Susan Austin

Frack Free Tasmania held a public meeting on February 18 at Sustainable Living Tasmania to warn about possible exploration for shale oil and gas in the island state. The current moratorium on fracking in Tasmania is due to end on March 31.

The government put out an issues paper which received 157 submissions, 90% of which were opposed to fracking being allowed in the state. The government responded to the review on February 26 by extending the moratorium until 2020.

Public sector unions in Tasmania held a two-hour strike across the state on November 27 to protest against the job cuts planned by the state Liberal government.

About 10,000 workers from 11 unions attended stop-work rallies at 18 sites. This included about 5000 people who rallied at Parliament House in Hobart and 2000 who gathered at the Inveresk Tramsheds in Launceston.

The rally in Burnie had to move out of the Arts and Function Centre to accommodate all the striking workers.

Susan Austin gave this speech at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart on September 21 as part of a global day of action on climate change. She is a member of Climate Action Hobart.

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called a special Climate Summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York City on September 23. Shamefully, Tony Abbott will not be there, even though he will be in New York the next day for a security meeting. The security of our future is at stake due to climate change but he, and many of our other political and business leaders, is ignoring that.

The Tasmanian Liberal government released its first budget on August 28. About 1500 people protested outside Parliament House on the same day to voice their opposition to the government’s plans.

The budget will cut 700 full-time jobs from the public sector and freeze public sector wages for at least one year.

School attendant and United Voice member Ken Martindale addressed the rally about the impact the pay freeze will have on low-income families in Tasmania, saying that bills will go up each year even if pay does not.

About 5000 people protested outside Parliament House in Hobart on June 14 to call for the protection of Tasmania’s World Heritage forests.

The World Heritage Committee unanimously approved the extension of 120,000 hectares of new reserves to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage property at a meeting in June last year. The forests were judged to have met all four natural heritage criteria.

About 5000 people protested outside Parliament House in Hobart on June 14 to call for the protection of Tasmania’s World Heritage forests.

The World Heritage Committee unanimously approved the extension of 120,000 hectares of new reserves to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage property at a meeting in June last year. The forests were judged to have met all four natural heritage criteria.

A public meeting held in the Tasmanian town of Oatlands on August 2 discussed the application by PetroGas, an offshoot of Petratherm, to explore for shale gas and oil in more than 3000 square kilometres of southern Tasmania.

About 80 residents attended the meeting. Tim Kirkwood, general manager of Southern Midlands council, said it was the best-attended public meeting ever held in Oatlands.

The process of “fracking” for gas requires millions of litres of water and a major concern for many of the farmers present was the question of where the water would come from.

US activist Ben Silverman recently wrote a short essay titled ">“What next for the US climate movement?”

Mary Meets Mohammad
Directed by Heather Kirkpatrick
www.marymeetsmohammad.com

If you thought that knitting and controversial current affairs don’t mix, then think again. Mary Meets Mohammad is a fantastic first feature length documentary by Tasmanian film maker Heather Kirkpatrick. It has received rave reviews by cinema-goers in Tasmania and will soon be screened in cinemas across the country.

Members of Amnesty International Australia’s Tasmania City Group dressed as bananas and collected signatures on a global petition to help launch Amnesty’s Arms Trade Treaty campaign on June 16 at the Salamanca markets in Hobart.

There is no international standard to regulate the global trade and transfers of conventional arms.

Amnesty Tasmania City Group’s Yabbo Thompson said: “There are complicated rules on the international trade of many products, such as bananas, but no global treaty controlling weapons or bullets.

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