Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Bob Brown’s Green policy blindside – Adani and Vedanta are mining … not just the earth …

*Pic: Isla MacGregor’s pic of a NorMAC banner at the Adani Rally (not featured in Mercury).

Something is missing in an image of Bob Brown and supporters from Saturday’s protest against the Adani coal mine in Hobart (link below). It is the banner you don’t see in a photo in The Mercury, opposing Labor and Greens proposed new laws giving the green light to pimps, johns and brothel owners in Tasmania.


An anti sex-trade banner stating that porn and prostitution harms women and girls was held up at the Adani rally by NorMAC supporters in opposition to Adani. It was there to raise awareness of the social costs for girls and women being sex trafficked into Australian mining towns.

The Mercury and the Greens failed to realise the Adani development is not only bad for the earth, it is bad for women. The reality is that sex buyers do not have any hesitation in buying sex from girls or women regardless of whether they have been trafficked or not. Nor that Climate change and environmental disasters increase the vulnerability of women and children to sex-trafficking by opportunistic sex-buyers and pimps.

In July, 2012 The Australian ran this article by Caroline Overington …

Sex traffic ‘serious’ in mine towns
ONE of Queensland’s senior police inspectors says the trafficking of vulnerable and often very young women from Southeast Asia has become a serious problem in the booming mining towns.
Mount Isa police district inspector Paul Biggin said officers in Mount Isa and across other Queensland mining towns were increasingly dealing with “women and girls who cannot speak English, or who have a very low level of English, and a very low level of education, who are basically being trafficked for sex, from one mining town to the next”.
“They are working on a fly-in, fly-out basis, two weeks here, two weeks in the next town and so on; they are being advertised as available in the local newspapers, and they are coerced or threatened into doing it,” he said.
“They are being told they cannot go to the police because in the countries they come from, the police might even be part of the problem.
“Threats are being made against their families. And whenever we have an operation to target them, they come into the station and you can see that they are being controlled mentally and physically and it’s very difficult to get them to open up to authority and enable us to help them.”
Inspector Biggin was speaking to The Australian after being awarded the Donald Mackay Churchill Fellowship yesterday, specifically to combat trafficking of women for sexual servitude and prostitution in mining towns.
While prostitution is legal in Queensland, pimping is not, and sex workers must be sole operators who either work for themselves or in licensed brothels.
Inspector Biggin said there was “no way the women that we (local police) see can be working legally. They don’t have the capacity to place an advertisement in the newspaper (announcing their arrival in a mining town), and they do not have the capacity to be sole operators.”
He had sought assistance from mining giant Xstrata to secure a Churchill fellowship grant to tackle the problem and said the company had been helpful because it operated in 19 countries and this was a problem around the world. Inspector Biggin, who has held that position in Mount Isa for three years, said prostitution “flourishes underground. We are seeing licensed brothels struggling because of all the illegal activity.”
The links between Adani’s activities and the mining industry in Tasmania should be of great concern to climate change activist across Australia.

The ABC reported in 2015:

‘Adani Australia’s chief executive officer was in charge of an African copper mine which allowed a flood of dangerous pollutants to pour into a Zambian river, the ABC can reveal.
Jeyakumar Janakaraj has been chief executive of Adani’s Australian operations since leaving Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) in Zambia in 2013.
Now KCM and its parent company [b]Vedanta Resources[/b] are being taken to the High Court in London by locals who say pollution from the company’s huge Chingola open-pit copper mine made them ill and devastated nearby farmland over a 10-year period from 2004.’

Isla MacGregor outed Vedanta’s activities on TasmanianTimes …

‘During the forestry debate in Tasmania, environmental organisations and the Greens have exposed appalling corruption allegations and human rights abuses in Sarawak by Malaysian timber company Ta Ann Holdings.
But while these groups have remained focussed on Ta Ann’s activities, Vedanta, owner of Copper Mines of Tasmania, has been the target of the Foil Vedanta group in the UK. Foil Vedanta is a grassroots solidarity group based in London where Vedanta is registered and listed on the London Stock Exchange:

About Foil Vedanta

Vedanta has been referred to as the world’s worst miner as a result of continuing human rights abuses, environmental destruction, widespread pollution and breaches of Occupational Health and Safety regulations for workers in numerous countries.
In 1999 the Mount Lyell mine, Copper Mines of Tasmania (CMT) was acquired by Sterlite Industries – part of the Vedanta group of companies – which has operations in India, Sri Lanka, Zambia, Liberia, Namibia, South Africa, Ireland and Tasmania….
Read more: http://www.oldtt.pixelkey.biz.au/index.php/article/not-the-corporate-miner-we-want-

Yet the Greens remain silent about Premier Hodgman’s recent subsidy of $25 million to Vedanta’s Copper Mines no doubt in fear of any impact on votes at the coming state election as was the case in the lead up to the last election with Paul O’Halloran backing down on pushing for strong mining policy in Tasmania.

