Step-In to Step it Up on Climate Change

Community action to switch off the CPRS and switch on renewables in 2009

Step it up: 27th March 2009 March 24, 2009

Filed under: Helpful resources,How to 'step-in' to Step It Up! — hollycreenaune @ 2:12 am


The Government is pursuing a climate change policy that will not result in swift and effective emissions reductions. We have held-hands around parliament, and now its time to take our protest directly to our elected representatives.

The Exposure Draft Legislation for the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme will be released in the coming weeks. Join communities around Australia sitting-in at their MP’s offices to demand better.

On this website, you can download a simple guide to help you plan your protest.

You can also visit Flickr and see how colourful, fun and family-friendly sit-ins can be.

If you’re on Facebook, find the March 27th events here.

There are other resources on this site to help you, and plans are already being made right around the country. Be part of history and take action to protect our children’s future.



Step In to Step It Up on Climate Change November 3, 2008

Filed under: 'step-ins' climate groups have done,How to 'step-in' to Step It Up! — hollycreenaune @ 7:01 am

Dear Friends in the Climate Movement,

At the end of September as part of a national week of action on climate change, a group of friends, including myself, held a sit-in in Kevin Rudd’s electoral office in Brisbane.

Sitting in Kevin Rudd's office

Sitting in Kevin Rudd

We had all been feeling increasingly concerned about our government’s lack of meaningful action on climate change.  We felt it was time to do more than write letters and bemoan our government’s inaction. The sit-in was really successful and great fun to be a part of.

In the first days of December, the Rudd Government will release the White Paper, outlining the Emissions Trading Scheme and emissions reduction targets for 2020 – the most important policy in contemporary Australia. I’m calling on you to do a similar action in your MP’s office in the first week of December – step in to your MP’s office and be part of stepping it up on climate change.

At our ’step in’, five people went into Kevin Rudd’s office and asked to make an appointment with Rudd.  I felt a bit nervous walking in, but having a group of us together made it a lot easier. After some discussion with a staff member and the office manager, we established that we weren’t going to get a meeting straight away. So we said, “That’s ok, we’ll wait” – and we sat down on the floor and pulled out our signs that we had prepared beforehand. With perfect timing, our other friends came around the corner with a banner that read ‘Great Barrier Reef – not negotiable’.

Soon, television crew from three different stations arrived.  Our media spokesperson conducted a number of interviews while we continued to sit on the floor in the office. After two hours, the police hadn’t turned up.  We felt we had succeeded in getting the media we wanted and decided to call it quits for the day… perhaps to return for a much longer sit-in in December!

I think the action was successful because we were really organised in advance. We’d had a couple of meetings before the day of the sit-in.  On the day, we met up near Rudd’s office about an hour beforehand to go over what we wanted to do.

Another key part to the success of our action was having two excellent media people (one a media spokesperson and the other a media liaison) who sent our media release and made follow-up calls to key media outlets once we were in the office. They had practiced by roleplaying interviews and were feeling well-prepared before the action. Sending out a media release with high resolution photos was also important so media outlets that didn’t make it were still able to do stories with photos on the action.

You can see some of the media on our action here:

It was great having supporters chanting and with colourful banners outside. They kept us entertained with chants of “Save our Reef, Mr Rudd, Garnaut’s targets are a dud!’  Their presence provided us with moral support for what we were doing.

Supporters outside Kevin Rudd's office

Supporters outside Kevin Rudd

I think the only problem we had on the day was when trains were suddenly cancelled – just before our train was due to head to Kevin Rudd’s office! We had to go and find a bus and we were running about half an hour late. Leaving plenty of time before the event was due to start definitely paid off for us!

I encourage you to do a similar action in your MP’s office in the first week of December. Now is the time to step in and step up community action on climate change!

To get you started, download the great information kit on how to do a Step In

Next, get together with your climate action group or your friends and talk about what you would like your ‘Step In’ to be like.  What will you do when you are there?  What are the core messages you want to convey to your MP, to the public, and to media? What do people in your group need to feel prepared?  Email with any questions or for an experienced activist to visit your group to help you plan.

Then, a short time after the Federal Government releases their White Paper, step in to your MP’s office with a group of people from your community, and be part of stepping it up on climate change!

See the website for more information, tips and stories from a whole range of climate change groups who have ‘stepped in’ to their MP’s office already: Get informed, inspired, and ready to STEP IN this December.

All the best in stepping in,
Emma Brindal


Get creative! October 14, 2008

Filed under: Helpful resources,How to 'step-in' to Step It Up! — hollycreenaune @ 4:42 am

Skits, creative stunts and costumes will help to communicate your message and keep the group entertained and active, and keep morale high. You could do these once you get inside for something to do, or outside as street theatre for the public. Some ideas for creative stunts and themes are as follows.

