The Australian Greens National Conference in Brisbane on Saturday called for the Australian Government to pursue urgent political intervention at the highest level in order to secure the release of Australian citizen Colin Russell, Australian residents Alex Harris and Jon Beauchamp, and the rest of the Arctic 30, who are being held in Russia on serious and ridiculous charges over their peaceful protest against oil drilling.
Greens Leader Christine Milne has welcomed the support of Conference:
“New reports the detention period for the Arctic 30 will be extended are cause for serious concern,” Senator Milne said.
“Common sense must prevail. The international community cannot and will not stand by while peaceful protesters are detained indefinitely.
“Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has maintained a deafening silence on the matter, refusing to raise the plight of Mr Russell with President Putin despite his detour to the United Arab Emirates in order to make representations on behalf of two Australian businessmen held in Dubai.
“The failure of the Abbott government to take action in line with other governments is an embarrassment.
“The dual charges of piracy and hooliganism could carry sentences of 15 and seven years, all for helping to peacefully hang a banner on an Arctic oil platform that risks the majesty of an extremely fragile ecosystem.
“The right to peaceful protest is one of the cornerstones of a just global community and a democratic society. It is imperative that the Prime Minister take a strong stand in its defence.”
The Conference sent its thoughts and best wishes to Mr Russell’s family in Tasmania, and committed to renewed action to help secure his release.
PROPOSAL: That the National Conference make the following public statement,
“Arctic 30 motion
The Australian Greens 2013 National Conference:
1. Calls on the Australian Government and Prime Minister Tony Abbott to pursue urgent political intervention at the highest level in order to secure the release of Mr Russell, and Australian residents Alex Harris and and Jon Beauchamp, and the rest of the Arctic 30 from the freezing and cruel Russian prisons;
2. Sends its thoughts and best wishes to the family of Mr Russell during this difficult time and commits to renewed action to secure his release.
3. Calls on the federal government to recognise the legitimacy of non-violent protest action to protect the world’s environment;
4. The Australian Greens will defend and promote non-violent protest action to protect the world’s environment.”
Accepted by consensus.
Australian Greens Leader Senator Milne