Welcome to this month's edition of the DCAN Dispatch, featuring election reflection, South Australia's climate emergency declaration, and other important news!
A new national Government brings renewed hope
A huge thank you to everyone who worked so hard during the election campaign to bring about the election of candidates with strong commitments on tackling the climate crisis. Many DCAN volunteers worked tirelessly distributing our scorecards at the pre-polling booths and at polling booths on election day, as well as train stations and elsewhere. Many also chose to support Teal and Greens candidates in other electorates. You all deserve to take some credit for the fantastic election result!
The election results were an outstanding testament to the strength of grassroots community action across the nation. Here in Cooper, sitting MP Ged Kearney was returned but with a reduced margin. Ms Kearney has been an outstanding champion for climate action within the Labor Party. However, the swing against her of over 5%, along with the election of additional Greens candidates in both the lower and upper houses and the election of a raft of Teal independents, sends a strong signal that much more ambitious climate policies are needed from the new Labor Government.
We hope you share our feelings of relief and renewed hope for the future. Our work now is to ensure that the new Albanese Government understands that it is indeed a race – a race to bring down carbon emissions as quickly as possible and make the switch to renewable energy. Given how dangerous the climate is now, action to restore a safe climate needs to be taken with emergency speed and intensity.
We are looking forward to working with you to press the new Government to declare a climate emergency and put in place an emergency transition plan to protect our community.
And now it’s only five and half months to the Victorian state election! If you'd like to get involved, please let us know here.
South Australia has declared a climate emergency!
The South Australian Government has declared a climate emergency – the first state government to do so, and following in the footsteps of Darebin Council – the very first jurisdiction in the world to do so in 2016. 2,104 jurisdictions in Australia and across the world have now declared a climate emergency, covering 1 billion people.
Both houses of Parliament supported the SA motion. SA Climate Minister Susan Close introduced the declaration, saying: “What we need to do is acknowledge the truth that this constitutes an emergency, and then we need to act on that.” Well done to the SA climate activists who have worked tirelessly to bring this about! We hope our state and federal MPs are taking note.
No more new coal and gas
We were so excited to see our new Minister for Climate, Chris Bowen, giving a press conference beside the emergency leaders Scott Morrison had refused to meet with. But we were alarmed to see new Resources Minister, Madeleine King spruiking coal and gas. According to the Murdoch press, Minister King will not put a limit on how much coal it will export, saying it is possible Australia could be sending the resource to Asian trading partners past 2050. DCAN will be continuing our campaign against all new coal and gas projects.
Native forest protectors face steep fines or jail under proposed state laws
As we turn our attention to the state government in the lead-up to the state election, we have been shocked by the first reading of a bill introducing draconian penalties (12 months’ jail or more than $21,000 in fines) for protesters attempting to protect our beautiful carbon-dense forests from logging.
We view the proposed legislation (the Sustainable Forests Timber Amendment (Timber Harvesting Safety Zones) Bill 2022) as unnecessary, undemocratic and totally at odds with a progressive Labor Government. We do not believe that there is sufficient evidence that existing protections for worker safety need to be supplemented by these harsh amendments.
In the face of the climate emergency and species extinction, we need to protect what few natural ecosystems we have left, not punish those who are trying to prevent further destruction. Please join us by voicing your concerns to local MPs Kat Theophanous and Robin Scott or click here to sign the petition.
Fundraising and Communications Fellowship - applications open
Climate for Change is now recruiting for its 2022 Fundraising and Communications Fellowship. Build your capacity to act for a better world through their training program of weekly online sessions, covering peer-to-peer fundraising, communication, climate action and other not-for-profit skills. Applications close 11pm Sunday 19th June. For more details and to apply, click here.
