Every day during May 2011 LIVE spent five hours in the steps of Victoria’s Parliament House. At 1pm there was a speaker. Our logo was a deckchair symbol.

On Tuesday 12 July 2011 we handed over the results of the Federal Petition to Adam Bandt MP on the steps of Victoria’s Parliament House. Adam will table them in Federal Parliament when next it sits. In all, 3,500 signatures were collected. LIVE would like to thank the dozens of people who collected signatures. We greatly appreciate your help.

Sue Plowright and Deborah Hart from LIVE on “The Steps” of Victoria’s Parliament House.We stood on the steps of Victoria’s Parliament House every day throughout May 2011, enjoying guest speakers at 1pm. We invited all Victorian State and Federal Politicians to join us and learn about various aspects of climate change science, economics, social justice and future justice. We educated ourselves our audience on how important this issue is for us and our children.

Below are the speakers who spoke at Deckchair Democracy during May 2011.

Sunday 1 May 2011 –  David Robinson will speak on successfully organising the Human Sign on St.Kilda Beach in May 2009. 4000 people participated. The message, in May 2009, is the same as it is in May 2011. If governments won’t act with a sense of URGENCY, then the people MUST.

Monday 2 May 2011 – David Risstrom is President of Friends of the ABC, a barrister and was a Melbourne City Councillor. He will explore ‘The Right to Know’ and the role of media and freedom of the press in relation to action on climate change.

Tuesday 3 May 2011 – Paul Connor will tell the story of the Climate Justice Fast! In January 2009 Paul was a Philosophy student at Melbourne University. It was then that he had a radical idea in response to reading the fine print of the Government’s proposed CPRS, which struck him as unjust in the extreme.Like DeChristopher, Connor was convinced that traditional methods of activism, such as marches and petitions which have been used by environmental groups for decades over countless different issues, are too easily ignored by decision makers, the media and the public. They certainly could not speak for Connor.Inspired by the methods of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Connor decided that he would have to starve himself in order to express the strength of his views. The prospect of starving himself was extremely unpleasant so he was determined to get maximum attention for his climate hunger strike. Connor foresaw that the best time would be in the period directly leading up to COP15, when it would be difficult for leaders to avoid being scrutinized while supporting those responsible for destructive greenhouse gases, let alone addressing their debt to those most vulnerable to the catastrophic impacts of it. And staging his hunger strike at this time would give him ten months in which to recruit others who he knew were out there sharing his views.Thus, using international email lists and social media websites, in a relatively short period of time Connor managed to build an international hunger strike campaign involving hundreds of people from every corner of the world: The Climate Justice Fast! Charter that all hunger strikers pledged their allegiance.“We, the participants of Climate Justice Fast!, are undertaking our international hunger strike in order to call upon world leaders – and all people, everywhere – to act with courage and good faith for our common, global good, by implementing the most rapid possible transition to stabilise atmospheric greenhouse gases below 350ppm CO2, and by committing to deliver justice for the global poor and future generations – who are the least responsible for causing climate change, yet who suffer the most from its effects.Climate Justice for the poor and for future generations can be delivered by funding climate adaptation and mitigation activities in developing nations with at least US$195 billion per year; by reducing and rejecting over-consumption, wherever it exists, and by phasing out both deforestation and fossil fuels completely — starting with the elimination of developed countries’ fossil fuel subsidies, shifting them wholly to renewable energy and international climate finance.We urge all people, everywhere, to make a commitment to join the movement for climate justice, and to not to give up until we succeed in these demands being met.”

Wednesday 4 May 2011 – Guy Abrahams is the co-founder and convenor of CLIMARTE, an initiative that calls for all those involved in the arts sector— including arts organisations, practitioners, administrators, patrons and academics from the visual arts, music, theatre, dance, literature, design, architecture, and cinema—to form a broad alliance to advocate for urgent action to address the critical threat of climate change.

Thursday 5 May 2011 – Neil Blake is the Director of the Port Phillip EcoCentre. Neil will speak about EcoCentre projects and how the way they involve the community in taking action on Climate Change. The video below provides a broad overview of EcoCentre activities.

