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Australia gets tough on climate change activists

Written By: - Date published: 7:42 am, October 17th, 2019 - 22 comments
Categories: australian politics, climate change, global warming, human rights, Social issues, uk politics, uncategorized - Tags:

Much of Australia is like that brash in your face cousin that you cannot stand.  Loud, opinionated, as soon as you start to raise an idea or a proposition they shut you down and say you are wrong.  Not all of them, like America there is a deep seam of progressives and intellectuals.  But there are also rednecks, too many rednecks.

Like Minister Peter Dutton.  A more despicable person I cannot imagine.  He is the Minister responsible for treating refugees appallingly, transferring them to Manus Island and keeping them in conditions where self harm and suicide was common.  He is that grotesque a human being that he appealed a Federal Court Ruling requiring him to transfer refugees needing urgent medical treatment back to Australia and he claimed that female refugees were falsely complaining about being raped so they could get treatment in Australia and then seek asylum.

His latest attacks are on Extinction Rebellion activists.  From Amy Remeikis at the Guardian:

Protesters who disrupt traffic should have their welfare payments cut and be subject to mandatory jail sentences, Peter Dutton has declared, as conservative MPs continue to lash out against climate change protests.

Following reports that a repeat protester who had been banned from entering the Brisbane CBD after his seventh arrest came from a wealthy suburb, while others in his cohort were unemployed or students, the home affairs minister agreed with the 2GB radio host Ray Hadley that their welfare payments should be cut.

Dutton also blamed the Queensland government for not going far enough in deterring the protests.

“Community expectation is these people are heavily fined or jailed and they should be jailed until their behaviour changes because they are putting lives at risk,” he told Sydney radio 2GB.

“They’re diverting police and emergency service resources from tasks that they should be undertaking otherwise and they keep turning up week after week because they know a slap on the wrist is just not working.

“The premier needs to come out and explain why this is acceptable. If there needs to be mandatory or minimum sentences imposed, that can happen overnight in a Queensland parliament.”

His criticism of Queensland Labor was not justified. They are doing their best to undermine the right to protest which is one of our most important civic rights.  But no, the Queensland Labor Government, famous for facilitating the Adani Carmichael mine, is proposing to dramatically increase penalties for peaceful acts of civil disobedience.  Committing crimes against our environment by pushing through a coal mine is apparently ok but standing up and saying it is wrong needs to be met with the full force of the law.

But Queensland Labor has already been acting to undermine the right to protest.  As well as engaging in underhand tactics.  Again from the Guardian:

The Queensland government has been accused of “fabricating” claims about climate activists setting booby traps to justify a crackdown on escalating protests, including using images more than 18 months old as evidence of the new allegations.

The state premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, on Tuesday announced that police would be given new powers to search anyone suspected of carrying “locking on” devices, which delay the removal of protesters during acts of civil disobedience.

She spoke mostly about a series of recent street protests, organised by the group Extinction Rebellion, that aim to stop commuter traffic in Brisbane.

Palaszczuk said she had been briefed about the actions of protesters “last week” by the Queensland police commissioner, Katarina Carroll, who had shown her “evidence of locking devices laced with traps that are dangerous”.

Palaszczuk claimed in parliament that protesters were using “sinister tactics” – cylinders containing glass fragments and gas containers “so that anyone trying to cut a protester free will be injured or worse”.

In a video distributed on social media, Palaszczuk posted images apparently showing one such cylinder to support her claims. Guardian Australia can confirm the image was from a protest in North Queensland that occurred in January 2018.

But the claim has been denied.  Again from the Guardian:

Critics have rounded on Palaszczuk and her government, comparing her to the former ultra-conservative premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, who cracked down on street protests.

The state’s lone Greens MP, Michael Berkman, told Guardian Australia: “All Queenslanders should be concerned that the premier has provided absolutely no evidence for the claims she made in parliament this morning.

“The government is using this fabricated notion – that peaceful protesters are using dangerous, booby-trapped tools – to silence dissent and distract from their own hypocrisy on climate change.

“These are dangerous, anti-democratic new laws that pretend to solve a nonexistent problem.”

Protest groups vehemently denied using such tactics, including butane canisters. The intent of “locking on” actions is to remain in place for as long as possible, and activists do use tactics to prevent their removal. These can include mixing cement with metal, which slows down attempts to cut through devices and extricate them.

The United Kingdom Government is also attacking the right to protest. From Idiot Savant:

For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government’s response? Ban their protests:

Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s camp in Trafalgar Square.

