Internationally-renowned Sydney street artist Scott Marsh paints new mural, critiquing coal’s grip on our media, politics

SYDNEY, May 18 2020 - Scott Marsh has turned his spray can to the murky influence network that has entrenched coal’s power over Australian politics, painting right wing commentators, mining moguls and the Australian PM enjoying an ivory tower party while the country burns below them. 

Over the weekend, Marsh, inspired by Greenpeace’s new documentary film: Dirty Power: Burnt Country,  transformed a wall in the central Sydney suburb of Chippendale into a 35 sqm silent protest against the influence network of media, industry and politics that helped create the conditions for last summer’s unprecedented bushfire crisis. 

Marsh said the mural is “about the relationship between the media, the coal industry and coal lobbyists and politicians and how intertwined they all are and how they are all pulling in the same direction. The outcome is that we have zero climate change policy and no movement that way in Australia.”

The mural located at on the corner of Grafton St and Shepherd St, Chippendale, depicts News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch presiding over a dinner party whose attendees include; Australia’s richest person, mining mogul Gina Rinehart, fellow billionaire coal miner and Liberal Party donor, Clive Palmer, climate denialist shock jock Alan Jones, News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt, Barnaby Joyce and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

As the eclectic grouping enjoy drinks in an ivory tower, the country burns below them, aided by  Palmer pouring fuel directly onto the flames.

Marsh, who has painted a number of murals on the theme of coal and climate change, said he was disillusioned about the immediate future. 

“As long as this government remains in power there will be no progress on climate change. The coal lobby is not a separate entity, the coal lobby is the government, they’re so intertwined that they’re almost the exact same entity. So I don’t see anything changing unless the government changes,” Marsh said.

Greenpeace’s Dirty Power: Burnt Country investigation reveals over 100 million tonnes of new coal extraction was approved during the bushfires, as well as 352MW of fossil gas power stations, and 7,000km2 of new fossil fuel expansion areas opened up across New South Wales and Queensland.

The investigation has also found that during the bushfires, News Corp-owned publications repeatedly attacked public figures who spoke out about climate change, and consistently produced more articles falsely attributing the bushfires to a lack of hazard reduction burning and arson than other media organisations. 

News Corp publications also produced 75% of all articles that denied the influence of climate change, despite publishing only 46% of all articles on climate change and the bushfires.

A clear link between articles published by News Corp and the #ArsonEmergency online misinformation campaign was also revealed by the investigation, with commentary and opinion pieces published by News Corp driving spikes in online activity on the hashtag.

“While families fled, fires blazed, and koalas burned alive, the disinformation peddled by the Federal Government, NewsCorp, bots, and trolls was straight out of the coal industry’s playbook,” said Dr Casule. 

“The influence of the fossil fuel industry, through money and connections to the Federal Government and News Corp, has secured policies and actions that put the mining and burning of coal, gas, and oil above all else, even the safety of Australian families.” 

Notes

Download high-res images of the mural and b roll footage here

Watch Dirty Power: Burnt Country and download the report here

Online media pack available here

 

Contacts

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner, Martin Zavan

0424 295 422

[email protected]