It has been a challenging few months for CounterAct, with the intense scrutiny of the parliamentary inquiry, and the mining industry trying to drum up attack media on our work.
In the end the inquiry was much less hostile than we were anticipating. A fortuitous change of Prime Minister just days earlier, and some not so subtle signals from power brokers in the party on the morning of the Melbourne hearings seemed to indicate that the (slightly) less ideologically driven Turnbull government would not be coming out all guns blazing as had earlier appeared likely.
We gave evidence, alongside Friends of the Earth, and Marketforces, and despite some attempts to corral us, we stayed on message, and gave little ammunition to the committee. They even finished up 15 minutes early – something we would have placed money on never happening! And almost disappointingly, our main fan George Christensen didn’t ask us one single question. You can check out the transcripts here.
It has been great to see the unified response of the environment movement to these attacks – despite deliberate attempts by the government to drive wedges into the sector, more conservative groups refused to condemn or speak against groups with more grassroots, and progressive approaches, such as our own.
A rally on the steps of Parliament demonstrated the strength of feeling in Melbourne with hundreds gathering on the steps on a Monday lunch time. This guardian article outlines some of the key points made at the rally by Cam Walker, of Friends of the Earth.
To all those who assisted, gave legal advice and counsel, moral support and even practiced shouting at us, we are deeply grateful!