Politicians have a responsibility to defend our democracy, not degrade it.
In response to reports that the Prime Minister is looking to outlaw environmental campaigns that target contractors and investors of coal companies, Kelly O’Shanassy, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), said:
“A handful of multinational corporations are fuelling climate change by putting their short-term profits ahead of the lives and livelihoods of present and future generations.
“Community campaigning to stop these corporate renegades from making global warming worse is a legitimate response and must not be criminalised.
“Campaigners are voicing the concerns of millions of Australians.
“The wider business world is moving away from coal because they can see it is damaging our climate and damaging the economy.
“Big institutional investors are turning their backs on coal because they can see the damage climate change is doing to their portfolios and because the financial returns are better from clean technology.
“People protesting in the streets are not the only ones expressing alarm about climate change – the head of the Defence Force, the deputy governor of the Reserve Bank and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority have all recently raised serious concerns.
“A little over a month ago millions of children across the world demanded stronger climate action from decisionmakers.
“To paint this broad community concern as being about ‘fringe-dwelling extremists’ is an insult to all Australians who want to better future for themselves and their children.
“Politicians have a responsibility to defend our democracy, not degrade it.
“To talk about criminalising legitimate protest is more than a threat to advocacy – it is a threat to Australian democracy.”