Minister D’Ambrosio launches Community Battery in North Fitzroy
On Sunday 5th June, Lily D’Ambrosio, the Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment & Climate Change, launched a new Community Battery in North Fitzroy, the first for an inner-city area in Australia. With a capacity of 250kWh and featuring a cheerful mural by artist Hayden Dewar, it is connected to a local subnetwork of nearly 200 premises around its site at CitiPower’s substation at 193-205 McKean St. It will absorb excess solar energy from surrounding homes during the day and release it during the evening peak period, and help to stabilise the grid.
The launch marks a key milestone for the Yarra Energy Foundation’s (YEF) Community Battery Trial, which is supported by an $800,000 grant from the State government’s Neighbourhood Battery Initiative, as well as by the City of Yarra. Other battery projects are also underway, including the Village Power project here in Darebin.
Community Power Hub program comes to an end
DCAN is sad to learn that the Victorian Government’s budget for next year does not include funding to continue the program which funded the Metropolitan Community Power Hub (MCPH), along with a number of other Hubs across Victoria, for the last year. DCAN is one of 10 local climate groups that are Roundtable Partners in MCPH, along with 11 local councils.
Led by the Yarra Energy Foundation, the MCPH has helped many households to install solar panels and learn how to reduce their energy bills and their carbon footprints through things like installing heat pumps, insulation and induction cooktops. As part of the MCPH, we distributed thousands of fliers across Darebin, held information zoom meetings, received initial training in helping people understand their power bills, and held a demonstration of induction cooking. We were also looking forward to progressing a project to help make local neighbourhood houses more climate resilient.
Funding for the MCPH comes to an end on 30 June. While we are trying to encourage the state government to reconsider its funding decision, the MCPH has been a valuable way for DCAN to build relationships with other climate groups and to spread the word about how to reduce emissions at a local level.
10am Thursdays on the St. George’s Rd bike path
Occasional showers and predictable cold have not really interfered too much with our regular outreach action. We have even had one of the good folk we accosted to talk about climate action insist on joining us in tidying the bike path by weeding and collecting litter. So we’ve added Colleen to our little email list. Let us know if you want to join us too!
Outreach, without the cleaning
Before the election some DCAN members used sandwich boards with climate messages to good effect in Kooyong and the city. Now, looking for new ways to keep the focus on this critical issue, we are looking at handing out our “Groups to join/Things to do” flyer in High Street Northcote, or anywhere really. We have already had one successful hour or so outside Terra Madre in Westgarth.
No local photos were taken but this one from one of the earlier outings gives the idea. Again, if you’re up for a bit of a chat with the general public, possibly in a sandwich board, please get in touch. (It looks daunting but the flyers make it simple. And you will be among friends.)
MasterChef Emma Dean showed us how to cook delicious meals on an induction cooktop at a recent DCAN event. Emma cooked Vegan Pho, Crispy Chickpea and Harissa Burgers. A recording of the induction demo can be found here and the mouthwatering recipes here.
Emma showed how easy it was to regulate the temperature of the cooktop with the touch of a finger. She also explained how much quicker and safer it is to use an induction cooktop which are very energy efficient - using only half as much power as a gas or electric stovetop. Lachlan Hensey from the Metro Community Power Hub (MCPH) was also on hand to answer questions on the technical aspects of installing induction cooktops and about his work in helping communities switch to cleaner energy. Visit the Hub to find out more about the range of solar and all-electric home programs on offer.
Candidates vying for the Federal seat of Cooper spoke to a full house at the Cooper Climate Election Forum organised by DCAN and the Darebin Climate Alliance. It was a great night with each of the five candidates talking passionately about why they are seeking to represent the seat of Cooper and what actions they will take on the climate emergency if elected.
Emma will show us how an induction cooktop, using electromagnetism, outshines gas - giving superior temperature control and faster cooking times while using half as much energy! Lachlan Hensey, Community Energy Project Officer at the Metro Community Power Hub (MCPH) will also be on hand to answer questions about induction cooking and talk about his work in helping communities switch to cleaner energy.
Find out more and register for this online event here.
