Protecting the Laws that Protect Nature

Protecting the Laws that Protect Nature

Date: 16.03.2016

This is one of the most exciting events  from within Government in Australia  this year - a response that we would like to see more of.  

On February 29th and March 1st, 2016, four incredible nature champions - associated with the Australian Conservation Foundation - delivered 105,252 signatures to key decision makers in Canberra calling on Senators to protect the laws that protect our air, water and wildlife.  Some of those decision makers chose to respond.  

And what a response - a community who cared inspired a group of Senators  to sit up and take a pledge to do something about it. This is a strong indication that more people want to make healthier choices. 

The organisers of the petition - Anne, Susan, Dennis and Paul travelled from different corners of Australia to represent their community in Parliament and can now say: "when over 100,000 people stand up for an issue they care about – Senators take notice.  And when community members are knocking on their doors in Canberra, it has real impact."

“This is an opportunity to protect nature and defend the rights of nature,” says Anne Poelina, Traditional Custodian of the Fitzroy River, the Kimberley, in Western Australia.  In a statement that was released to all who engaged with the issue and signed the petition, she said:

"The decision makers we met with heard your message loud and clear – the Australian community wants leaders who listen to people, not polluters, and take responsibility for our reefs, rivers, forests and wildlife.  Not all key decision makers were available to meet with us, but many made the time to hear your voice."  

Here are some of the things they said.


Here are extracts from some of the encouraging responses publicly stated: 

“This reinforces the notion that I’m on the right track. Australians don’t want this Bill to pass. And I will be voting it down if and when it comes up. I’m also encouraging the federal government to instill and put in place legislation that tightens the legislation around protecting our water.” – Senator Glenn Lazarus, Glenn Lazarus Team

“We very clearly heard the message from Australians about the importance of having the right to take your government to court if you think that your government is not abiding by the nation’s environmental laws. And that’s why we’ll reject in the Senate the government's attempt to block citizen groups, farmers groups and environmental organisations from taking that legal action.” – Hon Mark Butler MP, Shadow Minister for the Environment, ALP

“My office is engaged in many discussions about the impact of these Bills. I know how special our environment is and know how important it is that proper safeguards exist to protect it. I hope to continue discussions with the Minister about both the bilateral and standing Bills. And I can assure you that I'll be discussing this petition with them. Thank you for standing up for what you believe in. Australia is a better place for it.” – Senator Ricky Muir, Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party

“It really strengthens our hand here in Parliament to have more than 100,000 of you who are saying ‘we love our precious environment, we want it protected’. Thank you for trying to strengthen our democracy and improve environmental protection.” – Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens


Meet the four nature champions and community delegates who took the petition to Canberra

Following their petition handover in Canberra, representing 105,252 signatures, Anne, Susan, Dennis and Paul stated:

"It was an important step but we must keep the pressure on until these Bills are gone forever and we have strong laws to protect our air, water, wildlife and the places we love."

"While we do everything we can to stop the wind back of our national environment laws, we’re putting strong nature protection on the agenda for the federal election."

"Your petition signature is one important step of this long-term campaign. People want elected representatives with vision and a plan to protect nature. It doesn’t matter which political party candidates come from. They all have a duty of care."

Give further support to this initiative at the Australian Conservation Foundation 

Back to News & Events List