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June 20, 2024

Byron mother-daughter activists fined more than Adani

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Juliet Lamont and her daughter Luca took the fight to Adani.

Chris Dobney

A Byron mother and her daughter have been fined a combined $16,000 for their part in an action that stopped Adani’s Abbot Point coal loading facility for about eight hours in January.

The Indian corporation was fined just $12,000 last year after releasing more than eight times the amount of sediment it was licenced for in the wake of Cyclone Debbie. The company has vowed to fight the fine.

Juliet and Luca Lamont took their action in memory of their late husband and father Tom, who died while he and Juliet were making a film about the fate of Greenpeace activists jailed in Russia.

Death brought lives into focus

The pair joined the group Front Line Action on Coal in early January where they successfully stopped Adani’s coal loader while Juliet and another participant locked on with ‘dragons’ (metal sleeves).

Juliet told Echonetdaily that the death of her husband Tom ‘really crystallised and brought into focus what we wanted to be doing with our lives, which was fighting for a better planet, basically’.

‘You really have to work out how you want to live your life when something as tragic and sudden as that occurs,’ she said.

‘Tom had done a lot of aerial photography for Greenpeace when they had quite a big coal spill into the wetlands so part of it was a tribute of going back to a place that he wanted to protect.

‘So that was a big motivation for us to go back there.

‘The other part is that what’s happening with Adani is insanely criminal – and ordinary people are being pushed to say enough is enough.’

Juliet with 72-year-old returned serviceman returned serviceman Jeffrey locked on at Abbot Point. Photo supplied

Plant shut down

On January 11, after waiting in nearby bushland for two days working out a plan, Luca, Juliet and three other activists entered the plant and shut it down for eight hours by locking on to a metal conveyor belt.

Despite the apparent danger of such massive equipment, Juliet said she wasn’t scared during the action.

‘One of the activists had a lot of experience with heavy machinery so he made sure that the site was safely shut down so that’s when we locked on – once we knew that had happened.’

The Abbot Point Five, as they became known, L to R: Luca, Juliet, Jeffrey and university students Aia and Nic. Photo supplied

New charge

Juliet, Luca and the three other activists were slapped with fines for trespass, non-compliance with a police order and a new charge, which was the first time it had been used in Australia, ‘interfering with the operations of a coal port’.

‘The magistrate was really at a loss as to what should be our punishment for that because it hadn’t been meted out before,’ Juliet said.

‘We’ve ended up getting no criminal record but $8,000 in fines each, which is apparently one of the highest fines ever given to peaceful protesters in Australia.

‘Adani were fined $12,000 [for pollution] and they’re already appealing that so in terms of comparative justice, there really is none whatsoever. It’s disgusting,’ she said.

You can show your support for the Front Line on Coal protesters here.


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17 COMMENTS

  1. I am more than willing to donate to any crowd funding to pay this unjust fine. Very proud of these two ladies. Keep up the fight against a corrupt government.

  2. It’s time to name and shame these magistrates who think it justified to set such a high fine for people carrying out their democratic right.

  3. Serves them damned right. I’m sick of these self-promoting greeny lefties holding up development in this country. If the lesson doesn’t get through, I’d call to double the fines…and make them pay or go to jail.

    • ‘Captain Ron’,,,time for you to sail away into the past. We are in the 21st Century where our natural environment is shrinking everyday. We need environmental defenders more then ever, A real shame that unjust laws exist to punish those that are trying to protect our collective well being.

    • In order to make such a comment, you must firstly not believe in the science of climate change, given that a 2016 Oxford University study identified 2017 that a cut-off point for building further fossil fuel infrastructure if the world is to have a 50% chance of staying within a risky 2-degree temperature rise. https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/news/201603-two-degree-capital Then you would have to equate ‘development’ exclusively with mammoth-scale, highly environmentally destructive projects, in this case one that would have a substantial damaging impact on the Great Artesian Basin and surrounding farmers. In addition, you would have to argue that the fining system should be skewed to an even more ridiculous extent, to a point where individuals are fined more than multi-billion-dollar corporations. And to cap it off, you would have to ignore the allegations of corruption, fraud and money laundering surrounding Adani’s operations in India, and be certain that they could never be replicated here.

  4. Silly ,Silly people , what a complete waste of the time and for everyone else they interrupt in their work for something that they imagine , don’t be surprised to learn that someone else is using these people to further their own political aspirations into becoming an MP .

  5. Appeal against the sentencing, out of all proportion fine, more power to the protesters, how can i get in touch with juliet lamont

  6. They or anyone else shouldn’t have to pay a cent. If they pay then any other person who tries to stand up agains corruption, injustice and the raping of our planet will find that their judgment will be harsher for the precedence that has gone before and people will be too scared to ever stand for their rights and their ethical rights again – its an abomination. the best plan is to get a gofund me together for legal representation and to make a big deal about it in the media

  7. These women are true heroes, putting themselves on the line to protect our environment which we all have a stake in. It’s definitely time for our magistrates to do the same, they have much discretion in how they interpret the law. And if those we entrust with these key roles in our communities can’t or choose not to act responsibly, I advocate that we ignore the fines, the courts and these negligent laws, and all join these beautiful committed protectors in peaceful mass civil disobedience.

  8. I agree with Lisa Bridges. What is needed is a GoFundMe fund raising effort for fighting such charges, either by these ladies or bu anyone subsequently charged for such an “offence”. Then people can choose whether to donate to paying the fine, or to donate to fighting it – and activists can make their own choice whether to pay it or fight it based on their personal circumstances (they deserve that respect from all of us, in my view), as can donors make their own decision which fund to donate to (or both). We should just keep raising money in both funds, as ongoing fighting funds, and publicise the balances so the world can see the extent of opposition and the level of resources building up behind it.

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