Local News

Protestors March Outside George Christensen's Office

Sea Shepherd and #Stop Adani in Mackay

Group outside George Christensen's office claim "democracy has been hijacked"

A group of over 40 concerned citizens are outside George Christensen’s office in Mackay on Wednesday, saying corporate influence in politics has hijacked democracy.

The group are there in support of people who have this morning shut down operations at Adani’s Abbot Point coal terminal.

Spokesperson Matthew Bing said “George Christensen’s pro-mining and anti-climate change politics are a symbol of an Australian parliament that claims to represent the people yet in reality supports big corporations to lead us into climate breakdown for their own private profits.

“Statistics consistently show that the majority of Australians want action on climate change and do not want new coal mines opening up.

"Scientists are unequivocal in saying we desperately need to reduce carbon emissions to avoid disastrous consequences.

"Yet our politicians consistently support projects like Adani’s Carmichael mine, and shamelessly accept political donations and cushy lobbying jobs from the mining industry.

"Our democracy has been hijacked by corporate profits.

“If Parliament is going to consistently ignore the voices of everyday people, we are forced to take actions to disrupt the government and business collusion that is threatening our very existence.”

Mr Christensen has reacted saying, "I note that our perpetual protesters are at it again during work hours".  

"I’m currently in Canberra for parliamentary sittings; the only thing the protesters are doing is disturbing my staff members.

"However, I’d much prefer them to be protesting outside my office than in front of a local business.

"I hope they’ve double checked that neither their protest material nor the mode of transport used to get to my office to protest has been derived from fossil fuels. However, I’m sure it has.

"Much more alarming than what’s going on outside my office is the illegal trespass and serious safety breaches by protesters in Bowen who have chained themselves to a conveyor belt at Abbot Point.

"The book should be thrown at these people. I’d encourage the magistrates who are overseeing this case to impose the harshest penalty possible as a deterrent from future illegal activity.

"The mine has been approved, the community supports it, these protesters should move on" the statement concluded.  

Earlier, two people locked themselves to a conveyor belt at Adani’s Abbot Point coal terminal, shutting down operations at the port.

CEO of Abbot Point Operations, Mr Dwayne Freeman labelled the action "dangerous".

He said "four climate extremists undertook the most dangerous protest activity we have seen at our Abbot Point Terminal property to date by crawling under a live operating ship loading conveyor belt".  

One of the protestors could have been killed or seriously injured when he crawled underneath a live operating conveyor belt, which only had a gap from the floor to the
belt of approximately 2.5 feet.

He, and another person, trespassed onto the property and locked-on to conveyor belts using dragon sleeve devices for a short period before being removed by the Police.

Two other protestors with dragon sleeve lock-on devices in their possession were detained by Queensland Police Service at the terminal perimeter, after cutting through a security fence.

All four extremist protestors were promptly arrested and removed by Police. Terminal operations are continuing today as normal.

Due to the serious nature of the action, the matter has also been referred to the workplace health and safety regulator.

These individuals have no knowledge of a heavy industrial site like ours and this sort of protest activity brings a high risk that someone will be seriously injured or killed as a result of their dangerous actions.

We respect the rights of people to conduct peaceful protests, however these activities are illegal, unsafe and far from peaceful.

The health and safety of our employees, contractors and visitors is paramount and we will do everything in our power to prevent an injury or fatality occurring at our site.

Dangerous and illegal protest activity such as what occurred today is precisely why we support the Queensland Government’s proposed new laws to prevent the use of dangerous devices in protest activity.

By Michelle Price