Friday 6 May 2011 – Janet Rice works as a facilitator, and a safe climate campaigner. She was a Councillor for six years with the City of Maribyrnong, including a year as Mayor and was Chair of the Metropolitan Transport Forum and Vice President, Victorian Local Governance Association. Currently she is working on ‘mobilising for a safe climate’.

Saturday 7 May 2011 – David Spratt is a Melbourne businessman, climate-policy analyst, and co-founder of Carbon Equity, which advocates personal carbon allowances as the most fair and equitable means of rapidly reducing carbon emissions. He has extensive advocacy experience in the peace movement, and in developing community-campaign communication and marketing strategies.David’s subject will be “What the latest Climate Change Science tells us”. For more information read Climate Code Red: the case for emergency action (Co-authored with Philip Sutton)

Sunday 8 May 2011 – Janet Powell is a former senator and recognised community leader, mother of four and hands-on grandmother of one. Janet will share her wisdom about politics, leadership, courage, convictions and motherhood.

Sunday 8 May 2011 – Sue Plowright is the founder and an organiser of Deckchair Democracy, mother of two, brand new grandmother of one, speaking on ‘Why I’m doing this when I’m supposed to be doing my PhD and could be cuddling my grandson’.

Sunday 8 May 2011 is Mother’s Day. Singer and songwriter Penelope Swales swill sing for us. Penelope is described by Sydney’s Drum Media Magazine as “The most authentic voice to come out of Australia in the last 15 years” She combines wry and often outrageous humour with her deep passion for people and issues. Her spoken word material swings from anecdotes bordering on stand-up comedy to an astute presentation of deeply challenging and thought-provoking ideas. She pokes sly fun at our failings while celebrating with insight and compassion our attempts to build a better world and our capacity for love, courage and sensuality.

Monday 9 May 2011 – Deborah Hart is the founder of LIVE (Locals’ Into Victoria’s Environment), the group that is organising DECKCHAIR DEMOCRACY. Deborah will speak about her soon to be published book called Guarding Eden: Tales of 21st Century Heroism?Deborah worked for 16 years in development with leading Australian arts and culture organisations (including MTC, Opera Australia, MSO, MIFF, Bell Shakespeare Co, Triple R). In 2008 Deborah left her job at the National Gallery of Victoria in order to devote more attention to climate activism.

Tuesday 10 May 2011 – Pablo Brait is Convenor of Yarra Climate Action Now (YCAN). In 2010, YCAN ran a Vote Climate campaign to encourage inner-Melbourne residents to base their vote on the climate policies of the main candidates in both the state and federal elections. They also ran a highly successful “rebranding” campaign to force their local member to become a climate action champion within the State Government, which involved weekly protests outside his office for nine months. See the video below, and hear more from Pablo in person on the steps of Parliament House.

Wednesday 11 May 2011 – Bruce Poon will speak on the Dietary impacts on Climate Change.Bruce is an Information Technology Project Manager and more importantly, volunteer for Vegetarian Victoria. His main focus is on researching the advantages for the world of adopting a purely vegetarian lifestyle. This includes the environmental benefits, health benefits, reduction in suffering, economic and other societal benefits. He conducts lectures for schools, councils and community groups in Australia and overseas. He is a member of The Greens in Victoria. Bruce is also the Founder of OzQuest: Young Australian Adventures which is a charity that takes young Australians overseas to perform community and scientific work.

Thursday 12 May 2011 – Carolyn Ingvarson is the Convenor of Lighter Footprints a local climate action group she founded in 2006 in the Eastern suburbs.Carolyn spent her working life as a secondary school teacher, and a public servant, and now in semi-retirement works with the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute at Melbourne University. She is also undertaking a writing course at RMIT and loves mucking about with her 7 grandchildren.Carolyn’s will speak on “Why local action matters”. Why is it important to take action at a local level and how can we do it better? Local government can lead or lag. Local groups can punch above their weight, pressing for Council policies and practices to take a lead. Carolyn will discuss ways for Climate Action Groups to build relationships with Councils which can accelerate climate change action.

