Stump Truck 2002
Victorian State Election
GECO has done it again! Another huge old growth stump is currently touring marginal seats around Melbourne to draw attention to the continued old growth logging taking place in East Gippsland and elsewhere in Victoria. The stump is from a 400 year old Mountain Grey Gum in Yalmy, near the water catchment of the Snowy River in East Gippsland. Trees like this are being logged every day in Victoria.
On Tuesday 12 November the Stump arrived at Parliament house, and was very well received by the public. There was a small article in The Age announcing its arrival. On Wednesday 13 November, the stump hit the marginal seat of Mordialloc and gate crashed Liberal Party Leader Robert Doyle's health policy launch. It was also seen in the vicinity of a large banner on a freeway overpass...
The stump did Southlands in the seat of Bentleigh on Wednesday. On Thursday the profile was raised in the city and was well-received by school kids. On Friday, the Greens announced their preferences outside Parliament House, using the stump as a backdrop. Papers and TV attended and took photos of the candidates in front of the stump. The candidate registry for the Greens in the Mitcham area was the next stop, and Box Hill was the destination for the afternoon.
The weekend saw the stump tour the Yarra Valley through the marginal seats of Yan Yean and Seymour. Monday in Mordialloc.
The stump truck gatecrashed the log truck blockade of Steve Brack's policy launch at Moorabin on Monday. The CFMEU recycled their tired cliches while the stump circled the building, to the jeers and abuse of the handful of loggers present. The public seemed not to be taken in by the big trucks and were more supportive of the big stump. Some members of the Labor party also voiced support for an end to old growth logging. The stump later toured the seat of Mordialloc.
The stump toured Burwood on Tuesday, and was at the local Greens candidate launch at Gardiner's Creek in Box Hill. Wednesday saw the stump in Richmond. Thursday in the Melbourne CBD and inner city suburbs of Fitzroy, Carlton and Brunswick. The stump has received an enthusiastic response everywhere it has been, and lots of fliers, postcards and stickers have been distributed.
On Friday, the Stump went to the marginal seat of Mitcham, which includes Ringwood. It then visited Belgrave for a Greens candidate launch. The stump truck went to the Forest Frenzy festival over the weekend, where 200 people enjoyed the beautiful Central Highlands and shared skills and stories on every aspect of forest activism.
The stump truck in Taggerty in the seat of Seymour, at Forest Frenzy Festival, and in Frankston on Monday.
The Premier Steve Bracks and Opposition Leader Robert Doyle turned out in force at the NRE to call for an end to old growth logging
(if only!), and were seen at Parliament House before walking through the city.
Steve Bracks and Robert Doyle were later seen at the stump truck on the Yarra, at Southbank.
The Stump Truck joined the Cycle for Old Growth Forest on Wednesday, where cyclists completing their mammoth 1500km journey through marginal seats all over Victoria were joined by other supporters on bikes. The Stump and the mob of cyclists met at Parliament House before going on an impromptu "critical mass" through the Melbourne CBD, a noisy and colourful parade which slowed traffic and drew lots of attention from the city folk.
The Stump Truck was at the bottom of the Arts Centre Spire on the day before the election, when four climbers dropped a 25m long banner urging people to remember the forests when they vote. The banner was visible from across the city and drew lots of attention from the media and the public. The message to protect old growth forest was reinforced for passersby with the presence of our huge old growth stump. The four climbers voluntarily descended after 12 hours and were arrested by police. Old growth forest protection was in the minds of people across Melbourne as the banner drop made headlines on TV and radio all day.
On the day of the election, the Stump Truck journeyed to Williamstown, the safe Labor seat held by the Premier Steve Bracks, and happened upon the man himself lodging his vote at a primary school. We questioned him on when he was going to protect old growth forest, but he declined to answer as he hurried to his car to avoid looking at the size of the trees his government is logging. It was unavoidable, however, and both the Premier and his entourage of media couldn't help but get a good look. The stump was present on every nightly news on election night, a satisfying end to the tour.
Bracks won the election by a fair bit in the end. The Greens vote increased dramatically in every seat the stump truck visited (and in the places it didn't). Still no promises to protect old growth forests, but for the first time in years, the forests were an election issue. GECO's stump truck was undoubtedly a major factor in this, as was all the hard work done by environmentalists across the state.
The Stump's final resting place - the Collingwood Children's Farm, where it is there for all Victorians to see. Now the kids of inner city Melbourne can see the size of the trees logged in East Gippsland.
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