Extinction Rebellion protesters have again descended on the Parliamentary Triangle in the first sitting week of the new Federal Parliament ahead of the introduction of Labor’s climate change bill.
The protesters are expected to cause traffic disruption as they begin marching across Commonwealth Avenue Bridge towards Civic from 10 am this morning. That procession is ongoing. It’s estimated around 20 to 30 people have gathered at the protest.
At 11:30 am they will assemble at the intersection of Alinga St and Northbourne Avenue in the City.
The protesters are marching with a grotesque-looking part-koala, part-skeleton they have named ‘Blinky’.
Blinky is more than four metres high, with red eyes and emits screams and smoke and represents the animals killed in the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires.
The group wants the new government to declare a climate and ecological emergency.
They have spent the morning protesting on the lawns at Parliament House.
Today, Federal Labor will introduce its climate change bill which will enshrine in legislation its emissions reduction targets of 43 per cent by 2030 and net zero by 2050.
It’s expected the bill will be passed by the lower house within two weeks.
Following days of negotiations with the Greens and the crossbench, Labor has tweaked the bill so those emissions targets can only increase in the future.
But Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen confirmed to ABC Radio National this morning that Labor will not heed the Greens’ calls for no new coal or gas projects.
This followed Prime Minister Anthony Albanese telling 7.30 last night that doing so would have a devastating impact on the Australian economy.
Some Liberal MPs, including Tasmania’s Bridget Archer, have indicated they are considering crossing the floor to support the bill.
In a statement, ACT Policing said it is aware of upcoming protest activity in Canberra.
“While the organisation respects the right to peacefully protest, criminal actions will not be tolerated, and police will respond accordingly when required. Our officers often work with protest organisers to ensure the safety of both the community and protestors,” a spokesperson said.
Extinction Rebellion protestors have previously been arrested outside Parliament House after protest actions such as gluing themselves to the forecourt of Parliament House and setting fire to a pram and chaining themselves to cars.