Your South West Voice in Parliament: February 10-16

Diane has returned to Parliament for 2020 last week as the business of the Legislative Council resumed for another year.

While much of the political circus dies down over the Christmas parliamentary recess — a blind spot even a Prime Minister can befall — Diane has maintained a busy schedule throughout the first six weeks of the new decade. This pace has not let up with the return of WA Parliament either, as Diane has continued her customary travel right across the large South West Region.

In the final week of recess alone, Diane stopped in Albany, Margaret River, Bunbury and Busselton — with a visit back to Perth in the middle of her itinerary for commitments with The Greens (WA).

Prior highlights in the period prior to this included visiting the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Peace Boat, attending One Day in Fremantle, and time spent in Manjimup, Denmark and Bridgetown — amongst others.

While parliament and committee meetings mean retaining a presence in Perth for three to four days a week during sitting weeks, the weekends remain time for the South West.

With so much to achieve in 2020 — including repealing the Forest Products Act, seeking royalties for regions funding for regional landcare groups, championing sustainable agriculture and pursuing equitable water management practices in the face of climate challenges, Diane remains your Green South West voice in Parliament.

Dying with Dignity – Story Banner Event

Diane joined with Dying with Dignity WA and its supporters today to continue representing the countless Western Australians with personal reasons for supporting the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill. 

A 20-metre-long banner was unfurled in front of Parliament House, which included 288 testimonials from those with personal stories of suffering because voluntary assisted dying is not a lawful end of life choice. Diane hopes this will serve as a reminder that unnecessary delay in passing this legislation affects real people.

The longer Western Australians go without this legislation, the longer the suffering will continue.

Your South West Voice in Parliament, October 21-27

Diane attends the Bindjareb Boodja memorial commemoration of the Pinjarra massacre on Friday, 25 October.

Diane continued activities inside and out of Parliament, aligned with the Noongar values of kart, koort and wirrin, during an emotional week that addressed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2019 and the Pinjarra Massacre of 1834.

The VAD Bill passed the Second Reading vote in the Legislative Council by 25 to 10 on Wednesday. During the previous evening’s session, Diane took the opportunity to speak on this important piece of legislation. Diane highlighted the importance of representation in this matter, with 84% of West Australians in support of the Bill.

The week was bookended by two community events with a strong focus on Noongar culture, firstly at Koolbardies Talking, a local women’s group in the City of Mandurah serving as a meeting place for Indigenous and non-Indigenous women, providing an opportunity to share stories and change public perceptions. This was followed on Saturday by a more solemn affair, as Diane was invited to speak at the Bindjareb Boodja memorial commemoration of the Pinjarra massacre.

In other matters of ongoing significance, on Tuesday the Environmental Protection Authority agreed to proposal changes by the Southern Forests Irrigation Cooperative. The proposal change “clarified” that 9.3 gigalitres of water will be taken from the Donnelly River annually, an increase on the previous 9 gigalitres, despite the removal of a dam the proponents alleged would not have existed in the first place. Diane remains opposed to a water trading scheme that is wildly inequitable, will threaten native forests and will not a provide solution to water allocation that serves community interests. A full Public Environmental Review is to come, Diane will encourage public submissions when this period opens.

Meanwhile on Friday, ABC South West reported that WA’s biggest native hardwood processor, Auswest Timbers, is accused of ‘wasting’ thousands of tonnes of jarrah logs. Diane continues to support the significant work done by WA Forest Alliance (WAFA) in this matter, with her office liaising between constituents, WAFA and Parliament regarding these practices at Auswest Timbers for some time. The native timber industry remains poorly managed by the Forest Products Commission, who are not up to the task of preventing unethical practices.

Elsewhere, Diane continued the busy work of Legislative Council proceedings and attending the meeting of the Select Committee into Local Government, prior to returning to Parliament for the third and final sitting week of October.

Your South West Voice in Parliament, October 14-20

Diane returned to Parliament last week as she combined her duties on the Legislative Council with committee and estimate hearings. There remained time to attend a number of important community events, however, which provided the opportunity to speak in Parliament about the importance of community and culture.

The headline issue of the week statewide was the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, which reached the Legislative Council for the first time. The Greens have a long history of supporting the right for people to choose how they die if they are near the end of their life and in unbearable pain, having introduced legislation to allow VAD in 2001, and again in 2010 — the first political party to do so. Diane will spake in Parliament on this debate in the coming weeks and recognises that 84% of Western Australians support VAD. It’s time that Parliament did too.

Topics Diane addressed in Parliament included biodiversity and her attendance at the State NRM & Coastal and New Economy Network Australia conferences — keep an eye on Diane’s Facebook page for the videos.

Outside of Parliament and as The Greens (WA) spokesperson for regional development, Diane was privileged to provide the opening address on day two of Linkwest’s People. Place. Partnerships. conference on Thursday, 17 October. Diane spoke of kart, koort and wirrin — the triple bottom line of indigenous culture — and the strength to be found in people and community within the regions. Diane has championed the importance of funding Community Resource Centres in recent months.

Diwali celebrations, the WA Forest Alliance Annual General Meeting and travels throughout the Southwest, from Mandurah to Albany (and back again) constituted just a few of Diane’s other activities during the week. Fortunately, a kind farmer in Frankland River came to Diane’s rescue on Sunday with a jerry can of petrol, ensuring she could complete her journeys. With the Legislative Council to commence the second week of a three-week stint on Tuesday, sometimes the important work of providing a South West voice in Parliament needs that little bit of help too.

Evers Springs Into View

Diane Evers MLC donned the hi-vis two days in a row this week during visits to development sites of contrasting uses.

