The protest, organised by a coalition of environmental groups, called for restored funding to the Rural Fire Service (RFS), and a just transition to a carbon-free economy.
Protestors held a minute of silence in remembrance of two RFS volunteers died battling fires to Sydney’s south.
Jim Casey, of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union (FBEU), decried the lack of support for fire fighters on the front lines. But reminded the crowd “the biggest danger is climate change”.
Rally co-chair, Gavin Stanbrook of Uni Students for Climate Justice, condemned the government’s billions of dollars in coal subsidies while RFS volunteers have resorted to crowd-funding to source basic fire-fighting equipment.
Greens MLC David Shoebridge, who was arrested at Thursday’s climate rally’s Kirribilli Lodge, reminded the crowd that three million hectares of native bush land has already been destroyed in the fires.
“We’re not the quiet Australians,” Shoebridge told the crowd, “we’re using our voice and we’re in it to win it.”
Footage of Scott Morrison’s appearance Q&A in 2010 was also unearthed and showed him criticising former Victorian police commissioner, Christine Nixon, for going to dinner during the devastating Black Saturday bushfires.
“She’s clearly made a bad judgment call,”Morrison told the audience.
“That happens to people from time to time but this was a very serious issue and I think there are very serious concerns in the community about exercising judgment.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is set to return to Australia on Monday which, as former Honi Soit editor Naaman Zhou notes, means he will not “cut short” his holiday.
The protest is the third large scale protest calling for climate action in the last two weeks. It comes as Australia faces an unprecedented heatwave, and Sydney faces another day of poor air quality.