Napthine's Nemesis at Snap East-West Link Protest outside Parliament Today
|Decorating the steps of Parliament|
At lunch time today numerous community groups, organisations and individuals responded to the call of the Protectors of Public Lands to meet, in full view of Parliamentarians, on this last day's sitting before the Christmas recess.
Today was chosen because it is D-day for public submissions about the Comprehensive Impact Statement on the East-West Link. It also represented the final opportunity to give Government Ministers something piquant to chew over with their turkey, namely the groundswell of public opinion opposing the 'dud' Tunnel.
|Tony Morton of Public Transport Users' Association with MC, Rod Quantock, and tram in background|
That the East-West Link is a dud is something that Tony Morton believes the people of Victoria now know. One of the many heartening things about today's protest was the increasing sense of confidence from speakers that the tide is turning. Greg Barber, State Greens MP, went as far as to say that: 'We have won the argument.' (Adding: 'Now we have to win the fight.')
|Greg Barber says 'Halt' to Tunnel planning|
With the increasing numbers and diversity of supporters at every event, their commitment and their creativity, I'm inclined to agree with him that we have indeed won the argument.
|Arresting placards of the Green Wedges group|
I had never spotted the Green Wedges group before, nor representatives of the 'sand belt', who expressed support at the open microphone.
Newly-formed CALM (Citizens for a Liveable Melbourne), a small band of local friends determined to 'do something', has devised an ingenious idea. The group has transformed Daniel O'Brien's beautiful photos of bird-life at Trin Warren Tam-boore (Bellbird Waterhole), a site that lies within the construction boundaries of the Tunnel, into postcards. They intend sending postcards regularly to carefully selected and influential politicians over coming months.
|Keith Fitzgerald: Napthine's Nemesis?|
'We are fighting for our communities because of the catastrophic collateral damage which this project will cause in the districts of Lower Clifton Hill and North Collingwood if it goes ahead. This project is immoral; it encourages monetary greed, unaccountability and injustice to the normal working class people of these communities. We are not going to cop the chaos of the '70s again. We will fight to see that Doncaster, Rowville and Airport Rail are built along with the Metro Rail Tunnel.
We, the people of Victoria, demand a say in a proper and upfront democratic process. This Government has no mandate to build this financial and environmental disaster. It will take the state 20 years to recover from this fiscal nightmare.
We can and we will win this campaign.'
As Rod Quantock suggested, in Keith Premier Napthine might well have met his nemesis.