Climate activists and protestors hit the streets of Brisbane City on Friday night to demand more climate action from the Australian government.
Protesters across the country rallied to demand no new fossil fuel projects, taxing the rich to fund a transition to renewables and reparations for victims of climate disasters, stopping the Scarborough and Beetaloo basin projects, stopping the Santos Narrabri gas project, and stopping the repression of climate protesters.
The National Union of Students collaborated with universities from all around the country to organise rallies in all major Australian cities on the same day.
The Brisbane event was organised by the UQU Environment Collective, NUS Education Department and Uni Students for Climate Justice.
The protest began by hearing from several guest speakers, including member of the Extinction Rebellion Miree Le Roy, UQ Student Union president Rickie Lee, and UQ Union co-Environment Officers Laura Nolan and Ellie Gutteridge.
QUT Student Guild Environment Officer and member of Socialist Alternative Isabella Foley spoke about the ever increasing need to fight against the political and economic systems that allow capitalism to flourish.
“The ALP are the puppets in Parliament of the rich and powerful, who give the green tick to every destructive project that this country has seen,” said Foley.
“We’ve got to get rid of the system that uses greenwashing climate targets instead of real climate action…We have to resist the tyrants who are placing the majority of society in the firing line. So long as government’s primary motivations are triggered by the needs of capitalist competition, they will keep stalling on real action.”
Several activists spoke about how the responsibility to find solutions to the climate crisis are often aimed at the everyman, like switching to paper straws or driving electric vehicles, and not targeted towards corporations.
Aboriginal activist and socialist Sam Watson Jr said the climate crisis is primarily impacting, and will continue to adversely impact, the working-class.
“It’s working-class people’s houses that burnt down in 2019. It’s working-class people’s houses that flooded last year. It’s working-class people whose houses are still damaged, and it’s working-class people still living in tents,” said Watson.
Foley is currently supporting and helping to build the NUS Get A Room campaign, which is a country wide campaign by the NUS Education Office for action to fix the rental crisis.
The QUT Student Guild’s Student Representative Council voted to support this protest at the January student council meeting. However, the Guild did not end up providing any funds to support the event, unlike other student unions around the country.
The QUT Student Guild representatives who were present at the event were Isabella Foley (Environment Officer), Declan Kerr (Science Councillor) Veronica Palk (Science Councillor), Ciaran Greig (Glass Editor-in-Chief), Celeste Muller (Glass Editor), Konstanz Muller Hering (Glass Editor) and former QUT Student Guild President Oscar Davison.