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Enviro Activists Standing as LH Candidates – NSW Votes 2015

March 14, 2015

There are some things that can be fixed inter-generationally. And others that if we fail now are lost forever. Lake Pedder in Tasmania was irreversibly lost and the same went for the many forests. The damage and loss from a coal-mine on fertile agricultural land can never be undone. Neither can impact to the Great Artesian Basin from fracking’s damage to aquifers or the draw down of water. And of course there’s coal’s direct relationship to climate change.

On 28 March NSW Votes. This blog page is to identify candidates who have been activist campaigners on specific environmental campaigns in NSW with this their lead area of community participation. Environmental activism is a full-time commitment and a rich source of skills development that includes community building, campaign strategy, non violent direct action, meeting with MPs, consensus building across diverse stakeholders, policy writing, building advocacy networks of academic and local knowledge experts and mounting a direct challenge to the narrative of government.

This experience goes far beyond the PR grab of saying what “should” be done but actively mounting the case using social power and communications. It’s about confronting the narrative and the perpetrators front on and getting into the field. Who can forget Ian Cohen (later an MP) in 1986 on a surfboard swimming in front of a nuclear ship in Sydney harbour. Or the tree protestors who blockaded at Terania Creek and across NSW in the 1980s. More recently the lock the gate strategy of getting onto the land to stop mining’s destruction at the mining sites themselves has engaged thousands across NSW. It’s not easy work but it is effective and at the core of social change. This work challenges the paradigm of hierarchical institutional power, it is the core of bringing about change as not just about saying what should be done but engaging broadbase networks to bring the change.

So why are there so few environmental campaigners standing as candidates? Is it that they don’t gain party institutional support as unaligned to internal power structures? You would think their deep experience to build broadbase networks and engage deeply on issues would give them strong community support. Is it that their consensus model goes against internal factional power plays?

NSW Labor says Luke Foley is  an environmental activist? Do they mean for the four years he was a union organiser with the NSW branch of the Australian Services Union or when he was assistant general secretary of the New South Wales Labor Party from 2003 to 2010 before entering politics. Maybe they mean when he was a telemarketer for the Guide Dog Association of NSW? It can’t have been when he was a political staffer as from that point he was part of Labor machine all the way to his Upper House seat. Sure he has environment as one of his issues, so did Bob Carr. But what exactly did they stop in the way Jack Mundey stopped the bulldozers in Sydney? What community campaign to protect environment did they work unpaid in to build social power in to stop the perpetrator?

Help me build the list.

Forget whether someone says they’re ‘passionate’ about the environment or spouts screeds on what “we” should do to stop climate change or protect rivers. Criteria for inclusion is that they have been out there building social power outside of politically aligned circles. I’m looking for examples of specific campaigns they helped build the community base for. I’m looking for how they confronted the perpetrator in specific environmental campaigns.

Attending a rally doesn’t count. Writing a PAC submission and speaking to it at the hearing does.

L EGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

Pittwater – Felicity Davis (Greens) – Long term campaigner on numerous NSW enviro campaign including most recently Leard Forest.

Lismore – Adam Guise (Greens) – Lock the Gate organiser, Bentley Blockade organiser

Manly – Annie Wright (CDP) – CSG Campaigner, set up Aussies Against Fracking

Barwon – Rohan Boehm (Independent) – Community leader, Coal Seam Gas campaigner and member of NW NSW Alliance.

Tamworth – Pat Schwartz (Greens) – Arrested at Pilliga State Forest for blockading Santos’ industrialised coal seam gas project

Hawkesbury – Danielle Wheeler (Greens) – Member and organiser in Hawkesbury Environment Network

LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL

Justin Field is third on the Greens ticket, he has spent past 4 years campaigning against CSG and coal in NSW across the state in both a paid and unpaid capacity.

Dawn Walker is fourth on the Greens ticket have been directly involved in environmental campaigns in the Northern Rivers.

The Independents  – Group P on Upper House Ticket – many NW NSW anti CSG and Coal campaigners against Shenhua (on Liverpool Plains), Santos (in Pilliga State Forest) and Whitehaven (in Leard State Forest)

Minister Byron Smith arrest at Maules Creek 12Mar14 Protestor???????????????????????Gasfield free shire

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