Djab Wurrung people from being removed from their land. Mediation talks are to begin this week, which is promising, but they appear determined to proceed with the project.
DON’T MENTION 100% RENEWABLES WHEN THERE’S A CLIMATE STRIKE ON THE WAY
Last year millions of students from all over the globe hit the streets calling for climate action. And on September 20, it's happening again. Join the climate movement and come strike with ushttps://victoria.greens.org.au/climate_strike_20190920
Posted by Tim Read MP on Tuesday, 10 September 2019
This week, thousands of students will be taking part in a climate strike demanding 100% renewables by 2030. But the government has just pushed a bill through the lower house, calling for 50% renewables by 2030 and it was expected in the upper house last week. Labor took this bill off the upper house schedule, and then ran into trouble when they found problems with their superannuation bill, and decided not to debate that either. So, to fill time, they debated a motion on how great the May budget was, with themselves, because no-one else would debate it, before moving to the adjournment debate at 4pm instead of the scheduled 10pm.
In the meantime, we’ve been keeping the pressure on, with an amendment in the lower house calling for 100% renewables last sitting week, and a motion in both the upper house and the media this week, calling for people to attend the climate strike, and public servants to not be penalised for taking part.
WE GOT WASTE INCINERATION INTO THE MEDIA
The waste industry has been very excited about the idea of waste incineration (“waste to energy”) – burning our waste seems such a handy solution to the waste crisis. We would all love to burn our problems, but this option would poison the atmosphere, and have a similar climate impact to an oil-fired power station. So last week we put forward a motion opposing incineration and, Samantha Ratnam spoke to John Faine and 3AW to explain why it’s no solution at all.
I gave a detailed speech on active and public transport in Brunswick and how this needs to be improved. Active transport refers to walking and riding bikes and has taken second place to cars in transport planning for at least the last fifty years.
During the federal election campaign, the Victorian government ran advertising aimed at helping federal Labor win. So last week the Libs introduced a bill in the upper house, to ensure all state government advertising was apolitical, as recommended by the Ombudsman and the IBAC, but Labor just got enough numbers to defeat it. So for the time being, the rules remain unchanged.
Animal Justice released their duck shooting bill, while the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party released their bill on animal activists and trespass. The Liberal Democrats put up a motion suggesting that the only environmental benefit of the Murray Darling Basin Plan was to lakes in South Australia, but only convinced Catherine Cumming and the Shooters party to support it. And we stood with the Nationals (!) in expressing concern about an end to commercial netting in the Gippsland Lakes, when this is a relatively sustainable industry and likely to be replaced by less sustainable imported seafood and less regulated recreational fishing.
And now it’s the spring break! Parliament will be taking a month off, returning in time for us to call for an inquiry into extinction and put forward amendments for 100% renewables by 2030, no matter how much Labor wants to change the subject.