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In Prison for Locking-On

Welcome to the Paradigm Shift on FM 102.1 4ZZZ Fridays at noon. We challenge the assumptions of our current society, to resist oppression …more

Wed 1 Dec 2021

Repression against Climate Activists

Paradigm Shift (4ZZZ Fridays at Noon) – December 3, 2021

This week we talk about the state repression of climate activism. I speak to Yusur Al-Azzawi from the Human Rights Law Centre about the study they’ve just published on the topic, and I also chat to two people who know it first hand – Juliet Lamont and Sergeio Herbert have in the last few weeks been given prison sentences for climate protests.

https://4zzz.org.au/program/paradigm-shift/2021-12-03

Playlist
The Lurkers – Who’s got a padlock and chain?
Insurge – Lock on
Paul Spencer – Make some music
Anne Feeney – Have you been to jail for justice?

How Abbott Point Coal Terminal Operates

Thanks to Paul Jukes we get a bird’s eye view of how Adani coal gets shipped from North Queensland near Bowen.

Transcript

SPEAKERS

Juliette Lamont, Sergieo Herbert, Andy, Yusur Al-Azzawi, songs

Andy 

Welcome to the Paradigm Shift on 4 Triple Zed 102.1 where we challenge the assumptions of our current society to resist oppression and investigate alternative ways of living for a world based on justice, solidarity and sustainability.

Welcome to the Paradigm Shift on 4 Triple Zed, 102.1 FM, it is your local community radio station, bringing you all the arts and news that matters to your local community. My name is Andy and I will be with you for the next hour. And today on the show, we are going to be talking about the repression of climate activism in Australia. I did a bit of field research actually, for this show. This week, I locked myself on to the train tracks that were carrying first load of coal from ADANI’s Carmichael mine, ADANI are claiming it was just a test run. But it was a train and pretty much full of coal. It’s been a long campaign against that mine. And we don’t want to let it just go by let them export their call without people getting in the way of it.

Because that is what we need to do to avoid the climate crisis. People need to disrupt the system that is destroying our planet. And so myself and a few others, locked ourselves to the tracks were, arrested and are now in the legal system. I am on bail, hence the fact I’m not at my usual mobile studio, I record this and in fact, I don’t have my microphone because I left it there. So apologies about the sound quality. On today’s show, because I’m on bail conditions that say I can’t go back to the place that is essentially my home for half the year in central Queensland. That’s one of the things that we’ll be talking about in the course of the show, the use of things like bail conditions.

Andy 

So anyway, what’s coming up, I spoke with Yusur Al-Azzawi from the Human Rights Law Center, they’ve just put out a study about the legal repression of climate activism in this country. And so I talked to her about the findings of that study. And then I talked to a couple of people who know firsthand the effects of climate repression, because they have in the last couple of weeks being sentenced to prison for doing climate activism. I speak to Juliette Lamont, who locked onto the same train as I did the other day. And yesterday was given a one month prison sentence suspended for nine months, thankfully, so she can talk to us on the Paradigm Shift. And I also spoke with the infamous Sergieo Herbert, who a couple of weeks ago, was sentenced to one year in prison for his 29th arrest for climate activism. He is out on bail with an appeal pending and so I spoke to him. The media does a lot of talking about Serge and not that much talking to him. And so I thought we’d get a bit of the the rationale behind why he does what he does. So that’s what’s coming up. Stay tuned. I think it is an important discussion and one that so rarely is talked about in discussion about climate change, we just talk about things, as they are not about what are the things behind the scenes that are making it harder for the people who want climate action to get their message across, when those who are pushing against it have so much access to political power and media power in this country. So it’s good to be digging behind the scenes of that. So let’s start off with Yusur Al-Azzawi  from the Human Rights Law Center.

Andy 

Could you start by introducing yourself?

Yusur Al-Azzawi 

I’m Yousef al AZZAWI, and I’m a senior lawyer at the Human Rights Law Center.

