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Byron Shire
February 28, 2021

Local journo man-handled during visit by NSW Premier

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Paul Bibby

A visit by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to Brunswick Heads has been marred by an incident in which a local journalist was forcibly prevented from asking her a question, and then dragged away by security officers.

Gladys Berejiklian had come to the town to promise $3.8m to build a new surf clubhouse and $23m for mental health helplines across NSW, but declined to answer any questions about either announcement.

When BayFM journalist and occasional Echo contributor Jim Beatson, 73, approached Ms Berejiklian and attempted to ask a question about deforestation, the Premier’s security officers blocked his path.

When Mr Beatson then attempted to push his way forward to speak to the Premier, the security officers and a local lifeguard manhandled him away, pushing him back and dragging him into the clubhouse as Mr Beatson struggled and shouted ‘why can’t I ask the Premier a question?’.

The pushing and shoving continued for some minutes as a large contingent of media from across the country watched on.

Mr Beatson suffered cuts to his arms during an incident with Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s security staff. Source: Jim Beatson

Mr Beatson suffered cuts to his arms and bruising and grazes to his back during the incident.

Earlier, flanked by the Nationals candidate for Ballina, Ben Franklin, Ms Berejiklian announced funding for the state-of-the-art surf club which the club has designed.

The funding is contingent on the Coalition winning the upcoming state election.

The new club includes a large function area, a kiosk area, and extensive storage space so that the club will no longer need to store the equipment it uses for nippers in shipping containers.

A Development Application for the clubhouse is currently before Byron Shire Council, with the club hopeful of getting approval in the next few months.

BayFM journalist Jim Beatson is blocked by security officers while trying to ask the premier a question, Photo: Jeff Dawson

The President of the surf club, Craig Reid, said the club had outgrown its raging clubhouse owing to a growth in the local population and the changes to the nature of surf life saving.

‘These days surf life saving’s moved into jet skis, drones and a lot more expensive equipment that the current building can’t store so it’s great that we can provide those services to the community,’ Mr Reid said.

Ms Berejiklian said the new club would be be integral to the local community.

‘This will be a place for people to meet, to exercise and to help train our amazing volunteers and nippers,’ Ms Berejiklian said.

Mr Franklin said the new club would help make the beach safer and was a ‘huge boost for Brunswick Heads’.


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52 COMMENTS

  1. Let’s hope that this regrettable, unnecessary and unwarranted attack will at least have an upside by shifting many many votes away from the incumbents.
    They appear very used to attacking koala habitats, and our already severely damaged climate systems.
    We can all act against these threats on the 23rd of March.

      • Cross over of issues but regarding the Bluesfest parking fiasco, I offered Ms Smith the opportunity to explain and justify how BF are able to charge loyal ticket holders twice for parking when she is part of the Local Traffic Committee. The LTC signed off on the consent which included 101.
        Her answer, via a staff member, was however we reduce the number of cars is a positive, with recent events in mind, apparently this includes misleading and deceiving her own constituents as well as thousands of tourists to her region!
        Any regrets about not bothering to respond personally or look into our complaint in more detail Tamara?

  2. The focus should be on those rough-handling the journalist – not how he could better gain the Premier’s attention.
    Minders and security people have no right to assault people and in a region where the community is largely peace-loving and co-operative such bad behaviour deservedly attracts opprobrium.

  3. I have been a professional journalist from the mid ’80s working for The Guardian, Time Magazine, The Washington Post and the Aust Financial Review.
    Recently I was prevented from asking a question of Premier Gladys Berejiklean when three of her staff pushed me violently out of a media conference at Brunswick Heads Surf Club – before I could even get past saying, Jim Beatson Bay FM. My question?
    When you were in Byron less than a year ago, you assured our listeners that you did not want to go down in history as someone responsible for the reduction of koalas in New South Wales.
    It has been widely publicised throughout the Northern Rivers that the New South Wales State government, along with the Queensland State government, are now recognised as one of the world’s top 11 de-forestation hotspots, along with the Amazon and Sumatra.
    Australia is the only developed nation on that list. In north-east New South Wales, your government has doubled the logging intensity of clear-felling, allowed on 140,000 hectares of public lands, from Taree to Grafton.
    According to the North East Forest Alliance, signs of koalas in these forests are abundant. Around one tree alone, 111 scats, that is koala poos, were found. Many other trees had smaller numbers of scats around their bases. This sounds like destruction of koala habitat. How does this advance your concern for koalas, and indeed your role in history?’

    • Is it possible to charge security guys with assault? I’m sure there’s plenty photo/video evidence of their over eager efforts against an older person.

    • Good for you Jim, I applaud you. That was appalling treatment of you by the Premier’s staff in a supposed democracy. What is she afraid of? I guess it’s not a good look for her, effectively killing koalas, as she attempts to get re-elected.

