For anyone who sees themselves as more progressive than Nigel Farage, life under the new Australian government hasn’t been very exciting – but over the last few weeks we have seen what could be one of the great political shifts in the country’s history.
On 31 March more than 2,000 people responded to a call to ‘go back to the roots of democracy’ and take direct action to protect their land, water and future from a corrupt government and a reckless company. Last year, people from the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales celebrated a win over Metgasco, when the drilling company withdrew its plans to start fracking in the area. Metgasco came back – but after declaring their region ‘CSG (Coal Seam Gas) Free’, the people were ready this time. With a protectors’ camp now set up and hundreds based there permanently, roads blocked with a tripod and people taking shifts chaining themselves to concrete barrels, the expected drilling machinery still hasn’t shown up.
On the same day, 550km away, over 100 people took part in a day of action to disrupt the construction of Australia’s largest new coal mine in the Leard Forest. 82 people were arrested, including a 92 year old second world war veteran. Explaining his actions, Bill said ‘We’re faced with a catastrophe. I owe it to my grandchildren, and I owe it to all children. I was willing to put my life on the line in the second world war, so putting my body on the line here is a small inconvenience.’