ACT News

Nine convicted for fossil fuel protest at Minerals Council office

Nine activists have been fined and ordered to be of good behaviour after they trespassed during a demonstration at the Canberra headquarters of a fossil fuel industry body.

But the group says the demonstration helped expose the role the Minerals Council of Australia had in influencing political policy in Australia.

"We took action at the Minerals Council as they are lobbying for massive coal expansion in Australia that will dramatically increase emissions and cause further inundation and eventual destruction of the Pacific Islands," Moira Cully , one of the defendants, said in a statement released after the court proceedings.

The activists – who included an academics, public servants, and university students - pleaded guilty in the ACT Magistrates Court to the charges stemming from a protest in October.

Court documents said 15 people went to the Forrest office of the Minerals Council of Australia about 8.40am on October 21.

The group buzzed reception and claimed to be there to attend a meeting.


The group then entered the office after council deputy chief executive John Kunkel, who served as former Prime Minister John Howard's speechwriter, opened the door to speak with them.

They then sat down in the foyer and said: "We are here in solidarity with the Pacific Climate Warriors".

They then requested a meeting with a number of staff members, but were told one could not be organised that day and were asked to leave.

The police arrived about 9am, warning group members risked arrest and prosecution if they did not depart.

Minerals Council director of operations Brenda Conroy offered to book a meeting at a later date, but the protesters did not believe she had enough authority.

About five protesters left before a police deadline set for 9.35am. 

The ten were arrested 10 minutes later and charged with trespass.

Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker placed eight of the activists on six month good behaviour orders.

Ms Walker fined the ninth $750 as he had previous convictions for involvement in demonstrations.

The tenth member has pleaded not guilty and will face court in June.