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

coal seam gas


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 »



Defending the commons

Posted on July 20th, by Counteractive in Campaigns, Case study, Events, News. No Comments

This article was originally published here in New Matilda: Environmentalist and non-violent direct action trainer Nicola Paris hits back at a parliamentary inquiry threatening green groups’ tax exempt status.

More than thirty years ago people in Tasmania made history as nonviolent protest changed the nature of political debate on the environment in this country.

In recent years, politicians from both sides of the political divide have honoured that victory.

The Franklin River is enjoyed by people today, because of those hardy souls who made history decades ago.

This week in Hobart, key figures from that campaign, and other organisations protecting Tasmania’s iconic wild places, will appear before a hostile parliamentary inquiry seeking to strip environmental organisations of their public support.

The intent of the inquiry has always been clear – even before being telegraphed by outspoken right wing warrior MP, George Christensen.

It’s about removing funding … Read More »



it is alive

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

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 … 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 »



Spring into action

Posted on September 12th, by Counteractive in Campaigns, Events, News. No Comments

Haven’t written for a while – between a well earned break and launching back into a hectic time, we’ve been a bit remiss.

There is some great movement around the country – from a huge sold out nonviolent direct action weekend in Perth, to farmers preparing for action, to the impending Pacific Warrior tour – climate action in particular is taking off all over the country.

You can still make the training we have this weekend if you register TODAY (12th September) and get ready for a huge action to support the pacific climate warriors.

They are readying their canoes to block the worlds biggest coal port. Like the people mobilising in Gippsland and the Pilliga I am consistently impressed by peoples bravery – I wonder if we, as a broad movement, aren’t giving people enough credit for being ready to take action. … 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 »



The day the climate movement shifted gear in Australia

Posted on May 2nd, by Counteractive in Campaigns, News. 1 Comment

It didn’t really rate much of a mention. A small local piece on the regional New South Wales news a couple of days ago, about the biggest day in court Narrabri had ever seen. 83 people were arrested in a single day on the 31st March in a significant action that involved the occupation of Whitehaven’s proposed mine expansion. In court on the 29th April, Over 100 people who had put their bodies on the line in recent months to stop destructive fossil fuel industries operating in the Leard and Pilliga forests were heard in court. Around 60 people received $300 fines for minor trespass charges. Some people are contesting charges. I am one of them.

I was proud to stand that day with doctors and teachers, with retirees and students. I was proud to stand with Bill Ryan, 92 year … Read More »



Nana’s lock down parliament

Posted on June 24th, by Counteractive in Campaigns. No Comments

We were really happy to support a great action at Parliament House in Canberra on the 21st June.  We headed from Melbourne with a contingent of folks from Quit Coal to support a large civil disobedience action in support of rights to clean air, land and water.  Over 120 people blocked access to the main doors of parliament calling for a right to veto intrusions on their land by coal and gas companies.  There are some great pictures from Lock the Gate, and a good video from Prime News here.  

Highlights were people from all walks of life sharing their stories – landowners, tourism operators, farmers – and then we had the gas girls, and knitting nana’s who were merrily rampaging around assaulting people with knitted beanies – it was hard to make a call whether Bob Katter, Larrisa … Read More »