Shortly after his lunch with the "Progressive Business Association" must have ended, Mr Madden, who apparently departed shyly out the back door, looked surprised to be intercepted and presented with the resolutions of the Bastille Day Rally against Urban Expansion and Rotten taxes by Julianne Bell, Rosemary West and Jill Quirk, acting on behalf of the environment and democracy.
See also: Unnatural Growth and Rotten Taxes and Animal Apocalypse Shortly after his lunch with the "Progressive Business Association" must have ended, Mr Madden, who apparently departed shyly out the back door, looked surprised to be intercepted and presented with the resolutions of the Bastille Day Rally against Urban Expansion and Rotten taxes by Julianne Bell, Rosemary West and Jill Quirk, acting on behalf of the environment and democracy.
See also: Unnatural Growth and Rotten Taxes and Animal Apocalypse
Julianne Bell presents Planning Minister Mr Madden the resolutions from Melbourne's Bastille Day rally against Urban Expansion, July 14, 2009. (Photo by Jill Quirk)
Bastille Day a good day to defend public land and to demand representation
Bastille Day, Melbourne, Tuesday 14 July, 2009 Many groups with converging environmental, landholder and democratic concerns gathered at the corner of William and Collins Streets, to hear speakers alert the public about Planning Minister Madden's unpleasant and undemocratic plans for Victoria's green wedges.
Ms Bell of Protectors of Public Lands (Victoria), Jill Quirk, of SPA, Ms West, of Green Wedges, and Michael Hocking, of Taxed Out (S.E. Region), had organised a day of protest, which Planning Backlash had urged people to attend. "In our view the attack on Victorians by the Brumby Government in implementing the urban growth boundary expansion, the Green Wedge land grab and levying exorbitant taxes on family farms and small land owners is extraordinarily serious. It has far reaching implications for, amongst other things, destruction of the environment and climate change," wrote Mary Drost.
The meeting passed the following resolutions under the heading of "Protectors of Public Lands":
1. Deplores the fact that Planning Minister Justin Madden MLC is hosting developers at an ALP fund raising lunch and is putting Victoria’s planning policies up for sale.
2. Calls upon the Minister to:
• abandon the Green Wedge land grab.
• levy developers, not family farmers and small landowners.
• hold a population summit to determine how many people Victoria can reasonably sustain.
• meet with community groups at Parliament House to discuss the Urban Growth Boundary Extension and related matters.
Outside the palace
Instead of their usual stamping ground on the steps of Parliament House, where politicians are apparently willing to take the flack for the growth lobby, the protesters had decided to demonstrate closer to the source of Victoria's woes - at a meeting with big business and developers held by the ALP-fundraising arm known as the Progressive Business organisation in the Intercontinental Rialto Hotel.
After speeches from Julianne Bell, Rosemary West, Michael Hocking and Brian Walters S.C., the demonstrators spread out in an angry body hundreds big across Collins Street, rhythmically shouting, "Axe the Taxes" and proceeded downhill to the hotel where Mr Madden's Bastille-Day rendezvous was scheduled.
Outside the hotel there were a number of impromptu speeches through a loud-hailer, punctuated with sustained chants of "Sack Madden", "Sack Brumby", whilst the crowd waited patiently, if noisily, for Julianne, Michael, Jill and Rosemary to deliver the resolutions to Mr Madden. It was clear that most of the people attending, particularly those who stood to lose enormous equity through taxes on any future land-sales or through enormously increased rates if they did not sell, were responding to immediate and serious threat. The faces were tense, there were tears glistening, voices were angry. One man with a continental accent took the loud-hailer and warned that people would be drained of every drop of blood - he meant money - if they failed to halt the process there.
Eventually the four delegates returned to say that they had delivered the resolutions but that Mr Madden had still not arrived for the lunch.
After some deliberation, and in view of the fact that the police had asked politely, the crowd disassembled, with cries of 'We'll be back!" Julianne Bell, Rosemary West, Jill Quirk and a candobetter journalist went around to a cafe behind the hotel and drank their coffee facing the window.
Late meeting with Mr Madden
Mr Madden was spotted shyly leaving the hotel and was intercepted, as pictured in the photos. He did seek to separate himself quickly and turned away, but wheeled around when someone called out, "Marie-Antoinette! Are you afraid to talk to the people?" He then remained long enough for Julianne Bell to present him personally with the Meeting Resolutions. There was a brief chat, where he insisted that his door was always open, or words to that effect, prompting another comment to the effect that if it only cost $1,500 for business to lunch with him, then surely taxpayers who pay much more than that annually, could expect to have much more influence. A member of his party was heard to claim that the State Government has nothing to do with population growth in Melbourne, that it is a Federal Government responsibility. A member of the Bell party corrected this misapprehension.
Indeed, population growth policy, particularly through immigration, is more and more crafted and influenced by the States, for it is the state governments which look after land and water. Population growth increases the price of land and State Governments reap financial benefits from land-transactions via taxes. The Victorian government has a website called www.liveinvictoria.vic.gov.au (see more about this and the developer lobby in Melbourne at Melbourne 2008: Life in a destruction zone which shows some of its dedication to the policy of increasing population in Australia.)
One more thing. The resolution calling for a population summit could backfire, since Mr Brumby's predecessor, Mr Bracks, held the Melbourne Population Summit in 2002. This event was almost entirely given over to developer propaganda, with journalists making speeches to promote population growth, as if they actually experts. The Premier and many others misled the public by talking as if Australia's population was falling and presenting massive population growth as a benign, even positive. Auspiced by the developer officiated and funded Australian Population Institute (APop), the Dennis Family Corporation (Developers, Financiers, builders, land-bankers), various commercial media with a reliance on marketing land, Mr Pratt, a big advocate of big populations and 'managing water' for business reasons who was facing criminal charges before he died, with Master of Ceremonies, Steve Vizard - convicted of insider trading - it was a very sorry event which reflects and reverberates to this day to the great shame of all politicians associated with it.