The Australian Greens today condemned Malcolm Turnbull’s capitulation to the hard right within the Coalition after his reported proposal to bring back “lawfare” changes to stifle community enforcement of our national environment laws.
Australian Greens Deputy Leader and environment spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said:
“Stopping ordinary Australians from enforcing our environment laws would be a capitulation to the hard right inside the Coalition and yet another win for Tony Abbott.
“Gutting public enforcement of environmental laws is an attack on democracy and the rule of law.
“Across the country Australians care deeply about our reefs, forests, rivers and native wildlife and they should be able to have their say on developments threatening to destroy these parts of our national identity.
“Just last week, the Federal Court agreed with a community group that the federal government made an unlawful decision when it allowed a port in the sensitive Tiwi Islands to be built without any environmental assessment.
"When governments fail to enforce or comply with their own laws, it falls to community groups to hold them to account.
“If Tony Abbott and the Nationals get their way, developers and the government would be able to ignore environmental laws and the community couldn’t do a thing about it – rendering the laws utterly useless.
“Today’s salvo in the lawfare debate shows once again that when the Coalition government and its big mining mates break the law, they will try to change the rules.
“There are already strict rules which limit who can go to court and which allow cases with no merit being to be struck out as frivolous or vexatious – rules which haven’t been used in any of the environmental court cases taken to date.
“The problem here is not community groups trying to enforce environmental laws, it’s in the Turnbull government trying to ignore them in their blind rush to approve new coal mines which fly in the face of Australia’s Paris commitments.”
Contact: Asia Munro 0419 626 725