The Australian Greens showed their true colours recently when they lauded the actions of an economic saboteur.
Described by some media sources as a “prankster” and a “hoaxer”, environmental activist Jonathan Moylan caused a major financial panic with his fake January media release, purportedly issued by the ANZ Bank.
The release was designed to damage the company Whitehaven Coal by suggesting that $1.2 billion in finance for a major expansion had been declined by the ANZ.
It said: “The decision to withdraw our loan facility has been made after a careful analysis of reputational risks and analysis of the returns on this mine in the current climate of high volatility in the coal export market.” (News.com.au, January 7, 2013).
On being broadcast and published, the release caused a market panic. Whitehaven’s shares plummeted 8.8 per cent in minutes before trading was halted and the hoax uncovered. The $450,000 wiped from Whitehaven’s value was initially thought to be in the millions, although, as federal shadow environment minister Greg Hunt noted, the damage was still “a substantial sum” for most people (Sydney Morning Herald, January 16, 2013).
Police swiftly located Moylan, armed with laptop, in Leard State Forest, New South Wales. He had been camping in the forest for the previous 160 days to protest against planned coal mines.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is now considering launching legal action against him. One wonders whether Centrelink will be contacting him too.…
While no doubt less lethal than the dangerous anti-logging practice of tree-spiking — or the so-called Sea Shepherds’ practice of ramming vessels on the high seas (News Weekly, March 3, 2007) — Moylan’s actions signal something of a change in the way militant environmentalists operate.
Ultra-left green groups, perhaps weary of calling for boycotts or fearful that their public bleating is falling on deaf ears, seem to be moving far beyond acceptable behaviour in a democratic society — and doing so with the support of their political fellow-travellers.
Born and bred Stalinist Lee Rhiannon, now a Greens senator for New South Wales, apparently congratulated Moylan and his group, Frontline Action on Coal, on Twitter (The Australian, January 9, 2013).
Topping this, Greens leader Christine Milne, perhaps suffering from relevance deprivation syndrome since Bob Brown’s retirement, heaped praise on Moylan for his “civil disobedience”.
Milne said that Moylan’s act of sabotage was “part of a long and proud history of civil disobedience, potentially breaking the law, to highlight something wrong” (Sydney Morning Herald, January 10, 2013).
“Something wrong”? What’s wrong is that this economic vandalism has been publicly condoned by people elected to represent Australian voters and their interests.
It is noteworthy that the Greens have continued to enjoy double-digit figures in recent polls. Despite what many predicted, the Greens have not peaked federally (notwithstanding their lacklustre performance at the state level) and could conceivably increase their Senate presence at this year’s election.
In theory (and assuming that other variables, such as preference flows, remain similar to the last election’s), our lawmaking process could be faced with as many as 12 Green senators (up from the current nine).
This scenario may not eventuate; but to ensure it doesn’t, it is imperative that incidents like the Whitehaven Coal hoax are reported far and wide. The Greens and their sympathisers in far-left environmentalist groups thrive because they enjoy an undeserved, and apparently undiminished, reputation for being the authentic voice of conservation.
The reality is quite different, as amply demonstrated by Milne’s and Rhiannon’s comments.
In supporting Moylan’s act of wilful sabotage, Milne has shown herself to be utterly insensitive to Whitehaven’s employees and investors and, by extension, to the Australian public.
Many Australians work in mining or electricity-generation and related industries. Most Australians have superannuation, a good proportion of which is tied up in these industries. All Australians use electricity, the base load of which, despite comical and costly Green fantasies, comes from coal and gas.
Milne would do well to consider these realities before embarking on foolish crusades.
Her colleague, Lee Rhiannon, has quite a reputation of her own. A second-generation member of the Communist Party of Australia, and subsequently its Stalinist offshoot the Socialist Party of Australia, Rhiannon’s recent comment should come as no surprise.
Federal Labor MP Michael Danby made this point well when writing for The Punch in 2011: “She loyally supported all the crimes of the Soviet Union [while a CPA and SPA member]…. And this was not a passing phase for her. She remained a senior and active member of the SPA until well into her 30s. She only abandoned communism when it had visibly failed as a useful vehicle for left-wing politics. She then joined the Greens, which is now the main vehicle for left-wing politics in Australia.” (The Punch, August 26, 2011).
Far-left environmental groups deserve to face far greater scrutiny, and the radical program of the Greens in particular must be exposed well before the next federal election.
Damian Wyld is South Australian president of the National Civic Council.
“Hoax sparks Whitehaven share plunge”, www.News.com.au, January 7, 2013.
Christian Kerr, “Lee Rhiannon praises Whitehaven hoaxer Jonathan Moylan”,The Australian, January 9, 2013.
Jonathan Swan, Judith Ireland and Damien Bright, “Greens’ praise for anti-coal hoax proves their extremism — Abetz”, Sydney Morning Herald, January 10, 2013.
Paddy Manning, “Don’t believe the hype over the cost of Whitehaven hoax”, Sydney Morning Herald, January 16, 2013.
Michael Danby, “Whether she likes it or nyet, Lee Rhiannon was a Stalinist”, The Punch (Australia), August 26, 2011.