Andy 

And the Human Rights Law Center has just released a report and is called global warning, the threat to climate defenders in Australia, can you tell us why this report has been made?

Yusur Al-Azzawi 

The report has really come about from an identification of what we see as an increasing trend of repression towards climate activists. And so we really wanted to take a closer look at the myriad of ways in which climate activists are being repressed. And to be able to pull it all together and look at what the whole picture presents. And so that sort of is really what drove it.

Andy 

It seems to have been fortuitous, or unfortuitous, depending which way you look at it timing, the report came out just a couple of weeks ago. And then we’ve also had two people, two climate activists given custodial sentences in the last couple of weeks as well.

Yusur Al-Azzawi 

That’s right. And really what the report reveals is that at a time when the stakes for the planet could not be higher, climate defenders are increasingly being targeted, prosecuted, intimidated and harassed simply for calling for action. And I think in the context of events that have surrounded the report being released, we really see that that just couldn’t be more clear and evident at the moment. And I’m not sure if you if this sort of crossed your desk at all, but the same the very same time the report was being released last week, the ABC broke a story about a government agency down here in Victoria, taking out, sort of allegedly spying on a climate defender who had criticized them.

Andy 

Yeah, that’s another one of the things that you cover in your report is surveillance.

Yusur Al-Azzawi 

Yeah, that’s right. So to sort of see this happening very much in real time. That’s why That’s precisely why we wanted to pull this report together for people to be able to see how these different threads are not isolated incidents, but rather a systematic and broad based attack on climate activism. And in terms of the surveillance. You know, Australian Governments and fossil fuel corporations have a history of engaging in surveillance and direct infiltration of charities, non for profits, grassroots organizations, who are protesting, and, you know,  rarely are they held to account?

Andy 

Yeah, oh, let’s go back to the start your report, its interesting that it was a report about legal issues by our lawyers. It doesn’t start with sort of something that happened in the courts or anything, but it starts with the influence of the fossil fuel industries in our parliament. Why did you start with that?

Yusur Al-Azzawi 

We really saw that as being the underlying motivator. You know, the unregulated political influence of the fossil fuel industry, including through really large and often secret donations to political parties, is what we see as driving political inaction on climate change and also the repression of those calling for action.

Andy 

So, speaking of that repression, he then go on to have a few different sections about the legal restriction of climate activism. So let’s talk briefly about each of them. The first is state governments bringing anti protest laws.

Yusur Al-Azzawi 

So I mean, as you well know, Andy, the we’ve seen the introduction of harsh and at times unconstitutional anti protest laws in a couple of different jurisdictions across the country. These laws often directly target or disproportionately impact climate activists. In Queensland, of course, we’ve got the dangerous devices law. And in Tasmania, there is the what’s called the workplaces protection from protesters Act, which has actually been found several years ago, it was found unconstitutional by the high courts or parts of it were. And the Tasmanian Government is now up to its third attempt to bring that act into power. So it’s sort of tried to amend it after the High Court said it was a no go. That was unsuccessful. And just a couple of months ago, we’ve seen the government bring that. they’ve tried to amend that act again. And it’s really an unnecessary and disproportionate restriction on people’s right to peaceful advocacy. So it’s a bit of a bit of a watch and wait on the Tasmanian law at the moment. But as we know, the law in Queensland passed about two years ago now. And as you well know, activists are being charged under that law frequently as my understanding.

Andy 

Yeah, there’s been quite a number of those dangerous attachment device charges now. So one of the other things that you talk about is the way law enforcement is used against activists.

Yusur Al-Azzawi 

Yeah, that’s right. So what we really see is that police are imposing onerous bail conditions on environmental activists which stifles freedom of association and political expression. And climate activists are also facing excessive penalties for peaceful protest, including suspended terms of imprisonment. So, activists across Australia are facing increasingly repressive bail conditions. And most criminal charges that do flow from environmental activism are summary offenses or your more minor offenses, but climate defenders increasingly receiving bail conditions that are commonly imposed in circumstances of really much more serious offending, like sort of organized crime or or that kind of thing. And, you know, some of the conditions that people might be facing include non-Association conditions, place restrictions, curfew conditions. And I think what’s really worrying and important to note about that is that a bail is designed to address risk. And yet the way we see it being used against climate activists increasingly is in a punitive way, and as a deterrent to activism.