Disco theme:

‘Stayin’ Alive’ – We are trying to stay alive by demanding a safe climate future. Don 70’s gear, bring a disco-ball and a boom box, have a dance and look a little silly while you let your MP know you are serious about climate action.

Game show theme

Climate change is not a game but our politicians are treating it like one! Why not treat your MP like the guest on a game show?
– Deal or No Deal- the community say ‘No Deal’ to weak targets that will do nothing to secure the safe climate future that we deserve. Will your MP take the deal of 25% reductions by 2020? Or will s/he say ‘No Deal’ to this disastrous figure that locks us into dangerous climate change?
– Sale of the Century – our government is selling out the next century and all those to come by proposing such weak targets.


Fluoro vests, flashing lights and sirens, sandbags- it’s a climate emergency and your group have come to save the day by demanding real action from your MP. You could sandbag their office to protect it from rising sea levels that the governments’ targets are doing nothing to save us from.

Funeral theme

Your group could have a funeral for the Great Barrier Reef, which is guaranteed to perish under the governments’ proposed targets. Black clothing, veils, flowers and elaborate pantomime can communicate this tragedy. You could even deliver a eulogy stating what an asset the Reef was to Australia and the world- including a mention of the tourist dollars the reef brings in!

Using time

You could stay in the office, be silent, or sit down for 12 minutes (that’s how many months we have left until Copenhagen) or 350 minutes – 350 is the number of the safe up- per limit for carbon dioxide–measured in “Parts Per Million” in our atmosphere.


Making a plan

Filed under: How to 'step-in' to Step It Up! — hollycreenaune @ 12:50 am
Brisbane residents 'sit-in' Kevin Rudd's electorate office in September 2008

Brisbane residents

1. Check out the office beforehand. Does it have a foyer you can sit in? Perhaps there is a door you can block? Think about whether there are other people’s offices that would need to use the door or foyer.

2. Designate roles: elect someone to speak to the reception and other staff on your behalf and then let that person do the jon. Elect someone else to speak to the media. Elect someone to speak to police. Try and avoid letting other members of the group speak to these people, as it will create confusion.

3. Walk into the office together, take your banners, papier mache props, photos and flyers.

4. Tell the reception staff who you are and why you are there.

5. Sit down on the floor together. Perhaps you could start singing, or reading from a prepared statement.

6. You could ring the police – someone is going to call them anyway, and it might as well be you.

7. Send your media release. Is there someone in an office somewhere that you can organise to wait for your alert to send out the media release? If you’re feeling cheeky, you could even use the politician’s fax machine!

8. The media liaison person can then start calling the media.

9. Use nonviolent non-cooperation techniques to stay as long as you can. Some of these – and lots of other great training material – can be found in the Nonviolence Trainers Resource Manual at

10. Make sure you take great pictures of yourselves and record what’s happening (Don’t be pushy and cocky about this though… keep a respectful distance from individuals)

11. If you’re committed and ready, you could use locking devices to make it harder for the police to remove you from the office. It is not necessary to do this to have a successful sit-in, look at the lunch counter sit-ins during the civil rights movement – but it can make the event last much longer and secure more media coverage. It is likely to result in the arrest of the person who locks themselves on, but on relatively minor charges. See elsewhere in this kit for legal help.

12. Know when you are going to leave, and how.

Afterwards, make sure you get together and talk about how the step-in went. Did you get your message across? Did everybody feel involved and empowered?


What to do

Filed under: How to 'step-in' to Step It Up! — hollycreenaune @ 12:48 am
At Kevin Rudd's office

At Kevin Rudd's electorate office

How can we step it up, and send the right message?

Firstly, we don’t want to alienate our friends and family, but we do want to send a strong enough message that will make your member “sit up and think” – they won’t want to be seen as not doing their best on climate change, so think about the best way to “step-in” to their office that will both rattle them, and gain the support of your community – you will be amazed at how supportive they will be of your protest as long as they understand why you’re doing it.


You will need:

Flyers: if you’re standing out the front of your local member’s office and passersby want to know what you’re doing, it’s great to be able to hand them some information. Make a flyer that includes your key demands, contact details, and is visually interesting and print it off. If you would like help with this, contact

A Media Release:
It’s a good idea to send out a media release so that word gets out about what you have done. Don’t send it until you know it has worked though. Sometimes it’s useful for one of your group to remain behind at home or work to send it for you. See the media sheet in this guide for useful contacts, and a media release template.

Cameras: make sure you take great photos and footage of yourselves that you can share with your networks and the media. For media quality images, make sure you get clear shots of you banner, lots of people and a bit of dynamic action.

