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Comments made Alleging Greens Inciting Violence

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 14 November 2019

Tags: Parks EOIs, Violence, Political Leadership

Incitement of Violence: Cassy O'Connor, 14 November, 2019


Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise on the adjournment tonight to condemn the comments of Treasurer, Mr Gutwein, and Mr Jaensch in question time today. The Greens advocate strongly and consistently for peace and non-violence and condemn acts and threats of violence unequivocally. Any threats to Mr Daniel Hackett or his family are completely unacceptable, and on behalf of the Greens I condemn any person who has made these threats, in the strongest possible terms.

The Greens have a long history of walking this walk. When it was reported that a One Nation candidate's car was vandalised earlier this year, we condemned this behaviour. Leadership means condemning violence or threats of violence against anyone, and that includes those of different political beliefs.

What about the Liberals? When a Tarkine protest camp was attacked earlier this year and protestors were threatened and had their property stolen and urinated on, the Liberals refused to make any comment other than that the police would investigate the alleged incident. This regrettably shows where many on the conservative side of politics stand. It is hard to escape the conclusion that they want some voters to feel violently towards protestors or sympathise with violence against protestors, so they refused to condemn this action. This is not leadership.

By refusing to condemn this behaviour against peaceful protestors, the Liberals provided tacit endorsement of it, an endorsement that is amplified by serious inflation using words like 'ecoterrorists'. As we know, that is a factually false statement as terrorism, eco or otherwise, involves acts of violence. Someone is not a terrorist by virtue of the fact that they are protesting. This inflammatory language incites violence against others and by not condemning it when it happens, the Liberals are culpable twice over. To try to implicate the Greens in any threats to Mr Hackett, threats that we consider unacceptable and condemn, is just more opportunistic garbage.

I will also say this. Mr Hackett is not responsible for the disgraceful authoritarian expressions of interests and RAA process. It is this Liberal Government. This Government has deliberately, cynically and with intent to divide the community pursued the corruption of process that has led to deep community anger over Lake Malbena and the broader issue of the privatisation of public lands. To accuse people of being bullies by raising their democratic voices and pursuing their lawful appeal rights is just another attempt to generate division and anger. This Government has the power to reduce hostility in the community by halting the hawking off of community assets and fixing this corrupted expressions of interest process that currently exists.

I will wind up with this. I said at a recent event at Wild Island Gallery that I thought it was legitimate to ask hard questions of proponents in the expressions of interests process. It is legitimate to put them in the public spotlight. That is how we won Ralphs Bay in large part, because we put the spotlight on Lang Walker, and when John Gay was trashing Tasmania though Gunns Limited, people who love the forests and democracy put the spotlight on John Gay.

I asked Mr Jaensch this morning for an apology for accusing me personally of inciting violence. He has not apologised and, to be honest, I do not expect one. However, it is deeply unfortunate and does not progress the debate when we ask serious questions being asked by a whole broad cross-section of stakeholders in relation to the expressions of interests process when the minister for Parks devolves to shouting, accusing people of being bullies, accusing people of being intimidating and his colleague accuses people of inciting violence. It is unacceptable. Surely in this place we should be above that.

It would be terrific if the Treasurer and the minister for Parks would just get up and answer a question on these issues, but instead of doing that he devolves to deflection and accuses us of somehow being responsible for Mr Hackett's suffering. We are not. If Mr Hackett is cranky with anyone for the situation he is in, he should look to his colleagues in the Liberals and their corrupted expressions of interest process to privatise public lands.