  4. So he pushed at security officers? They tend to react negatively to that. Those saying this was an attack are unhinged.

    This is what security staff do. If he appeared threatening, it is their job to protect the Premier (they have done the same for Bob Carr, Morris Iemma, Nathan Rees and Kristina Keneally). There is no conspiracy.

    • So the premier needs to be aggressively protected from answering questions…

      During an election campaign.

      Surprised they didn’t get the cops to strip search him too.

    • The left doesn’t care about the truth. They just make it up as they go along. Climate change has been the biggest confected scam in a very long time.

      • Bob my man, have you not been paying attention. Over 200 heat records smashed in the last summer here in the OZ, the hottest ever summer on record in Oz. January the hottest ever January in Oz. Tasmania’s forests on fire. Globally each decade since the 1970’s has been hotter then the previous decade and the planet has WARMED 1 degree celsius and there is more coming. No confection in there, just FACT my dear Bob!

    • The man was doing his job and they tried to stop him, he is a journalist not a threat to the Premier, he was asking a question she didn’t want to answer, that’s why they blocked him.

  5. So the NSW Premier needed to be protected from a very well
    schooled journalist trying to ask a question & gets ‘set upon’
    by minders? Sounds like pre-World War 2 to me. Trees &
    koalas were the man’s concern. This country’s in a bad way
    any way you look at it.

    • The Premier had to be protected, just like the Opposition Leader is protected, because in a time when security is heightened because some want to circumvent the ballot box, when someone comes at you, the instinct is to protect the protectee. They were doing their job.

  6. Jim Beatson speaks for many of us! We have had enough of the irresponsible land clearing rubber stamped by the NSW Gov. We have had enough of the negligence and eco-cide of this NSW Government – destroying koala habitat and the habitat for numerous birds and other wildlife. The environment needs protection NOW. I am sorry Jim got tussled around trying to speak out for us but thanks JIm, local hero. Let’s Vote this mob OUT.

    • How about instead of being against stuff, you be for stuff. Maybe if you were for raising funds to buy up habitat, and then locking it away, you would have more credibility in the debate.

      • We already own our state forests and campaigned for laws to protect them. The libs have changed the rules and aowed logging without any consultation and in breach of EPA – who cant get permissuon to inspect the damage.

      • In a free society we can all speak our views without having to jump through hoops dictated by some nobody with no life who seems to exist to troll negative comments around. Grow up North Coast Socialista.

  7. “The funding is contingent on the Coalition winning the upcoming state election.” Well of course it is. It’s not a Labor or Greens promise is it. This is just “journalism” at its very poorest.

  8. Maybe Jim, you can take the blame for breaching the Premiers security instead of blowing it out of proportion. If you hadn’t attempted to push past the security, this all wouldn’t have happened.

  9. Times have changed, Jim. Politicians no longer feel they need to answer to the voters. Speeches are prepared, and no other info is made avaiable, for fear of saying something stupid. We’ll take this as yet another example of entitled, arrogant people who only answer to their party. They need to go.

    • Times have changed, unfortunately. Threats of physical violence against politicians mean that security details are going to be vigilant.

      Why isn’t your name on a ballot paper this election?

  10. Looks a little like pork barrelling is going on in the electorate of Ballina! If Brusnswick only get the funds if the coalition is elected!
    Disappointing that NSW Premier did not take the journalists question. We’re the police called if someone was hurt?

  11. The glaring issue here is that Gladys flies in, as she has before, is whisked from the the airport to wherever it is that she is scheduled to go, meets with only select local dignitaries and media, does her pork barreling and pisses off.
    No contact with locals. No questions, No interviews.
    Why doesn’t she want to speak with anyone ? What is she fearful of?
    It’s rude and disrespectful and arrogant of her to treat our community in such a way.
    Mind you this is how she treats all of NSW.
    Vote Labor or Green

  12. Could someone please decontaminate the area where the premier has walked on at Bruns, she’s left some mess behind in her travels. Time to change the government and vote the Liberals out. And shame on her security team. Amazing how the government doesn’t learn from their past PR mistakes. Only shows up when they smell an election loss looming.

  13. Typical of Glady’s to avoid answering questions. When Newcastle Herald journalist asked about the business case for putting the tram lines down Hunter St as opposed down the existing railway line. The response from her was just full of arrogance.

  14. Just an ‘add-on’ to Carole’s “they need to go”. The local
    National promotion machine sent the forms for ‘Postal
    Votes’ about 6 weeks ago & they were filled in & returned
    to the Nationals’ address immediately. There’s only 9 days
    left to vote & we still do NOT have the forms so we can
    vote. Can someone tell me what’s going on! It’s a bit strange.
    How many others are asking the same questions.

  15. North Coast Socialista, the thread of these comments is FOR STUFF. It is NOT FOR rough house behaviour. It is for protecting the environment, for protecting our waterways and for protecting the forests. What a record being one of the top 11 deforestation countries in the world. In Tweed Shire the Liberal NATIONAL party are pushing through a new mega hospital in the wrong location to please their developer mates and open up the red soil of Cudgen Plateau for developers. The local people are FOR protecting significant farmland. There are other equally good locations for a new hospital.
    However you vote, put the Nationals and Libs last unless you are in favour of massive corporations pulling the strings and directing government. Bringing bulldozers in to Sydney Stadium 9 days before an election is the ultimate arrogance of this mob. Vote them out!

  16. This piece of work in charge of our state has to go she is spending billions in the city nothing in the bush kick the thing out on the 23rd.

  17. Good on you Jim, for standing up for the trees, the koalas and the people. Gladys and her henchmen have shown their true colours – bullies and cowards. Think she can buy off the Northern Rivers with a surf club? Think again. She came for a photo op – not a press conference. Electioneering without substance.

  18. Simple demonstrates yet again how those on the left resort to infantile violence if they don’t get their way. That’s why they socialists. They don’t category about the truth. They just make it up.

  19. Thank You Jim Beatson you are a local hero….heaven forbid that Gladys should be embarrassed in relation to destroying thousands & thousands of acres of rare Koala habitat. You had every right in a ‘functioning’ democracy to have your simple question answered. The boof heads that are employed as security guards obviously have been instructed to keep the ‘likes of you’ (us) away from having the Premier put on the spot.How disgraceful, I remember when pollies DIDN’T need security guards. Increasingly pollies believe they are privileged /entitled and feel that accountability is only relevant for the masses. No wonder most informed,caring Australians despair at our political system & those at the top that only care about their next high flying corporate position, once out of Macquarie St or Canberra. Good on you Jim those of us like you , THAT CARE deeply about deforestation and our precious diminishing & undervalued wildlife THANK YOU.

  20. Gladys “Chicken Run” Berejiklian seems to need a hell of a lot of protection from voters and journalists, up here on the Nth Rivers and across the length and breath of NSW.
    Over half a dozen incidents and withdrawals from planned events and thats just up here on the Nth Rivers. Police protection ordered in from female community leaders and voters, National party goons on doorways preventing any access or possible questions from the electorate.
    Gladys otherwise completely belligerent aloof and entitled “Chicken Run” Berejiklian is terrified of the electorate, for damned good reason.
    Ask yourself, just why is that, so much to hide from the voters and be ashamed of. She doesn’t want any questioned asked, because she will have to tell another lie and there have been so many lies already.
    One week to go Chicken Run, one week to go, some may remember you, but I doubt anyone up in the Nth Rivers will, especially the Tweed.
    Second door on the left, don’t let it hit you on the arse on the way out!

  21. Politicians and so called celebrities are more defensive these days and if someone attempts to push past security for any reason I suppose they feel threatened and will retreat. Not criticizing the journalist as we now know his intentions but we are living in different times these days.

  22. For those of whom decided to condemn Jim for doing his job I say shame on you. You obviously don’tcvalue free speech and freedom of the press to inform. Most of you would be government trashy spin doctors anyway.

  23. Jim you claim to be a professional journalist, how about you act like one. Your actions at Brunswick SLSC were embarrassing, you took attention away from a volunteer organisation that is integral to the community. As a “professional” shouldn’t you be able to recognise when there are opportunities for questions as opposed to barging past the Premiers police security team? That’s what you did Jim, pushed past Police that are charged with the responsibility of protecting the Premier. You behaved aggressively and were stopped by them, once stopped you still continued to struggle and carry on, which is how you got your bruises. Your “injuries” are the legacy of your own actions and immature behaviour.

  24. Our government ‘lap dogs’ are too busy looking after thier greedy mates to give two hoots about the the people who pay thier wages .
    The further we go down the track the more it looks like pre war Gremany .
    With all the blatant corruption going on , the public are entitled to know what is going on .
    Are they trying to abolish free speech ?
    I would put nothing past these grubs and thier standover men .
    THE PEOPLE ARE PISSED OFF AND WONT COP IT FOREVER …

  25. Lets not forget that Gladys ran away at the first meeting up here. Leaving community perplexed. This was an opportunity to ask questions! Gladys does not like questions that are not ‘vetted”..how can she explain what is happening to the Forests and Koalas up here. We all know there is potential extinction of the latter and total extinction of the former.

    So Jim is considered ‘bolshy’ by some….well lets view Gladys’ Law and Order Policies eh? Lets REALLY ASK OURSELVES WHY PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IS NOW OUTLAWED BY THIS GOVT.

    Its really all about authoritarianism … but crafted by the mechanism of an iron fist in a velvet glove!

    Wise to look further into ‘how things are done’ these days.

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