Australia: Aboriginal protesters explain motivations behind Canberra sit-in
About 100 Indigenous people and supporters called for an end to fracking, coal mining and water sharing.
NITV, Feb. 13, 2019
Bradley Farrar had never been on a plane before he made the journey from the Northern Territory to Canberra to join a sit-in about environmental issues.
The clan leader of the Alawa tribe felt compelled to come and represent his people, who he says will suffer if planned gas fracking projects eventuate.
“Me and my people, we live off the land. We get fish from the water, we get kangaroo and turkey off the land … seeds, we grind them up and make flour,” Mr Farrar said.
“If they do fracking in my land, everything will die – the water will die, the grass will die, the tree will die. There will be rocks and dirt that’s all.”
About 100 Indigenous people and supporters occupied the foyer of Parliament House on Wednesday to call for an end to fracking, coal mining and water sharing arrangements.
It also happened to be the 11th anniversary of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s apology to the stolen generation, although some at the sit-in believed there was still little respect for Indigenous people.
“There’s no empathy here,” Western Australian Micklo Corpus said.
“I feel that nothing’s going to be achieved unless we sit down like this and voice our opinions – if we have to keep coming here and doing this we will.”We’re saying no to fracking – look after our water, look after our country in such a way that it will enhance my next generation’s life expectancy.”
Amelia Telford from the Indigenous Youth Climate Network said Indigenous people were already feeling the effects of climate change.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are hit first and worst by climate change,” she said.
“We are hurting in the face of water shortages, extreme heat, environmental pollution and the destruction of country and culture.”
The group brandished large colourful posters, made speeches and chanted for about an hour and a half, with visitors briefly stopped from entering parliament due to safety concerns.
They were watched on by Greens senators Mehreen Faruqi, Jordon Steele-John, Larissa Waters and Sarah Hanson-Young.