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

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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 »



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 »



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 »



Tecoma roars

Posted on July 9th, by Counteractive in Campaigns, News. 1 Comment

It is the little campaign that could… McDonald’s figured that this would be a brief protest that they would be able to move past quickly but things haven’t quite worked to plan.

We did some nonviolent direct action training with the community a few weeks back and they are an impressive bunch. Coordinated, articulate and dedicated – they are proving a force to be reckoned with.

In the last week they have gotten the kind of media that many grassroots campaigns can only dream of, with articles in the Australian, the Age, and the Sydney Morning Herald. Nightly news bulletins have featured them multiple times over this last big week, including the ABC and live crosses from morning shows like Sunrise.  Even a positive editorial in the Herald Sun – no easy feat.

They have gained the support of construction unions who are … Read More »