Register for the Cooper Climate Election Forum – Show the candidates that Cooper voters want emergency climate action in this term of government
Wednesday 27th April 7pm at Span Community House, 64 Clyde Street, Thornbury
Our election forum is a chance to put questions directly to the candidates. Sitting member, Ged Kearney from the Labor Party, Celeste Liddle from The Greens, Adrian Whitehead, from the newly formed Fusion party, and Kath Larkin from the Victorian Socialists will be attending. Other candidates will be invited as they become known.
The forum will be moderated by Emeritus Professor Judy Brett, resident of the Cooper electorate, political historian and author of From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage. Please register here. The forum is brought to you by the Darebin Climate Alliance (DCA) which gratefully acknowledges DCA member Span Community House for hosting the event. Please note that all people attending the event will need to bring proof of vaccination.
With the imminent election we would like to get as many house signs up as possible. If you live near a polling booth, train station or tram stop and would be happy to put a sign up we are particularly keen to hear from you, so please get in touch. The signs are a great way to reach out to neighbours and shape the election narrative. Email Katherine on to get a sign.
In January, the Resolve Political Monitor asked a nationally representative sample of voters about the four main policy options for emissions reductions being put to the upcoming federal election.
- 24% of all voters backed the Greens policy of Net Zero by 2035, with a 75% emissions reduction target for 2030;
- 18% supported Labor's policy of Net Zero by 2050, with a 43% emissions reduction target for 2030;
- 16% supported the Coalition policy of Net Zero by 2050, with a 26-28% emissions reduction target for 2030 (with 35% forecast)
- 10% supported One Nation's policy of withdrawing from international climate agreements and not setting any binding targets
- 10% did not support any of these options
- 21% were unsure or felt all options were acceptable
While noting the high proportion of voters who were unsure or felt all options were acceptable, DCAN are encouraged by these results. We are committed to our goals for 2022 to:
- Build understanding of the interconnections between the Climate Emergency and other crises
- Grow community support for Climate Emergency action
- Grow number of Climate Emergency leaders/champions
- Influence Darebin Council, State & Federal Governments to act on the Climate Emergency
- Campaign effectively in the Federal and State elections
- Build an active & diverse DCAN membership as part of an integrated, active Darebin Climate Emergency movement
Long term friend and supporter of DCAN, Michael Staindl, is about to lose his family home due to a legal battle with his federal MP, Josh Frydenberg, the Member for Kooyong.
Michael has been campaigning for urgent action on the climate crisis for many years. DCAN supporters have had the privilege of rubbing shoulders with Michael at numerous events where we have also seen him take on leadership roles such as speaking at protests, delivering street performances and even dressing up as a dinosaur for regular Frydo Friday events outside Frydenberg’s office in Camberwell.
DCAN understands that it was Michael’s frustration and despair at the lack of action from Frydenberg on the climate emergency that led him to mount the legal challenge questioning whether Frydenberg was a dual citizen and therefore ineligible to sit in federal parliament. Michael hoped to bring about a by-election which would enable the voters of Kooyong to show they wanted genuine action on the climate crisis.
Michael’s legal action was unsuccessful and he has been ordered to pay Frydenberg's costs of $410,000. Frydenberg’s lawyers, Arnold Bloch Liebler, who reportedly earned more than $100 million from federal government contracts in the past year, may have acted pro bono for him.
This can mean that they would absorb Frydenberg’s costs. However, now that the court has found that Michael must pay Frydenberg’s costs, Frydenberg has served Michael with a notice of bankruptcy in order to recover the $410,000. Frydenberg has made it clear he intends to have Michael’s wife’s house, in which they both live, sold by the bankruptcy trustee.
Frydenberg has the power to stop this travesty of justice. He can simply forgive the debt, or request that the Attorney General declare the case a matter of public interest and have the government pay the costs as it did in all the other dual citizenship cases.
