News

Activism leader: Bentley Blockade will go down in history

The Bentley Blockade. Photo : Mireille Merlet-Shaw/The Northern Star
The Bentley Blockade. Photo : Mireille Merlet-Shaw/The Northern Star Mireille Merlet-Shaw

WITH the departure of Metgasco from the region, the Bentley blockade will assume a permanent place in the history books, according to activism academic and gasfields free organiser Aidan Ricketts.

Mr Ricketts, who is writing his PhD on the gasfields free movement said the now famous blockade had achieved several "firsts" in protest history.

One was the fact a state government fully prepared to send 800 police to the region and then backed down - before breaking the blockade.

"That's extraordinary," Mr Ricketts said.

"It's usually a point of honour that they will breach the protest and then back down."

Bentley was also unprecedented because unlike the famous Franklin dam blockade in Tasmania and the Daintree in Far North Queensland, it wasn't led by a small group of hardened protesters but a "whole region". That was crucial.

Because of this, basic planning tasks like catering, setting up a temporary headquarters (in the Bentley RFS shed), and finding accommodation proved an obstacle for NSW Police.

"They're all things that showed the entire community just wasn't onside - I don't think we've ever seen that before in Australia," Mr Ricketts said.

"(The opposition) was mainstream, supported by local government, and was big and getting bigger.

"It was like bringing the Americans into Vietnam. It was going to be a quagmire."

Due to the huge community support, freedom of information-obtained government documents had ranked the Bentley blockade as having a "catastrophic" litigation risk.

But there's also no doubt the 2015 State Government election results for the North Coast Nationals showed a perilous future if the government continued to back the industry.

Lismore MP Thomas George came within a whisker of losing his seat, despite promising a whopping $180 million to finish the upgrade of Lismore Base Hospital

Inside the National Party, there was "impossible pressure" on the North Coast Nationals with the loss of a seat in Ballina an internal split within the rank-and-file membership emerging.

In a statement, North Coast Nationals Upper House member Ben Franklin said the March election was "certainly a major catalyst" for change.

"I am at heart a democrat and I believe that when a community speaks as loudly as the Northern Rivers have on CSG, it is incumbent on their representatives to act," he said.

Topics:  bentley blockade, coal seam gas, csg, metgasco




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

3 easy dinner recipes your kids will love, and so will you

No Caption

THERE is a middle ground! Dinners fit for kids and adults.

How to reduce your child's risk of food allergies

ABOUT 90% of food allergies are caused by just seven foods.

5 good mental health habits for kids (and parents)

CRYING OUT FOR HELP: The demand for counselling support for children and young people is increasing.

FORMING good habits early is critical for your child's mental health.

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Susie O'Neill: Why I stopped smacking my children

Swimming legend Susie O'Neill says she has stopped smacking her kids.

“I (smacked) because that’s what I knew growing up."

Introducing a step-parent into the family

Introducing a step-parent into the family can be stressful for the children, as well as the new parent.

THERE is no easy way to introduce a step parent into the family.

Fight is on for rugby league legend Niko after stroke

Niko with his wife Carolyn and children Aiseah (16), Noah (8), Jonah (4) and baby Laisa.

“When the kids' names are mentioned he seems to respond"

The day it snowed on the Northern Rivers

Snow clouds over Mount Nardi, July 3, 1984.

It happened once, so it could happen again

Your chance to see the world’s largest crystal

Naren King with The Enchanted Cave, the world's largest  largest amethyst geode, which is now at its new home at the Crystal Castle.

This 20-tonne amethyst is on public display from today

Latest deals and offers

Justice Lucy McCallum

Justice Lucy McCallum

Justice Lucy McCallum says she reduced Oliver Curtis's sentence due to comments...

$1 million cannabis seizure

Police discuss a huge cannabis seizure and the arrest of seven men.

Perisher has 50cm of snow

Resort to open after 50cm of snow.

Smiggin Holes and Blue Cow to open after 50cm of snaow falls in Perisher valley.

OPINION: Should we give up the great Aussie dream?

Generic housing Rural View.

First home buyers are struggling big time

Commercial Property June 16 edition

SNAPPED UP: A sushi shop in a106sq mground-floor tenancy with a 43sq moutdoor area in Southport Central Towers on the Gold Coast has sold for $954,000.

RealCommercial edition June 16, 2016.