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Byron Shire
September 27, 2021

Turning our democracy into a police state

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This is an open letter to the premier and government of NSW. We in Australia believe we live in a democracy. This does not mean that we have the right to choose among a limited range of policy platforms on one day every few years.

It means that the government is responsive to the wishes of the majority of the people.

Currently your government is turning our democracy into a police state, using the police to enforce your policies and their supportive laws which give mining companies and their shareholders precedence over the wishes of the majority of the people – especially those people who live in the areas impacted by mining leases.

Your government may believe it is short of budget funds, but we are not prepared to sacrifice our values, our landscape and environment; or put our water supplies and health at risk to meet this supposed shortfall.

Surprisingly enough, not all of us place money in front of our health and wellbeing. The people who do that are mostly those who benefit financially, but live away from the impacted areas.

We do not need gas in NSW – there is ample supply available from Bass Strait and from Queensland to cover a transition to renewable energy.

Yes, I know you don’t get royalties from those, but we could instead be investing in, and leading the development of, renewable energy in Australia.

When 97 per cent of climate scientists say we need to transition as rapidly as possible to renewable energy to reduce carbon pollution, what right have you, with your total lack of expertise and knowledge in this area, to ignore the information and support – with police state tactics – the development of even more fossil fuel mining?

You try to demonise the protectors who try to stop the rape of the country – all over the state – calling them ‘extremists’.

I, for one, am a retired ex-government employee with expertise in water and agriculture. Many of my fellow protectors are farmers, businessmen, doctors, lawyers, academics, motor mechanics. If fighting for our democratic rights makes us extremists, then that is what we are.

Mr Premier and your cabinet colleagues, stop the exploration and development of more coal and gas mining immediately.

Yes, we may lose some export income, but the mining industry is not a major provider of long term employment, nor is it a developer of local economies – quite the reverse – as in the old days of the 1850s gold rush, it sees rapid ‘development’, and then rapid collapse and destruction of the local values that existed before.

Richard Swinton, Clunes


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1 COMMENT

  1. Thank you for speaking so eloquently on our behalf.
    Your letter needs to be printed as a FULL PAGE in EVERY Newspaper in the State.

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