Senate debates

Tuesday, 17 October 2023

Statements by Senators

Harmsen, Dr Collette Joan

1:47 pm

Photo of Nick McKimNick McKim (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

Last weekend I joined Bob Brown and many other supporters to give Dr Colette Harmsen a hero's welcome out of prison. Collette was sentenced to three months imprisonment for her part in peaceful protests to defend nature from the ravages of logging and mining. This was the first time in over a decade that an environmental activist had been sentenced to jail time in Tasmania. When she was released, Dr Harmsen said:

I'm not doing this to be remembered; I am doing this to remind people to act now for nature, for our wildlife, for our forests—and as a reminder to act now for our whole flipping planet.

Dr Harmsen also said courageously that she would continue to peacefully protest and risk her freedom for her beliefs. I want to give a massive shout out today to all the activists, right around this country and right around the world, who are taking massive personal risks by protesting peacefully, not for themselves but for future generations of humanity and for the health of this planet's climate and its ecosystems.

Our climate is literally breaking down around us. The ecosystems that we rely on for our survival as a species are collapsing. It's people like Colette and those like her who recognise the urgency of the crisis that we are living in and have the courage to act. Dr Harmsen and people like her should be celebrated, not incarcerated, and governments will soon find out they can't arrest their way out of a climate crisis—the prisons aren't big enough.