Former Kiama residents Margot and Rod Cunich are delighted with the response to their first Quiet Australians Stand Up event.
Margot, a GP, and Rod, a lawyer, lived in Kiama for 18 years before they returned to Sydney in 2008.
In mid-January, concerned by the Federal Government’s lack of action over climate change, they decided to organise a silent vigil of previously quiet Australians outside the office of their local member Dave Sharma in Edgecliff.
“The thought of organising a public demonstration of any type was far removed from anything I’ve ever contemplated before,” says Rod.
“However we strongly felt the need to stand up and try to motivate those quiet people who are concerned about climate change, but who sit back and do nothing.”
They took out newspaper advertisements and put the event out on social media, saying, “We invite fellow Wentworth electorate residents to join us in asking Dave Sharma MP to advocate on our behalf for evidence-based climate policy.”
The vigil attracted 250 people, and a lot of publicity.
“When we decided to hold the protest we thought it would be a success if a handful of people showed up,” says Rod.
They are planning quiet demonstrations every four weeks for as long as it takes, and they want others across the nation to follow their lead, no matter the party.
“I hope it is going to bring other ordinary people like us out to ask their local members to actually stand up and advocate for us for proper climate policy,” says Margot.
“Our grandson spent his first summer imprisoned indoors due to the smoke that engulfed his home in Canberra, and still does.
“We owe it to him and generations to come to take immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions before this summer becomes the new norm. If we don’t encourage and support our politicians to take all necessary action who will?”
A vigil has already been held outside of the office of the Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips, in Nowra.