We will be loud against the silence
Angry at the greed
We will not beg
We are defiant
Tell it like it is
– Phil Monsour and the crisis actors, ‘Our House is on fire‘
It was Anna Bligh’s Queensland Labor government that sold Queensland Rail to QR National for $15B. QR national was later rebadged to Aurizon Holdings Ltd). Aurizon Holdings Ltd is a monopoly that runs the Central Queensland Coal Network (CQCN). It allows various rail operators to run rolling stock on CQCN. The Queensland government retained shares in Aurizon some which the Campbell Newman LNP government sold for $1.5B. Therefore both Labor and LNP participated in the privatisation of Queensland Rail.
In 2015 Aurizon had net cash inflows of $686 million (it grosses in the $$$Billions). Yet this environmental vandal only paid 1.3% tax.
Now it is going after five students and teachers for $$$ in the hundreds of thousands. We publish a statement from the Aurizon Five below along with interviews and the song Our House is on Fire. The matter goes before Mr Justice Glenn Martin in the Brisbane Supreme Court on 11 April 2019. Former Qld Environment Minister, Steven Miles, makes a cameo appearance at the end of the articles. Here are the details of the court appearance. Get along if you can and support these activists.
|AURIZON OPERATIONS LIMITED & another -V- FRONT LINE ACTION ON COAL INCORPORATED||
Environmental Activists ‘The Aurizon Five’ face $375,000 in Damages After Stopping Coal Trains Headed to Adani’s Port
Aurizon Operations, Australia’s largest rail freight company, has launched legal action against five environmental activists who stopped coal trains, and is seeking $375,000 in damages. On Thursday the 11th of April, the Supreme Court of Queensland will hear a joinder application that seeks to indict the five individuals. Aurizon will try and add them as co-defendants to civil claims filed in November against group Frontline Action on Coal (FLAC) Incorporated. The claim includes an injunction, making trespass on Aurizon land punishable by imprisonment, and charges of $750,000
– $375,000 for FLAC Inc. and $75,000 each for individuals – in damages for the protests.
Aurizon (formerly Queensland Rail), has been under public scrutiny for the role their rail lines will play in the controversial Adani Carmichael coal project and subsequent development of the Galilee Basin. Between October 2018 and January 2019, four activists blocked coal freight from entering Adani’s Abbot Point coal terminal near Bowen and the fifth halted a train headed to the Port of Brisbane, demanding that Aurizon rule out a partnership with Adani and refuse haulage contracts with any new coal mines.
“If coal gets a future, then we don’t. Aurizon’s refusal to adapt their business model despite the catastrophic impacts of burning fossil fuels shows blatant disregard for our welfare.” Jesse Secomb, a co-defendant.
The Aurizon Five include two high school teachers and two students; should the damages claim be successful, the activists would face either crippling debt or bankruptcy.
To Clancey Maher, a 23yr old Nursing & Public Health student from the University of Canberra, the legal action by Aurizon’s lawyers resembles the ‘trained attack dog’ strategy that AJ & Co law firm promised to utilize on behalf of Adani, in a document that was leaked to media in February 2019.
“Aurizon is instigating a SLAPP suit against us; this is symptomatic of the fossil fuel industry’s strategy when faced with dissent. We’ve already seen it happening in the way Adani has treated indigenous leaders who stand up for their homeland, and are essentially crushed with the threat of bankruptcy.” Maher.
For Greg Rolles, a 37-year-old geography teacher, money is not the issue. “We are in the midst of climate catastrophe. We are doing our best to protect ourselves where previous generations have failed us. I just want a safe home for the next generation. Taking me to court, won’t stop me from fighting for that.”
Sadie Jones, a Zoology student at the University of Queensland, sees the Aurizon case as a shameful tactic representative of the stranglehold that large corporations have on democracy.
“A company that grossed over 3 billion last year trying to bankrupt a handful of students and schoolteachers over environmental protests is almost laughable. But then I remember what’s happening to us and wonder just how our system became so broken.” Jones.
The Aurizon Five will oppose the damages in court, determined to preserve their right to protest in the face of corporate intimidation.
“People raising concerns held by the majority of Australians have been flagrantly ignored by the government and corporate sector,” says co-defendant, Hannah Doole, “now those standing up are being targeted. Aurizon’s attack relies on their position of power, because in reason they fall way short. This abuse of power only highlights the need to stand up against the corrupt coal industry”.
|Clancey Maher Co-defendant 0466824094 firstname.lastname@example.org||Hannah Doole Co-defendant 0499328989 email@example.com||Sadie Jones Co-defendant 0430 359 979 firstname.lastname@example.org|