Andy 

Yeah, I’m glad that the report covered this because it is one of my kind of pet topics is the way that bail is misused to restrict the protests. And it’s sort of done outside of the courts, the police do this, and often the courts will override it. But in the meantime, you’re stuck on these punitive bail conditions. And there’s nothing you can done about do about it. And the media very rarely reports on any kind of nuances of the law, because the average person’s understanding of the law is so small and so it’s very hard to ever get any media to talk about the fact that police are misusing the law in this way to restrict activism.

Yusur Al-Azzawi 

Yeah, that’s right. And that’s part of what we wanted to do with this report is just bring to light that there are tactics at play here that are a deterrent are repressive and are also having a really chilling effect on freedom of speech, freedom of association, people exercising their right to protest

Song … “Down at the Metro mine down at the Metro mine who’s gonna lie on that hard rail line stop Peabody is coal digging crime, coalmining takes yr life laugh away. ….It’s a dead end job by saying get dust on your lung get a cold black and tongue and a dead plan back with your pay. Who’s got a pad looking shining? Who’s got a pad looking chiming, looking on tight to that Coltrane’s and not tell me who’s good …” – The Lurkers – Who’s got a padlock and chain?

Andy 

That is an Australian environmental civil disobedience anthem. They’re from the Lurkers. That is ‘who’s got a padlock and chain’ yr on the paradigm shift on 4 triple Zed we are speaking with  Yusur Al-Azzawi  from the Human Rights Law Center about their recent study on the legal repression of climate activism in Australia. Let’s go back to that interview.

Andy 

So the other section that he talked about here, which I think, again, is another one that not people who are involved in the environmental movement know about but outside of that a lot of people wouldn’t is the pressure that the government puts on our institutions for a civil society, the Nonprofits and Charities.

Yusur Al-Azzawi 

Yeah, that’s right. So a number of Australian government agencies, as we’ve spoken about have been captured by fossil fuel interests, which has then resulted in the suppression of accurate information to the public about climate change risks. And it’s perpetuated the spread of climate change, misinformation. And then alongside that, as well. You know, charities and nonprofits who engage in climate change, education and activism are an essential defence against such misinformation. But they too, are under pressure and attack. And very recently, in fact, the same day that this report launched, I’m not sure if you were aware of the proposed changes to the ACNC governance standards, which sort of basically was an attempt to stifle charities who engage in climate activism and by threatening them with deregistration. So that was sort of proposed change. range that was causing a really great deal of concern to the entire charity sector. And it would have sort of significantly expanded the offences upon which the ACNC which is the Australian charities and non for profits commission could do de-register a charity and it would include an employee of that charity committing really minor offenses like, you know, entering or remaining on property or things like that, that could see that the charity itself deregistered. So very happily, last Thursday, those that proposed standard was disallowed.

Andy 

Yeah, there’s a range of attacks on the nonprofit’s of Australia that people don’t necessarily know about. And one of them is just set the ACNC head is Gary John’s who was once a labour politician, but who before he ever got that job, had carved out this persona of himself as a guy who complained about Nonprofits and Charities like overreaching their remit. That was all he did. And then the Abbott government appointed him as the guy who was going to oversee charities essentially like putting the wolf in charge of the sheep paddock.

Yusur Al-Azzawi 

The .. what we have at the moment is at the federal level, we have an implied freedom of political communication, which is … the flows from our Constitution, and has come out of a case. And that is the protection that we have, in terms of our right to protest. Really, that’s the main protection. At the federal level, we need really stronger legal protections for activism than just that. And until such time that we get it, we’re going to keep seeing climate defenders be targeted, prosecuted, intimidated, harassed, just for calling for change.