More than one is preferable. Make them as beautiful and clear as you can, with a straightforward statement of your message (like “no new coal” or “peak carbon by 2010” or something)

A reason to be there: Think beforehand about why you are going. Have you written to and visited your member before? Do you want to deliver a letter signed by lots of people? Do you want to ask them to do something? (Like to make representations on your behalf to the Prime Minister, or pass on a letter)


A plan: There are some options over the page, but think about how and what you will do. Do you want to all go in together? Leave politely when asked? Wait for the police to arrive and be removed by them? Wait until your member promises something and then leave? Just stand out the front leafleting? It is important to be clear beforehand about the circumstances under which you will end the action and to know who is taking on what roles.


Writing a media release

Filed under: Helpful resources,How to 'step-in' to Step It Up! — hollycreenaune @ 12:17 am

Template Media Release

NAME OF YOUR GROUP (if you have one)

Media Release


BANNER: Be attention grabbing. Protest… action … demand … anger …

The first line should communicate precisely what is happening and why it is worthy of news: make sure you make it sound exciting, new or different.

The next line/paragraph will fill out the details left behind: if your first line says “today 50 residents of Campbelltown are conducting a sit-in at the office of Federal member of parliament XX demand that the Federal Government step up efforts to reduce greenhouse pollution” the second line could say “The protest comes a day after the Federal Government released its policy on greenhouse pollution, which has been slammed by scientists and environmentalists as too weak and timid”

Then you can launch into quotes: Mary from Climate Action Campbelltown said, “This is an issue on which the community is not prepared to compromise …. Etc etc ”

Carry on in this vein, communicating your message and key demands.

Make sure you fit the whole thing on one page only.

Put contact details at the bottom for someone who can answer the phone and give comment on what is happening.


Example Media Release from the recent occupation by Queensland residents of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s electorate office


…. media release…. media release…. media release….

Monday 22nd September 2008
Time: 10:45 AM
Location: Kevin Rudd’s office, Morningside

Rudd’s constituents occupy the PMs office to save the Great Barrier Reef

Residents of the Griffith electorate today sat in Kevin Rudd’s office to demand that his government’s climate change policies reflect the wishes of his constituents. The peaceful citizens refused to leave the office for over 3 hours, holding signs saying “Rudd: missing in action on climate change”.

“Our farmland, our lifestyle and our Great Barrier Reef are all threatened under the emissions reductions targets suggested to the government by economist Professor Ross Garnaut. We are taking peaceful action to get the message though to our politicians that this isn’t acceptable,” says Brisbane resident, Bradley Smith.

“While coal and corporate lobby groups have a seat at the negotiating table with our prime minister, we, everyday citizens, are appalled that our politicians are planning to jeopardize national icons like the great barrier reef,” says Kristy Walters, one of the group who refused to leave Rudd’s office.

Last week Prof Ross Garnaut recommended a 5-10% greenhouse gas reduction target to the Australian government. By his own admission, these targets are based on political expedience and would be expected to lead to the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef. This scenario would also see increased droughts which would have unacceptable effects on our farmers.

“In the next 3 months the Rudd government will be deciding on our domestic climate change policy as well as our international negotiating position. It is now or never for the citizens of Australia to tell our members of parliament that we won’t stand by while our national icons are negotiated away,” says Mr Smith.

The action marks the first day of national Climate Emergency Week. Events will be taking place across the country to highlight the need for effective action on climate change. For more Brisbane activities visit

Media Spokesperson: Brad XXX. Ph 04XX XXX XXX
Media Liaison: Clare XXX. Ph 04XX XXX XXX


Second step: Step it up

Filed under: How to 'step-in' to Step It Up! — hollycreenaune @ 12:00 am

Some time during the first two weeks of December, the Federal Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme White Paper will be released and the interim emissions reduction targets announced.

If they don’t commit to both of our key asks at that time, it’s time to step it up.

Step back into your local members office to let them know that you are outraged.

If we all do this in the same week after this announcement it will generate political will to adopt the policies we need. Your local member will be embarrassed to have to defend policies the community rejects – they will go to the party room and complain that the policy isn’t good enough.

You have been and tried to get them to change. They need to know that there are repercussions for failing to make the right policy decisions.
We will have only twelve months left to turn around our emissions. The task ahead is so hard: politicians just won’t do it unless they know there will be protests and backlash if they fail.
Your step in action could be:
• Standing out the front of their office with placards handing out flyers to passersby
• Sending in a delegation of mums and dads with letter or petition to Kevin Rudd and Penny Wong demanding a peak carbon by 2010 commitment.
• Piling into their office with your prams, puppets, banners, friends and families and demanding to see them again to tell them how disappointed you are.
• “Sitting-in” on the floor or in the reception area and refusing to leave until the peak carbon promise is delivered (this will require you to think about how you will respond to the police.)
• Taking a chain and padlock with you and attaching yourself to their door to show them how seriously you take this issue.
Remember: we will all be doing it in the same week – you are not alone.