NSW Knitting Nannas march on parliament

Knitting Nannas outside NSW parliament

The Supreme Court hearing of the constitutional challenge by two Knitting Nannas to the repressive anti-protest laws finished on Wednesday. Another day had been set aside for the hearing, but we aren’t reading anything into it being shorter than it could have been. We are cautiously optimistic that there will be a positive outcome for the right to protest. We expect it will be months before the judgment is handed down.

With no court hearing on Thursday Nannas were grateful for a sleep-in before our parade through city streets and then to parliament house to welcome back the NSW pollies. Our numbers increased with the arrival of Illawarra and Hunter Nannas.

Nanna Purl, locked in a paddy wagon, led the city parade with a message for by-standers: in a climate emergency the NSW anti-protest laws criminalise the wrong people. Purl was locked up for an act of non-violent civil disobedience out of desperation that fossil fuel mining is being expanded rather than phased out quickly. As she languishes in gaol the corporations and politicians profiting from the expansion of fossil fuel, the real “dangerous radicals”, are richly rewarded.

On the way up Martin Place to parliament, the Nannas formed a circle holding a crocheted yellow, black and red cord which represented the circumference of “Big Spotty”, the largest spotted gum in Australia, possibly the world. For 500 years this tree has stood 72 metres high in the Brooman State Forest. But NSW Forestry has slated the logging of the surrounding trees for September. We all know the majestic “Big Spotty’’ will die if the logging goes ahead. Milton-Ulladulla Nannas are determined that won’t happen.

At the top of Martin Place, Nanna Purl was put on trial in a Nannas’ Court. She was accused of holding up a fossil fuel project and gaining widespread media attention. In her guilty plea she explained that she’d tried every other way to get action on the climate crisis, but still our governments approve new gas and coal projects.

Nannas cheered her refusal to be intimidated by the new laws and her determination to protect the climate for the kiddies. Unsurprisingly the noisy court freed Nanna Purl and called for fossil fools to be locked up instead.

Nannas gathered at parliament house, which is being renovated, to call for change inside too – we deserve a much better government and parliament than the ones we’ve had.

Patrick and Miguel sang some new songs about how important protest is to democracy. The Nannas sang some favourite songs from around the loops – on climate action, renewables and ending coal.  

Our social media team went into overdrive getting out stories and images from our day of action.

Parliament House has a photo exhibition about the Lismore floods: Through the Heart… a Flood of Fears and Tears 2023, a selection of portraits by Jacklyn Wagner, featuring Lismore flood survivors. Lismore Nannas visited the exhibition. They found it hard to see, but were pleased that all politicians were being confronted by the images in their workplace. Some of the Nannas were not allowed in as they were wearing Nanna t-shirts underneath other tops!! Not happy.

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