Andy 

Okay, so the report was published two weeks ago. What do you hope that it achieves?

Yusur Al-Azzawi 

I hope that it helps people stitch the picture together. And to understand that we’re not talking about one or two isolated incidents, we’re seeing a systematic and broad scale attack on activism. And in being able to see the picture. We hope that people will understand and there will be sort of greater support for what really needs to change which, like I say, is strengthening our political integrity and strengthening our legal protections.

Andy 

Okay, thanks very much Yussur and if people want to read the report, how can they do so?

Yusur Al-Azzawi 

you can head over to the reports website and just download it for free. So if you type in global warning, go threat to climate defenders. It will take you to a landing page on Google at the Human Rights Law Center website hit that page download the report for free and get on board.

Andy 

okay thanks very much Yusur.

Yusur Al-Azzawi 

thanks so much Andy

Song  …. lock on if your hard enough …” – Insurge – Lock on

Andy 

that is InSurge there with ‘lock on’ a tribute to one method of civil disobedience favored by the Australian environmental movement. Before that we were speaking with Yussur Al-Azzawi from the Human Rights Law Center about their study into the legal repression of climate activism. And the second half of this show, we are going to be chatting to a couple of people who have tasted it firsthand very recently. They’re both been sentenced to prison sentences for doing climate activism. Thankfully, they’re both currently on the outside with us. So first off, we’ll speak to Sergieo Herbert, who was given a year in prison. Serge has been at it for a few years now with a particular tactic of civil disobedience. And I thought it’d be worthwhile talking to him to get a bit of the the person behind the caricature often painted in the media, which is quite critical of him. So let’s have a listen to serge. Can you start off by introducing yourself?

Sergieo Herbert 

So, my name is Sergieo. I’m 22. I’m a climate activists. I’ve been a climber just for last five years, I guess I believe in civil disobedience and civil resistance. And that’s how I spend my time doing civil resistance to try to solve a climate crisis.

Andy 

So many of our listeners will be aware that not long ago, you were given a sentence of a year in prison. You’re currently out on bail with an appeal pending? Can you give us a bit of an update of your legal situation?

Sergieo Herbert 

Yes. So it’s on bail, currently awaiting appeal about, we’re appealing the severity of the sentence. That appeal will be the first will be in March, but it’s likely to take maybe six months or more. And yet, basically, if I fail, that appeal will have that 12 months imprisonment sentence. But hopefully, that sentence can be reduced, or it can not be a sentence. And otherwise? Well, I’m on bail, meaning that I have a whole bunch of really strict conditions. I have to I’m not allowed to go to another state to see my parents for Christmas. I have to report to the police station three times a week. I have a curfew from 6am to 6pm. And the police are allowed to appear at my residence every three times a week to check that I’m here. Yeah, otherwise, I’m about to be of good behavior. And someone had to pay a $2,000 bail to get me out as well. Yeah. And I’m also not allowed anywhere near the Newcastle area, about six different local government areas that I’m excluded from.

Andy 

Now, you’ve been arrested a number of times, and you presumably suspected that a prison sentence was coming at some point. So I wonder why I keep going doing these kinds of arrestable actions.

Sergieo Herbert 

Well, I guess I admire those in the past that have gone before me. And I see that yeah, imprisonment is part of civil resistance. So I’ve been processing that, I guess, since I’ve been involved in civil resistance. I’m sort of trying to figure out, yeah, trying to be okay with that reality. So, but ultimately, why I keep going, was because im dedicated to solving the climate crisis. And I know that mass participation, civil resistance to the point of imprisonment or worse is really required from everyone. So I guess I’m trying hard to demonstrate and try to do that in myself, in order to, I guess, pave the way for those to come after me. And people were thinking that I would get in prison sentence after five or six times of being arrested. However, 28 times seems to go by without anything. And even before that, there wasn’t actually much hinting at escalating toward a prison sentence. It’s this sort of did come out of nowhere, statistically speaking. So it’s like it, it may very well be that my appeal’s successful. And my continued civil resistance in the future, after my appeal, doesn’t result in a prison sentence until I’ve been arrested by the know, over 50 times. There’s people in Australia that have some activists in Australia that have been arrested lots of times in the past and haven’t been to prison. So I guess you’ve got to try your hardest. And that’s the risk. And I guess, you know, ultimately, I need to be me. And that means engaging in civil resistance.

