Anti-Abbott rally weathers the elements

BURSTS of heavy rain didn’t deter south-west residents with ‘no confidence’ in Prime Minister Tony Abbott from joining a nationwide protest.

A peaceful rally, organised by lobby group Wannon Climate Action Now, was held yesterday at the Warrnambool Civic Green.

The March in March protest was sparked by a Facebook conversation between a few friends in late January, resulting in rallies across Australia.

More than 70 people attended the Warrnambool event with discussions focusing on environmental and social justice issues including coal seam gas, uranium mining, asylum seekers and the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.

Wannon Climate Action Now convener Margaret Donahue said she was pleased with the turnout after strong support on social media, although she was worried the weather may have been a deterrent for some.

She said there had been some very interesting issues raised.

“Those of us who are opposed to the Abbott government need to work positively for solutions,” Ms Donahue said.

Former Greens candidate and secretary of the Sustainable Agriculture and Communities Alliance, Gillian Blair, spoke on the impact of coal seam gas. She urged people to join the Lock The Gate Alliance, a national coalition of community groups from across Australia which are uniting to protect land and water from coal and gas mining expansion.

“The laws in this country are made to protect corporations, not people,” Ms Blair said.

A newly-formed choir, One Earth, Many Voices, also performed its first show. 

Wannon Climate Action Now formed in response to the election of the Abbott government last year. 

Organiser Christina Buckland said the group hoped to establish a directory of community groups for better communication and to make it easier for people to get involved.

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