LETTER: Activists not criminals
By JONATHAN MOYLANJan. 8, 2013, 10 p.m.
IN May 2007, I was arrested for the first time with 15 other people for peacefully holding a banner on the construction site of the third coal terminal in the world’s largest coal export port, Newcastle.
Due to my low income, I received legal aid and was well represented.
Today, farmers, horse breeders and doctors young and old are peacefully resisting coal and gas expansion.
Like Gandhi and Martin Luther King before them, they are castigated now but will be heroes in the future, because they are upholding our right to survival, to clean water, air and food and to avoiding a global climate catastrophe.
In response, the NSW government has introduced a new rule that says that ‘‘activists and lobby groups’’ are not entitled to legal aid.
This means that somebody who holds up a petrol station or a bank has the right to legal representation, but if I am charged with trespass for protesting I don’t have that right because I am an ‘‘activist’’.
Given recent government crackdowns on coal activists, including heavier charges that have never been used and lengthy bonds, I am concerned this whole situation will end up with somebody in jail.
We may praise that person as a hero, but is it really what a liberal democracy looks like?
I admire the blokes who go to work to extract coal and turn it into glowing street lights in Sydney, life support systems in hospitals, warm baths, airconditioned rooms that keep the elderly alive, battery chargers that aren't ornaments and the moving electrons that are lighting up this computer. I admire them even more when the safety risks and general pains like this bloke Moylan start tying themselves to machinery and stuff.
Cheap electricity saves lives, stops crime, makes ice cubes, let's you read. Electricity has gone up by 40% since 2010 and it's getting dearer. Vandals like this bloke Moylan are making it even more expensive. How come we had a hot night last night if electricity prices are already up 40%? Didn't we send enough of the money to Burkina Faso or Congo or somewhere.
Blokes who are just doing their job building a coal terminal shouldn't have to deal with safety risks like Moylan et al fronting up on site. Neither should the rozzers have to risk their own safety to rescue them. Barry O'Farrell is doing just what the bulk of his community want him to do - making life harder for these luddite, anti-modern stoneage criminals, not activists.
And thanks to location999 for the tip about the Herald letter.