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Abetz slams Greens for backing hoax


Jonathan Swan, Judith Ireland and Damien Bright

Senator Eric Abetz has slammed the Greens over support for an anti-coal hoax.

Senator Eric Abetz has slammed the Greens over support for an anti-coal hoax. Photo: Simon Bennett

The Coalition have labelled the Greens the ''epitome of extremism'' for the party's support of the anti-coal hoax.

Leading the attack, the leader of the opposition in the Senate, Eric Abetz also said the Greens had a ''disrespect for the rule of law'' for congratulating an activist being investigated for a hoax that temporarily wiped more than $314 million off the value of a coal company.

Greens leader Christine Milne.

Greens leader Christine Milne. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

"It's taken less than a fortnight after supposedly revising their platform for the Greens to again reveal their extreme political tendencies," Senator Abetz said in a statement.

He linked the Greens to "extreme elements with communist connections".

"With the Greens it is always a case of the ends justifying the means,’’ he said.

Hoaxer Jonathan Moylan.

Hoaxer Jonathan Moylan. Photo: Kitty Hill

On Tuesday Greens leader Christine Milne and her colleague Lee Rhiannon endorsed a controversial hoax, in which an anti-coal mining activist, Jonathan Moylan, issued a fake media release from ANZ Bank pretending that the bank had withdrawn a $1.2 billion loan facility from Whitehaven Coal because of ''unacceptable damage to the environment'' caused by the company’s Maules Creek coal project.

Mr Moylan says officers from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have raided his camp in northern NSW and seized his laptop and phone. He is now obtaining legal representation.

He has admitted that to highlight environmental concerns he tricked investors by designing a fake ANZ press template, website and dummy email inbox online and by impersonating a company spokesperson.

Following the prank, shares in Whitehaven, which counts struggling coal baron Nathan Tinkler as its biggest shareholder, fell from $3.52 to $3.21 in rapid time before the stock was put into a trading halt.

Asked if he had qualms about lying to the public to achieve environmental ends, Mr Moylan, who belongs to the anti-coal mining group Frontline Action Coal, said: ‘‘Our primary concern is the impact of this mine on the environment at the end of the day.’’

On Tuesday, Senator Milne described Mr Moylan’s hoax as being ''part of a long and proud history of civil disobedience, potentially breaking the law, to highlight something wrong''.

Her comments followed a tweet by her colleague Senator Rhiannon, who wrote: ''Congrats to Jonathan Moylan, Frontline Action on Coal, for exposing ANZ investment in coalmines.''

Senator Milne’s statement and Senator Rhiannon's tweet come as the Greens try to appeal to new constituencies and recast themselves as less ‘‘extreme’’ in an election year.

Last month, the party revealed a new platform of policies aimed at presenting a smaller target to critics.

Senator Rhiannon has previously seen controversy over her support for an anti-Israel boycott policy in the 2011 NSW state election.

Last year, she apologised after it emerged she helped to ghost-write an opinion article, attacking her party for accepting a $1.7 million donation from the web entrepreneur Graeme Wood.

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  • The "attack" should serve notice that all Australian companies should beef up their security and have their websites more secure.

    ASIC and banks should be leaders because they are gouging Australians so much.

    J. Fraser
    Date and time
    January 09, 2013, 8:00AM
    • If I break into your house, it's your fault for not having an alarm, guard dogs and 24hr surveilance right? But thats hardly the point. He didn't hack anyone, he falsely represented himself as an ANZ spokesman. If anyone needs to sure up their ship it's the media who should verify information before passing it on. Any market sensitive announcements would have been posted to the ASX, and any journalist worth their salt would query an announcement with a companies media department, not just ring the mobile number on the document.

      Date and time
      January 09, 2013, 8:37AM
    • What is it with left-wing organisations and their disgraceful desire to punish anyone who doesn't agree with their radical politics?

      The sooner this loony-left political party is banished from society the better off we all willl be.

      St Kilda
      Date and time
      January 09, 2013, 8:48AM
    • The guy's not a hacker....he is a fraudster......and Milne may as well support Slipper as he broke the rules too.......I separate my GREEN WASTE into a composter...where it belongs.............

      Date and time
      January 09, 2013, 8:59AM
    • John

      You should read occasionally. It was not the company website that was at fault.

      Moylan replicated a fake press release site and fooled the majority. BTW, as ASIC is more a regulator, I'm interested in your views as to how they are gouging Australians.

      Date and time
      January 09, 2013, 9:16AM
    • Dave - explain how caring for the environment is left wing?

      Or is "left wing" just your name for anyone you don't like?

      Date and time
      January 09, 2013, 9:20AM
    • This guy should go to jail if found guilty. No ifs or buts.

      Date and time
      January 09, 2013, 9:25AM
    • @Paul ... critising the public that were taken in by the announcement is not conducive to making your point.

      @Dave ... ask the owners of the Fukushima nuclear power station.

      @"shemp" ... remind me again which political party led the way and fought for "green waste" bins ?

      J. Fraser
      Date and time
      January 09, 2013, 9:26AM
    • If found guilty of what mh? What is the custodial offence you have in mind?
      It's ok for Whitehaven to dig up several thousand hectares of bush to burn more coal and drive the ever growing temperature records. It's ok for the investors to dump their shares like the loyal shareholders they are, with everyone's best interests at heart, especially their own. It's ok for the bank to support any activity, as long as there's a profit in it. But it's not ok for one guy with meagre resources to draw attention to it all by letting the market expose its mercenary nature.
      Priorities speak volumes.

      Date and time
      January 09, 2013, 9:47AM
    • So Miss Milne's message is, it's ok to lie and deceive as long as you've got a political purpose?

      So what makes Milne different from people like Howard, Rudd, Abbott, Gillard, etc?

      Date and time
      January 09, 2013, 9:48AM

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