Government labels farmers “eco- fascists” with draconian new laws to benefit mining companies
MEDIA RELEASE –7 March 2016
The Greens today condemned the creation of draconian new offences to target anti-CSG and coal protesters and called on Premier Mike Baird to distance himself from the comments of his Resources Minister, Anthony Roberts who labelled farmers and others protecting land and water from coal seam gas as “eco-fascists”.
Greens MP and Mining Spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said:
“Many of those taking direct action against coal seam gas projects are farmers who feel they must act to protect the land and water from being poisoned or destroyed. They are Australian patriots, not ‘eco-fascists’.
“I’ve sat next to a 64 year old farmer with a lock around his neck and the gates of Santos’ project out of concern for water resources and his family’s farming future.
“To label these patriots ‘eco-fascists’ is wrong and offensive, and Premier Mike Baird should distance himself from the ill-informed and shameful comments of Resources Minister Anthony Roberts.
“The Baird Government is showing its true colours by siding big mining interests against patriotic Australians seeking to protect land, water and communities.
“Does Mike Baird care more about paying back his political donors in the mining industry, and doing the bidding of his former Chief of Staff, Stephen Galilee, who now runs the Minerals Council of NSW, than he does about farmers and communities in regional NSW?”
Greens MP and Police Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“This is part of a pattern from the Coalition of evermore aggressive policing and constantly expanding police powers to crack down on protest and attack our civil liberties. NSW must not become a police state.
“These expanded police powers go well beyond coal seam gas protests and will extend across the state to clamp down on protests as diverse as WestConnex, recreational hunting and Forestry.
“I wonder if Baird even notices the irony when his right wing government proposes massive increases in police powers and then describes democratic protestors as ‘fascists’?
“The Greens will being opposing these expanded police powers under the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act because, put simply, we believe in democracy and the right to protest.” Mr Shoebridge said.