19.9 C
Byron Shire
February 9, 2023

Your right to protest – where do your local politicians stand?

Latest News

Iron Gates development in Evans Head land owners go into administration – again

The Iron Gates development, that is on flood- and fire-prone land near Evans Head, has been fought by the community for over 30 years. The current company that owns the site, Goldcoral Pty Ltd whose director is Graeme Ingles, has now been placed into administration.

Other News

Iconic Mondays

The iconic Reggae Monday is coming back to the Beach Hotel after a long break, and just in time...

Basketball camp for youth mental health

Recently the ASK Youth team was in action at the Ballina Indoor Sports Centre, delivering the 'Optimise Me' basketball camp to a large group of local kids.

Flood rebuilds hampered by ‘like-for-like’ insurance clause

Attempts by flood-affected homeowners to retrofit their homes with flood-resilient materials are being cruelled by insurance companies and builders, a local resident says.

A big month in the House

Back by popular demand is the Moontide Ensemble in their farewell show before heading overseas. The Moontide Ensemble returns to the Brunswick Picture House to perform their highly regarded audiovisual show. 

Swivel flop-flop

Not sure what Cr Swivel is doing. But while he appears to be providing support for both sides of...

Bluesfest performer’s triple GRAMMY win

Regular Byron Bluesfest performer Bonnie Raitt look out three gongs at yesterday's GRAMMY awards, bringing her a total of 13 across the span of her career.

With the public’s right to protest under the spotlight, where do those who represent us at the state level (or aspire to), stand with the current law that sent activist Deanna ‘Violet’ Coco to jail for 15 months?

Coco stopped a lane of traffic on the Sydney Harbour Bridge in April to highlight the government’s inaction on climate change.

The laws that sent Coco to jail were amendments to the Road and Crimes Act in The Roads And Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2022. 

It was rushed through both houses on March 30 and 31 this year by the NSW Liberal-Nationals government, with the support of NSW Labor, just as the north coast was being hammered by catastrophic floods.

A Lismore group who gathered to protest Saturday, along with the NSW Greens, are calling to reverse the draconian anti-protest laws.

Local Ballina MP Tamara Smith told The Echo, ‘In the Legislative Assembly (lower house), which is where I am elected, the MPs against the bill were Alex Greenwich (independent), Jenny Leong, Jamie Parker, and myself (all Greens)’.

In the Legislative Council (upper house), locally-based Nationals MLC and failed local candidate, Ben Franklin, spoke extensively in favour of the bill on March 31.

Echo questions to Franklin around his support for the law are yet to be replied to.

Those few who voted against the bill in the upper house were MPs Emma Hurst (Animal Justice Party), David Shoebridge, Abigail Boyd, and Cate Faehrmann (all Greens).

So far, the local candidates in the 2023 state election are incumbent Greens MP Tamara Smith, Nationals candidate Joshua Booyens and Labor’s Andrew Broadley.

The Echo asked Broadley and Booyens if they support the law (and their party’s position) that sent Coco to jail. ‘And if elected, would you try to ‘repeal the law and support a NSW bill of rights?’  

While Labor’s Broadley is yet to reply, the Nationals hopeful Josh Booyens replied, ‘While I appreciate the question, my focus has been and will continue to be, on what is top of mind and the concerns for the people of the Ballina electorate.

Nats not focused on human rights

‘What I’m hearing on the ground is that people are more interested in our elected local member working to secure land to build affordable housing, fight for investment in hospitals, schools, in our growing region – all things the NSW Nationals do well in our regions. I’m campaigning on the issues that are important to our community – environment, people and economy – local actions and local outcomes – and giving voice to those issues and concerns that have been ignored by our local member for the last eight years’.

In the neighbouring electorate of Lismore, Labor MP Janelle Saffin’s office provided a statement to support those who protested outside her electorate office recently. It reads in part, ‘Peaceful protest and should never be a criminal offence. Jenelle is working across her party to change this’.

Saffin was absent from the March 30 vote, and as such, her vote was recorded along party lines.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

1 COMMENT

  1. I believe that protest action should not be criminalised… I also believe that targeted action can be effective. The decision makers in the fossil fuel industry, the CEO’s and board members that send armies of lobbyists to twist our elected representatives arms, who order advertising greenwashing campaigns to confuse and minimise the gravity of our collective predicament have one thing in common….. they are protected by their anonymity…. Their decisions that negatively impact every living creature on the planet have zero negative impacts on them… just as in international politics sanctions are imposed on leaders and oligarchs in Russia and Iran… so too do the people of the world need to know who the leaders of the fossil fuel industry are, so that we as individuals can impose sanctions on them … want your toilet fixed me coal mine….. find another plumber, want some healthy organic vegetables…. find another market stall… want to go out whale watching … sorry where booked out…. We need posters, like they have in the old cowboy movies….. faces on wanted posters… wanted a lack of co-operation for those making ecologically damaging decisions…

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Far North Coast branch of NSW Farmers launches

The new NSW Farmers Far North Coast Branch, that will be representing farmers from the Tweed and Byron Shires, launched yesterday.

New Lismore refugee support group starting up

A local group from the Lismore area, the Lismore Region Refugee Settlement (LRRS), have come together to support refugees settling in the area. 

A tribute for Richard Moloney

Byron Shire has lost another of its colourful characters, the irrepressible Richard Moloney, who died suddenly but peacefully in his home at the end of January.

Flood rebuilds hampered by ‘like-for-like’ insurance clause

Attempts by flood-affected homeowners to retrofit their homes with flood-resilient materials are being cruelled by insurance companies and builders, a local resident says.