Climate activist Juliet Lamont has been given a suspended prison sentence for taking peaceful protest action this morning in the Bowen Magistrates Court.
Ms Lamont, a 50 year old documentary film-maker and mother of two, was given a one month term of imprisonment suspended for nine months. She was charged after locking herself to a train on Tuesday carrying the first coal from Adani’s controversial Carmichael mine. She had initially been refused bail and has been held in custody since taking the action.
Before she blocked the train, Ms Lamont said “I feel a profound moral obligation to protect our futures. The science is in and the writing is on the wall. If we don’t immediately stop our reliance on fossil fuels and get it down to zero, we won’t be able to keep under 1.5 degrees of warming. I think we all know deep down the kind of emergency this is. It really is time for ordinary Australians to act. I know I couldn’t live with myself and couldn’t look my daughters in the eye if I did nothing. So I’m taking direct action.”
Frontline Action on Coal spokesperson Andy Paine said “this is the latest example of consistent overreach by the legal system against climate activists who are taking non-violent action against industries that are knowingly destroying our climate. It’s not just the prison sentences that we have seen handed out recently. There is a repeated trend of those who make and enforce the law abusing it to restrict protest movement.
“For a number of years, bail conditions have been wrongly used to restrict the freedom of movement and association for activists. In 2019, the Queensland premier used blatant lies about explosives placed within lock-on devices to bring in the Dangerous Attachment Device law that has now been used to imprison a protester. Last month NSW police commissioner Mick Fuller made a mockery of the law by spuriously charging peaceful protesters with ‘intent to injure or kill or injure person on railway’.
“If the police, courts and governments of Australia put as much effort into punishing those who are destroying our climate as they do to those trying to save it, maybe we wouldn’t be in the ecological crisis that we are. But the blatant hypocrisy of our legal system means that people of conscience and courage are going to keep taking direct action like this. It is the only avenue ordinary Australians have to address the disproportionate political power of polluting industries.”