Australian Government Moves To Ban Environmental Boycotts Under Competition Laws

200px-Tony_Abbott_-_2010220px-Daintree_RainforestWe have been discussing the horrific rollback of environmental protections in Australia under Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Now, Abbott’s government and industry allies are pushing for a change in competition laws to ban on campaigns against companies on the grounds that they are selling products that damage the environment.

Parliamentary secretary for agriculture, Richard Colbeck, said that there are votes to ban “secondary boycotts” that have been successful in targeting companies using old growth wood and causing other environmental abuses. Colbeck announced that “I do think there is an appetite in the government for changing these laws.”

The Australian Forest Products Association and other companies have demanded an end to such boycotts so that they cannot be punished for being bad actors in the environment in the view of public interest groups. Such secondary boycotts have targeted over-fishing and logging operations like the “NoHarveyNo” campaign by GetUp! and Markets for Change. Colbeck calls such groups as running “dishonest” that harm these companies. Environmentalists in Tasmania have been fighting to protect their threatened areas — some of the most spectacular and pristine areas in the world.

Colbeck and the Abbott government want to increase the power of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to police general claims made by environmental groups about particular types of products “to ensure that they are truthful”. It is an obviously attack not only on environmental protections but free speech protections. Colbeck wants to ban any “specific business-focused or market-focused campaign” based on assertions that are declared untrue.

The Abbott government has long portrayed corporations as the victims as people object to the lifting of protections from forests and species in Australia. He previously announced a campaign against what he called “the green ideology” and pledged to hand over key positions to industry officials. Grahame Turk, chairman of the National Seafood Industry Alliance, continued this victimization theme and called for “a level playing field to stop these environmental groups promulgating misinformation about seafood industry.”

The level playing field involves using the government to police and threaten free speech and association in protection of corporate interests. It is other worldly to see the series of anti-environmental and anti-free speech measures coming out of Australia — a nation with a long history of protections in both areas. It is a legacy that few people would want to create but it is clearly the legacy that Abbott wants to leave with a country stripped of many of its natural and constitutional grandeurs.

Source: Guardian

29 thoughts on “Australian Government Moves To Ban Environmental Boycotts Under Competition Laws”

  1. Nick Spinelli

    Air is what we breathe. It is not the ocean. Two different topics. 3rd grade science.
    I see you are boning up on your homework.

  2. Hypocrites! Here we all sit on our corporate internet, on our corporate made computers or phones, burning corporate electricity to run the contraption, which is sending radio waves into our homes and atmosphere (dangerous pollutant).
    BTW, radio waves are dangerous to humans because they carry free radicals. They also lead to extreme large temperature rise which in the long term is disastrous.
    And beside our computer electronics, we buy from corporate stores, by corporate cars and houses, many work for corporations–including corporate hospitals, corporate governments, corporate universities, corporate banks, etc.

    Ask yourselves: Do I limit my time on the computer? Do I ever turn off the computer and all electronics? Do I walk or ride a bike to work? Do I buy corporate stuff?
    As far as the environment is concerned, we all need to personally do more. Stop bagging on corporations and everyone else and let’s do our individual part.

  3. Wasn’t hot enough for them this last summer… Eh?
    Not enough wild fires… Eh?
    Well, there’s one way to make it to hell… burn the planet with you.

  4. Air is what we breathe. It is not the ocean. Two different topics. 3rd grade science.

  5. A world wide Oligarchy. When it gets bad enough the masses rise up, but with modern technology and weapons, will the world survive? It’s not a bright future. The worker drones make the royal honey.

  6. Greed and Money seem to be the evils of the day and it’s not only one country but all and the greedy money mongers are winning! The 1% are throwing their money at the wealthy politicians and the 99% are in a quandry. Honest journalism, whether it is online or possibly in newspapers is needed now more than ever. Report but be prepared to back it up so that we know who we can trust and obviously it isn’t any of the news outlets run by greedy corporations!

  7. LA has taken drastic steps to improve it’s air quality. It is currently the BEST in than anytime in the past 50 years. Reading a history of Stan Musial I learned of the horrible Denorra, Pa. smog that killed 20 people. We have made drastic improvements in air quality. You could see the LA skyline about as often as Alaskans an see Mt. McKinley[Denali]. So, comparing LA to Beijing is an insult to all the positive steps taken by the citizens of California.

  8. Yeah, ‘cuz we can’t have people demanding that companies be environmentally or socially responsible, now can we? Why, that would only embolden people to think they have rights. It HAS to be against some kind of law to even suggest that someone might care about those things or to tell anyone else about what a company is doing to their environment or to protest what’s being done to them and their habitat, doesn’t it. After all, what’s a little environmental damage when you’re talking profits? Where and when did Australian people ever get the silly impression that their opinions, concerns or rights have equal footing with corporate interests? And certainly it’s only natural for an anti-government conservative politician to use the full weight of the government to regulate people and their activities so that corporations can operate unfettered by regulations. How do these conservative thugs (redundant, I know) get into positions of power? It’s beyond my comprehension why anyone would ever vote for a conservative in any country unless they hate their country and it’s people?

  9. I have a dream that protecting the environment will no longer be politically divisive.

  10. When Australia looks like LA… Beijing…. Then maybe they will see… But then…. What’s a little pollution in the barrier reefs….

  11. Australia, there is an appetite for killing and enacting free speech in the name of corproate profits. Small world.

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