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Searle Sentenced to Community Service for Anti-Mine Protest

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Transcript of ‘door stop’ interviews with Dr Bob Brown (from start) and Dr Lisa Searle (9:19), outside Hobart Magistrates Court, 12 April 2021. Dr Bob Brown The magistrate has given Lisa community service, which is sentencing a person to what she does every hour of the day, whether it’s the doctoring here or overseas, or […]

Transcript of ‘door stop’ interviews with Dr Bob Brown (from start) and Dr Lisa Searle (9:19), outside Hobart Magistrates Court, 12 April 2021.

Dr Bob Brown

The magistrate has given Lisa community service, which is sentencing a person to what she does every hour of the day, whether it’s the doctoring here or overseas, or her defence of the environment upon which good health of all us human beings depends. Lisa Searle does more hours of community service than anybody else I know as it is. Diverting her from one thing to another is something we’ll just have to watch and see what happens. What I do know is that the effort to try to stop Lisa Searle or me or the growing majority of people who want action to end our forest destruction by punishment is not going to work. Because our hearts are in saving this planet for future generations. You can’t take the heart out of people who want this planet, future generations and our fellow species to be made safe and secure. And just today, this government has started firebombing forests in Tasmania again after having utterly destroyed them, that is destroying totally the habitat, the wildlife, forests themselves and pouring tons of greenhouse gases into an already overloaded atmosphere with with a threat to not just the economy, but to the well being of people for generations to come. And Lisa Searle is a magnificent example to people of all ages, but particularly to young people, in making a stand, in taking action. And I know the magistrate has said that she needs to be stopped from re-offending. The offence here, including the diversion of police resources comes from the criminality of destroying these forests. This legalised criminality, of logging, burning, needlessly for export Tasmania’s magnificent forests and their wildlife. If the government wants to stop police being diverted from other duties, they should stop this destruction of forests. I put the responsibility for the police diversion right on premier Gutwein. If he did the right thing, there would be no police diversion. So that’s just trying to finger the wrong person. Lisa Searle has got a morality here which we can all learn from. I’m proud of her. It’s great to be her friend. I encourage her to keep standing strong for our forests. I’ll be there with her, so a lot more other people as the public support for making that stand in the forests where the destruction grows day by day, right across this country. Not just in Tasmanian but across the country. So it’s another step along the way. But the best thing that could happen if this government wants to stop these in-forest protests is for it to end native forest logging, as they did in New Zealand 20 years ago. New Zealand can do it, we can do it. There’s plenty of forests in plantations to meet our wood needs in this great country of ours. We don’t need to be destroying the most magnificent forests on the planet in so many ways, as the Gutwein government’s doing.

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Journalist

You’re saying essentially, this isn’t going to deter you from continuing to protect the forests. But do you think that the arrest and disruption from a few protesters is going to deter the government?

Dr Bob Brown

Well, it’s got this government going. I know that … just the advertising for the election campaign has got the Minister for Forests in conniptions. Look, it’s an election issue. We are in a democracy. We’re calling on people to vote for candidates who don’t stand for the destruction of the forests of Tasmania and the government’s worried about it. So we’ll see. But Lisa Searle is a magnificent Tasmanian I’m proud to know. I’m proud to see her doing what she’s doing. She is an intelligent, forthright, well-thought-out doctor who’s prepared to step off the footpath, to put a halt to something that is wrong for Tasmania and particularly is a crime against future generations of people who want a secure planet. Good on you Lisa, we’re with you. And we’ll be with you down the line as I know she continues to advocate for saving our forests and their wildlife.

Journalist

But what would your message be to taxpayers who might say that diverting police resources is a waste of their money?

Dr Bob Brown

My message to taxpayers worried about their money being spent on police resources is vote against the Gutwein government, which has put up, with other governments, hundreds of millions of taxpayers money into a failing logging industry, money that should have gone to schools and hospitals. $2 billion of taxpayers money, federal and state, has gone to this loser of a logging industry in the last three decades. And here we are in Tasmania, short of money for schools and hospitals. Stop subsidising this industry and there’ll be more money for taxpayers and for taxpayer services. Voting for more of this is voting for wasting taxpayers money on these logging industries, much of which is owned outside Tasmania. So yeah. Economically employment-wise, and environmentally, this destruction of our native forest is a loser.

Tasmanian Times

With this vote environment campaign, it’s probably the most high profile presence of Bob Brown in Tasmanian politics since you formally left politics Why now?