From Isla MacGregor here:


Protestors holding the anti brothel banner at the Adani rally in Hobart were abused by one woman who claimed that they had no right to be there as the impacts of Adani had nothing to do with women.

One of the organisers at the rally attempted to intimidate the anti sex trade protesters into leaving. Nevertheless many women and men supported NorMAC’s presence and understood the connections being made.

Violence against women and girls where ever mining takes up is far from isolated to Mount Isa, it is a staple of the mining industry, For example, in the US the camps/facilities of Fifo workers or permanent male residents working on mines are called ‘man camps’.

http://www.honorearth.org/man_camps_fact_sheet :

“They treat Mother Earth like they treat women … They think they can own us, buy us, sell us, trade us, rent us, poison us, rape us, destroy us, use us as entertainment and kill us. I’m happy to see that we are talking about the level of violence that is occurring against Mother Earth because it equates to us [women]. What happens to her happens to us… We are the creators of life. We carry that water that creates life just as Mother Earth carries the water that maintains our life. So I’m happy to see our men standing here but remind you that when you stand for one, you must stand for the other.”

Will Bob Brown and the Greens acknowledge that men here do what men do elsewhere and that this impacts on particularly indigenous women and girls? Will environmentalists of all stripes honour women and girls as they claim to honour the earth? The earth we too must live on?

When Dr Brown takes his cavalcade to Queensland will he also stand against the crime of paid rape of girls and women by men in the mining industry and call for laws to end demand for paid rape and sexploitation of women?

No more excuses, enough is enough.

*Simone Watson is a prostitution survivor and director of NorMAC

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Lynne Newington

    October 16, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    It sounds more reasonable for Queen Elisabeth to run with it and nothing less than be expected.
    I doubt very much this will have an impact on any women in the church, religious or not, especially within Third Order where secrecy abounds.
    One particular branch in Tasmania would never have been aware that their spiritual director sometime ago was cavorting with a married woman. The Order moved mountains to appease her, to keep her quiet, no doubt.
    I’m surprised all the husbands on the back burner under the guise of spirituality never sued for deprivation of affection …

  2. Annie

    October 16, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    I agree with you totally Lynne, it is appalling.

    It is most encouraging however, to see that Queen Elizabeth 2nd has decided on the path of standing up for women and girls and the vulnerable.

    The UK has recently enacted new legislation against modern slavery (2015) At a conference this month, Queen Elizabeth has asked 52 Commonwealth Countries to replicate the 2015 Modern Slavery Act to address human trafficking, forced labour and forced child marriage, ie child abuse and sexual assault.

    According to the NGO Anti-Slavery International, child marriage is defined as slavery when a child is coerced into a marriage, cannot leave it due to being subject to control; and if there is a sense of ownership that includes forced labour or non-consensual sexual relations.

    The Commonwealth Secretariat reports that 43% of women are married prior to age 18.

    Addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development goals can increase equality for women and girls as it highlights the value of access to education so that women and girls can earn a decent living; and raising the age of marriage as well as ending abuse of over 51% of the planet’s people.

    I hope that the NSW Minister for Health refers to the United Nations Sustainable Development goals, and also the federal government and state governments’ action plans on ending all forms of violence against women and girls. As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, the NSW Rape Crisis Centre needs further funding to continue to provide 24 hour, seven days per week service for any person who has ever experienced sexual assault.

  3. Lynne Newington

    October 15, 2017 at 11:33 pm

    One can’t imagine what religious women particularly from third world countries endure at the hands of clergy. .
    I read what’s in the link below years ago and in disbelief phoned Marie McDonald, and there was no hesitation in confirming it.
    I wonder now all these years down the track if it’s gone back to business as usual. I often think of the poor Muslim sister mentioned who converted having to return home to her parents carrying the child of one of the marauding fiends …


  4. mentor in violence prevention

    October 15, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    I am sorry that you have felt insulted or mocked, Ross.

    However, I am sure that this is not the intention of the advocacy or the banner.

    It is a wake up call to us all.

    I am sure that no slur is intended towards any person in the Green movement other than an invitation to think about the issue of exploitation of women and girls – one of the canaries in the coal mine if people do not object to such a metaphor.

    It is wonderful to see that the Greens actually stand up for disadvantaged people to have dignity and a living wage and to increase Centrelink benefits. To their credit the Greens made the plight of women headed sole parents visible. Please continue the good work.

    Yes, good to go for shared strengths in progressive movements that aim to liberate people and to save the planet.

