The Last Climate Tango in Paris

For those who were not able to make it to the forum on Tuesday 27 October at Hawthorn Town Hall ” The Last Climate Tango in Paris” , and have not heard how it went,  and want to know – it went well!

We filled the hall – to bursting!

The balcony had to be opened and we had people sitting on the steps there. There were well over 400 people. Our team of 30 people who worked on the forum was a key to its success- and there were more who delivered the 10,000 leaflets to our local community. Great team effort.

The team we selected to speak turned out to be inspired! The balance was achieved between Government/politics, (Josh Frydenberg) economics,/international scene,(Ross Garnaut)  clear climate science (David Karoly) and then the broad-based ‘moral context call (Genieve Blackwell) which was beautifully crafted and touched the moral fibre of the heart and soul!

As you will recall, after agreeing to the date, Josh Frydenberg was then required to be in Northern Australia at the time of the forum, so we arranged for him to be beamed him. In addition he prepared his speech for us on video so that we could be sure we had something should the technology fail.  This turned out to be useful as he had only a small widow between commitments and we were able to show the video, and then have him join live to answer questions.  This worked surprisingly well.

I was asked later to by Josh’s office to summarise the outcomes as we saw them, and I said something like this:

1. There is strong and deep anger about the position being taken on calling the exporting of coal a moral responsibility to help the Indians address poverty, without acknowledging that this means abrogating the moral responsibility we might have to save the planet. This hostility is directed at Josh personally and for many undermines his credibility, and any sense of trust that there may have been. His other messages about the good work now underway were largely lost. Most people did appreciate that he made the effort to do the video and to be there despite his workload, and wanted to thank him for that.

2.The two professors were listened to avidly, as they reiterated that we are on track for disaster, and showed why this is so.  There was no audience dissent, rather a new appetite for information from an audience that was broader than any we have seen. The comparison of Australia targets  with other countries made it clear that we are not leaders in the field (as had been suggested by the Minister.) Ken Coghill  effectively managed the process of questions in the relatively short time we had.

3. As the last speaker, the bishop struck a chord with people such that the mood in the room changed after she spoke to a completely absorbed audience. The shift to considering that we do need to care about people- all people, as well as about this earth we live in as custodians, was so nicely crafted as to touch everyone’s hearts. This made it possible to engage that audience  as a group at the end of the night with a sort of rally cry to get involved – and to do it together- all of us. And that the mood was quite upbeat at the end!

We had eight different stalls which kept many people occupied and many new contacts made; and we broke into small groups at the end to provide contact between the speakers and those who wanted to question them further. The speakers were very generous with their time and stayed beyond the call of duty, which people really appreciated. A special thanks to our mayor who opened the event and spoke about the council’s work in sustainable living, also gave her time to a lively group interested in knowing more about what is happening in Boroondara.

Thanks to everyone who came and supported us in showing the strength of the concern about climate change in this most conservative of electorates.

Carolyn Ingvarson


Some pictures from our highly successful forum!

Stalls – a great friendly ‘street market’ atmosphere

Hon Josh Frydenberg MP joins us from Northern Australia via Skype!

Question time

Breakout Groups