Protecting our rights is worth the protest.

The culpability of governments

The Culpability of Governments and Corporations

(The text of a speech given by Julie Lyford outside the New South Wales parliament at a protest against the Baird Government’s anti-democracy laws, 15 March 2016)

For over 20 years, NSW state governments have been winding back the rights of communities to protect their land, water and future.

By stealth and collusion, the mining act and other legislation and policy frameworks have been altered to advantage the rapacious needs of the resource extraction industries.

At every turn, whatever the damage or permanent loss to our vital ecosystems and living conditions, the mining industry has trumped against the health and wellbeing of people, communities and the environments they need to live in.

The collusion, dirty donations, revolving doors for politicians, bureaucrats and industry and the utter contempt for the people they serve has now come to boiling point within the communities across NSW and Australia.

When a government calls our farmers, nurses, doctors, communities, business people and teachers ‘eco-fascists’, when they hammer us with severe draconian laws to stop our democratic rights to peacefully protest – are we not now in a system of fascist government ourselves?

Fascism – ‘an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system’, ‘forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism’, ‘in which the government controls business and labor and opposition is not permitted.’

Maybe not, however one would be sorely mistaken to think that industry does not rule the government decision making process.

The people across NSW who care about health, water, climate change and a liveable future will not stop protesting. The farmers who care for our land will not stop protecting our food and water security. The health professionals will not stop advocating and professionally lobbying for our rights to a healthy environment. The whole state is awake now to the collusion and culpability of governments and industry and the names of those who continue to put our futures at great risk.

So we now turn to a word I want everyone to be using.

Culpability – Definition – ‘a state of guilt or responsibility. A lot of lawsuits are about who has culpability for something that went wrong’.

‘ You have culpability if you’re responsible for something, usually something bad’ , ‘what is culpable: deserving to be blamed or considered responsible for something bad’

Tens of thousands of ordinary people are sick of the imbalance between the corporations and the people. We are sick of the harms being done to our communities. We are sick from the wilful ignorance of government regarding the destructive impacts from mining and coal seam gas extraction. We are heartsick and physically sick from years of trying to protect our basic needs – water and food. We are now holding the government and industry accountable – and they don’t like it!!!!!

So now they roll out the big guns against anyone who dares to question or stand up within our democratic right to protect what is fundamentally vital to our lives.
Is that going to stop farmers protecting their land? Mothers protecting their children? People protecting their air, water and environments?

We are going to hold this and all governments accountable and we will show their culpability for the harms caused and continuing to be caused by their total disregard for science, the health of our people and the life systems we rely on. They have been given all the information they need to stop the destruction and transition to a cleaner, renewable economy.

The NSW State Government, the resource extraction industries and all those involved in deliberate decision-making that has and will result in harms to our communities are culpable.

History will judge and maybe prosecute them as, always an inevitability, colluding and corrupt behaviour always finds its way to the surface like a boil to be lanced.

Also published in the Newcastle Herald