    However, I totally agree with Joanna’s point at 13 ” Both Labor and Green are promising more money to the groups and open slather to all men who want to come to Hobart to set up brothels”

    Surely, isn’t this an opportunity for the Greens to seize the policy initiative and to differentiate themselves from Labor, just as in the current tilt for the seat of Pembroke in regard to pokie reform?

    Over and above votes, the issues raised by NorMAC are about human dignity, and the right of women and girls and boys not to be traded for profit.

    It is about tackling poverty and inter-generational poverty and also how a certain class of people – namely poorer women and girls who are put aside by the rest of society and used as a commodity.

    Also, what are the implications for communities, for example where people choose between food security or missing a meal every day in exchange for paying their power and water bills?

    Yes the Greens are doing well in support for community sign up for solar power, so let us hope it all becomes more affordable.

    Isla’s points made at #17 are other canaries in the climate change conversation that rarely receive the attention that they deserve.

    Again the use of the word canaries is metaphorical.

    However, If people are concerned about the potential for exploitation of our national parks due to neo-liberalism or in limiting high rise buildings by overseas corporations, just think about the implications if brothels are legalised for:

    a) child protection

    b) gender equity for women and girls and the messages that legalised brothels actually give to girls and boys about a girl’s worth to dignity and a real job (not the sex industry) as compared to male historical entitlement to purchase the body of another person.

    c) women’s efforts to end sexual harassment in the workplace

    Tasmania previously had a commonwealth and state funded Working Women’s Centre for all women and girls to receive information about pathways into training and advice relevant to a range of genuine occupations, and how to address workplace harassment and bullying. Now Tasmanian women do not even have an Office of the Status of Women.

    Yes, many men are thoughtful about the need to end violence against women and girls and boys, including that of sexual violence.

    Many men do stand up alongside women to question historical male privilege.

    However, the prostitution industry perpetuates a form of systemic inequality that is just as vital to address as that of sexual abuse of children in church or other institutions, or the need to and end all forms of violence against women and children in the home.

    There are many myths perpetuated by the powerful interests of the profit-driven sex industry that do need attention – hence the wake up call by Isla and Joanna and NorMAC.

    I have learned a lot by standing back and looking at the evidence for the abolition model.

  5. Simone

    October 15, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    #16 Ross, I don’t know what “type” of man you are except one who seems incapable of noting basic hypocrisy. The hypocrisy of the Greens in regards to their stance on Adani (which I agree with) and that they can’t relate that to what happens to (mainly) girls and women. The premise of the article is quite simple and your behaviour, dare I say it, quite hysterical. Perhaps you could calm down a bit and read it with a clear head.

  6. Isla MacGregor

    October 15, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    [/b]Women and children the big losers from climate change again:

    [i]Sunetra is just one of more than 5,000 people who went missing in 2012 from the state of West Bengal where the Sundarbans sits on a low, shifting delta where South Asia’s great rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, crime records show.

    The forested islands of the Sundarbans are increasingly considered a trafficking hotspot as climate change impacts – such as worsening cyclones, sea level rise and loss of land to erosion and saltwater as these mean worsening poverty and living conditions, and more desperation.

    National Crime Records Bureau data for West Bengal show a 600 percent spike in reports of “missing persons” between 2002 and 2013. In 2002, 831 people disappeared; by 2013 it was 4,573. Over a decade 30,690 adult and children were reported missing, a figure local non-governmental organisations working with trafficking victims consider an underestimate.

    “Many parents, particularly those of young women, just don’t report to the police. They are too stigmatised or consider it a fait accompli,” said Subhankar Goldar who runs Haldarchawk Chetna Welfare Society, a non-governmental organisation based in Kakdwip that says it has rescued more than 100 trafficked children since 2007 with the help of police.[/i]

    more: http://in.reuters.com/article/trafficking-sundarbans-scam/lured-by-marriage-promises-climate-victims-fall-into-trafficking-trap-idINKBN0M406720150308

    [i]In other shocking reports, financially-crippled women are forced into prostitution to support their families.

    Rama Devi, a now-single mother of three from Kadiri, Anantapur, told News 18 her lack of income as a farm labourer had forced her to take up sex work.

    Her husband deserted the whole family when the incessant environmental conditions financially destroyed the family.

    “There had been no rain for years, and no work,” Ms Devi told News 18. “My friend said how long will you live without work? He said he has a job that can ensure a good future for my children. So I took up the job of a sex worker. [b]I had no other option. Many times clients would beat me, force me to drink alcohol and travel to different cities along with them. But I have to tolerate everything.[/b]”[/i]

    More: http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/climate-change/welcome-to-india-a-country-gripped-by-51c-heatwave/news-story/04d0ded07b8f6303280efc75a8163103

  7. Joanna Pinkiewicz

    October 15, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Dear Ross,

    I have been an activist for many years. I have been a member of direct action groups here in Tasmania against the destruction of the forests and against mining operations.
    I also support the BBF with their campaign in the Tarkine.

