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Barnett’s Potentially Unlawful Portfolio Decisions in Spotlight

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 31 March 2022

Tags: Forests, Protest, Anti-Protest Laws, Swift Parrot, Mining, Ministerial Accountability

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Forests spokesperson

Resources Minister, Guy Barnett, often rants about protesters targeting lawful activities, but it seems like he’s the one with a problem following the law.

Bob Brown Foundation forest defenders were in the Magistrates Court this morning where prosecution lawyers dropped all charges over arrests in the NE Highlands 15 months ago.

Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson and I were there the day Bob Brown was arrested defending the Eastern Tier forests. 

The logging was taking place in critically endangered Swift parrot habitat.  Now it seems as though the logging was illegal, so the charges against Dr Brown and the other defenders weren’t going to stick. 

In the same vein, all charges were recently dropped against BBF who’d been blockading MMG proposed tailings dam, on a lease unlawfully granted by Minister Barnett.

Seems there’s a pattern developing here. 

For all the Minister’s talk of protests targeting lawful activities, there have been disturbing incidents of attempted prosecution over protests against illegal logging and mining activities.

Instead of foaming at the mouth over the prospect of going after protestors, Minister Barnett should thank them for identifying these illegal activities. If it wasn’t for people standing up for Nature, we might never know.

Given the Minister wants to lock up peaceful protestors, the least he can do is resign after personally signing-off on, or overseeing, illegal logging and mining activities.  It’s scandalous. 

Who knows what other illegal logging or mining activities are occurring under this duplicitous Minister’s watch?

The government must abandon its persecution of protestors and instead sort out their own resources regimes, which are developing a pattern of enabling illegal activities.