Monday, June 20, 2011

But there is a Darkside

As the Broome Community No Gas Campaign’s blockade of Manari Road enters its 14th day, the commitment and dedication of the Broome Community remains strong and unfazed. For the last 10 days the residents are only allowing the security personal into Country. Their responsibilities are solely to guard Billy the bulldozer (The Bilby Basher) and the drilling equipment, which is currently getting rustier and rustier and rustier on Manari Road. The Campaign has some very devoted babysitters of Billy, and the Walmadan Camp remains settled and strong. No drilling has happened since last Saturday week in Country. The only equipment currently working in Country is the traffic lights.

It has been reported in media today that Wayne Bergmann has written to the Department of Indigenous Affairs claiming that the Broome Community No Gas campaigners “had built toilets in registered Aboriginal Sites and had breached the Heritage Act”. How ridiculous are these allegations? This is the very same man who has been pushing and bullying everyone in order to build the world’s largest Gas refineries over the Lurujarri Song line which contains several major significant registered sites. Mr. Bergmann’s response is a very clear indication that this Broome community initiated blockage is having some major effects on his mental health.

Joseph Roe, Goolarabooloo Senior Law Man for the Northern and Southern Law also made a written complaint that was furbished with video, photographic evidence and a GPS Google Map showing extensive and criminal desecration's of many sites between Walmadan and Kardalakan to the Department of Indigenous Affairs on the 9th of June. Mr. Roe sought an immediate “cease to work order”, which should have been the Department’s first response to any complaint made of damage to registered sites. It is our understanding that representatives from DIA will again be coming out tomorrow to investigate Mr. Roe’s original complaint.

Meanwhile, there has been lots of talk of special or additional police arriving in Broome to address the Broome Community’s No Gas Campaign, however it is now day 14 and the police have not issued any move on notices or arrested anyone since the original lock-ons in the first week. Inter-agency meetings have been held in Broome last week and these agencies have been warned that the police intend to take strong action to break the blockade and for these agencies to be prepared.

Redhand finds it very difficult to believe that action will be taken against the Broome No Gas residents by the police because it will ignite the Broome Community into even more civil disobedience. On the first day maybe only a handful of people will be arrested and maybe on the second day a few more. But in the following days, hundreds will follow. The Manari Road is currently the only line of supply for Woodside into Country. It is extremely valuable at all times and open to the creation of many obstacles of resistance. If the blockade is broken it will be re-established within hours

Late last year there was a prevailing feeling of doom and dis-empowerment within the Broome Community. The propaganda from the WA government’s Department of State Development that the project was inevitable and the divide/conquer and financial enticement strategies of Woodside had seemed to have worked their enchantment.

However, after the most recent re-enacted of Kimberley Land Council’s managed vote of the Traditional Owners; the new founded interest and concerns of local small businesses and their subsequent weekly meetings; the first real blockade of the Manari Road with lock-ons and the Broome community’s old families meeting have culminated in a fresh new amalgamation of the Broome Community. Now the community has been mobilised and actions of civic disobedience have been activated. Something our community has no experience of but is learning fast.

An average of up to 120 residents are gathering every morning in order to prevent entry of any workers. More people are camped out every night along the Manari Road. Why? Because they (the Broome community) know who has been caring for Country and its Cultural Heritage and they are the same people (the Traditional Owners) who are on the front line today, still fighting to protect their Song line and their cultural heritage.

The fight to save James Price Point and the Lurujarri Heritage Song line will be as persistent as the Whale Wars, as historical as Noonkanbah and as successful as the Franklin River campaign. The Broome Community is sending a very strong message to the Federal Environmental Minister, Woodside and the WA Government that we will never issue the social licence to operate.


  1. Beautifully written Redhand!

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed
    citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only
    thing that ever does."
    - Margaret Mead

    Stand up for the planet!

  2. A top post by Redhand - again!
    And with the little shack outback in the middle of it,a poetic flavour to boot.
    Enjoying the journey with you.

  3. absolutely spot on.Beautiful.That the broome community has mobilised is the best news of all.There are so many of us countrymen so ready and able.Sending many vibes from up the Peninsula so connected thru the Songlines.Love and blessings to you redhands for keeping it so alive..
    Eyes are many standing up for our planet.

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