    What I have learned during my time as an activist is that you have to consider ALL TACTICS. There is no such a thing as a protocol, and diplomacy often means COMPROMISE.

    Personally, I’m actually reserved and quiet, but I have learned that those who try to tell people how to express themselves (“these are the right ways only”; “follow these rules I made for you”) are either people with considerably more comfort and power or are fearful of true, justifiable ANGER.

    Men who never felt TRULY OUTRAGED in their lives are incapable of witnessing someone’s expression of ANGER.

    I have learned that ANY WOMAN or ANY ABORIGINAL person is perfectly right to express their sense of rage and helplessness any time they wish whenever there is a public gathering!

    By all means do political, diplomatic work and marching and protesting, it is important.

    Do understand that other ways also have they place in a public life.

    And yes, do get used to other people’s ANGER. It tells truth.It tells truth about something you don’t yet understand.

    I think the Normac banner did it’s job. Many people now ask questions. Some are still critical while others are grasping the bigger picture.

    I’m a Greens’ member, but I don’t think the Greens are beyond criticism. I don’t think the Greens see things holistically and I think they often compromise. They have much to owe and learn from grassroots activists who know their issues well.

    The Adani campaign is an important campaign, but it is one campaign within much larger picture: the world is being killed by human ideas of supremacy over nature and men over women.

    I don’t think the banner did any harm to the campaign or stopped anyone at the rally from expressing themselves, or to enjoy themselves and to feel good about themselves.

  8. Isla MacGregor

    October 15, 2017 at 10:05 am

    This article by Mark Joseph Ubalde from 2009 calls on policy makers to [b]Integrate gender considerations into global efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.[/b]

    This spells out the implications for poor women globally

    [b]‘Climate change pushes poor women to prostitution, dangerous work’[/b]

    The effects of climate change have driven women in communities in coastal areas in poor countries like the Philippines into dangerous work, and sometimes even the flesh trade, a United Nations official said.

    Suneeta Mukherjee, country representative of the United Nations Food Population Fund (UNFPA), said women in the Philippines are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change in the country.

    “Climate change could reduce income from farming and fishing, possibly driving some women into sex work and thereby increase HIV infection,” Mukherjee said during the Wednesday launch of the UNFPA annual State of World Population Report in Pasay City.

    In the Philippines, small brothels usually pop up near the coastal areas where many women perform sexual services for transient seafarers. Often, these prostitutes are ferried to bigger ships by their pimps.

    Based on the UNFPA report, there are 92 million Filipinos in the country as of 2009 and that number is expected to balloon to more than 146 million in the next 40 years.

    Of the 92 million Filipinos, about 60 percent are living in coastal areas and depend on the seas for livelihood, said former Environment secretary Dr. Angel Alcala.

    Alcala said that “we have already exceeded the carrying capacity of our marine environment.”

    But as the sea’s resources are depleted due to overpopulation and overfishing, fishermen start losing their livelihood and women are forced to share the traditional role of the man in providing for the family.

    Alacala, who also heads the Angelo King Center for Research and Environmental Management in Siliman University, said some women often pick out shellfish by the coastlines which were exposed to storm surges.

    Women who can no longer endure this work often go out to find other jobs, while some are tempted to go into prostitution, Alcala added.

    In an interview with the Inter Press News Agency, Marita Rodriguez of the Centre for Empowerment and Resource Development, Inc. said [b]women are taking the brunt of climate change[/b].

    “Aside from their household chores and participation in fishing activity, they have to find additional sources of income like working as domestic helpers for affluent families,” she said.

    The UNFPA noted that the temperature in the earth’s surface has risen 0.74 degrees Celsius in the past 100 years. The 10 warmest years globally since 1880 have also been recorded in the last 13 years.

    “Slower population growth, for example, would help build social resilience to climate change’s impacts and would contribute to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the future,” the UNFPA report said.

    The UNFPA suggested five measures to mitigate climate change and overpopulation:

    [b]Bring a better understanding of population dynamics, gender and reproductive health to climate change and environmental discussions AT ALL LEVELS;[/b]

    Fully fund family planning services and contraceptive supplies within the framework of reproductive health and rights, and assure that low income is no barrier to access;

    Prioritise research and data collection to improve the understanding of gender and population dynamics in climate change mitigation and adaptation;

    Improve sex dis-aggregation of date related to migration flows that are influenced by environmental factors, and prepare now for increases in population movements resulting from climate change; and

    [b]Integrate gender considerations into global efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.[/b]

    More: gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/177346/climate-change-pushes-poor-women-to-prostitution-dangerous-work/story/

  9. Ross

    October 15, 2017 at 2:08 am

    Hello Isla, if you or NorMAC hope to influence change and build your campaign you/they will need to use diplomacy and focused communication. That’s not a secret, nor a conspiracy against women, it is just the way things are and that is all I have been saying. If I did not think there was any merit in your arguments I would have just ignored the article.