Friday 13 May 2011 – Fiona Armstrong is a journalist, health professional, public policy analyst and advocate for climate action and health reform. She is the founder and convenor of the Climate and Health Alliance, a national coalition of health care stakeholders advocating for urgent action on climate change to protect and promote public health, and co-founder of CLIMARTE: Arts for a Safe Climate. She is a Fellow of the progressive think tank, the Centre for Policy Development (CPD).

Saturday 14 May 2011 – Deckchair Democracy will be at the South Melbourne Market, from 11 am to 3 pm on Saturday 14 May. We will be at the corner of Cecil and Coventry Streets as you see in the picture on the left. Come along and talk to us, sign the petitions, and take the survey, for 100% Renewable Energy.

Sunday 15 May 2011 – Deckchair Democracy will be at Trades Hall, in Lygon Street Carlton, where an AYCC (Australian Youth Climate Coalition‎) training day will be taking place.

Monday 16 May 2011 – Neil Erenstrom is a member of the Stop HRL collective who are actively campaigning to end plans to build a new 600MW brown coal fired power station in the La Trobe Valley.The project is currently awaiting a works approval decision from the EPA but is already backed by $100 million from the federal government and $50 million from the state government under the guise of “Low Emissions Technology”.Stop HRL is calling for this money to be immediately revoked and redirected into real renewable energy projects.Neil also works as a solar power engineer and was one of 140 people made redundant when Solar Systems went into administration in 2009.He will speak about the latest news surrounding the EPA decision and share his experience from the widely publicised direct action that took place at the office of premier and cabinet on April 11th.

Monday 16 May 2011 – Felicity Millner and Michael Power are from the Environment Defenders Office. Felicity will speak about the inadequacies of Victorian laws and regulations in addressing climate change, as evidenced by the ongoing operation of Hazelwood Power Station and the proposal for a new brown coal fired power station. She will also talk about some of the most important climate change cases. Felicity Millner is Principal Solicitor with the EDO.Michael will provide a run down of the Climate Change Act, explaining how it will impact on the regulation of greenhouse gases in Victoria, and whether more legislative reform is needed. Michael Power is a Lawyer with the EDO responsible for Law Reform.

Tuesday 17 May 2011 – Michael Marriott is a blogger who has been actively involved in the climate debate via a blog called Watching the Deniers.Michael’s main talking points will be:

  • The internet as the ”front line” of the climate debate
  • How think tanks and deniers ”game” forums, new sites and discussion threads with disinformation
  • Who are the “deniers” in Australia, and just how effective are they?
  • What can we do to counter their efforts in cyberspace?

Wednesday 18 May 2011 – Victoria McKenzie-McHarg is the Safe Climate Campaigner at Environment Victoria, the state’s peak non-government, not-for-profit environmental organisation. Victoria works with community members and local climate action groups across the state to press for action on climate change at the local, state and federal level. Prior to joining Environment Victoria, Victoria spent some years working in International Development both in Australia and the UK, and has experience working across the not-for-profit sector. Victoria majored in Communications and Politics at Swinburne University of Technology. When not campaigning for climate action, Victoria can be usually be found attempting DIY renovations on her Coburg home, or recovering from the process at The Post Office Hotel. Victoria will talk about the carbon price.

Thursday 19 May 2011 – Associate Professor Phillip Payne joined Monash Uni in 2006 as the Course Director of Sport and Outdoor Recreation and Research Leader of the Movement, Environment and Community (MEC) group. He is an international editorial board member for three Environmental Education journals. Previously, he was the Principal Writer of the Victorian Certificate of Education — Outdoor Education Study. No surprises that he’ll be talking about environmental education!

Thursday 19 May 2011 – Alicia Webb is a wind engineer with several years experience working in the Australian wind industry. She started her career working for Vestas on the construction of a 30MW Victorian wind farm, and most recently spent three years as a consultant at Parsons Brinckerhoff. During that time Alicia specialised in early feasibility studies, wind monitoring and the design and installation of monitoring masts. She also did energy resource analyses, shadow flicker analyses and various other technical reporting for wind farms.Alicia has been heavily involved in the Hepburn Community Wind Farm and will talk about the project.

