We will be loud against the silence
Angry at the greed
We will not beg
We are defiant
Tell it like it is
– Phil Monsour and the Crisis Actors, ‘Our House is on fire‘
‘We can’t just replace big oil with big solar’ – Sadie
Paradigm Shift 4ZZZ fm 102.1 Fridays at Noon 12 April 2019
Ian speaks with Sadie and Hanna about direct action against coal. Both are activists who, along with others, have challenged Australia’s largest freight carrier, Aurizon, for its participation in the climate changing coal industry. Both have been hit with a SLAPP (Strategic Litigation against Public Participation) suit by Aurizon and are facing large damages, bankruptcy and jail time.
Paradigm Shift supports these activists in their struggle against big coal. Will you? Have a listen and decide for yourselves. Aurizon joined the Aurizon five to its writ against Front Line Action on Coal.
It was Anna Bligh’s Queensland Labor government that sold Queensland Rail to QR National for $15B. QR national was later rebadged to Aurizon Holdings Ltd. Aurizon Holdings Ltd is a monopoly that runs the Central Queensland Coal Network (CQCN). It allows various rail operators to run rolling stock on CQCN. The Queensland government retained shares in Aurizon some which the Campbell Newman LNP government sold for $1.5B. Therefore both Labor and LNP participated in the privatisation of Queensland Rail.
India’s Mundra Port signed a 99-year lease on Abbot Point Terminal 0 in 2011. The deal cost Adani Group $1.83 billion.[ Adani is seeking to expand the terminal to allow another 35 million tonnes of thermal coal exports per year, on top of the current 50 million tonnes of capacity.
Environmental Activists ‘The Aurizon Five’ face $375,000 in Damages After Stopping Coal Trains Headed to Adani’s Port
Aurizon (formerly Queensland Rail), has been under public scrutiny for the role their rail lines will play in the controversial Adani Carmichael coal project and subsequent development of the Galilee Basin. Between October 2018 and January 2019, four activists blocked coal freight from entering Adani’s Abbot Point coal terminal near Bowen and the fifth halted a train headed to the Port of Brisbane, demanding that Aurizon rule out a partnership with Adani and refuse haulage contracts with any new coal mines.
Sadie Jones, a Zoology student at the University of Queensland, sees the Aurizon case as a shameful tactic representative of the stranglehold that large corporations have on democracy.
“A company that grossed over 3 billion last year trying to bankrupt a handful of students and schoolteachers over environmental protests is almost laughable. But then I remember what’s happening to us and wonder just how our system became so broken.” Jones.
“People raising concerns held by the majority of Australians have been flagrantly ignored by the government and corporate sector,” says co-defendant, Hannah Doole, “now those standing up are being targeted. Aurizon’s attack relies on their position of power, because in reason they fall way short. This abuse of power only highlights the need to stand up against the corrupt coal industry”.
For Greg Rolles, a 37-year-old geography teacher, money is not the issue. “We are in the midst of climate catastrophe. We are doing our best to protect ourselves where previous generations have failed us. I just want a safe home for the next generation. Taking me to court, won’t stop me from fighting for that.”
To Clancey Maher, a 23yr old Nursing & Public Health student from the University of Canberra, the legal action by Aurizon’s lawyers resembles the ‘trained attack dog’ strategy that AJ & Co law firm promised to utilize on behalf of Adani, in a document that was leaked to media in February 2019.
“Aurizon is instigating a SLAPP suit against us; this is symptomatic of the fossil fuel industry’s strategy when faced with dissent. We’ve already seen it happening in the way Adani has treated indigenous leaders who stand up for their homeland, and are essentially crushed with the threat of bankruptcy.” said Maher.
The Aurizon Five will oppose the damages in court, determined to preserve their right to protest in the face of corporate intimidation.C
|Clancey Maher Co-defendant 0466824094 email@example.com||Hannah Doole Co-defendant 0499328989 firstname.lastname@example.org||Sadie Jones Co-defendant 0430 359 979 email@example.com|
Our House is on Fire – Phil Monsour and the Crisis Actors
Flood City – Rivermouth
Emergency – The Herd