G20: Australians bury their heads in the sand – literally – over Tony Abbott's refusal to put climate change on the agenda

Around 400 protesters took to Bondi Beach to express their outrage

Adam Withnall
Thursday 13 November 2014 17:00 GMT
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Australians bury their heads in the sands of Bondi Beach to send a message to Prime Minister Tony Abbott about the dangers of climate change
Australians bury their heads in the sands of Bondi Beach to send a message to Prime Minister Tony Abbott about the dangers of climate change (AFP/Getty Images)

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Louise Thomas

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Hundreds of protesters have taken to the beach in Australia to express their anger at Tony Abbott’s failure to address climate change – by literally burying their heads in the sand.

The colourful demonstration came as their prime minister issued an extraordinary statement saying “jobs and growth” should be the focus of the G20 summit this weekend, not “what might happen in 16 years’ time” as a result of global warming. Last month he was quoted as saying “coal is good for humanity”.

On Bondi Beach in Sydney, around 400 men, women and school children dug holes in the sand and stuck their heads in them, symbolising Mr Abbott’s avoidance of the pressing issue.

While the message was serious, megaphone-wielding activist Pat Norman, 28, couldn’t help but have a bit of fun, shouting: “Wiggle your bum if you feel like it.”

The disparate crowd included men and women in business suits – and they expressed exasperation that Australia couldn’t do more even as the US and China reached an agreement to limit their collective carbon emissions.

“Obama's on board, Xi Jinping's on board, everyone's on board except one man,” Norman shouted, to which protesters replied: “Tony Abbott!”

In July, Australia became one of the only countries in the world to reverse action on climate change when it repealed a tax on greenhouse gas emissions.

Justin Field, 36, a former army intelligence officer who is running for a seat in state parliament for the Green Party, said his country had to act.

“To be so far behind the rest of the developed world embarrasses progressive Australia,” he said.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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