Beginning on Tuesday, Diane joined her Greens colleagues Tim Clifford MLC and Alison Xamon MLC for a sneak preview of the Western Australian Museum, scheduled to open in the Perth Cultural Centre in late-November 2020. Despite plenty of work to be done prior to completion, Diane was impressed by what she saw.

Diane was back into the South West Region on Wednesday, joining a large tour of the Greenbushes Lithium Stage Two mine and acknowledging the need to balance society’s utilisation of modern technologies with the need to protect the planet. Diane urged operating company, Talison, to get sustainability offsets right, enact best-practice rehabilitation post-mining and ensure good use for residual material – while continuing to call on the State Government to work towards the of transport material on rail.

On Thursday, Diane is back on farm with Lower Blackwood Landcare at its Spring Field Day. Showcasing four properties in Rosa Glen, as well as the great diversity of sustainable farming enterprises in the area, Diane looks forward to discussions covering issues such as:

  • Grazing & pasture management
  • Agritourism
  • Small batch production
  • Regenerative & sustainable agriculture practices.
Diane with fellow The Greens (WA) colleagues Tim Clifford MLC (left) and Alison Xamon MLC (right).
Diane with fellow The Greens (WA) colleagues Tim Clifford MLC (left) and Alison Xamon MLC (right) at the Western Australian Museum development site on Tuesday, 8 October.
Diane visits the Greenbushes Lithium Stage Two mine on Wednesday, October 9.

Greater Bunbury Greens Forum

Green Communities Going Forward: A Bunbury Forum

Diane joined the Greater Bunbury Greens group for its Q&A forum, Green Communities Going Forward, on Saturday, 28 September.

Within the context of reflecting on the last federal election, the main objective of the forum was to celebrate Jordon Steele-John’s re-election to the Australian Senate. Through a panel, small group discussion and over food, the group shared learnings from the election and what to take forward.

With The Greens (WA) members and supporters from the Forrest electorate in attendance, this forum was an opportunity to ask questions, tell election stories, make relevant statements, and mention any conclusions reached as a result of election experiences.

Diane was joined on the Q&A panel by:

  • Nerilee Boshammer, Forrest candidate at the 2019 election
  • Dr. Naomi Godden, Margaret River Shire Councillor
  • Sophie Greer, Director The Greens (WA)
  • Elliot Sawers, Jordon Steele-John staffer
  • Bella Burgemeister, local youth activist

School Strike 4 Climate

School Strike 4 Climate

Diane joined Bunbury school students and workers today for the global #ClimateStrike, as young and young-at-heart alike came together to demand urgent action on the climate crisis.

Amazing scenes played out across the nation, with hundreds of thousands of Australians in capital cities and regional centres turning out, just three days before world leaders meet in New York for the United Nations Emergency Climate Summit.

Diane thanks all those who came together in the spirit of hope and regeneration. The multiple — and increasing — School Strikes 4 Climate and Fridays for Future protests in the South West Region, Perth CBD and at Parliament House have inspired many to recognise current democratic processes are not moving quickly enough. Whether it is Greta Thunberg internationally or the South West Region’s own young activist leaders, like Bella Burgemeister from Bunbury, the youth of today will not stand for the failings of yesterday.

Declaration of Rebellion Rally – WA Parliament

New week, new energy – but with plenty generated from last Thursday’s Extinction Rebellion demonstration.

Diane was proud to join The Greens (WA) climate change spokesperson Tim Clifford MLC to represent these concerns, as well as her Greens Colleagues Robin Chapple MLC and Alison Xamon MLC.

As the remarkable School Strike 4 Climate activists have shown, there are loud and committed voices calling on government to do more and address the climate crisis.

Diane thanks those who turned up in the spirit of peace and non-violence.

Australian Greens National Conference and Inaugural Country Greens Working Group

Diane joined her fellow Greens members and colleagues, as well as interested public attendees, in Adelaide for the Australian Greens mid-year National Conference today.

This latest National Conference involved taking stock of the federal election campaign and its results, while also looking ahead towards developing the party further to tackle oncoming challenges.

The conference included workshops and discussions focused on strategies for action and training for members, parliamentarians and the attending public alike in how to campaign and organise, including opportunities to work with MPs and national working groups to shape Greens policies.

As part of the conference Diane was delighted to participate in the inaugural session of the Australian Greens/Country Greens Working Group. There were twenty-three people in the room with eight more on-line. On-line links worked well as six of the eight reporting state/territory representatives contributed remotely. Having good remote conferencing functioning reliably is a great step towards connection to country.

An untapped desire exists within the regions to build hope and grassroots contributions, based on evidence, optimism and sustainable Greens policies – Diane anticipates country connections will be strengthened both within the Greens and with the country as a result.

In addition to her country passions, Diane also took great value from workshops discussing LGBTIQ+ matters, as well as the cross-jurisdictional issue of oil exploration in the Great Australian Bight.

Lewin Block Long Weekend (and Beyond) Blockade

Lewin Block Long Weekend (and Beyond) Blockade

Endless conversation, copious food supply, well-organised camp, and incredibly beautiful surroundings.

This past weekend, Diane spent two days with forest protesters at Lewin block, broadening her understanding of protests.

For Diane, a walk through the recently cleared area, making way for bigger equipment for the really old trees, was eye-opening. There were numerous trees with a diameter larger than Diane’s arm span, with no tell-tale ‘H’ for habitat tree marked on them. These giants will be felled in coming weeks if the government doesn’t step in and put a halt to it.

Anyone who has a thought about going to see this forest, Diane asks you to please act on it. There are lovely, committed people there to welcome you. Don’t let the weather put you off. There’s a lovely fire, and tents and tarps to keep you dry. A well-appointed kitchen with a well-stocked larder awaits your arrival.

Bring a camera, and a pair of boots. Help Save Lewin Forest.