House debates

Thursday, 30 November 2023

Constituency Statements

Youth Voice in Parliament Week, Gas Industry: Protests

9:30 am

Photo of Adam BandtAdam Bandt (Melbourne, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

Thanks to everyone in Melbourne who submitted speeches for Youth Voice in Parliament. This is a speech from Arwa Millwala:

Australia must listen to its youth, hear our voices and participate in carrying out our proposals for better change.

Although we are your future, we do not feel sufficiently supported.

The policies of the government constantly appear to fall short, and we never get what we need. However, what do we require?

Australia needs to be accessible. Access to education, avenues for change, networks of support, and a more inclusive Australia because, after all, aren't diversity and inclusivity what we're all about?

Even though we are still youngsters learning, you tell us to shout louder while ignoring our cries for assistance, and you blame us for being immature because "it's too complex for you to understand," but I disagree.

We do comprehend. We acknowledge the difficulty of your work, but we would like to live in a country where the fundamental issues of our planet are dealt with.

Targets include living standards and quality of life as well as climate change.

Many of us are getting tired of fighting for the change that needs to occur.

We want to preserve Earth and take advantage of all it has to offer, but you only worry about your financial gain.

Australia is our home, and you can undoubtedly do better.

Thanks, Arwa Millwala, for such an amazing speech.

In Western Australia, gas corporations have more rights than people have. In recent months, activists have had guns pointed at them and their homes raided. They've been thrown in jail and had their computers and phones searched and seized. They've been handed massive fines by the state and threatened to be sued by Woodside. Western Australia's emergency services minister, Stephen Dawson, even called one protest 'an act of terrorism'. Labor is acting for Woodside and against the people. Disrupt Burrup Hub has used non-violent direct action to draw attention to the dangers posed by Woodside. They've drawn attention to Woodside's new gas project, which will release 4.8 billion tonnes of emissions into the atmosphere. These emissions will increase the risk of fires, floods and heatwaves here.

The WA government has always given Woodside special treatment. Woodside has always given big donations to Labor and Liberal. Protesters—students, teenagers, activists, First Nations communities and the public who want to advocate for their future—are in the crosshairs. We need to protect the right of people to protest. If we don't, Labor is going to keep backing more coal and gas. This country is built on the back of civil disobedience—the Pilbara strike, the Wave Hill walk-off, the Franklin Dam rallies and the Green bans. These were often against the law, but they were non-violent actions on the side of what's right. We will act with the community in their fight to stay safe in the face of the power of politicians from Liberal and Labor and their mates in coal and gas.