    My initial comment #3 was intended as constructive criticism, not of the message but of the method of delivery – the infamous banner and the indignant and contradictory article. The response: “no matter how we say it, men do not like it. Next time we’ll just have a picture of a cute kangaroo …”

    “Yes,” I say on behalf of all men, “a kangaroo would be nice as we are obviously incapable of understanding any position that doesn’t reinforce patriarchy and the exploitation of women.” I hope that lives up to the stereotype that Simone cast me in.

    Few of the comments have acknowledged the specific issues that I raised. That’s fair enough, I am not owed a response. But people have taken to time to offer sarcasm and stereotypes.

    I did not comment to defend The Greens, or Bob Brown, as they can defend themselves. What concerns me is the strategy of exploiting a crucial campaign – that Adani is stopped – to publicly take pot shots at some of the campaigners.

    Initially my perspective was that the NorMAC attended the rally to educate people and recruit potential supporters, but given the hostility to The Greens in the comments it is clear that a primary purpose was to criticise The Greens. Which is a fine thing IF you have the conviction to own it.

    Instead, the article reads like NorMAC descended like angels from heaven to spread love amongst the people and were met by snarling attack dogs. It is poor communication and it is deliberately deceptive of NorMAC’s intentions. That is what pisses me off.

    (I am happy to provide examples from the article to support my “bleating” but I think they are pretty obvious.)

    Yes, the banner is trivial compared to the sex trade. It is trivial compared to nuclear weapons, land mines and coal mines. But it is not trivial that certain individuals or groups think it is OK to destabilise, distract or weaken a crucial campaign and then criticise the members of the campaign for not being welcoming!

    That can only diminish the anti-Adani campaign and your own campaign. Is that what you want?

  10. Isla MacGregor

    October 14, 2017 at 10:30 am

    To get some perspective here, any bleating about a banner at a rally is so utterly trivial compared to the most vicious, so called [i]industry[/i] in the world that women are being raped, tortured and dying in, and that the Green Party nationally support with policy. Reality check!

  11. Ross

    October 14, 2017 at 1:29 am

    #13, Your comment achieves what the article fails at – educating without resorting to sarcasm and insults.

    What all of the comments here have failed to respond to – and the only thing I have been writing about – is the contradictory claims and mocking tone of the article. The NorMAC presence and banner is claimed to be supportive of the aims of the anti-Adani rally whilst simultaneously naming and shaming The Greens for a tenuously related policy (given the distance of Tasmania far from the Adani mine.)

    If someone chooses to use a banner to make a point AGAINST members of a campaign then fair enough, but it seems ludicrous to do that and then feign outrage that they aren’t welcomed with open arms.

    By all means NorMAC should use a banner to criticise any group they chose, but if they value credibility they should be honest enough to declare that criticism is the intention.

    As I read it, NorMAC hijacked a rally to make a point against some of the participants which does not progress either cause.

  12. Joanna Pinkiewicz

    October 13, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    I’m very disappointed about Greens’ Policy on prostitution. There seems to be no in-depth understanding of the source of women’s oppression and exploitation.

    While they understand the exploitation of the earth, how it takes place, who makes the most profits and how corrupt it is, when it comes to exploitation of women they find it all too mystifying.

    ‘Sex worker’ groups are indeed active politically and their influence has spread, even though they are exposed as sex industry publicity machine. Both labor and green are promising more money to the groups and open slather to all men who want to come to Hobart and set up brothels. The Chow brothers made 400 million dollars since NZ decriminalized prostitution via exploiting and grooming the most vulnerable women, poor and often Indigenous.

    Women speak loudly about our exploitation. As Simone says, it is never loud or proper enough. Women hardly have time and energy to fight, so if they use a banner to make a point and a link, don’t get your Y fronts in the knot about it.

    Is there any other better way to express one’s ongoing rage?

  13. Ross

    October 13, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Yes, your right. The tone of the article was perfectly respectful. Silly me.

  14. Peter Adams

    October 13, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    The Canadian indigenous women’s group [i]Idle No More[/i] state in their mission statement: “The raping of the earth and the raping of women are intrinsically linked.”

  15. Isla MacGregor

    October 13, 2017 at 8:34 am

    #9 Refer to Comment 1.

    Other than people who used inappropriate behaviour towards NorMAC members at the rally – the only [i]public spat[/i] being conducted here is by you.

  16. Ross

    October 12, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    #7 Isla, if you re-read what I wrote at #6 b) (based on the TT article as I wasn’t there) I said essentially what you are saying – “it was the woman who abused one NorMAC member whose behaviour was inappropriate…”.