Dr Bob Brown

Well, we’ve been building up to it. You know, it’s taken a little bit of time. But, boy, I’m glad I’ve got involved with all these wonderful folks in protecting forests. You know, the public wants action. All the polls show that logging forests is a disaster. But the big corporations have got the two big parties on a string. Now voters can change that. And that’s what we’re here to do and that’s what Lisa, so this wonderful campaigner for Tasmania’s future, is doing and I have no doubt the public is with her.

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Journalist

Dr Searle had prior convictions of trespass and resisting a police officer. And she’d been given fines in the past and the magistrate said clearly that wasn’t deterring you I need to impose a harsher conviction or punishment. Are you not concerned that by you constantly returning to the same, constantly doing the same thing, will mean that the court will continue to impose stronger punishments?

Dr Bob Brown

I think the courts are only as good as the law. And there’s no doubt the government is imposing harsher penalties on environmentalists. And if Premier Gutwein gets re-elected, they’ll be back again with even greater. They cannot win the environmental argument, so they want to lock up environmentalists, but it’s not going to work. Because they can’t lock up our hearts, which is in protecting Tasmania’s environment. So the court has to do what it does, but it’s not going to deter a growing revulsion and action against the destruction of Tasmania’s native forests and their wildlife. And I think the very fact that the the penalties get harsher against environmentalists is simply going to bring greater public sympathy to ending native forest logging in Tasmania. Lisa is a very intelligent and strong woman. She understands what’s at stake here. But neither the government nor the legal system, nor the courts are going to change her spirit, which is for our forests. And thank God, we have such powerful leaders in our midst.

Dr Lisa Searle

So I’m here at the Hobart Magistrate’s Court today, I’ve just been seen, before the magistrate for charges of trespass and resisting arrest, and I’ve been found guilty. I’ve been given a community corrections order. So I will have to perform 49 hours of community service. And I will have to do that over a period of 18 months, and be responsible to a probations officer in that time. Sorry, I have to report to my probation officer during that time, so my movements in and out of Tasmania will be monitored and restricted. I was aware, going into the action that I took a few weeks ago of the potential consequences of my actions. And I have been arrested a number of times and charged and convicted a number of times over the past 10 years, while standing up to defend the rights of our forests, and defend the rights of our natural places, as well as the rights of refugees. I believe very passionately in what I do, and I believe very passionately in civil disobedience as a way to stop injustice and to stop atrocities from happening. My involvement in the forest campaigns, my involvement against mining and my involvement in protecting the Tarkine over the last 10 years, has seen really powerful changes. And I believe that we should continue down the path of civil disobedience. I believe that we should continue standing up for what is right, and we should continue standing up against injustice in this world. Sorry. *crying*

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Journalist

You want to stop?

Dr Lisa Searle

No, no, no, I want to keep going. Keep going if that’s okay. Tasmania is my home, it always has been. And I care very passionately about Tasmania’s wild places. And I will continue standing up to defend them. Over the last 10 years, we are seeing more and more forests being lost not just in Tasmania, but all over the globe. And people like myself that stand up against this destruction are being persecuted through a number of different means. I don’t think that we should be facing these kind of penalties as peaceful protesters, we commit our actions peacefully. We are very adherent to non-violent principles. And we adhere to those principles in every aspect of our lives. Forests are being destroyed now at a rate faster than we’ve ever seen before. And the forests and the world is now reaching a point of no return. The world is reaching a point of collapse. And I believe that we all have a moral responsibility to stand up against that say no to the destruction of these forests. Say no to the destruction of our wild places, and to continue protesting. Direct action works. We’ve seen it work so many times throughout history. We’ve seen it work in Tasmania, there are places in Tasmania that have been protected because of the actions of protesters like myself, who have also faced heavy penalties, but who continued to stand up for what they believed was right, and what they knew was right.

Tasmanian Times

So you don’t feel that the sentence that you were handed is fair?

Dr Lisa Searle

I don’t know how to answer that question. I understand going into protests that I’m acting against the law, and that I’m acting against our legal system. I don’t believe that our legal system should come down so hard on protesters. We are acting from a good place, we are acting because we believe in what we’re doing. And we believe that what we’re doing is right. The land that I was recently charged on is stolen land. For me to be told that I was trespassing on that land, I think is offensive to the Aboriginal people of this land. And I don’t believe that protesters should be charged so harshly and I don’t think that we should be threatened with jail sentences.


BBF: Anti-mine Protests Coninue in takayna.

GEOFFREY SWAN: Lisa Searle – Environment Activist, Vegan, Humanitarian.

Source: Tasmanian Times https://www.tasmaniantimes.com/2021/04/searle-sentenced-to-community-service-for-anti-logging-protest/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=searle-sentenced-to-community-service-for-anti-logging-protest

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