Australian news, and some related international items

Scott Morrison wants to shut down moderate climate action group, Market Forces, BECAUSE IT’s TOO EFFECTIVE

Inside Market Forces, the small climate group Scott Morrison wants to put out of business, From humble beginnings, Market Forces is now in the crosshairs of the Coalition’s war on environmental boycotts, Guardian,  Adam Morton Environment editor @adamlmortonMon 11 Nov 2019   When Market Forces, a small climate activist group, was singled out as the target of the government’s push to stop environmental campaigns that advocate boycotts of fossil-fuel companies, its leader was briefly taken aback but not disappointed.

“You know you’re doing something right when the Morrison government tries to bring you down,” Julien Vincent, the group’s executive director and founder, says from its base in Melbourne. “It’s unpleasant, but it’s only happening because we are getting results.”

From Vincent’s perspective, those results include the Commonwealth Bank and insurers QBE, Suncorp and IAG pledging they would soon no longer work with or underwrite developments that use thermal coal, and the group’s part in the campaign that frustrated attempts by Indian company Adani to find investors for its proposed Carmichael coalmine.

In terms of winning the government’s attention, it is likely the results also included a recent profile in the Australian Financial Review, the newspaper of the business community. Under the headline “How activists pushed CBA out of coal in five years”, it talked up Market Forces’s successes and methods, including a deal-making meeting with the bank’s chairwoman, Catherine Livingstone.

Coincidentally or not, the attorney general, Christian Porter, last week nominated Market Forces as a poster child “radical activist group” trying to impose its will on companies through coordinated harassment and threats of boycotts. Porter said it was “simply not OK” that mining and resources businesses were being targeted on ideological grounds by activists that wished them financial harm.

It followed Scott Morrison telling the Queensland Resources Council that activists who campaigned for secondary boycotts against miners and small businesses that work with resources companies potentially posed a “more insidious threat” to jobs and the economy than street protests……

With the details in the wind, Morrison’s push has led to some confusion among Coalition MPs about what is proposed and how it will avoid impinging on freedom of expression, though none spoke publicly. The Business Council of Australia has backed the prime minister; legal academics have warned changes to reduce the influence of environmental campaigns could breach the constitution.

Environmental and civil liberty groups noted the apparent hypocrisy in the government floating a secondary boycott ban given Canavan had urged his constituents to stop doing business with Westpac after it ruled out financing the Adani mine ……

November 11, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics

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