The End of the Line: Tri-partisan Media Release for Australian Parliament Screening

Political Divides Crossed to Help Save Our Marine Life
Disturbing documentary on over-fishing to screen in Parliament House

A multi-party group will tonight co-host the first screening in a parliament house of the documentary, End Of The Line, which highlights the catastrophic impact of over-fishing on the oceans and communities that depend on them.

Liberal MP for Moore, Dr Mal Washer, Labor’s MP for Fremantle Melissa Parke, and The Greens Senator Rachel Siewert will co-host the screening of the End Of The Line as a demonstration of their shared concern for the health and future of fish stocks and other marine life in Australian and international waters.

The screening will support work being undertaken by the Save Our Marine Life initiative. This unprecedented collaboration involves ten Australian and international conservation organisations working together to argue the case for creating a network of large marine sanctuaries in the south west of Australia through the government’s Marine Bioregional Plan process.

End Of The Line will be shown in the Parliamentary Theatre tonight at 6.45pm.

The south west of Australia is the first marine region to be assessed for further protection by the Rudd Government.

It is almost 1.3 million square kilometres in size, stretching from Geraldton in WA to Kangaroo Island in SA. However, less than 1% of the south west has any protection in place, despite it having a far greater level of unique marine life than the Great Barrier Reef.

“End Of The Line is a sobering demonstration of what happens around the world when over-fishing and poor fisheries management occurs. While not focused on Australian practices as such, this disturbing documentary should strengthen our resolve to finally put in place a comprehensive marine conservation plan for Australia’s oceans,” Melissa Parke said.

“Australia’s oceans are internationally recognised for their huge diversity of unique marine life. End Of The Line sounds a powerful warning for us all in Australia to plan ahead now to avoid what has happened to fisheries in other parts of the world, which have collapsed due to poor management,” said Dr Mal Washer.

“As the recent oil spill off the Kimberley coast demonstrated to us all, there must be safeguards in place to ensure marine life is protected from pollution and other threats. End Of The Line is a timely wake up call for us all as we assess the levels of protection necessary for the south west,” said Senator Rachel Siewert.

Charles Clover, the author of End Of The Line, urged Australians to support action to create marine sanctuaries. “Marine sanctuaries are vital for the future of fish. Please help Save Our Marine Life.”

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Two More new Australian and NZ Screenings: The End of the Line

NZ – Thursday 11 March at 7.00pm

Room OGG098, Owen G Glenn Building, University of Auckland

Tickets: $10 adults, $5 children (under 15 years)

Visitors can park on the lower five floors of the Owen G Glenn Building. Access via Grafton Road. Charges apply.

Guest speaker: Clive Monds, Marine Campaigner, Environment and Conservation Organisations of New Zealand Inc (ECO)

All proceeds go to: Auckland University Underwater Club ‘Save our Boat’ fund.

For further information and tickets contact: Ali Perkins, email grants@akunidive.com or mobile 021 066 5760

Aust – Thursday 27 May at 7.00pm

Byron Bay Community Centre
69 Jonson Street
Byron Bay NSW 2481

Tickets available from Byron Bay Community Centre (02 6685 6807) or Sundive (02 6685 7755)

The End of the Line: Aus Parliament Screening

IMG_2256.JPG The world’s first major documentary on the devastating impacts of overfishing, The End of The Line , screens at Australian Parliament tonight.
The screening is in support of Save Our Marine Life and is hosted by Liberal Mal Washer, Labor MP Melissa Parke and Greens senator Rachel Siewert.
Currently 1 in 6 on Australia’s Federal fisheries are overfished or suffering overfishing.
The film has previously screened at 10 Downing St, home of the UK Prime Minister.
Updates via @happy_squid. More on the film and the campaign at the Happy Squid Blog. Film screenings at the EOTL Screenings tab.
Will post the joint press release for hosting MP’s soon.
Posted by Wordmobi

Chevron and DEC’s Gorgon animal airlift: A good news story?