Andy 

Yeah, the media sometimes likes to paint you as just kind of a pest but there is a theoretical basis to what you do, isn’t there?

Sergieo Herbert 

Yeah, so I use the non violence theory, I guess ultimately layered on top of what my friends call the civil resistance model. So non violence is primarily about bringing violence from the shadows or somewhere that it’s hidden in the system  out into the public eye through civil disobedience.

So through doing stuff in public and and yeah, basically, drawing that violence out for for it to be seen by the public and then addressed if the public thinks He is unjust. This is ultimately what the predominant theory of civil rights campaign in America and in other places. And then the civil resistance model is really about using people’s bodies in their, in their innocence, en mass, sacrificially to transform a society, whether from a dictatorship to democracy, in the most extreme circumstances, the civil resistance model, which is a model where basically, everyday citizen  converge on the capital city, basically, and sit, they sit on the road or sit in the ports, causing economic and social disruption en mass until their demand is met.

And obviously, that comes with massive imprisonment, massive violence. But ultimately, yeah, people take out as much time as they need from their lives, they put their lives on pause, just like people do when they you know, go to war, or do some other sort of extraordinary thing in their lives. And the civil resistance model was, you know, was built around. Yeah, basically, impoverished peasants reclaiming power from a violent ruling class. And that’s where, yes, we have some of that, in our context, a little bit different. But these are the theories that my work is based on. And I’m looking to find the way to use these mechanisms of change to solve the climate crisis.

Andy 

As we’ve said, you’ve been arrested a number of times, and I’ve been doing this for a few years now with Extinction, Rebellion and Blockade Australia, do you think that this course of action is having an effect?

Sergieo Herbert 

when I was in prison, watching the free to air TV, you know, the ads are full of greenwash, which means that definitely feeling some, some public opinion is shifting. And the other thing is, basically, all the car ads are about electric cars. And so the a large section of the of the corporate class, the owner class, is actually looking to begin their shift, at least in writing or, you know, with fancy words and PR campaigns, we’re still firmly in the grip of the fossil fuel industry as Australia, which is subservient to it.

But ultimately, I think that as we demonstrate what real resistance looks like, people are going to see how to take back power in this very comfortable land for the majority of us. There’s been massive, massive shifts globally, and nationally, of how people engage in democracy, we’re seeing much more civil disobedience in this country than we were previously, especially in regards to the climate change movement. And that civil resistance is maturing, developing.

And I know that the work that we’ve done in Australia has, has directly influenced and became a scaffold for other climate change movements in other countries. Because I’ve, I’m currently working in a sort of mentor kind of role in a bunch of different countries are looking to develop their movements. So it’s making a shift in terms of what’s acceptable in our society. And it’s also making massive shifts in the way that people engage and their values and they struggle for, I guess, survival in this case.

Andy 

Over the last couple of years, the media has certainly taken notice of your actions, and there’s been quite a lot of criticism and personal attacks. What’s been the effect of that on you personally?

Sergieo Herbert 

Yes, it’s very strange to be walking down the street and in essence getting death threats from people mumbling either to themself, or there’s someone they’re walking with. Behind you.

Yeah, I I’ve experienced a lot of, yeah, threats of violence, ridicule and stuff like that. It’s scary at first. But, you know, ultimately, I’m, I don’t know, I’m a young person trying to do the right thing. And so, I guess like, I don’t know, for me, I’m not doing this to prove how good I am more. To be honest. I don’t think I’m a good person.

And I think that me, doing this work is me trying to at least trying to do good things within a society that has, you know, made me that who I am, which is an imperfect person, you know, socialized to oppress and and recreate hierarchies and all these sorts of things that this society does. So yeah, I don’t get value from others, other people’s opinions of me I get value from my own opinion of me, this work is me fulfilling my purpose in life, which I’ve decided is to prolong the existence of consciousness in the universe. So my metric isn’t how many, you know likes I get on Facebook, or how many people are nice to me, my metric is, how many lives have I saved? How long? Have I delayed the eventual sizzling out of consciousness in the Universe? So honestly, I don’t give a fuck what people think of me.

Andy 

the other side of that equation, I guess, is that when you were in prison, there was a lot of solidarity shown with you from around the country. What effect did that have?

Sergieo Herbert 

Yeah, so I had been in prison in custody for about six days before I was able to contact anyone but my, my lawyer contacted me. And, yeah, told me that there was snap rallies being planned, and stuff like that all over the country. And that felt really good, I almost teared up, it was really significant.

And, yeah, I just value being part of such a powerful set of people with really strong values that have each other’s backs. And to be honest, it’s somewhat predictable.

The non-violence theory suggests that basically like the more violence that is done to a person or a movement, or the more people sympathize with those that were non-violent in the scenario, and back them up, or whether by joining them, or ridiculing their opponent. So that’s ultimately called the ‘backfire effect’. And we were able to see that. So it’s just a testimony to the fact that we are all human. And the normal traits of humans, you know, supporting the people that are getting abused and attacked is all still working. So basically, that’s good news, folks, it turns out, we can employ the nonviolence theory, and it should work. So …. it gives a little bit of confidence.

Andy 

All right, so you’re on bow, you’ve got an appeal pending? What does the future look like for you?

Sergieo Herbert 

Yeah, well, I guess ultimately, I if I’m arrested or breach any of my bail conditions, I will be Yeah, basically sent to prison during awaiting that appeal. So that’s definitely scary. I live with a bit of fear now. Which sucks. But yeah, so basically, I’m looking to be a mentor, and I want to be training the next surge, as we may say, of activists on the frontlines on the Vanguard, you know, I was able to develop really effective strategies that made it so you know, at least 28 times seems to be all good in the hood in terms of dealing with their oppression.

So yeah, I’m looking, I want to be training people I want to be basically like getting people to seriously sign up to face what I’ve faced, because I think that if we shy away from it, if we remain in fear of it, then they win, right? Then their oppression is effective. The way we make the repression, ineffective and this happens everywhere in the civil resistance model, is you sign people up, you sign people up to suffer that amount or more.

And you remove the fear through that. Once the fear is gone. Their violence, their control has no effect. It’s one of the most powerful things in a movement when the fear goes. And that happens from people transcending their fears into their courage, and a community staying strong, no matter the costs. So I’m looking to Yeah, I’m doing a courage in action training on Sunday. I’m going to be doing that weekly, and building up really powerful young people that can take on Australia in 2022 to force climate action and to not fear. Alright, thanks, Serge. Thank you so much.

Song  … I hate the liberal party with a passion so I  voted for the Labour Party man. But the lying little weevil turned  just as evil  ….” – Paul Spencer – Make some music

Andy 

I am loving the chance to play a few civil disobedience anthems that is Paul Spencer there with ‘Make some music’ before then we were speaking with Sergieo Herbert, who is currently appealing his one year prison sentence for doing repeated climate actions. I think there are people out there who disagree with Serg’s politics or ways of going about it. But I think he certainly can’t argue with his dedication and his courage to keep doing what he does. And as somebody else who has done repeated civil disobedience actions over a number of years and who has recently been given a custodial sentence that fortunately she is not currently locked up because of …. is Juliet Lamont… she was arrested earlier this week for blockading Adani’s first trainload of coal from the Carmichael mine … was held on bail, and eventually given a one month sentence suspended for nine months. Let’s have a chat with Juliet. Could you start off by introducing yourself?