    I have not accused anyone from NorMAC of inappropriate behaviour, only bringing a banner that could be expected to provoke a negative response from some at the rally.

    If you want to frame the story in the context of “freedom of expression/speech, association, affiliation and right of assembly” then why be concerned (as the author apparently is) when others at the rally practice their right of expression? I don’t have an issue with any group handing out leaflets or engaging people in conversations at any rally. All I am responding to is the suggestion that something is amiss because a highly visible (and critical) banner invoked a negative response.

    “Maybe the real problem… was that the banner was critical of the Greens.” Well from reading the article it seems very likely that this criticism is the cause of the (apparently minor) confrontations. As I have asked several times, would NorMAC (or any group) welcome a banner that is specifically critical of that organisation at one of their rallies?

    What is confusing is that the NorMAC presence is presented as both a counter-protest (against the Greens) AND in support of the anti-Adani rally. That in itself is complex and messy. If that is NorMAC’s choice, then I think the lack of media coverage and the reported conflicts should be expected.

    The language in the article points out the many presumed deficiencies in The Greens’ knowledge of the relationship between mining and the exploitation of women. I think there needs to be some honesty about NorMAC’s intentions; is it to educate and raise awareness, or to publicly condemn The Greens? Of course anyone is free to condemn The Greens at any public event but that won’t help to build a strong coalition against the exploitation of women or against the disgraceful activities of Adani.

    As for the opinion that The Greens or Amnesty or whoever need to join the dots for themselves, it would seem more efficient if the campaigners and lobbyists for various causes engaged with them and their supporters with clear information (such as the handouts and conversations at the rally that you refer to). Clouding the issue with a public spat about the banner and the alleged failings of The Greens and Bob Brown won’t help no matter how intransigent these organisations may be.

  17. Ross

    October 12, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    #5, Very simply, all I was saying is that if you had tailored a message for women’s rights AND against Adani (rather than against Labor and The Greens) for that specific protest I suspect you would have been made to feel very welcome. I don’t think it’s that hard.

    (Apparently that constitutes “telling” you what to do and deserves a hostile response???)

    “No matter how we say it, men do not like it…”

    No matter how you say what? “Adani and other mines create conditions for the exploitation of women” or “The Greens have piss poor policy on women’s rights in Tasmania.” I might agree with both or none of those points but the only thing I have commented about is the context of that particular banner at that particular rally.

    One of the main thrusts of your article was to complain about your treatment at the anti-Adani rally and the “omission” by the press. It is specifically those aspects of your article that I responded to.

    My comments were respectful and were not intended as criticism of your organisation or your opinions. If you read my comment #3, it is simply my opinion that the complaints you raised in the article are largely self-inflicted.

    It’s notable that neither you nor NorMAC Supporter chose to respond to the substance of my comment. I assume you defend the content of the banner in the context of that rally. However neither of you have addressed that, the one issue I have raised.

    You apparently take offence that I suggested bringing an “appropriate” banner. I think it is pretty clear that I mean relevant – as in related to the specific message of the rally. Do you have experience of people attending NorMAC rallies with a message that confuses or contradicts your intended message? How does that go down?

    Perhaps when Bob Brown takes his cavalcade north he will include the message that the Adani mine will result in the exploitation of sex-workers. May I humbly suggest that one might get further with diplomacy and persuasion rather than condemnation.

    All activists depend to some extent on educating and gaining the support of the public and partner organisations. Do you think that hostility and sarcasm is the best response to the relatively minor incidents (at the rally) and to my comments?

  18. Isla MacGregor

    October 12, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    #6 To respond:
    a)There is no allegation being made here – it is statement of fact that the image in the Mercury did not include the NorMAC banner because it would not have been possible for such a photo to be taken of the rally to include the NorMAC banner as it was in fact positioned at a very discreet distance from those assembled or any other banners in front of speakers. Approximately 8-10metres from the nearest people standing at the rear of the crowd gathered. NorMAC members who attended the Adani rally to show support were mindful of the need for a good protocol and a respectful distance from the main crowd was established.

    The NorMAC banner is multiuse banner and has been effective in generating discussion with passers by wherever it is held. As mentioned, most of those present had no objection to the banner and many congratulated NorMAc members for being present and raising issues about prostitution and the mining industry – I should add the latter two issues that the Greens have woefully deficient policies on.

    b)No, rather, it was the woman who abused one NorMAC member whose behaviour was inappropriately aggressive. See answer to a) again.

    c) It is convenient for the Greens to cite the CEO of Adani having headed up Vedanta in Zambia and the disaster that occurred there but not convenient for the Greens to cite that same head of Vedanta at the time that the 3 miners died in Queenstown. The Greens have failed to develop an integrated mining policy at a national level let alone a state level – it makes no difference if it is 3 km or 3,000 km distant from Hobart – the Adani mine will in fact have global implications. See answer at a)

    This is an issue fundamentally about freedom of expression/speech, association, affiliation and right of assembly – it is not an issue about what is [i]fair[/i] or not fair.

