Thousands call for climate action


Thousand of people have gathered in different Australian cities to call on the federal government to take stronger action on climate change.

The federal government is "sacrificing the planet for politics" by not taking stronger action to combat
climate change, people rallying for action on climate change have been told.

Events were held around the country from Perth to Albury-Wadonga, the Blue Mountains to Newcastle, Getup said. 

About 3000 protesters, many in plastic ponchos or huddling under umbrellas, braved wild weather in Sydney's Prince Alfred Park on Sunday to call for stronger action on climate change.

Organised by social activist group GetUp!, the Sydney rally is one of more than 100 similar events throughout the country; 50,000 people were expected to take part.

"Today is a challenging period in our political history. It's a time when our government is sacrificing our planet for politics,"

GetUp! campaigns director Erin McCallum told a crowd carrying placards with slogans such as "Aim higher on climate", "Turn up the heat, choose solar power" and "Hands off our carbon tax Abbott".

Ms McCallum said the "government might have turned climate change into a political football but they weren't counting on us to play ball".

The rally also heard from firefighters concerned about more fire danger from hotter temperatures, the Greens, and former resources executive Ian Dunlop.

Benson Koschinksi, 18, was at the event as part of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. He said the federal
government's climate policy wasn't good enough.

"It's probably the effectiveness of farting in a typhoon," he told AAP.

"Around the world we're seeing action, but here we've got a leader who's axing credible climate policy."


In Melbourne, Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt has warned the deadly Black Saturday disaster could be repeated every 

two years unless the federal government takes global warming seriously.

He told a climate change rally in Melbourne that the 2009 Victorian fires, which killed 173 people, could happen far more frequently.

"Unless we get global warming under control, the kind of horrific tragedies that we saw during Black Saturday might start happening once every two years here in Victoria," he told a crowd of thousands.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described attempts to link bushfires with climate change as "complete hogwash" and a "bizarre" argument, given Australia has always had bushfires.

But Mr Bandt accused the coalition of not taking real action on climate change.

"Yes, (Mr Abbott) is right that we have always been a country prone to bushfires, but I say, why the hell would you wish more of them on us?" he said.

"That is what is in store unless we get global warming under control."

Labor opposition environment spokesman Mark Butler and Tim Flannery of the Climate Council also addressed the crowd.

No one from the coalition spoke, but organisers said they were invited.

The event was one of hundreds throughout Australia as part of a national day of action.

United Firefighters Union secretary Peter Marshall attended the event.

He said he believed in the link between bushfires and climate change.

"There is no sceptic at the end of a fire hose," he said.

"Our workplace has changed."

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch