Greenpeace to protest against Queensland’s coal industry

George Christensen.
George Christensen.

FEDERAL MP for Dawson George Christensen has labeled Greenpeace as eco-terrorists as the group prepares to bring its protest ship, Rainbow Warrior, to the region next month.

Greenpeace plans on holding protests against Queensland's coal industry in Mackay, Airlie Beach and Townsville, and has said it will open the ship to the public when it arrives.

In 2009, the Greenpeace ship Esperanza blocked the coal loading facility at Hay Point and activists climbed the facility and suspended themselves on ropes.

The farce ended 36 hours later when activists surrendered to police, having cost the mining industry $20 million.

The captain and 10 other activists were arrested but the captain escaped with no conviction and only an $8000 fine.

Mr Christensen has requested the Minister for Home Affairs, Jason Clare, to deploy federal police to prevent Greenpeace from breaking the law and flouting regulations.

"I urge the minister to ensure the same disruptive, illegal practices do not occur again," he said.

"I am sure that such action would be the normal response to any other form of terrorism in this country and I believe North Queensland and our economy deserve at least such a response under these circumstances."

Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior.
Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior.

But Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Campaigner Louise Matthiesson made no apologies for the group's occasional acts of civil disobedience.

"Greenpeace uses creative non violent direct action to expose the damage industries like the Australian coal industry are doing to the environment," Ms Matthiesson said.

"That's what we do around the world and we welcome the opportunity to speak to Mr Christensen about what our export industry is doing to the climate and the Great Barrier Reef.

"Recent research shows global warming above two degrees could wipe out most coral reefs around the world and coal is our biggest contribution to that."

Ms Matthiesson said the Rainbow Warrior would be in Mackay on April 18 and 19, though the dates could change.

"We will hopefully have provisions for it to be open to the public and we really want to talk to people in Mackay about the Great Barrier Reef and the threat posed to it by the coal industry," she said.

Topics:  coal greenpeace mining queensland rainbow warrior

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