Class action: Yarra inhabitants vs environmentalists

By Darcy Rankin

In the third day of proceedings, things have taken a turn in the class action case of Yarra Inhabitants versus Environmentalists.

The Environmentalists in the courtroom are visibly bewildered at the ideological differences coming to light from a group they had purportedly been representing for the past half-century. The proceedings have been enabled by Google's recent inclusion of non-human languages in their translation software.

The Yarra Inhabitants Representation have lodged a complaint about the Magistrate's capacity to act on their behalf, citing the significant precedent of 2023 which retrospectively nullified the Australian Courts' ablity to adjudicate on behalf of the Indigenous peoples without their being subjects of the law due to the scandalous Terra Nullius proclamation andaccording lack of treatise.

The Yarra Inhabitants Representation claimed the matter should be heard by a jury of peers. This was surprisingly agreed to by the Magistrate, who some have speculated is acting with a personal motive to restore his reputation, following his devastating decision in the Adani case of 2017 that destroyed the Great Barrier Reef.

The court infrastructure has been massively renovated to accommodate the various aquatic and physical requirements of the jurors.

The Sum Times is publishing a verbatim transcript of the case in this column, a translated version is available on the website.

“We may begin proceedings with the Yarra Party”

“Your Honour today I would like to call one of my clients, Mr Duckface, to the stand. He has lived on the Yarra River his entire life, and so is well informed as to the changes taking place recently, relevant to this case”

Mr Duckface waddled up onto the plinth, where a number of newspapers were laid out for him.

“So Mr, Duckface. Let’s try to get a picture together here. You were struggling, a common battler like anyone else, relying day to day on the kindness of others to throw a bit of food your way . I’m informed your relied particularly on the generosity of an affectionate lady named Gloria, is that correct?”

“Quack”

“We actually have video evidence of this relationship.”

*Shows Gloria tearing up scraps of stale bread and belaying them down to the ducks from a bridge near the Botanical Gardens.

“Now look at this friendship here ladies and gentlemen. Mr Duckface, I understand this was a regular arrangement is that correct?”

“Quack”

“And then suddenly after the passage of legislation protecting the “Natural state” of the river, this arrangement was forced to cease, according to the associated ban on feeding the “wildlife”, of which you were classified by the legislation, leaving you in a position without food, that affected you adversely. Ladies and gentlemen, here is an image of Mr Duckface that featured in a City of Melbourne advertisement in 2019. There is an astounding physical difference from this healthy picture to his weight today, quantitively; 0.24 kilograms”

“Quack.” (passionately)

“Now as this legislation was the direct result of lobbying by the Wilderness Society there is a obviously a direct accountability for the plain to see malnourishment of my client. He is seeking damages of equivalent 132 stale loaves, plus court costs and legal fees.

Thank you Mr Duckface, I know this is a very emotional and brave testimony you have given on behalf of your party. 

“The Wilderness Society may now respond”

“Your honour, we are going to get down to the facts here, and keep this a clean rational proceeding.  I would like to point out that my clients are good people, they were volunteering with genuinely benevolent intentions on behalf of the inhabitants of the Yarra to establish this legislation, that would improve the ecological conditions of the river for the local inhabitants.

The Yarra river is a distressed waterway. It is massively affected by Urban stream syndrome relating to the impervious surface of the urban sprawl draining directly into its tributaries, resulting in alluvial erosion, gauging, flash flooding, and chemical and hard pollution. My clients lobbied for legislation, that would cease anyone putting anything in the river or going anywhere near it. If we look at the water quality there have been great results. All the reliable environmental indicators are indicating a return to natural conditions."