Juliette Lamont 

My name is Juliet Lamont. I am a mother of two daughters, and I’m an independent documentary filmmaker.

Andy 

And Julia. Yesterday, you were in court in Bowen Magistrates Court to do with some climate activism. Can you tell us about what happened?

Juliette Lamont 

On Tuesday, myself and my 20 year old daughter Ila walked on to the rail corridor that had a train that was transporting Adani slash Bravus’s first coal. The train was stopped and we both locked onto that train in a you know, in a really kind of united show of force that we need to end coal now. And also in the belief that nonviolent direct action was a really legitimate and powerful way to make that protest. We were arrested and cut out of the lock on devices and then taken to Bowen police station after being arrested.

Andy 

And after being arrested, you were then refused bail, not for the first time?

Juliette Lamont 

Yeah, I was refused. I mean, what was really interesting, though, is like even before I was processed, the Superintendent Craig Shepley, I think his name is or whatever his surname is, um, had said that they put bets on … in the police station as to whether I would do it again. And he had lost money thinking that I wouldn’t be that stupid. And the fact that I was there, and I had done that he was really angry and it said, you’re going to go to Townsville, you’re going to go back to prison for this. So I’d already made that judgment call before that even lay charges was I thought was in a year anyway, it freaked me out because I thought, oh my god, that if he’s got the power to do it at this point, I probably will be given a prison sentence.

Andy 

Because a month earlier, you had done a couple of actions that had led to you also being refused bail then and you’d spent a week in the Townsville prison.

Juliette Lamont 

year. So I’d already been in Townsville prison because we’ve done two actions that were specifically and strategically targeted to happen during the climate talks in Glasgow. So I locked on with Kyle McGee to Hay Point terminal in Mackay. And we stopped operations there, and then a week later, and that was, that was a bail breach, because I was I had actually, you know, had said not to, you know, commit any further offenses and knowing that, but still really wanting to highlight and put, you know, pressure on the Scott Morrison government in Glasgow, I locked onto Abbott point again. And so that was a bail breach. So, yeah, then I was I was basically, till my first matter could be heard. I was incarcerated for seven days in Townsville Women’s Correctional Facility, which was, yeah, a warzone in amongst itself, really, it’s a high security prison for women, you know, have had very broken lives and really traumatized and it’s a place that it’s broken and sick, which was really sort of startling to see.

Andy 

So after a week in the Townsville prison, then you went to court and were sentenced to time served and let out, and then you’ve done this latest action again, for Adani’s first call. And I you refused bail again. And then yesterday went in front of the Bowen Magistrates Court.

Juliette Lamont 

Yeah, yeah,  it was really, um, in the way that it rolled out … because he decided that he needed a night to kind of deliberate, in my head, I thought, well, that’s the rap on the knuckles that I’m getting, which is another night in the watch house, I kind of got feeling thought that that would be his way of saying Juliet, you know, you’ve been punished and you know, don’t disrespect my authority. And I have I have the power to put your way. But I’m not going to do that. But the way that it played out, and his narrative in his rhetoric really was that I was a repeat offender that it was aggravated criminality. And I was never going to learn my lesson. And so the way that his judgment went was really, you know, leading me to believe especially when he said, I was going to be given concurrent, one month’s two lots of one month for two of the offenses. Yeah, I thought that I was going to prison. And then I was taken in handcuffs to the police station. And even the police didn’t know if I’d been released. Or if I was going, they didn’t know. So I had an hour of being back in the watch house in the lockup not knowing and the police couldn’t tell me either until the paperwork was processed. And then I realized, holy shit, I’m actually getting out of here. So that was a massive relief. But it was this weird feeling of I’d totally prepared to just be, you know, sent Townsville prison. So it was a kind of like, it was disbelief, it was relief as well. But yeah, I thought that there was kind of mixed emotions, because I’d psychologically prepared for that, you know, that was my fate, and how I was going to strategically deal with that place, because it’s pretty rough.

