'Don't be a nuclear fool'
An anti-nuclear Peace Parade and Festival is being planned for Palm Sunday in Melbourne.
The action aims to counter the federal government's plans to expand uranium mining and build 25 nuclear reactors in Australia by 2050. It also aims to pressure the ALP not to abolish its "no more uranium mines" policy in favour of expanded uranium mining at the ALP national conference in April.
Palm Sunday falls on April Fools Day this year, which has inspired rally slogans like "Don't be a nuclear fool" and "Step off the nuclear fuel/fool cycle". Participants are invited to fly kites, ride bicycles and dress foolishly for the parade from Treasury Gardens to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. There will be performances by comedians and bands, as well as speakers.
Organisations such as Friends of the Earth, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Socialist Alliance and Nuclear Free Australia, among many others, have joined with the initiators of the rally, the Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW), to send a very serious message to the government and opposition: the people of Australia want a nuclear-free future.
The protest will demand: Stop nuclear power in Australia — Renewables not reactors!; Stop uranium mining — leave it in the ground!; Stop nuclear weapons and wars — reject the US nuclear umbrella!; and Stop nuclear waste — no waste dump in Australia!
MAPW spokesperson Felicity Hill said: "Nuclear energy is not a healthy option for Australia. It depletes budgets badly needed for health and human security, and it depletes water, which is vital for life, health and medical treatment.
"One uranium mine in South Australia is licensed to use up to 45 million litres of water a day. BHP Billiton are certainly not taking short showers or watering their garden on alternate days. The Roxby mine is using water like there is no tomorrow. The driest continent on earth cannot afford the water costs of uranium mining, let alone reactors, and our world cannot afford more nuclear dangers ... Prevention is the only cure when it comes to nuclear dangers."
In preparation for the rally, a public meeting at Fitzroy Town Hall on March 1 at 6pm will be addressed by Dr Helen Caldicott, Dave Sweeney, Rebecca Bear-Winfield and Dr Tilman Ruff. The Palm Sunday Peace Parade and Festival will start at 1pm on April 1.