As citizens concerned about democracy and climate change we want Frydenberg to stop his punishing bankruptcy proceedings now, forgive the debt, and respond effectively to the climate emergency. You can read more details about the case here.
Please join us to help Michael and Kay save their family home and get natural justice.
How you can help:
- Phone Frydenberg’s office on (03) 9882 3677 to ask him to stop the bankruptcy action and forgive the debt. He needs to know that people care and will not forget about this.
- Write to him c/- his Kooyong office - 145 Camberwell Road, Hawthorn East, 3123.
- Volunteer - help letterbox and/or talk to local people about the issue.
- Sign this petition and share it with others via social media and email.
- Donate - Please chip in to support Michael and leave a comment about why you are giving your support.
Photo credit: Julian Meehan
Photo: Glenn Hunt/AAP
DCAN acknowledges that there can be no climate justice without justice for First Nations peoples. To achieve this, we need to put an end to the brutal impacts of colonisation and racism. Traditional Owners have cared for Country for tens of thousands of years. They continue to inspire us with their strength, resilience and resistance - leading campaigns to protect Country and sacred sites from the destructive practices of fossil fuel mining companies.
Today marks the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove and the beginning of the colonisation, dispossession and violence that has continued to the present day. We stand in solidarity with First Nations Peoples on this day of mourning and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded. We especially acknowledge the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung People of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land that we carry out our activities. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present and commit to working alongside First Nations Peoples as we chart a shared path toward a sustainable future.
We invite you to join us in taking the time to reflect, learn and take action - not just today, but over the coming weeks and year. We've put together some resources to help you on your journey:
To the stories, experiences and journeys of First Nations people - NITV /SBS are dedicating a whole day of programming today. You can watch here: https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/channels/nitv
About First Nations people and history, which is the history of Australia. The Aboriginal Tent Embassy just celebrated 50 years, learn more about it here: https://theconversation.com/a-short-history-of-the...
Sites like the Colonial Frontier Wars detail the violence that has been perpetrated against First Nations Australians: https://c21ch.newcastle.edu.au/colonialmassacres/
Learn about the custodians of the land and water you are living on from AIATSIS: https://aiatsis.gov.au/explore/map-indigenous-australia
Learn about incredible First Nations leaders who have contributed to our communities, our country and the world who have been recognised with a National NAIDOC Award: https://www.naidoc.org.au/awards/winner-profiles
Support First Nations organisations, initiatives and campaigns:
- Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation - protecting, managing and enhancing environmentally and culturally significant places on Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Country.
- Seed Mob – Australia’s first Indigenous youth climate network, building a movement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island young people for climate justice.
- Country Needs People – a growing group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people campaigning for Indigenous Ranger and Protected Area programs.
- Wangan and Jagalingou Cultural Custodians – working to protect a vast area of land in central-western Queensland, including the site of Adani's destructive coal mine.
- Original Power - building the power of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People to protect country.
- The Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council – protecting the sacred river, the Mardoowarra in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, and representing Traditional Owners of the entire river catchment.
- Olkola Aboriginal Corporation – Olkola Aboriginal Corporation now holds and manages 869,822 hectares of its Traditional Lands, making it one of the largest landholders in the Cape York Peninsula.
- Wuthathi Aboriginal Corporation for whom the struggle to return and protect their ancestral homelands took nearly 100 years.
- Mirarr people via Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation – the Traditional Owners of land in the north of the Northern Territory. They are powerful advocates against uranium mining, speaking out in the famous Jabiluka campaign, and for Kakadu.
- Firesticks alliance - aims to re-invigorate the use of cultural burning by facilitating cultural learning pathways to fire and land management.
- Australian Nuclear Free Alliance – formed in 1997, the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance brings together Aboriginal people and civil society groups concerned about nuclear developments in Australia, particularly on Aboriginal homelands
- Pay the rent - support grassroots causes and campaigns focused on protecting First Nations rights and practical support.