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

Civil disobedience


Battle for Beeliar

Posted on March 11th, by Counteractive in Campaigns, Case study, Legal, News. No Comments

Today the people in Western Australia will make a judgement whether they want Barnett and his Liberal government to continue. All signs point to no, but people are waiting hearts in mouths -will the result bring what country needs?

The last three months have seen a pitched battle at the Beeliar wetlands, in the south of Perth, near Fremantle… as the Liberal government have gone full force into bulldozing the urban bushland, and wetlands for a contentious road project that is expected to blow the states budget out more than $8 billion. As with the East West link before, and in tandem with the West Connex protests in Sydney, it is the community that has stepped up to say no to another unwanted road project. To delay work, to monitor the fauna management, to do everything in their power to stand … Read More »



Unfuck the Planet

Posted on July 24th, by Counteractive in Campaigns, Events, News. No Comments

How do we unfuck the planet?

Well, it’s not entirely an easy question to answer but we went to Splendour in the Grass and tried to have a crack at it along with some of the best activist brains in the country.

Splendour in the Grass turns 16 this year, and the Splendour Forum has become a key part of it over the last seven years with the growing institution of the Splendour Q&A (which Barnaby Joyce woosed out of this year), lots of comedy and nerdy learning.

They have a great tradition of bringing progressive and contentious ideas, and injecting a bit of politics and activism into a festival scene otherwise filled with dancing, drinking and too much plastic.

Our unfucking conversation was wide ranging – hosted by Dr Lindsay McDougall – prolific tweeter, musician and all round champ.

We heard about the biggest … Read More »



The peoples parliament

Posted on December 4th, by Counteractive in Campaigns, News. No Comments

On Wednesday 2nd February the largest climate civil disobedience in Australia’s history occurred in Federal Parliament. People from all walks of life came together for a powerful gathering holding our elected leaders to account.

Led by traditional custodians, pacific islanders and communities impacted by living on the frontlines of climate change, over 250 gathered in Canberra for several days preparation, action, and learning. As we occupied Parliament House the staff got quite the surprise as hundreds of people commenced their own Peoples Parliament – hearing from those with most to lose (and most to learn from) from climate change.

The well organised event saw more than 200 people dragged from Parliament simply for speaking their mind in the foyer. No arrests were made.

You can check the Peoples Parliament website and still send messages of support, and read others here. Some of the … Read More »



Civil disobedience in the public interest

Posted on July 27th, by Counteractive in Campaigns, Case study, News, Resources, Uncategorized. No Comments

It’s a challenging process to write a submission for a parliamentary inquiry that seems so likely have a forgone conclusion.

The committee that is examining the tax deductible status and regulations of environment groups telegraphed their desired outcomes long before receiving any evidence. Luckily for us, the mining companies were a bit slow on the uptake so they were allowed late submissions, and then we were – which is exciting – as we thought we’d missed the chance with a full plate, and only slightly less resources than the mining industry.

Over 99% of the more than 9000 submissions supported the environment movement, and the incredible history and gains that have been made for everyone in this country – through a range of protest, lobbying, advocacy, markets and divestment campaigning and yes, tree planting.

Apparently the last one is the only one that … Read More »



Raising the heat – raising the bar

Posted on May 21st, by Counteractive in Campaigns, Case study, Events, News. No Comments

What a day! Actions all over the country, including a massive action we supported and participated in at a key Melbourne Commonwealth Bank branch. More than 60 people gathered with 25 remaining all day (9 hours!) occupying and triggering a complete shut down of the bank, as well as a number of others around the country. It was part of a massive week of action that 350.org have coordinated, and this action was pulled off by Direct Action Melbourne, consisting of a large range of groups and individuals concerned about climate change, such as Quit Coal, 350.org, Frontline Action on Coal, CounterAct and others.

We were calling on Commbank to rule out funding in the controversial climate catastrophe in waiting – the proposed Abbott Point coal, port expansion, and the massive mines proposed, by Adani, for the Galilee Basin in Queensland.

