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Speech: Green Bans

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I rise to observe that today is May Day and pay tribute not just to May Day and the workers but to the green bans, as relevant as they ever were. The workers united will never be defeated. 'Intersectionality' might be a recent buzzword but it has existed for a very long time in the workers' movement and in the green bans movement. Touch one, touch all: you may find yourself standing shoulder to shoulder with members of the union movement and the socalled soccer mums or doctors' wives, should you find yourself up against a green ban.

It should come as no surprise that a Greens member of parliament would want to pay tribute to the green bans. In fact, it is partly where we took our party name from. In the early 1970s, green bans were instrumental in New South Wales in preserving buildings of great heritage and importance, including the historic buildings around Martin Place.

Somebody who came over to visit Australia to see what was an embryonic political movement at the time was Petra Kelly, who in the 1970s was a German political activist visiting Australia. She took the name 'Greens'—Grünen—and the philosophy home with her and used them in 1980 when she became one of the founders of the German Greens. In fact, they were based on what the global Greens are based on, which is the four principles, the pillars of ecological sustainability, grassroots democracy, social justice and peace and non-violence.

A few years later, the name and the political concept came to Australia when the first Greens party in Australia was formed in Sydney in 1984 and registered in 1985. I am actually born in Dubbo, New South Wales, and grew up in Sydney in those years and so I am very familiar with the work of the green bans. In particular, I will jump ahead and thank the green bans movement for saving Centennial Park in 1972 from being overdeveloped. That was the park of my childhood, and I am pleased to say that it continues today.

So many parts of Sydney were preserved due to the green bans: Woolloomooloo in the sixties; Kelly's Bush in 1969; The Rocks, which we all know and love and is such a great tourist attraction now in Sydney, in 1971; Victoria Street in King's Cross, which is still a beautiful street but was saved by a conglomeration of squatters, unionists and ladies who lunch (and are activists) in the 1970s. More recently, in the 1990s we have seen, again in Woolloomooloo, Finger Wharf saved through green bans. In 2016, the Bondi Pavilion was saved through green bans.

How did these green bans come about? I want to pay tribute to a man called Jack Mundey. Jack was born in 1929 in the Atherton Tablelands, the fourth of five children, in Queensland. He came down to Sydney to play Rugby League, sadly for Parramatta, for three seasons, but then he seemed to move closer to the eastern suburbs, where I grew up in the shadow of those beautiful Moreton Bay figs in Centennial Park.

In 1969, he was elected secretary of the New South Wales BLF. Under his leadership, along with Bob Pringle and Joe Owens, the union won improved wages and conditions, but of course they also created the green bans; standing shoulder to shoulder, supporting Aboriginal land rights, gay rights, queer rights; standing shoulder to shoulder with student activists, ladies who lunch and environmentalists and bringing peace and non-violence into their civil action.

The green bans today are as relevant as they ever were, and I am proud to be part of a party that saw that ethos put into a political practice, but right now in South Australia we need green bans if we are going to stand up and preserve our heritage. We only have those heritage protections, and some of those heritage pieces, because of that intersectional, worker-led work of the green bans.

Whether it is saving the Bondi Pavilion or saving the Palais down at Semaphore, I am proud that people like Jack Mundey led the movement. He was a Greens member for the last two decades of his life until he passed. The spirit of Jack Mundey will be upheld not only in this place by the Greens but, indeed, in the community, saving places like the Cranker.

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