Silencing communities sounds death knell for environmental protection
Sydney - Humane Society International (HSI) is appalled to hear that Attorney General George Brandis will introduce legislation into Parliament later this week which is intended to cut the ability of communities to access the courts to enforce environmental laws. Australia must continue to value the rule of law and the right of its citizens to enforce it.
HSI Director Michael Kennedy said, “The Attorney General is treating communities and the environment with contempt. This is a cynical move that is intended to silence those who disagree with the Government’s draconian environmental agenda by restricting access to the courts to enforce environmental laws where the Government fails to do so.”
The move is in reaction to the Federal Court’s decision to overturn approval for the Carmichael mine, a court case which the Attorney General has labelled “lawfare” brought by “vigilante litigants.”
Mr. Kennedy continued, “The Attorney General’s reaction has been predictable. He needs to accept the ruling of the Federal Court instead of lashing out against communities who want to protect our natural world for new generations, and see the law of the land fully respected. The problem is not the community, it is the Government’s incompetence, and its total lack of empathy for effectively protecting the environment.”
“Over the years, HSI has brought legal cases under the EPBC Act for the protection of many threatened species, gaining for example an injunction against Japanese whaling company Kyodo to prevent them from whaling in the Australian Whale Sanctuary. What has become clear is that enforcing environmental law is too important to be left solely up to Government,” Mr. Kennedy concluded.