About 5000 people walked across Canberra’s Commonwealth Bridge and rallied in front of Parliament House on June 5, calling for real action on climate change now. Up to 45,000 people rallied nationwide.
Speakers at the Canberra rally included former Liberals Leader John Hewson, Richard Denniss from the Australia Institute, 2010 Greens Senate candidate Lin Hatfield Dodds and Bishop Pat Power.
Hewson said we needed to respond to climate change with a greater sense of urgency and in a way that recognised the magnitude of the problem.
He called for at least a 40% cut in emissions by 2020, and at least 90% by 2050, and for political leaders to take on vested interests.
Denniss said we needed a high carbon price, and added that we should not be talking about giving money back to the biggest polluters. He also stressed the need to invest in new technologies.
Hatfield Dodds said we needed to act now, or preferably 20 years ago, and that our response to climate change will tell future generations what we thought was more important — people or profit.
She said disadvantaged and vulnerable people would be most affected by climate change, and welfare payments needed to increase to compensate for energy costs, which are already rising.
In Sydney, about 10,000 people rallied in Prince Alfred Park. GetUp! national director Simon Sheikh asked the rally to support a price on pollution.
He said: “Our politicians are negotiating a carbon price. But we say to them, ‘make it ambitious. Make sure it invests in clean energy and energy efficiency because we are ready to power our economy with 100% renewable energy.’”
Ten thousand people also protested in Melbourne while 4000 people joined a rally in Brisbane.
Three thousand people protested in Perth, 5000 people turned out in Adelaide and between 3000 and 4000 people rallied in Hobart.