    It is also an issue about Labor and Greens in Australia being in denial about the spread of [b]stop demand[/b] legislative developments that are sweeping through Europe – which is not in some people’s minds as being climate change deniers. Now that – is damning!

    Maybe the real problem, as was the case for a small handful of others at this rally, was that the banner was critical of the Greens.

    Also handed out at the rally was NorMAC [i]The Amnesty Dossier[/i] – highly damning of Amnesty’s support for male entitlement and sexual access to women’s bodies. There were Amnesty members present at the rally who were given copies of the [i]Dossier[/i]. Several people we spoke with are very critical of the Greens on numerous policy issues, not just women’s human rights.

    It has been suggested that it is up to the environmental movements and the Greens to do the work for themselves in joining the dots, the negotiating, establishing the trust between climate change activists and women’s human rights groups and coming to grips with the intersection between the global sex trade, organised and corporate crime and planetary pillage and destruction.

    NorMAC does not have arguments or policy around [i]sex work[/i] rather around red umbrella/pimp front groups lies about representing prostituted people.

  19. Ross

    October 12, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    Re. #4 Your points about the Greens’ policies on women may well be valid. However you seem to have overlooked that my comment was focused on the specific complaints made about the reception of the NorMAC banner at the rally, and the protocol of one campaign engaging with another campaign. I did not express any views about women’s rights, sex work or Greens’ policy.

    The article complains that:

    a) “something is missing”, “it is the banner you don’t see in a photo in The Mercury, opposing Labor and Greens proposed new laws giving the green light to pimps, johns and brothel owners in Tasmania.”

    The allegation is that the press omitted NorMAC’s presence at the rally. Given how the media operates it is entirely predictable that the Mercury (a news corpse publication, no less) is going to condense the content of the rally to the simplest version possible.

    The statement is an admission that the banner was “opposing” a proposal by Labor and The Greens, and that the banner did not directly refer to the Adani mine or the issue of male dominated labour camps creating a demand for sex workers. This is my main point and one that you chose to ignore in your response.

    b) Anti-brothel protesters “were abused by one woman who claimed that they had no right to be there”. It sounds like this person’s behaviour was inappropriate, but I wonder to what extent it was motivated by the perception that the banner made no direct link to Adani and instead attacks a partner in the stop-Adani campaign?

    c) “One of the organisers at the rally attempted to intimidate the anti-sex trade protesters into leaving.” Perhaps this is understandable when confronted by a banner that does not have an obvious relationship to the topic of the rally, and instead criticises proposed Greens’ policy for a state 3,000 km away from the proposed mine site.

    Here is a simple analogy:

    I am a vegetarian. I also oppose Adani’s Carmichael mine. One of the arguments against the mine is that it destroys productive farm land. Let’s imagine that a Qld cattle farmer, or even the Meat and Livestock Association (who I despise) organise a rally against the mine.

    Would it be fair of me to turn up with a banner stating “Meat is Murder”, or “MLA – stop live cattle exports”? Would I be welcomed at that rally?

    Would the anti-Adani campaign be better served if I put aside my differences (just for the event) and showed up with a banner stating “Adani destroys precious farmland”? (Perhaps with a lovely picture of a carrot or a lentil).

    If NorMac or other women’s groups want to join, or inform, the anti-Adani campaign to publicise the link between the mine and sex-work I imagine that communication and co-operation with other partners is all that is required. On the other hand, bringing a banner critical of The Greens to an anti-Adani rally is probably not going to result in a warm welcome.

    I think NorMAC and other women’s groups should be free to contribute their perspective to environmental campaigns if they want to. That may mean building some trust and observing some protocols, just as you would expect from potential allies in a women’s rights campaign.

    These comments are intended as constructive feedback on the complaints listed in the article. They are not intended to disparage any of NorMAC’s arguments about policy around sex-work or to demean the voices of survivors.

  20. Simone

    October 12, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    # Ross, thanks for telling us how we should get our message across. It TOTALLY works when we say things more simply. I know with recent conversations (or has it been my entire life? I forget) that no matter how we say it, men do not like it. Next time we’ll just have a picture of a cute kangaroo or something. Let us know what is “appropriate”.

  21. NORMAC Supporter

    October 12, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Re: 3 The Greens Policy website itself under the dreaded word Women states ” Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History”.

    I am all for supporting Save the Reef, support Tibetan people as well as liberation of aboriginal people.