The Metropolitan police issued a revised section 14 order on Monday night that said “any assembly linked to the Extinction Rebellion ‘Autumn Uprising’ … must now cease their protests within London (MPS and City of London Police Areas)” by 9pm.

Almost immediately, officers moved into Trafalgar Square and demanded that protesters remove their tents. Most XR activists staying at the site had already decamped to Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, south of the river, and only a few dozen tents, along with gazebos and other infrastructure, remained on the square.

Which speaks volumes about the intentions of the British government. Face with people raising the alarm about the biggest crisis facing humanity, the establishment’s response is to gag them. Not only do they not want to know – they don’t want anyone else to be told. They’d rather UKanians all drowned rather than face the inconvenience of admitting the problem and taking credible action on it. Which is a prime example of why that political establishment needs to be voted out on their arses.

Weka has covered the situation in this excellent post and concluded:

Shit is getting real with increasingly widespread acceptance of the climate emergency and the urgent need to change. At some point the government will have to step up and make a decision about whether to meet with XR over their demands or to double down as a repressive state.”

Of course with the effects of climate change becoming more pronounced this sort of development is not unexpected. The powers that be will believe they have no choice but to enforce police states if they are to retain control as we descend into a crisis.

But I wonder how they are going to deal with this sort of protest?

22 comments on “Australia gets tough on climate change activists ”

  1. tc 1

    I see Dutton’s managed to link the climate protest with welfare recipients in another dog whistle move no doubt echoed across the land by Murdoch media.

    they were removable last election, they’re well aware of that so it’s an all out assault on behalf of the top end of town now. Trumpian styled polarisation.

    Refugees, welfare bludgers, tree huggin greenies. You don’t have to whistle much to engage oz’s red necks and there’s a lot more of them than you think out the back across that nation.

    • Wensleydale 1.1

      And he wanted to be PM. Imagine the dystopian wasteland Oz would likely become under the benevolent auspices of Peter Dutton. He makes Pauline Hanson seem tame by comparison. It doesn't bear thinking about.

      • peterlepaysan 1.1.1

        Oz is already a dystopian wasteland, and has been for a very long time.

        Murdoch has much to do with it.

        Oz projects images of itself via its politicians? Really?

        Oz projects images of itself via its rugby players? Really?

        Oz projects images of itself via its Cricket players? Really?

        Why do so many Ozzies choose to live away from OZ? ( They are not REAL AUSTRALIANS, sorry , I should have known that).

        Oh, I forgot Dutton and Hansen. They really express admirable values

        The original human inhabitants (as well as the non human ones are also Australians.

        Do not get me started on coalmines.

        Australians know everything about everything Dutton, Hansen, Murdoch, Queenslanders, know this and let us all know it.

        Nice of them.

  2. Unicus 2

    Absolutely right about Murdoch media their " journalists " have been given free rein to attack XR activists . Including from one bimbo – that traffic disruptors should be treated as speed-bumps – from another loudmouth that police use road rollers to clear the streets .

    .Although it is clear Morrison is completely out of his depth predictably the Murdoch media has rallied behind him and his craven crew to fight what will hopefully be their final and losing propaganda war.

  3. Blazer 3

    'undermining the right to protest'…yet the irony is,that on this forum one clearly Green leaning commentator decrees no one disputing their version of climate change can post their viewpoint on her threads.

    • Incognito 3.1

      Hi again, Blazer. You don’t seem to have replied to my previous comment relating to this (your) issue (https://thestandard.org.nz/how-to-get-there-13-10-19/#comment-1660924), which is your prerogative, of course. However, I like to re-iterate that you are free (and welcome!) to post your “viewpoints” on any matter in OM, TDR, and under many other posts on this site.

    • marty mars 3.2

      Lol the tears of a clown. Denier denies – boo hoo.

      Meanwhile activists and great people are being targeted for disrupting business as usual. All of us will need to choose when we start reducing our bullshit and really make change. Some are there, on that path, and they are now targets. The barricades will need us all.

  4. the other pat 4

    the protesst will do nothing…..things will need to be so bent and out of control or huge numbers of lives lost before the majority step up and stand up and say no more…..then the army gets sent in…….i applaud the protesters and are one myself but i am under no illusions what those who think they will not lose with climate change will do to protect their avarice…..i'd be so stoked to be proved wrong.

  5. weka 5

    Micky, how closely have you been following the London ban? Do you know how long the legal challenge to that will take? i.e. is it a few days thing, or weeks?

    Fortunately the Brits are still trying to maintain civil liberties. After London police banned all XR actions including assembly, 2,500 people assembled in Trafalgar Square in support of Extinction Rebellion and the right to assemble.

    XR's Rupert Read suggested that the police tactic will bolster support for XR and the cause.

