17 May 2016

Hi Koala lovers,

The Koala Protection Act is now complete and our legal team are saying that this proposed legislation will provide an unprecedented level of protection for the Koala. It will prevent the approval of many actions that impact on Koala habitat that are currently allowed to slip through the EPBC Act process. I am personally thrilled to have spoken with many legal people through this process, and they are so confident it will work.   

So, this augers well for the Koala. Of course, the legal team also said the Koala Protection Act will be politically unpopular. This, in my mind, is great news to be truthful. I have lost all faith in all of our politicians because they have failed to protect the habitat for years. Writing this piece of legislation has shown me that nothing else works, and now I am more emboldened to make it public; I will do that when I think it is politically right. A few weeks ago I went to United States and spoke to colleagues about what it takes to lobby legislation into a parliament. I came back with the knowledge that AKF does not need a lobbyist as they tend to have a vested interest. What we need is a “negotiator” and what I also realised, of course, is that AKF does not want to negotiate on the Koala nor its habitat.

So, we have everything we need: the piece of legislation that works and the determination to ensure that our political leaders realise that it has to be enacted. What I've learnt from colleagues in the U.S. is that lobbyists are employed by industry, and industry always wants lobbyists to ensure that they are not stopped from going about their business. It was a very empowering trip. After a Senate Inquiry, I have seen and heard first hand that industry wants it all, and with the latest figures from the Queensland Government ringing in our ears, AKF is not going negotiate. We will just push to have the Koala Protection Act enacted into parliament.      

And of course that means you, as Australians, need to really consider who you are going to vote for on July 2. Do they care about Koala habitat or not? Or do they just say they do? If our Facebook is any indication, our supporters think the latter.    

So, with an election upon us on July 2, there is no better time to encourage your local federal members to support the KPA. Local members appear to be slow learners as we have seen over the last few years. They just send our letters about the Koala to Environment Minister Greg Hunt and he then says "no worries, there will be a Recovery Plan later in 2016." It was supposed to be finished in 2014. International supporters, you can write to the four leaders telling them you want them to save the Koala (Prime Minister Mr Malcolm TurnbullLeader of the Opposition Mr Bill ShortenDeputy Prime Minister Mr Barnaby Joyce; and Senator Mr Richard di Natale).

The greatest news of all however, is that we have a celebrity that has decided to do a 4,000 kilometre road journey with us. Starting on June 6, she will be accompanied by the Koala Army in a convoy. It will look very impressive; a motorcade with a motorbike escort, a Koala Army Jeep, and most importantly she will be accompanied by a documentary film crew.   

Our four leaders (as mentioned above) will be sent the Koala Protection Act this week with a Statutory Declaration that says in essence “we will, if elected, enact a Koala Protection Act."

The celebrity will be in Canberra on June 14 to “pick up” the Statutory Declarations. There have been many promises to the Koala for many years by many leaders, so this way and of course if they sign the document – it would be legal.     

The route for the trip is secret at this stage, but soon we will reveal where you can find her clear directions on what to do to help the Koala. We will alert you to her website once it has gone live and this is your opportunity to tell her, the world and our leaders that you want the Koala protected.

Her trip has been sponsored, but if you would like to donate to the AKF so that we can continue to provide our celebrity with scientific updates – please do so – every dollar helps right now. As you know, our science is second to none and has been completely ignored for decades. So much for our Prime Minister wanting "innovation and agility". The AKF has been all of those things in our vision to map the whole east coast of Australia.  

As our celebrity traverses Australia, she will be able to show that she is a big picture thinker and that Koala forests of Australia are imperative as part of cooling a warming planet.

I am excited!

Kind regards,

Deborah