Andy 

So you must have known that there was a real risk of going to prison, but you decided that doing these kinds of civil disobedience actions was a course that you wanted to continue to take, why did you decide that?

Juliette Lamont 

Well, I sort of feel like, you know, at the heart of every, every social change, you know, in women’s suffrage and civil rights movement, and, you know, same sex marriage, there’s been, like, at the heart of that, and the kind of driving engine of of that has been the use of non violent direct action. And that’s really effective, you know, the world being a more kind of equal and just price. And so my part in in involving myself in those tactics is because I think that they really work. But then the secondary part of that is, I also feel like, if I did nothing, I couldn’t look at my daughter’s in the eyes, knowing that we’re in this climate emergency. And I’ve just been at home, watching Netflix and you know, getting Uber EATS and, you know, living in this kind of fucked up really denial , in this consumerist culture. And so for me to put my body on the line and be prepared to sacrifice my freedom is, is a part of a moral code that I feel absolutely sort of is in every kind of atom of my being.

Andy 

Okay, so you now have a one month prison sentence suspended for nine months. What’s next for you? Um, well,

Juliette Lamont 

I mean, I do sort of feel like I’m kind of still on the fence about whether I’m going to involve myself in any direct action in those nine months. You know, I sort of feel like that guy could potentially be prepared to serve a prison sentence. But, you know, if that doesn’t happen on the sideline for that I’ve got a Environmental film that I started seven years ago that starts in Russia. With the Arctic 30. And it’s kind of ends at Bimbi. It ends with the Adani stuff. And it’s a personal story, but it’s also about the campaign. So I’ve got about 350 hours of footage that I need to start kind of siphoning through. And yeah, and really focusing on making a really good powerful call to arms environmental documentary to get more people involved. So yeah, there’s that.

Andy 

That is Juliet Lamont there, thankfully, she is still on the outside with us with a suspended prison sentence for taking civil disobedience against Adani coal mine, with her daughter Isla, and great little family moments there. During the week, we are just about at the end of the show, look, as ever, the Paradigm Shift is a bit biased in its reporting.

Andy 

We’re on the side of the people who are standing up for our planet, against those who are destroying it for the profits of multinational companies. And so we need to work out a way to stop it, we’re going into ecological crisis, the governments of the world have agreed to this, the climate scientists of the world agreed, (to) it and yet we are keeping on a trajectory towards climate destruction. And so we need to work out how to intervene.

Andy 

And I’m certain that that involves ordinary people having a say, equal to the disproportionate power of big mining companies. And how do we do that? Well, we’ve got to be smart about it, we’ve got to be tactical. And one of the ways historically, this has been done is civil disobedience, both because it gets you into the media discourse, but also, it physically stops that machine and is a symbol of the real life disruption that we need to do if we’re going to avoid catastrophic climate change. It’s not enough to make a plan, like the Scott Morrison government’s done, it’s not enough to talk about it, like our green washing companies, we need real life changes. And we need a way to get everybody on board with that, and give everybody the power to believe that these changes are going to make a difference. And so civil disobedience is one way of doing that. I believe in it.

Andy 

And the government repression of climate activism is a sign as well, that civil disobedience is having an effect on in the corridors of power. So good on all the people out there are fighting to protect our climate. And if you’re listening, and you’ve been inspired by today’s show, well feel free to join in. There’s plenty of climate groups, both in Brisbane and around the country. That’s it for me this week. I’ll leave you with one last classic civil disobedience anthem. This is Anne Feney with “Have you been to jail for justice?”

Song  ….” Was it Cesar Chavez? Maybe it was …  some said Dr. King or Gandhi said them on their way? No matter who your mentors are? It’s pretty plain to see. If you’ve been to jail for justice. You’re in good company.” – Anne Feeney – Have you been to jail for justice?