CounterAct provides training, capacity building and resources to environmental and social justice campaigners across Australia.

it is alive

Posted on May 14th, by Counteractive in Events, Legal, News, Resources. No Comments

it is alive

Whew! After nearly 18 months since we first discussed it, we are so thrilled to say that our Legals Handbook is alive! And has been released into the wild. Much painstaking work in conjunction with Environmental Justice Australia and our fabulous interns, Jen and Orietta, many hours of edits, and fine tuning, and a lot of discussion, sourcing photos and graphics with our wonderful designer... and it is here. Thanks also to Victoria Law Foundation for covering most of the printing.

This was a deliberate collaboration where we hoped to strike a chord between accurate legal information, and a real sense of how interactions with police can sometimes play out – whilst giving a realistic perspective of the overstated, but often relatively minor consequences for participating in peaceful civil disobedience protest. It was designed to be approachable for new activists, trying to minimise cliquey activist language. Y’all will of course be the judge about how well we struck this balance.

DOWNLOAD HERE (warning, web resolution, but still 4.5 mgb)

We had a great launch with people coming from across Gippsland, local environmentalists and climate activists and lawyers.



I want a copy! How do I get one?

To start with, we have limited supplies and encourage you to only grab a paper one if you need it. If you are going to flick through it for two minutes and leave it on a shelf, then maybe just check out the online version (web res, 4.5 mb).

For hard copy versions – you can pick one up at Friends of the Earth (312 Smith St, Collingwood, upstairs) or Environmental Justice Australia (60L Building, Leicester St, Carlton), and if you are connected to unconventional gas campaigns in the regions contact Chloe Aldenhoven or Ursula Alquier who have 50 copies each for distro. If you can afford a donation of $5 towards reprint that would be appreciated.

Any queries, or for link to high res versions contact us.

Is it only for climate activists?

Hell no! It was designed to be useful to a range of activists, but it also focuses on laws that are applicable specifically to activists challenging unconventional gas and coal. So, it doesn’t go into detail useful for forest activists (luckily the legends at Lawyers for forests have that covered), or other areas of specific activist focus.

Why didn’t you include this? (insert thing you want included)

It may be that we didn’t think of it, or it may be that we didn’t prioritise it. It is very hard to condense this kind of information.

We wanted to provide factual information, in an accessible way, in a tone that didn’t scare off people newer to activism, and talked about what commonly happens in the experience of activists in Victoria. Not scary one off incidences of bad policing, or rare applications of law. That said, we’ve also encouraged folks to be realistic in their encounters with police and hold them accountable.

That said, if you feel like something important is missing, or you’ve noted an error, let us know.

Why is it only for Victoria? Can we get one in our state?

Laws can differ substantially state to state. It was hard enough to fit everything into this one (it is already too long we reckon) and we couldn’t fit the nuances of different law into one booklet.

We have committed to making the original information available to other community legal centres who may wish to adapt and partner with both us and Environmental Justice Australia on local versions. The issue is, it is very time consuming, and we have already spent many 100’s of hours on it, and sourcing local materials – for both the laws, and the activist examples will be time consuming, so grants/funding will need to be secured – for our time, as well as other work required.

But aren’t you environmentalists – why are you chopping down trees you evil people?

Our printing was done on 100% recycled materials by the super ethical printers at Black Rainbow. Old fashioned paper is still pretty useful on the frontlines of activism. It’s hard to bring up and search details of laws on your smart phone when the cops are on the way, or you are out of range. Also, no kittens were harmed in the production of this booklet.

I love this – what an amazing resource! How do I support your work?

Why thanks for asking. This took hundreds of hours of volunteer labour. Because we care about your rights. If you want to support us with a regular monthly donation, or a cool one off donation of $50 000, we are open to that too. Also our lawyer mates at Environmental Justice are pretty rad too.

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