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Knitting Nannas

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Tags: Climate Change, Protest

Knitting Nannas: Rosalie Woodruff, 15 October, 2019


Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Madam Speaker, I rise on behalf of the Tasmanian Greens to support and congratulate the three women from the 'knitting nannas' who were arrested outside the Tasmanian parliament today for their bravery, their strength, their understanding of the gravity of the issues that confront us as a community, and for putting themselves on the line, essentially, for us, for people who understand that we must change what we are doing and we cannot continue with business as usual.

Those three women understand that a climate tipping point has passed and we are on a track, by conventional understanding, to three to four degrees of heating. They understand that the situation is at the point of an irreversible planetary crisis and we must do everything we can to retain the democratic conditions and act to do what we can to restore nature and restore the systems that are out of functioning and are hurtling us towards an increasingly unliveable planet. We could not have higher stakes than we have at the moment.

Those three women simply sat outside the doors of Parliament House today knitting and they come from a group called the 'knitting nannas' who established themselves from a great history of working-class market women from 1789 who stormed the parliament, stormed the Bastille and sat silently with grim faces as they watched French revolutionaries being executed. They sat there and their protest was peaceful and they watched and were speaking up for starving people who demanded food at prices people could afford. They come from a history of protest which understands that civil disobedience is required in unusual situations when everything we have tried has not worked. It is certainly the case that everything has been tried. For the last 20 years everything has been tried by scientists, community activists and conservationists - information campaigns, political lobbying, street marches, endless massive scientific reports - but politicians are not listening and governments are not acting.

Thank you to Gabby, aged 73, who is she says aware of climate change, has been an activist for decades but has never taken part in anything where she could have been arrested. She said she has a son who will not have children because he feels he could not expose them to the grim future we are facing if the lies of the government and media are continuing and everything is business as usual. She says she will most likely not be a grandmother, but she wants to stand up for a sustainable future.

Thank you, Rita, aged 64. She says:

When my step-granddaughter was born I started to wonder about her future. With global heating underway, I knew her prospects did not look good. The science is now solid and she faces a terrible situation with the potential collapse of our civilisation. The media and the government are not telling us the truth about this catastrophic threat and there is insufficient government response. I am now frightened and depressed and feel civil disobedience is justified. I am not an activist, I have never been arrested, but my fear for our children's future is now far stronger than my fear of arrest. When my granddaughter is older I want to be able to say I tried my best.

Thank you to Cass, aged 63. She says:

I am a retired mental health clinician with a 20-year working history with the Department of Health and Human Services. I have never been arrested. I have four grandchildren aged 7, 5, 3 and 2. My own children are in their 30s. I have watched the destruction of our natural world by those who see nature as something to be assigned a dollar value instead of it being valued as our life support system. Petitions, emails, phone calls, volunteering for environmental groups - I have tried them all over the years. The time for action is now and this is my stand for a better future.

Madam Speaker, good on those people and good on all of those Tasmanians and people across the world who are standing up and demanding action by whatever means they must, because they understand they have exhausted the means they have of achieving change. When human communities have faced that in the past they take the only action that is available to them, and that is civil disobedience. We strongly respect and endorse their right to do so.