‘Scomo’s got to go’: Tens of thousands march for climate action
‘Scomo’s got to go’: Tens of thousands march for climate action

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in cities and towns around Australia today in protest against the government’s handling of the bushfire crisis and their continuing refusal to act on the climate emergency. The rallies were organised by Uni Students for Climate Justice, but drew in wide layers of the community, including bushfire victims, firefighters, Indigenous Australians, trade unionists, high school students and many others.


In Melbourne, an estimated 30,000 people turned out despite drenching rain and in defiance of the pressure placed on organisers by police and the state Labor government to call off the rally on the spurious grounds that it would draw emergency services resources away from dealing with the fires.

A sea of umbrellas in Melbourne

It seems most people weren’t put off by the government’s scaremongering. In the lead-up to the rally, many pointed to the fact that there were no similar claims of “diverting police resources” when it came to the Boxing Day cricket match or New Year’s Eve celebrations

In his speech to the rally Jerome Small, from the Victorian Socialists, gave a searing indictment of Australia’s ruling elite: "It's not a case of 'forgive them, they know not what they do'. The most powerful people in this country, the most powerful people in the world: they know what they're doing and they've been doing it for decades. What they're doing is stacking up the cash while the the country burns. That's what we're up against."

Uni Students for Climate Justice in Melbourne
A banner in Melbourne
A placard in Melbourne



In Sydney an estimated 50,000 gathered at the Sydney Town Hall before marching through the city to the NSW Parliament and on to Hyde Park.

The rally was chaired by Indigenous activist and Uni Students for Climate Justice co-convenor Gavin Stanbrook. Opening the rally, he said “We’re here today to demand the full funding of national fire services, and national community support services for those that have been left behind by the government. And we’re here today to hold the climate criminals – the CEOs, the mining companies, the politicians – to account.”

Gavin Stanbrook in Sydney
Gavin Stanbrook

Other speakers included Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi: “I stand in front of you bloody angry. I’ve never been so angry in my life. I am determined to do whatever it takes to stop this climate crisis. Are you willing to do whatever it takes?”

Mehreen Faruqi in Sydney
Mehreen Faruqi

Firefighter Jim Casey also spoke. “I’ve been a professional firefighter for 20 years and I’ve seen nothing like this,” he said. “We need to talk about the resources. Emergency services need more! There has been a $20 million cut to fire rescue. There’s been a 35% reduction in firefighting services in the national parks service since the Liberals took power… ‘How are you going to afford it?’ people ask. Tax the companies that are extracting fossil fuels and creating this problem!”

Jim Casey in Sydney
Jim Casey

Indigenous activist Lizzy Jarrett also spoke. “It’s time for the total dissolution of this government. Morrison, the whole government. Everyone! Start from scratch!”

Lizzy Jarrett in Sydney
Lizzy Jarrett

Thousands gathered in other cities too: 5-7,000 in Brisbane, 8,000 in Adelaide, 3,000 in Canberra, 1,500 in Perth, and hundreds in regional cities and towns including Geelong, Byron Bay and Port Macquarie.

Port Macquarie
Port Macquarie

It seems people weren’t convinced by the argument, waged by the federal government, the state Labor government in Victoria, and others, that “now isn’t the time for protest”. One thing was clear: people are sick of our political leaders fiddling while the entire country is burning around them. The anthem for these protests could have been the Rage Against the Machine classic “Guerilla Radio”: “It has to start somewhere. It has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now?”

Read more
PC gone mad in public education
Tim Arnot

The Productivity Commission’s interim report into Australian schools confirms what those of us working in the system have known for years: the education gap is widening for students from disadvantaged and diverse backgrounds, students are falling behind their international peers, and teachers are overworked and underpaid.

Five ways to lift living standards
Josh Lees

Workers’ living standards are being pushed down as capitalists raise prices and hold down wages. While the wages share of national income is the lowest on record, corporate profits are at their highest. Big companies, especially the energy giants, are profiteering from a global supply shortage by jacking up their prices to take more money out of workers’ pockets and put it in their own.

Uncle Jack Charles: 1943-2022
Uncle Jack Charles: 1943-2022
Liz Ross

“Jack Charles is Up and Fighting” is the title of one of Uncle Jack Charles’ early shows for the Indigenous Theatre Group, Nindethana, and it sums up his life. An actor, musician, potter, activist, proud gay man, this Boon Wurrung, Dja Dja Wurrung, Woiwurrung, Palawa and Yorta Yorta elder was, as actor and director Rachel Maza put it, “a shining, vibrant celebration of life”.

Capitalists praise feudalism
Capitalists praise feudalism

It is ironic that almost every major figure and institution of Australian capitalism has led an outpouring of veneration for one of the last vestiges of feudalism: a hereditary monarch, whose status as the sovereign is subject to fewer challenges than is Kim Jong-un’s rule in North Korea, and whose position, through birthright, gives it control of a series of economically unproductive and taxpayer-funded landed estates. 

Reservoir Visy mill stinks
Steph Price

It has been variously described as smelling like off ham, burning plastic and chemicals. Officially, it produces “a strong odour with wet paper and sweet fermented characteristics”, in the words of an odour engineer from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). People who live near it report experiencing headaches, sinus problems and skin irritation because of the unrelenting stench.

State health systems in crisis
Vashti Fox

Aishwarya Aswath was 7 years old when she was carried by her father into the emergency department at Perth Children’s Hospital. She had a high temperature, her hands were cold, her eyes were cloudy and her body was floppy. Despite her parents’ efforts, for 90 minutes she received only sporadic attention from nurses, clerks and doctors. Three hours after entering the emergency department, Aishwarya went into cardiac arrest. Her death was avoidable.