Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Open letter to Mike Baird: Our beautiful trees, why?

Dear Premier,
If you're reading this on your laptop, push & play Connor O'Brien's beautiful song - maybe you might weep a little. As for the rest of us, we're sobbing and we cannot stop.

We are at a loss to understand why you are ravaging Sydney.

Why this onslaught?

Why this war against the environment, animals, your voters, our children?

No-one can understand why you have embarked upon such vandalism and it had led many of us to think that you actually do not care if you are re-elected or not in three years time, which in turn has led many of us to think that perhaps you are in fact part of the 'Big Corpa' push which has infiltrated our parliaments and public institutions at all levels ... and with such catastrophic consequences.

Why else would you carry on the way you are carrying on?

Tell me, Premier, how do you explain the Anzac Parade tree issue to your children? How do they weigh up your argument for the destruction of heritage listed trees coupled with desires of stadium merchants and private infrastructure companies and a 4-legged casino versus the desires of Sydneysiders and the city?

Personally I feel as though you have been beating me with a savage weapon - your assault on the trees affects me bodily and psychologically. I want to run away but there's nowhere to run, there's no safe place, everywhere is polluted by you and developers.

I live in the Hunter Valley, and my beautiful valley has been destroyed by successive NSW governments and their cavalier approvals of mining applications. Notwithstanding the extensive environmental massacre to date, my town Scone is on the brink of extermination with a further slew of mining projects waiting for approval from you.

And so you carry on in Sydney too with your motorway building, your refusal to invest significantly in effective public transport and your continued infatuation with fossil fuels and the private car. You did not see the environmental benefits those trees brought to the city of Sydney, did you?

Did you not realise that the magnificent trees on Anzac Parade operated as essential carbon sinks and as essential environmental coolers - do you have any inkling of the havoc that you have wreaked upon Sydney now that those beautiful effective and efficient climate controllers have been decimated?

You have created an inversion cloud of despair that has enveloped so many of us far and wide, young and old, urban and rural. The various groups of us who have assembled for tree meetings, tree vigils and tree protection blockades have been diverse and from many political persuasions, but now having borne witness to your execrable tree destruction, many who once did vote for you, have vocalised that they will never be voting liberal or national again ...

But you do not care do you, because maybe your 'after-political' life is all sorted. Why else would you carry on as you are, flying in the face of the expert advice which has consistently cautioned you against the state-sanctioned razing of our grand boulevards.

Your obsession with infrastructure and empire building has left you completely incapable of valuing what we actually have.

Your obsession with infrastructure and empire building has enabled you to oversee the wanton obliteration of Sydney.

In terms of us and our short time on this planet, the trees you slaughtered were 'ancients' and were here long before us, and without your annihilation of them, would definitely have outlasted us.

What gives you the right to destroy such beautiful living beings which tragically and inevitably has translated into the deaths of the beautiful living creatures that used to call those trees home?

Distressed protestors have borne witness to the fact that many animals went into the wood chippers on Monday night. This is abhorrent; you have blood on your hands, Premier, and the planet will not forget.

Australia's violence towards women and 'cultures-other-than-anglo-saxon' goes hand in hand with its violence to the environment.

The white male christian philosophy continues to lay claim to a perceived entitlement over everything living and breathing and otherwise.

You and your government are part of that 'paternalistic emperor' mentality ... but you are not representative of Sydney nor of New South Wales, and none of you can be trusted with your leadership roles.

There are rumblings afoot and we will not be contained. We cannot continue to watch you liquidate our city any longer - the time for civil disobedience is upon us.

We have responsibilities in our participation of democracy, and those responsibilities do not stop at the ballot box.

To protect our future and our children's future and their children's future it is looking like a spot of civil disobedience is the order of the day.

You have lost control, and this is not a good look for any of us ... you included, Premier.

Oh and this smug chap, does he not realise that his electorate of Wentworth is the battleground that is causing us all so much grief? Does he truly believe that if he looks away this whole business will just vanish, and everything will be fine? Oh chortle chortle, I think not.

A call to arms has gone out, and families, individuals, the wider Sydney community and even the wider New South Wales community are answering the call. I urge you, Premier, to cease and desist this reprehensible execution of our magnificent trees, of our diggers' trees. After all, lest we forget, many of the trees were there in place to commemorate the felling of our young men and women during the first world war, yet it has become all too apparent that the trees, like the young soldiers one hundred years ago, were politically and commercially expedient ... cannon fodder.

Shame on you, Mike Baird, ... there is no Planet B.

Kind regards,
Sue Abbott

(with thanks to everyone whose internet images I sourced and used ... including my own which were up there too!)


  1. Your writing is amazing Sue, so eloquent in expressing what so many of us are feeling right now. Deaths of beautiful trees, and birds and animals have occurred that leave us heartbroken and stunned at the sheer horror that this could happen in our once beautiful city. For what? Baird will go down in history as a heartless, money hungry,manipulated vandal. In the history of Australian politics, there has never been a man so reviled.

    1. Thank you, Marianne, for your lovely comment, and I completely agree with you about Mike Baird. What is happening in Sydney right now is unbelievable and it makes me feel truly sick in my heart. I just cannot believe how anyone could take a chainsaw (and the rest of their hideous machinery) to those beautiful trees with so much history, and so much meaning, and with so many animals living in their entirety. That man does not speak for me nor act for me, and I am at a loss at what I can do now. It seems our politicians can get away with 'murder' ... sigh

  2. Heartbroken and speechless. Brilliant writing Sue.

  3. New Guardian story on NSW's continuing war on cyclists:

    I cried when I read the tree story.

    1. Thank you, Lagatta, many tears have been shed, and there's a new groundswell starting that I haven't seen before. People are really mad with anger

  4. Thanks Sue - you are amazing! Couple of other related articles for you: