On Wednesday April 17, Bob Brown and a few hundred of his closest friends, began a journey from Hobart to the Gallilee Basin in Queensland, to highlight the devastation that will be caused if the Adani Carmichal Mine goes ahead.
‘Our plans are well advanced for this public showdown with the coal mining industry and its political backers,’ said Brown before he left his home in Tasmania. ‘In the run-up to the federal election, the global mining giant looks set to start its colossal Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland.
‘We look forward to people joining us. Almost 2000 have inquired about joining the convoy.
‘We are a celebration in motion. It is a community commitment – an act of defiance – for the future of our planet. A peaceful protest against Gautam Adani’s mine, which his operatives say will be under way soon.’
The group of beginners left Hobart for Devonport, then Melbourne for a rally on Parliament Lawns.
As the convoy came off the Spirit of Tasmania for the rally in Melbourne, Brown said that from the outset that the convoy, involving hundreds of vehicles and thousands of people, was about the May 18 election being a national referendum on the climate emergency and Adani.
He said it was about fossil fuels and the massive impact on Australia’s economy, employment and environment of burning more coal.
‘Adani is the litmus test and polls show a big majority of Australians don’t want it,’ Brown said.
The Melbourne rally featured speakers advocating renewables and electric vehicles for a world in which, it is estimated, 150,000 people died last year from the impact of global warming due to burning coal and other fossil fuels.
From Melbourne the growing group visited Albury-Wodonga before a rally in Sydney on April 20.
The convoy, now 200 cars, including a dozen electric cars, left a rally of nearly 1000 people in Parramatta Park to drive north, passing Morrison’s conference outside Westmead Hospital. Mr Morrison was diverted by cries of ‘Stop Adani’ as the convoy slowly passed.
At the rally an Aboriginal leader from the Adani mine site region in central Queensland, Adrian Burragubba, said he, his father, and grandfather were born at Clermont where the convoy arrives next week. He described the Adani mining company as ‘thieves’.
Next was the north coast on Easter Sunday with stops in Coffs Harbour and Mullumbimby on the way to Brisbane.
‘This is the biggest turn out anywhere in Australia,’ Brown said.
From there it was a trip across the border into Queensland.
On April 22 the foundation sent out a press release about some of the media reporting of the convoy and the Adani mine itself.
‘Whilst this is a side issue to the need for global action to secure the planet’s future well being, the corrupting role a section of the fourth estate’s Murdoch media in our democracy is here addressed,’ Brown said.
Murdoch newspapers throughout Queensland, including Brisbane’s Courier-Mail, all ran the same article by journalist Renee Viellaris.
Ms Viellaris wrote a very disparaging description of the convoy including that participants were ‘blow-ins’.
‘As ever, I absolutely repudiate offensive comments such as those headlined in today’s Murdoch press,’ said Brown.
‘Offensive comments are taken down by our foundation just as they are taken down off Murdoch media sites.
‘I asked Ms Viellaris if the Courier Mail received and took down such offensive commentary. Contrary to her own demands of others, she refused to answer. Double standards, Ms Viellaris,’ Bob Brown said
‘The hate media works by attacking those it disagrees with when it cannot fairly meet their point of view, especially where ethics like those of the worsening global climate emergency, are involved. Our convoy is committed to lawful and peaceful process. Conversely, this opinionated reportage aims to raise anger rather than promote civil discussion.
‘I hold the Murdoch media responsible for any harmful outcome of this reportage,’ Brown concluded.
After a 4,000-strong rally in Brisbane, Brown and the convoy visited Harvey Bay.
The convoy passed through Rockhampton on the 25th and settled for the evening with 600 people, including hundreds of locals at Emu Park in a lantern parade for the Great Barrier Reef.
Some 100 people put the case for coal. Bob Brown fielded hecklers, telling one that if the heckler believed sea-levels had not risen 20cm in the last century, he (Brown) believed the Earth is flat. LNP MP Michelle Landry, who had promoted the counter protest, failed to turn up.
‘That Ms Landry didn’t come is a cameo of the larger picture: the Morrison government has no clue how to tackle the climate emergency impacting the reef, the Murray Darling basin and the future of this region,’ said Brown.
The destination in the Gallille area was reached on April 28 with a huge rally held at Clermont where the Stop Adani convoyists were welcomed in Wangan and Jagalingou Country.
Brown said that rather than ‘Adani country’ or ‘coal country’ the convoy recognised it as Wangan and Jagalingou country and he expressed wonder at the spectacular volcanic cones which visitors pass through on the way to Clermont.
Brown said that a number of Clermont business owners had expressed regret at the hostility the convoy received the previous day when cars were stoned, and an older women travelling alone, along with young families in cars, were abused and threatened and had flags ripped from their vehicles. Brown praised the Queensland Police for keeping the peace in trying conditions.
‘This is about every Australian child’s future security in a rapidly heating planet,’ Brown said.
‘You can back your children or you can back Gautam Adani’s mine but you can’t have both’ he said.
Tensions mounted between opposing ideas in Clermont over the weekend – pro-Adani violence appalled other locals and failed to halt the convoy’s progress.
‘We hope she has a speedy recovery. The incident came after a much-publicised publican friend of Matt Canavan was refused entry to the Wangan and Jangilingou Council’s Karmoo Dreaming celebration which the convoy was enjoying at the Clermont Showground.
‘The horse rider charged between the crowd and the stage where Neil Murray was singing. Children had been dancing in that area.
Both the publican and Minister Canavan have verbally abused the convoy people.
A witness said a second group of pro-Adani cars at the gate cheered the horse rider as he charged back out after the woman was knocked down in the arena.
‘There is a divide between supporters of coal and renewables,’ said Brown afterwards today in Rockhampton.
‘There is a similar divide between the nastiness and peacefulness of putting the cases for and against.
‘The fact is that coal for power is on its way out and, as with whaling, those who want to keep making money the wrong way, no matter how much the public disapproves, get angry. History is not on their side.’
From the Gallile, the convoy will now visit Toowoomba, Armidale, Bathurst and Orange, and drive in Canberra on May 4 for a Rally for Climate on Sunday May 5.
Fo more details, visit the Bob Brown Foundation website.