Activists … Read More »



Honouring the rebel

Posted on May 11th, by Counteractive in Events, News, Surveillance. No Comments

There is this strange feeling in my gut. It’s like a mix of old pain from long ago, and too much caffeine, and an uneasy churn. And it tastes brittle and metallic in my mouth.

It is a quiet unease rising that I don’t have the tools to deal with.

It seems to be how I feel about the state of progressive politics in Australia right now.

I’m in a room with 1000 people who are supposed to be our best and brightest and I am shit scared.

Whilst I am fully aware of the unsustainability of working in panic mode, I FEEL LIKE THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE.

More panic? Probably not.

More something? Hell yes.

Our world is being shot down in flames by inequity and arrogance so breathtaking that…it’s literally breath taking.

And it feels like we are overwhelmingly unprepared and out gunned. Despite the … Read More »



We are under attack

Posted on April 11th, by Counteractive in Campaigns, Events, News. No Comments

On the 730 report last night CounterAct and Friends of the Earth were singled out by the right wing warriors of the Liberal party.

With an enquiry being opened into the tax deductible status of environment groups, this is just another attack on the effective work of our grassroots organisations.

We have been informed George Christensen, all round charmer, and climate denier provided documentation to the 730 report, outlining his attacks on us, our work educating people about their rights and how to participate in nonviolent action… as well as various grudges against Friends of the Earth and their financial arrangements with affiliates like ours, and auspicing other grassroots groups – all of which is above the law.

Despite a comprehensive review in 2012, a subsequent enquiry in 2014 … in all of which FOE have been completely cleared of any wrong doing, … Read More »



What the warriors taught me

Posted on November 24th, by Counteractive in Campaigns, Case study, News. No Comments

I saw a coal ship loaded with 100 000 tonnes of coal come to a grinding halt in the port of Newcastle.
It was a beautiful sight to behold.
A handful of traditional carved canoes backed up by hundreds of Australians in kayak as the pacific climate warriors flotilla was successful in blocking and delaying access to coal ships for a day.

Lots has been written about the climate warriors and their trip to Australia. Lots of people have
written about bravery, and defiance and ‘against all odds’ and David and goliath, scrambling for tried
and true ways to describe the stunning contrast of a handful of people up against, literally up against, the coal machine.

A metaphor in a metaphor. A graphic visual of resistance writ large.
But I want to talk about other things.

Heart, spirit and resilience.

The final prep and training phases for the flotilla … Read More »



Don’t frack with them: Seaspray 1, Rinehart 0

Posted on July 5th, by Counteractive in Campaigns, Case study. No Comments

The little room was overflowing so we moved. Packed up chairs and shuffled them into the basketball auditorium.

It was a pretty good turnout for a tiny town like Seaspray, Victoria – population 300.

As we sat there – the basketball court festooned with Australian flags – I wondered how many of these kinds of meetings have happened across the country. Small country townspeople with little involvement previously in politics having to meet. Dealing with the idea of being arrested for defending their farms.

The group seemed intrigued and partly in shock as I started talking about direct action. I told them what it involved and about how quickly we would need to be ready to move if Lakes Oil moved in. It was way out of their comfort zone, but they were ready to step up.

It was January 2014. We discussed what logistics and planning would need to … Read More »



Building alliances against big coal

Posted on March 5th, by Counteractive in Campaigns, News. No Comments

From a farming community and a small base camp, the campaign to save Maules Creek and the Leard state forest in New South Wales, from being turned into a massive new coal mine, has grown into an issue of national importance and is one of the strongest emerging frontlines for the climate movement in resisting new coal expansion.

The success of the growing campaign and the consistent direct action which has been running for over 500 days and more recently consistently with a series of running actions for last two months, can be measured in part by the increasing attacks from the mining industry in the media and efforts to shut down camp.

With headlines in the Australian like Whitehaven under pressure as Maules brawl steps up and a public campaign seeking to marginalise the protestors, as well as pressure being put … Read More »