Reading the West yesterday it was hard not to see the irony in the Government’s environment department and a major corporation lining up to paint the relocation of endangered animals off Barrow Island into other sites around the state as a good news story.
In reality they were moving hundreds of endangered animals out of the way for a massive industrial facility, a giant factory, on a Nature Reserve. It was phase one in a massive program of environmental destruction that will culminate in a mind boggling dredging program – Australia’s biggest ever – through near pristine coral reef.
They need to be moved because there is a very real risk that the project could threaten the future of these animals on Barrow Island.
It is true, as the proponent claims, that the management of Barrow Island has been comparitively superior to the underfunded management of other nearby islands by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) that has allowed cats and rats to destroy remnant populations of native animals. The oil field status of the island has meant that recreational vessels have been kept away and on this large island, described as Natures Ark, species that have become extinct elsewhere due to habitat destruction and predation/competition by introduced species have been able to survive.
But it is a bit rich for the company to then claim that because of this history a massive industrial facility with components being manufactured all over Asia is going to be good for the environment.
According to the Environmental Protection Authority, who in some of the most damning reports they have ever written, recommended against the project on Barrow Island at every stage of the proposal, the major environmental impacts of the project include:
• WA’s largest ever marine dredging project with unacceptable consequences for the important marine environment surrounding the island;
• Access to an A-Class nature reserve that is important to the survival of a number of species of native mammals;
• High probability of a serious quarantine breach that will put at risk the survival of native speacis. There is a history of uncontained quarantine breaches by the proponent on Barrow Island;
• High potential for significant impact on an important population of an endangered species, the flatback marine turtle;
• High potential for extinction of endemic invertebrate fauna;
• massive amounts of greenhouse gas.

The other argument that the island is the only place that they can geosequester the massive amount of CO2 in the Gorgon gas has also been widely questioned. Even if it was true, a short CO2 pipe back from an alternative site at the mainland could have done the same job. However, competitors on the North West Shelf, Woodside, are now looking at sequestering their CO2 into abandoned oil fields as is done in the North Sea. There were always other options.
As Gorgon has developed, fears that the initial approval by the Government would open the doors to more development have already been realised with Gorgon adding an additional gas processing train to the proposal before construction has even begun.
Gorgon will be a big money spinner for WA, no doubt. It will probably restart the mining boom that has been in hibernation since the global financial crisis. But it never had to be on Barrow Island.

Westpoll highlights ETS communications dilemma for Rudd

On Monday The West reported that according to their polling, only 5% of Western Australian’s understood the Government’s ETS. How has there been such a spectacular failure in communicating one of the most important pieces of legislation ever to reach Australia’s Parliament?

It is true that the Government has done an appalling job of managing the politics of the ETS, and of selling the legislation to the Australian public, particularly by choosing to negotiate with Liberal climate sceptics in senate, thus isolating their supporters – including Garnaut, the Greens, and most of the environment movement – but the case also highlights some other entrenched problems in communicating policy to the public.

As the print media where analysis of policy might most likely appear, has become more business and profit focussed, and competition has increased from TV and Internet, the workload of a smaller number of journalists has dramatically increased. Journalists for the most part are rushed to communicate news fast and in a form palatable to an information overloaded public increasingly impatient with detail. All media trainers will tell you people want a story, not an analysis, so that is what they get. The result is that, for example, a two-page spread outlining the ETS is an unlikely outcome of a major policy proposal.

Instead, we get a stream of opinions from experts and politicians that does little to help us make an informed choice, it simply means we can choose between the sound bites or extended opinions that appear to best align with our preconceived values. That is why far more people would agree or disagree with an ETS than actually understand it. That is why the Government putting its natural supporters offside was such a huge political error.

One could argue that it is Government, not the media, that should sell their legislation, and this is true. The Government and their civil society allies should be the leaders that campaign for it, that convince the public. But if we want more from our politicians than shallow spin formed in focus groups made up of swinging voters, then how can they communicate policy detail to us? If the media won’t cover the detail, and we haven’t got time to digest the green, white and whatever other colour papers, then the only alternative left is to create expensive web and TV campaigns.

One story that opposition parties love, and that sells papers, is over inflated Government spending of taxpayer’s money on advertising. And lets face it; it is high risk that the result won’t be very good anyway.

It is a dilemma for a Government trying to sell a complex policy like the ETS. The situation much better suits an Opposition trying to tear it down one popularist sound bite at a time. It is no wonder that Tony Abbott’s poorly thought out simple direct action plan is beating Kevin Rudds necessarily complex emissions trading scheme in the polls. No one gets the ETS, and no one has really tried to explain it. Simple direct action sounds snappy and practical. It is great sound bite Vs a complex policy, and the sound bite is winning.

Kevin will now have to come up with a better sound bite than Tony (lets face it he should have anyway), and we can all pick a side. But at the end of the day, none of us will still have much of a clue what we are voting for.

If the result is run away climate change, mass extinctions and massive disruption to human civilisation, you’d have to think we could all be doing a lot better.