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Democracy rally in Victoria on steps of Parliament : anger re water and transport

First day back Vic Parliament greeted by disgusted protesters

Over 200 people gathered for a rousing, energetic pro -democracy rally on the steps of Parliament House in Spring St. Melbourne the first day of sitting for the Victorian parliament,Tuesday Feb 3rd.The rally was led by Victorian Water Forum (Plug The Pipeline, Water Shed Victoria and The Clean Ocean Foundation)

Public anger in Victoria

The over- all visual thrust of the rally was public anger over water and transport mismanagement in Victoria under the Brumby Government.

Most participants were supporting "Plug the Pipeline" or the Wonthaggi anti -desalination group, Water Shed Victoria. Others held up anti road tunnel placards.

Speakers ranged from farmers from the north side of the "Divide" whose water is being piped to Melbourne, community group leaders of the Wonthaggi area whose residents are the unwilling hosts of a proposed massive desalination plant, to politicians and local Melbourne community group leaders.

Stand out speakers

Stand out speakers were: Steve Canon from Watershed Victoria, Peter Ryan (MLA Leader of the National Party in the Victorian government,) Greg Barber (MLC The Greens Spokesperson for Environment,Finance and Indigenous Affairs in the Victorian Government) and possibly the most memorable, "Anton" from the Clean Ocean Foundation whose last name escaped me, a surfer from the Wonthaggi area spoke brilliantly, logically and directly of the historical ineptitude of government as regards water management in Victoria .

Anger at loss of democracy in vital decisions affecting Victorians' lives

The common thread through the entire rally and all speakers was anger and disgust over the lack of consultation of the Brumby government in vital matters affecting people's lives , and the loss of democracy in Victoria. One of the speakers railed against the seeming deliberate strategy of government to divide the populace e.g pitting city residents against country residents as water is stolen from the north to assuage the thirst of the city and a peaceful country seaside area is spoilt to manufacture water for the same city's (endlessly increasing) needs

Solidarity despite Gov policy of divide and conquer

The spirit of the rally was however one of solidarity with people unanimous in advocating water re-cycling and harvesting at local level instead of desalination on a pristine beach and taking water from a food producing area to supply city residents as well as in their in their support for public transport vs. road building for more cars.

Julianne Bell on Bass Desalination and Sugarloaf Interconnector Pipe

Julianne Bell speaking for Protectors of Public Lands pointed out to my mind the most blatant concrete example of the Victorian Government's scorning of consultation and democracy where government approved the Desalination Plant on the Bass Coast and the Sugarloaf Interconnector Pipeline before the Parliament committee on the environment and natural resources enquiring into Melbourne's Future Water was complete.(!)

In her own words -

"Yesterday Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc. and one of our member groups the Royal Park Protection Group Inc. addressed the Parliament Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources which is enquiring into Melbourne's Future Water Supply. Unfortunately Government had already approved the Desalination Plant on the Bass Coast and the Sugarloaf Interconnector Pipeline before the enquiry was complete. (The Committee is only just completing its hearings of witnesses - yesterday was the last day.) PPL VIC and RPPG told the Committee that Melbourne could secure its own water resources without robbing regional Victoria. Out submissions were on firstly - the need to stop logging water catchment areas. This could provide a supply of water to service 600,000 households in Melbourne. The other RPPG submission was on the need for local urban water sourcing projects - wetlands which recycle storm water, harvesting storm water off the roofs of large buildings as is being done at the SNHC in Royal Park and the use of storm water. We suggested that local Councils be funded to under development and manage projects."

Post script - People silenced on the root-cause of loss of democracy and quality of life

The massive population growth which has brought about the need for all these impositions was not mentioned by any speakers. My feeling is that raising this topic would have unnerved a very united group and the person introducing it would have been punished. I surmise that to most of those gathered ,the enemy was clearly Mr Brumby and his team. If population growth had been brought up it would have led to confusion as the group would not have seen Mr Brumby as being so clearly responsible.

Channel 2 fails its duty to report event to the public

This event was not reported on the channel 2 news the same night.


Once it was priests from the pulpit; now it is commercially centred grubs given authority by the mainstream media.
The only reason there were not thousands of angry people in the streets for the democracy rally was that the mainstream media, as usual, kept this one off the reporting table. Most people have absolutely no idea of where to turn, who to contact, nor where all the pain from every side is coming from here in Victoria.

Unfortunately people are early encouraged to believe that the uneducated, unverifyable, uninformed opinions of professional journos working for the mainstream press are words of real authority. Only the truly desperate would work for these awful newspapers we have in Australia. And the ABC is just as bad now in its encouragement of land speculation and its avoidance of any challenge to the unsavoury fops who lord it over the rest of us.

It is criminal and sometimes I think that the most important battle is diversity of ownership of the press and of the means of publication and dissemination. No one man like Murdoch or a board of asset-rich directors like Fairfax should be allowed to organise and influence the way the world is perceived globally. What they have produced is no better than a Roman circus to take our minds off the devastation carried out by their corporate interests for profit.