The day we told the treasurer to stop fueling climate change
5 May 2008
We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful, crisp Canberra morning to deliver the “Stop Fueling Climate Change” petition. Seven of us, all rugged up, constructed a wonderful wind-turbine on the steps of treasury which we then proceeded to stuff full of postcards signed by people from all over Australia. Over thirty thousand people have added their voice to the petition, asking Wayne Swan to use his first budget to stop subsidising the fossil fuel industry and start investing in renewable energy. For me it was a fantastic feeling to be involved in getting this message to treasury, to the people who could actually make this happen, but I was really disappointed that Wayne Swan didn’t make an appearance. With lots of television cameras to capture the moment, it was a shame not to directly present our request to the treasurer himself – particularly because it looked so damn cool!
While there was a brief moment when I thought we were going to lose the makings of the wind-turbine somewhere on the freeway between Sydney and Canberra, the rest of the plan went off without a hitch. Canberra put on its best autumn colours and, to show our thanks, no one even grumbled about waking up super early to get to treasury in time to greet the people who are in charge of our taxes.
As we walked away from treasury, the blades of the wind-turbine reflecting the morning sun, I got to thinking that, with the release of the budget next week, we’ll find out how serious our new government is about tackling climate change. This is their opportunity to take real action to make Australia a champion of renewable energy rather than leaving us with coal on our face, one of the biggest per capita emitters of CO2. By ending handouts to the fossil fuel industry our government can show that they’re serious about being part of the solution, they can show that they’re serious about listening to the demands of the public. I know that I’ll be watching closely on budget night…
Written by Pip Wheaton, member of this morning's activist team.