The Age is sympathising with Bob Brown over the surveillance of anti-coal protesters.
THE Resources and Energy Minister, Martin Ferguson, has secretly pushed for increased surveillance by federal police intelligence officers of environmental activists who have been protesting peacefully at coal-fired power stations and coal export facilities.
First of all, the ‘reporter’, Philip Doring, uses the word secretly to suggest Ferguson’s actions are suspicious, but how else is he suppose to approach the issue? Is he going to announce to the protesters that they’re being watched? That defies the whole point of surveillance.
The documents reveal that Mr Ferguson, prompted by lobbying from energy companies, has urged stronger criminal penalties against protests that disrupt “critical energy infrastructure”.
Any rational resources minister, Labor or Liberal, would make a decision such as this. The Greens may not think much of energy security, but in the real world it is kind of important. I had the power go out at work today, and it kind of ruined the operations of the business.
So what if energy companies lobbied for this move by Ferguson? They have a right to have their business, one that we all rely on, protected from protesters who move beyond peaceful demonstrations.
The Greens leader, Bob Brown, condemned the surveillance, saying it was “intolerable that the federal Labor government is spying on conservation groups” and wanting to “criminalise political protest”.
What makes conservations groups so special? If there is sufficient reason to, why should the police be barred from surveilling them? Brown displays the persecution complex so typical of radical leftists (think Occupy) in his assertion that protest is being criminalised. Of course peaceful protest should be allowed, but when it ceases to be peaceful and proceeds to disrupt the operations of energy companies (that once again, we all need. Do these people get this?), police should take action. The former attorney-General sums it up.
In November 2009 Mr McClelland replied that while ”I recognise the right to protest, when actions jeopardise energy security and the delivery of essential services, it is important that measures be taken to prevent and deter unlawful activity”.
Unlawful activity such as…
Police arrested 73 protesters who had occupied a railway line used to take coal to the power station. Most of the convictions were overturned on appeal.
The fact that these environmental extremists successfully halted a coal transport and got off scott-free is why tougher laws are required.
While I have continually criticised the Labor party, at least we can say of them that they do recognise the need to protect energy security and as such retain some degree of pragmatism. We can’t say that for the Greens, who are stubborn idealogues, intent on forcing their beliefs onto others, regardless of the consequences.