Friday 20 May 2011 – Alison Clarke is the Mayor of the City of Yarra. A Speech Pathologist by trade, she worked as the Victorian Greens Party Coordinator for three years before being elected to local government in 2008. Alison is a long-term activist for social justice and the environment, and will talk about what the City of Yarra is doing to tackle Climate Change.

Saturday 21 May 2011 – Brad Murphy is a climate scientist who for more than 15 years has been studying how the climate system works and what the impact global warming is having and will have. He has long had an interest in the impacts of climate change on Pacific island nations, who will be among the first to feel the full effects. Rising sea level is a particularly pressing problem that has already forced some islanders to abandon their homes. The nation of Kiribati is made up a number of strings of tiny coral atolls, most of which rise no more than 2 or 3 metres above sea level. Global warming threatens the people’s water supply and agriculture, is already causing coastal erosion, affecting public heath and the destruction of homes. The people of Kiribati are taking adaptation measures but the geography of their country limits these measures. Does their home have a future? Where will their children live in coming decades? And if they are forced to leave their home, will their culture survive?

Saturday 21 May 2011 – Carol Ride was a founder of Darebin Climate Action Now and later the Climate Emergency Network. As a psychologist and psychotherapist she is interested in working with others through the newly formed group Psychology for a Safe Climate to understand the difficulties in facing climate change and its implications for future generations. After fairly recently becoming a grandmother, this motivation has multiplied!

Sunday 22 May 2011 – Fran Murrell morphed from concerned mother to co-founder of MADGE, a group of people investigating what is happening to our food. MADGE started by examining GM food but this has led on to a close look at our whole food system. Many of our current problems can be solved by changing the way our food is grown, sold and cooked.’s topic will be “Diversity makes for cool food” – Industrial agriculture says it can cool the climate using GM and patented genes. In fact the peasant, agroecological, organic agriculture has shown to feed people, support local economies as well as repair the soil and draw down carbon from the atmosphere and into plants.

Sunday 22 May 2011 – Monique Decortis “Environmentalist – climate activist – networker – creator, compiler and distributor of the Victorian Climate Action Calendar”. Monique is active in a range of community and climate action groups. She is a member of the Safe Climate Roundtable, the Climate and Health Alliance and Climate Emergency Network. Four years ago Monique created and developed the Victorian Climate Action Calendar (VCAC) as a way to encourage and support effective climate campaigning in Victoria. The calendar is read by tens of thousands of people weekly. Here is the latest VCAC.

Monday 23 May 2011 – Alex Bhathal will speak about the findings of her PhD thesis: “Responding to climate change – an exploration of the general public’s experiences, interactions and perceptions in three Victorian communities”Alex will share her findings thus far.

Monday 23 May 2011 – Jim Reiher works for Urban Neighbours of Hope (UNOH), a Christian community group working with refugees and asylum seekers, the poor, and other marginalised people in urban settings. Jim has lectured for Tabor Theological College, since 2000.Find his Facebook page to read his philosophy and reflections. Jim’s topic will be ”Why Christians should care about climate change.”

STOP HRL RALLY – Tuesday 24 May 2011 – The STOP HRL RALLY will be held on the Steps of State Parliament, Spring Street, Melbourne 12.45pm – 1.45pmOn Friday 20 May the Victorian Environmental Protection Authority announced their decision to approve a staged construction of a new coal fired power station for Victoria. If this project goes ahead it will pump millions of tonnes of extra greenhouse pollution into the atmosphere every year. We simply cannot allow this project go ahead. A rally will take place on the steps of State Parliament to protest against this decision. Numerous environmental groups will participate. LIVE believes that the EPA has failed in their duty to protect our environment. For Victoria’s environmental regulator to approve more CO2 pollution, when clean, renewable energy such as wind and solar are available, is simply unacceptable. Please, join us to send a strong message to our State Government, the EPA and the community that this project cannot be allowed to proceed. Please, come along to the rally this Tuesday, bring your friends, family and colleagues who care about our environment and a safe climate, and help stop this dangerous expansion of the coal industry in Victoria.

