Get off the fence: Member of the Ballarat Climate Action Group Jane Marriott at the front of the protest outside Catherine King’s office. Photo: Lachlan Bence.A small group of concerned citizens gathered outside Ballarat MP Catherine King’s office on Saturday to protest at the payment of donations by fossil fuel companies to political parties.

Ballarat Climate Action staged the protest to alsobring attention to the practise of giving subsidies to those same companies.

BCA spokesperson Tony Goodfellow said the group planned to walk from Catherine King’s to Senator John Madigan’s office to bring to attention to the ‘Pollution Free Politics Pledge’, which both politicians have declined to sign.

“We’ve given all the candidates for the seat of Ballarat -Liberal, Labor, Nationals, Greens and others – the opportunity to sign the pledge,” said Mr Goodfellow.

“We’ve had a negative from Catherine King and John Madigan,and silence from everyone else except Alice Barnes from the Greens, who signed the pledge outside Mr Madigan’s office.

“The link between health and climate change is clear, so we feel it is important that Catherine King takes climate change seriously in action, not just words, by signing the pledge.

“We have contactedSarah Wade,Dianne Colbert andPaul Tatchell, but not heard anything from them.”

The pledge states: “I personally support, and call on all politicians and parties to support aban on donations from fossil fuel companies, and aban on subsidies to fossil fuel companies.”

Mr Goodfellow says thepledge has been signed by Andrew Wilkie, Anna Burke, Cathy McGowan, Melissa Parke, Kelvin Thomson, everysitting Greens senator andBob Brown.

“Over the past three years, fossil fuel companies have donated almost $3.7 million to the major parties,” said Mr Goodfellow.

“In return, our Government will provide $7.7 billion in subsidies to the big polluters in 2016–17. That equates to a return on investment for the fossil fuel industry of $2,000 for every $1 donated to the major parties over the past three years.”

Ballarat Greens candidate Alice Barnes, who attended the protest, said she signed the pledge because climate change is the pressing issue of our time.

“I signed the pledge because I think there should be a ban on donations. The donations that are made to the major political parties are making our democracy sick. I think we need to ban them, and ban subsidies to fossil fuel industries in Australia,” said MsBarnes.

“I’m really disappointed (that no-one else signed) because this election should be the climate change election. I feel like we said that in 2013, but here we are again with no emission tradingscheme and no sensible action to combat the massive threat that our species is facing.”

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