Brisbane rally against woodchipping
By Kathy Newnam
BRISBANE — Around 2500 people attended a February 25 rally against woodchipping organised by the Wilderness Society in King George Square.
Leonard Lee, a Brisbane journalist, called on the rally to be aware of the way in which the environmental movement was perceived by the general public and the media. He claimed that environmentalists are viewed as reactive, not pro-active, and he proposed that the movement change this by initiatives such as replanting trees after felling by the logging industry.
Feminist author Dale Spender drew a link between the women's struggle and the fight against woodchipping. She explained that over 100 years ago women had to fight to be part of the political process and win the right to vote, and today women are again fighting to have a say in the political process by trying to stop the woodchipping licences.
Musician Peter Garrett spoke of the growth of the campaign and the contempt which was being shown towards the environmental movement by the Labor government. He suggested that people go down to the forest blockade if they are serious about saving the forest. "The politicians aren't real people", he asserted. "The real people are down at the blockade in front of bulldozers."
Australian Democrats leader Cheryl Kernot questioned the lack of opposition in parliament in the woodchipping debate. The Democrats were major financial sponsors of the rally and played an important role in helping with publicity.
Following the rally there was a march through the city to Forestry House in Mary Street. The crowd was vocal and angry, chanting "Jobs not woodchips, save our forests now". No follow-up action or meeting was proposed by the Wilderness Society.