Wednesday 25 May 2011 – Vanessa Jilly is a founding committee member of LIVE ( Locals into Victoria’s Environment), mother of 3 and co-founder of uspa, an Australian skin care company.Vanessa has worked for 15 years in the training of skin and body treatments. After becoming involved in LIVE and co-organising the Human Sign on St Kilda Beach Vanessa decided to change her direction within her business and is now the sustainability campaigner for products and the planet. Vanessa will talk about how businesses can take action and how getting involved can be fun and educational.

Thursday 26 May 2011
Ellen Roberts & Cam Walker
are with Friends of the Earth. They are campaigning in support of wind energy in Victoria.Even though its our most affordable source of renewable energy, the Baillieu government is soon to introduce laws that will greatly restrict where wind farms can be located – keeping them out of ‘tourist’ and ‘growth’ areas, and giving landholders a right to veto wind farms within 1 km of their properties.Ellen Roberts, renewable energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth will be speaking about the importance of wind, the myths being spread about it, and what we can do to ensure that Ted Baillieu doesn’t blow away our wind energy future. Ellen will be joined by Cam Walker, the Campaigns Co-ordinator and National Liaison Officer with Friends of the Earth.Please join us to show your support for wind energy – the laws will be passed soon, and we need to send the government a message on this crucial issue.Campaign details are here

Friday 27 May 2011 – Jennifer Alden is CEO of Cultivating Community, a leading organization in local food initiatives in Victoria. With three decades experience in working to improve the health and wellbeing of the community, she sees the solutions to climate change adaptation possible when food systems are better realigned with public health and environmental sustainability, acting as an enabler for the transformation to a healthier and more equal society. Jennifer will speak on “Climate Change and Health”

Friday 27 May 2011 – Cr Cathy Oke has been a Melbourne City Councillor since 2008. She is Chair of the Future Melbourne (Eco-City) Committee, Deputy Chair of the Future Melbourne (Connected City) Committee and Co-Chair of the Parks and Gardens Advisory Committee. Cathy will tell us what a local Councillor can do for climate change and the environment.

Sunday 29 May 2011 – Sunday 29 May Head to the steps of the Spring St Asylum (also known as Parliament House) at 1pm on Sunday 29 May for an entertainment extravanganza.There will be a performance by the Victorian Trades Union Choir performing “You Know”. See the video below for a sneak preview.James Bramwell, Director of Public Engagement for Beyond Zero Emissions will be presenting a summary of the Zero Carbon Australia plan, a plan that shows how Australian could be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2020 and discussing his role as national coordinator of Beyond Zero Emissions presentations program.There will also be an appearance from one of your elected members. The honorable member, who refuses to be named at this point, has announced he will be using Deckchair Democracy to:

  • Publicly apologise to the Australian people for his anti climate action past
  • Thank those who persisted with their campaigning to convince him of basic science and energy reality and
  • Proudly announce the nation building, large scale renewable energy and zero emissions transport projects that his government has committed to as part of it’s ‘Government acts to stop a catastrophe by building zero emissions technologies in Australia right now’ plan.

Monday 30 May 2011 – Rod Quantock needs no introduction, so we will say NOTHING, and just refer you to his website We have no idea of what he will say (nor does Rod) but we do know that whatever it is, it will be both informative, and funny.

Monday 30 May 2011 – Victoria McKenzie-McHarg is the Safe Climate Campaigner at Environment Victoria, the state’s peak non-government, not-for-profit environmental organisation. Victoria works with community members and local climate action groups across the state to press for action on climate change at the local, state and federal level. Prior to joining Environment Victoria, Victoria spent some years working in International Development both in Australia and the UK, and has experience working across the not-for-profit sector. Victoria majored in Communications and Politics at Swinburne University of Technology. When not campaigning for climate action, Victoria can be usually be found attempting DIY renovations on her Coburg home, or recovering from the process at The Post Office Hotel. Victoria will launch the Melbourne “Say Yes Australia” campaign. See for more details and the video below.

PHOTOS of speakers and visitors to DECKCHAIR DEMOCRACY during May 2011.