Neil Mitchell and Greens MP Adam Bandt clash over anti-mining protest
Greens member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, has clashed with 3AW’s Neil Mitchell over the anti-mining protesters who are blockading a mining conference for the third day today.
Mr Bandt has not yet been to the protest outside the International Mining and Resources Conference, but was critical of the use of force by police.
“I think there’s been some pretty widespread condemnation and widespread agreement that the police have been a bit heavy-handed, they’ve been spraying with capsicum gas and so on,” he told Neil Mitchell.
“My view is that, provided people are non-violently protesting and peacefully protesting to draw attention to the climate crisis, then it’s something I’ll support.”
But Mr Bandt was reluctant to criticise protester conduct, leading to a heated exchange with Neil Mitchell.
Neil Mitchell: Is it peaceful protest to harass people, abuse people, spit on people and pull people to the ground? Is that peaceful?
Adam Bandt: The head of BHP spoke at the conference yesterday. He made it through the protest, got there and spoke to everyone who was assembled and said, look, these kinds of demonstrations are only going to continue unless all of the people in this room cut out pollution.”
NM: “That’s not the point. We’re not talking about the issue, we’re talking about the tactics. Now you’ve criticised the police, do you also criticise the behaviour of the protesters, or do you support them?”
AB: “I support non-violent protesters.”
NM: “You saw what happened. Was that violent or not?”
AB: “That needs to be taken through the courts and if the courts decide that people have acted violently then of course they’ll be appropriately dealt with.”
NM: “Well you’re not giving the police due process, why are you giving it to the protesters? You’ve condemned the police yet you will not criticise the protesters. Where’s the fairness in that?”
AB: “You and I can have a back and forth about whether it’s the police or the protesters, and we may end up having different views about that. I haven’t been down there myself.
Yesterday, at least 47 protesters were arrested by police, and there have already been multiple arrests at today’s protest.