“I visited the shrine at Hiroshima. I know the history of Maralinga. And I’ve witnessed the struggle at Jabiluka. I have long been opposed to uranium mining, and I remain opposed to it. I am unapologetic about this. In fact, I am proud of it.” ~ Peter Garrett, debate on uranium, 2007 ALP National Conference, July 31–August 2.
Mr. Garrett, a former anti-uranium activist who stood for the Nuclear Disarmament Party, said he was ”certain [Four Mile uranium mine] poses no credible risk to the environment” after it was subjected to a ”rigorous and comprehensive assessment”.
In September, Deputy Premier Kevin Foley refused to negotiate an out-of-court settlement. “The Government will not negotiate a wholsesale settlement with a bunch of feral protesters who put the safety of our police officers in peril,” he said at the time. “The Government sends a clear message to any anarchist group of protesters that we will not be a soft touch.”
“Before election to Parliament, Kevin was Chief of Staff to the Premier of South Australia, Hon Lynn Arnold. He had worked previously as Senior Adviser on Mr Arnold’s Ministerial staff for some five years. Kevin’s prior employment included experience with the Australian Trade Commission, Cadbury Schweppes, Boral Limited and a ten-year career in sales and marketing with Australian National Industries, a major steel distribution company in Australia. Kevin enjoys reading, water sports and golf, and is a keen observer of his two young sons’ sporting activities.”
Beverley uranium mine protesters ‘herded like cattle’
Sean Fewster, Ken McGregor
October 8, 2009
POLICE herded protesters into metal crates “like cattle” during a uranium mine protest, a court has heard.
Ten people, including a television cameraman, today asked the Supreme Court to award them $630,000 compensation over the violent clash near the Beverley uranium mine site at Andamooka in May 2000.
Brian Walters, for the plaintiffs, said his clients deserved “a significantly high award of damages” from the “remorseless, unapologetic” Rann Government.
“This case is a nasty example of police violence that was premeditated, consistent and paid no heed to legal requirements,” he said.
“Police used capsicum spray like it was fly spray and used their vehicles like weapons.
“They placed protesters, as if they were cattle, into shipping containers in the middle of the desert and conducted welding while they were inside.”
The plaintiffs, most of whom live interstate, are claiming damages for pain, injury and loss.
In September, Deputy Premier Kevin Foley refused to negotiate an out-of-court settlement.
“The Government will not negotiate a wholsesale settlement with a bunch of feral protesters who put the safety of our police officers in peril,” he said at the time.
“The Government sends a clear message to any anarchist group of protesters that we will not be a soft touch.”
Yesterday, Mr Walters said those comments had further inflamed the case.
“They show a complete absence of remorse by the State, and there has never been an apology,” he said.
“It’s not just a lack of remorse – it’s further injury to my clients by further insult to them.”
The trial, before Justice Tim Anderson, is expected to last eight weeks.
Outside court, a group of allied anti-nuclear protesters gathered in a show of solidarity.
“Mr Foley’s decision not to negotiate was pig-headed, given the way police behaved,” spokeswoman Nectaria Calan said.
“We are concerned about the level of police oppression, it was ridiculous… they had a right to protest.”
Beverley uranium mine is owned by Heathgate Resources Pty, Ltd.; an ‘affiliate’ of General Atomics (GA). Heathgate and GA allegedly hired a former spook, Mehmet Ersoy/Osman, to spy on groups and individuals opposed to the mine. “US company General Atomics and its Australian subsidiary, Heathgate Resources, declined to answer questions about Mehmet, who also provided personal protection to visiting General Atomics executives. A Heathgate spokeswoman said the company was privately owned and had a policy of not responding to media questions” (Mehmet Ersoy/Osman : Former officer hired to spy, October 17, 2008).
See also : Uranium find prompts bid to grow Beverley mine, Barry Fitzgerald, The Sydney Morning Herald, September 21, 2009.
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