  6. Ad 6

    FFS harden up cupcakes.

    Labour (and proto-Labour) went through militant hell for 50 years before they got near power here. I mean actual beatings and deaths.

    Late 1970s protests and liberation movements here went through far worse than what's described above.

    And don't forget how much Maori suffered and died over 100 years to get much justice.

    Expect to suffer. For a long time.

    • weka 6.1

      Macho politics consolidates power in the hands of the few. Many people have had a gutsfull of beatings as the standard to expect for social change.

      This isn't the 1800s or even the 1970s. It's neoliberalism and the whole game has changed utterly. Beatings won't work now, so the powermongers will use law, mass media, and politicking to get what they want.

    • Well youre right… to a point. But that Dutton seems like a right piece of work…

      This is not the 1950's , its 2019 and we have mass communication like never before… and it aint good enough just to corral a few 'darkies' on an island in substandard conditions complete with inhumane treatment and blame them on the fall of the empire anymore… geez… the guys attitude is horrendous.

      The things those folk endure by being detained by Australia on those islands is beyond the pale,… it is simply gross human rights abuse… but that doesnt seem good enough for Monsieur Dutton,… oh no… now he wants to turn his guns on legitimate protest and push the envelope regarding the democratic right to protest…

      Guys like him are a danger to any democratic country.

      Can you imagine if the Australian parliament was made up of clones just like him?

      Hell's teeth !

    • marty mars 6.3

      In like a needle out like a plough ad. Got to know the past so we don't repeat it when we don't want to. Atrocity or Suffering Olympics don't help anyone – each struggle is connected yet separate at the same time imo and comparisons only muddy the waters.

      • greywarshark 6.3.1

        By all means remember the past, wonder at it and fear it. We tend to forget, go round in circles, each generation is not told about history and what has been experienced and why, and given the chance to question and test the answers, and so the wisdom is not passed on.

        Confucius:
        By three methods we may learn wisdom:
        First, by reflection, which is noblest;
        Second, by imitation, which is easiest;
        and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

  7. gsays 7

    It seems the Aussies, in their brash, blatant way have taken a leaf out of our book.

    I seem to recall legislation being passed here a few years back that appeared to be future-proofing against climate protest.

    Couple that with the constabulary and their willingness to spy, infiltrate, and ill decidedly set up road blocks to collect information on folk who were meeting about euthanasia.

    This isn't an other issue, the framework is here in Aotearoa too.

    Civil discobedience is great, and Kiwi are great at new initiatives in protest. Witness Parihaka, a world first in peaceful non compliance.

  8. AB 8

    "The only person more dangerous than an unhinged, right-wing, climate change denier, is an unhinged, right winger who isn't a climate change denier" (Naomi Klein).

    So most likely these repressive responses to civil disobedience, don't actually stem from CC denialism at all. They stem from a desire to control the response to CC. Above all to ensure that the response protects existing wealth/power.

  9. Ian 9

    Observing the rabble in Melbourne last week ,they are heading to a jail cell after a cleansing with water cannon,a dose of tear gas followed by a beating to a thick pulp.I have no problem with peaceful protest but those idiots are on a hiding to nowhere.

    [Ian, Unicus alleges that you’re spreading fake news here. Please provide a link to support your comment and that shows that it is not fake news. You’ll have until noon on Saturday (tomorrow) to respond and I put you in Auto-Moderation till I hear from you or till you go on the Blacklist for a little while – Incognito]

    • Unicus 9.1

      Mayby in a Murdochian fantasy world – but none of this actually happened in Melbourne during the XR protests .

      Fake news – not on this site please

    • Incognito 9.2

      See my Moderation note @ 7:09 PM.

    • Ian 9.3

      Just saying that having my tram travel disrupted last Thursday afternoon on the 86 heading to parliament up Bourke street by the illegal actions of so-called protestors, I would fully support water cannon and tear gas to be used to maintain order. Beating them to a pulp is a bit over the top and I apologise for thinking out loud.

      My observation was that the activists, had very little public sympathy and they need the police to protect themselves from serious harm from pissed off workers, commuters and folk going about their business. They have to accept pushback from Joe public as witnessed in London with the 2 plonkers being removed off the top of a train by irate commuters

      [Ok, so none of that actually happened in Melbourne and you were kind of calling for or supporting violence. With tempers fraying, nobody needs to encourage, advocate, approve or support violence committed by any group (including the Police!) nor thinking about it “out loud”. Please let this be a warning that you were on very thin ice and only narrowly avoided a lengthy ban for spreading fake news and calls for violence – Incognito]

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