    However, If we look at the Greens policy site on the dreaded topic of Women it appears that the Greens are on the right track with their overarching aims and principles and statement that “All policies.. and legislation to be consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against women and other Human rights instruments”.

    Perhaps the Greens need to reflect a little more on the topic of not perpetuating harmful gender stereotypes, however.

    The Greens policy site also chats on about how women have the right to participate in decision making processes. Gee thanks.

    At one point the policy page states that ” the negative effects of physical, emotional and economic violence against women to be addressed through and funded by culturally appropriate accessible women led and directed health and education programs.”

    Wow- women are getting sick of having to run such programs, believe me.

    Direct action via peaceful methods ( banners) is perfectly appropriate, just as much as reference to the state and territory end violence against women action plans.

    The Greens appear to become unstuck somewhat at their policy position 20 which states,

    ” An end to the criminalisation of consensual adult sex work” as this statement does not quite reflect what we know about the antecedents to the pathway into prostitution such as childhood exploitation, racism or social exclusion; or the fact that it is more likely than not that it is aboriginal girls and women who are exploited (just look at New Zealand) who are trafficked around the country to their detriment but would leave if offered exit programs and support and affordable housing and training for a real job.

    The Greens policy also perpetuates a harmful myth that prostitution is actually a real job and that women and girls and boys who get tricked into it or groomed or pimped like the 12 year old girl who was sold to over 200 men in a hotel in Hobart can actually freely consent.

    Greens’ policy position 21 “Free sex workers from the fear of prosecution, stigmatisation, fear and exploitation” completely misses the point that the abolition model offers safe exit and support whilst using the law as a tool to change cultural norms.

    This is the reason why it is a good idea to listen to the voices of survivors such as Ms Simone Watson as to her views about what policies will help persons, who are mainly women, to leave a harmful industry.

  22. Ross

    October 12, 2017 at 1:09 am

    It doesn’t surprise me that a banner specifically referring to policy decisions in Tasmania was not welcome at a rally against Adani’s coal mine in Queensland. This is not a comment on the worthiness of the cause or the seriousness of the very real association between male dominated work camps and the exploitation of women. It is simple etiquette that if you intend to bring your cause to a rally, your message needs to be clearly related to (even supportive of) the core message of the rally. To do otherwise just muddies the water.

    If someone brought a ‘Save the Reef’ banner to a Hobart rally for the rights of women in Tasmania, I am pretty sure that the rally organisers would feel affronted. Or, to use a real life example, I once attended a rally of indigenous people in Canberra and a large contingent of Australia Tibet Council folk came along to ‘show their support’. Unfortunately their support consisted of loudly chanting ‘Free Tibet’. Sure, Tibetan autonomy is a worthy cause and there are parallels between the plight of Tibetans and Australian aboriginals, but it was inappropriate for the ATC group to hijack the rally to promote their own message.

    Simply painting an appropriate banner – perhaps “Adani mine = sexpolitation” – would have added to the rally in a positive way, creating an opportunity to start a dialogue with people who may not associate mining with prostitution, and building alliance between opponents of Adani and your own cause.

  23. simone

    October 11, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    #1 Isla, I think it takes a lot of bravery to tread in those footsteps. The ‘sex worker rights’ groups are universally believed to be the voices of actual prostituted people -especially as they’re validated by government funding under this banner, thus given credibility in the eyes of many as actual ‘sex worker’ representatives’. It is cowardice that others do not step up,but we have gullibility in the mix too. Most people truly believe what these groups say because they think it is brave to come out as a ‘sex worker’in the first place. So its a smart move by the pimps to promote these (mainly frauds) as’brave sex workers’. The media loves it, the politicians follow the media, and voila, no more honesty. Forget reality, its all about winning the next ticket. Will these politicians be brave enough to tread into honesty as Kathleen did? It seems unlikely. But I must be optimistic otherwise why would we keep fighting?

  24. Isla MacGregor

    October 11, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    The Greens understand what sort of backlash from the pro pimp/red-umbrella lobby they will get if they support stop demand policies. I can just see it [i]the Greens are a lot of religious, feminist and moralist fanatics[/i] who don’t listen to [b][i]sex worker[/i] front groups[/b]. One only needs to look at what happened to Green Party member Kathleen Maltzahn:

    [i]The Sex Party subsequently specifically targeted Maltzahn’s seat over her views on sex work in the 2010 state election and preferenced Labor ahead of the Greens in the Victorian Legislative Assembly by-election for the seat of Melbourne on 21 July 2012 [b]which caused The Greens a narrow loss[/i][/b]


    Electoral power comes at price – but sadly policy on women’s human rights is forfeited yet again. I don’t think Bob, the Green machine or ENGO’s will dare to tread in the steps of Kathleen in defence of women’s human rights across the globe – do you?

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