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Byron Shire
July 20, 2024

Aquarius founder faces 10 years’ jail

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Hans Lovejoy

Nimbin cultural and political activist, Graeme Dunstan, is facing court with a possible maximum of ten years’ jail after assisting another protester to gain entry to a military airfield.

Dunstan was a co-artistic director of the famous Aquarius Festival that put Nimbin and the rainbow region on the map back in 1973.

The cheery and optimistic 71-year-old revolutionary told The Echo he faces charges in Rockhampton court of wilful damage of Commonwealth property after he assisted Bryan Law, now deceased, to cut though wire and attack a $35 million dollar Tiger helicopter with a mattock.

The action took place during the joint US and Australian Talisman Sabre military training exercise in 2011.

Dunstan says he will represent himself and will use the Ploughshare Movement defence.

Ploughshare is a pacifist movement, mainly anti-nuclear and Christian, where civilians directly prevent weaponry from harming other civilians by disabling it through whatever means.

Dunstan claims that, while uncommon, the movement is widely respected among those aware of it.

Death machines

Dunstan says the helicopters were brand new, and were bought specifically for the Afghanistan war.

‘They are death machines: they have no other role. There are no winches or stretchers and there is only room for a pilot and gunner.’ Dunstan says the instigator, Bryan, created a character called the Peace Preacher in Rockhampton.

‘He announced his intention to hit a helicopter and built a public profile.’

Dunstan says he will face Judge Samual, ‘who has a reputation of being strict in the courtroom but not known as a jailer’.

Activist Bryan Law died in April this year aged 58 of heart failure from acute diabetes while awaiting trial.

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