Activists lack evidence; told to do some good for the environment
May 13th, 2016
The credibility of anti-fossil fuel activists took a major blow in the closing days of Federal Parliament – and there could be significant ongoing impact.
Despite putting forward their most ardent, and supposedly credible voices, and firing their most alarmist rhetoric, activist groups failed to win their case with what they might have expected to be empathetic Parliamentary committees.
All the big activist groups turned out for separate inquiries into coal seam gas and taxpayer subsidies for environmental organisations: Lock The Gate, Greenpeace, the Wilderness Society, the Australia Institute and many many more. In each inquiry, they came away disappointed – and in one case facing the prospect of an important rule change which could force them to rethink their anti-social protest activity.
In the case of the coal seam gas inquiry, the clear bias of the chair, Senator Glenn Lazarus, was evident from the start, as he labelled the industry a ‘scourge’ even before the first hearing.
Despite a series of activist-stacked and anti-industry biased hearings, Senator Lazarus failed to win the day. As a result, Senator Lazarus took the highly unusual step of including a chapter in the committee report solely for his views.
Labor and Government Senators were much more measured, noting the lack of evidence to underpin activist claims and identifying a strong, appropriately regulated future for the natural gas industry.
The other inquiry, conducted by the Parliament’s Environment Committee, agreed with our contention that environmental groups ought do at least some physical good in order to be eligible for taxpayer benefits they currently enjoy.
If the committee’s recommendation is accepted by Government, environmental groups will have to devote a quarter of their spending to constructive work in the physical environment — as opposed to putting it all into quasi-political activism, as is now the case for many beneficiaries of taxpayer subsidy.
The committee was also empathetic to the submission by ERIC and others that protest groups which deliberately break the law ought to have their benefits withdrawn immediately.
To read more, see the following article published in the Narrabri courier newspaper, in northern NSW.